The SPOGreatMusic Podcast Series: S01E03

Release Date: October 16, 2020

J.S. Bach’s compositions for solo cello and violin are milestones in the repertoire for a solo unaccompanied instrument. This episode will look at J.S. Bach’s life, his solo suites for the cello and his partitas for the violin, and his influence on other composers who have written solo works. Featuring interviews with Eric Siblin, author of J.S. Bach’s The Cello Suites (Anansi with support from the OAC and CCA), SPO concertmaster Corey Gemmell, and Canadian composer Frank Horvat, discussing his recent Music for Self-Isolation series of solo instrument works.


Eric Siblin, Author of “J. S. Bach’s The Cello Suites”

Eric Siblin is a writer with interests in history, music, hockey, and olive oil. Educated at Concordia University in Montreal, he has worked as a staff reporter for The Canadian Press and The Montreal Gazette. His first book, The Cello Suites, explores the multi-layered story of an epic composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. The Cello Suites was a No. 1 national best-seller in Canada and named an Economist Book of the Year for 2010. It won the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, and the McAuslan First Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award (Non-Fiction), the Writers’ Trust of Canada Non-Fiction Prize, and British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. It has been translated into nine languages. Studio Grace, published in 2015 to coincide with an album of the same name, is his second book.

For more information about Eric Siblin, please visit his website


Corey Gemmell, SPO Concertmaster

Corey is a native of Hamilton, Ontario. He has distinguished himself as a soloist and chamber musician with performances in Canada, Germany, the United States, and China. Concerto appearances include performances of such works as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Brahms’ Violin Concerto, and Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello. 20th Century solos with orchestra include Mozetich’s Affairs of the Heart for Violin and Orchestra and Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

Mr. Gemmell is concertmaster of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Hamilton Orchestra. He has also performed in this role with the Boris Brott National Academy Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Orchestra, and Esprit Orchestra. He performs frequently with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

Corey Gemmell was concertmaster for the fall CBC television production of Over the Rainbow with Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. He has performed as concertmaster for a number of musicals including recent productions of Beauty and the Beast, The Hugh Jackman Show, and Next to Normal. He has worked with such pop icons as Hugh Jackman and Chantal Kreviazuk. Mr. Gemmell was concertmaster for the 2010 production of Miss Saigon at the Four Seasons Centre and the 2009/2010 production of The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales. He is also active in commercial studio work in Toronto and has recorded for numerous movies and commercials.

Mr. Gemmell can be heard on compact disc in recordings of sonatas by Brahms, Ravel, Robert A. Baker, David Eagle, and Hope Lee. He was one of the contributing artists to record the Royal Conservatory of Music’s violin syllabus on compact disc.

Much in demand as a teacher, Mr. Gemmell’s students have distinguished themselves at provincial and national competitions. He is presently on faculty at the Western University, the National Music Camp of Canada, and is a member of the Royal College of Examiners.


Frank Horvat, Composer

Frank Horvat is one of the most inventive songwriters to come out of the contemporary scene in Canada (WholeNote Magazine). This award-winning composer’s music is emotional and intense. As a pianist and multi-genre composer, Frank Horvat has made the tricky musical leap that allows him to pursue a niche of his own (Edmonton Journal). His instrumental compositions tell deeply personal stories while permitting audiences to ponder their own.

He has been featured on over a dozen albums on labels including ATMA Classique, Really Records, and Centrediscs. With composition premieres on five continents, his works have been showcased internationally in theatre, feature films, and radio/TV networks including the CBC, CBS, HBO, Vice & Bravo.

He ignores boundaries and isn’t afraid to mix politics with art (Ludwig van Toronto) as many of his composition projects revolve around social issues. His artivist projects include the Green Keys Tour, #music4HRDs, Piano Therapy Tour and Music for Self-Isolation. Discover Frank’s latest projects at and Learn more on his social media pages: * * * *


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