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Hitting new notes

Sixty-member Orchestre symphonique de l'Isle to link with Concordia
January 31, 2011
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By Russ Cooper
Source: Concordia Journal

Pianist Zuzana Simurdova, a student in Concordia's Diploma in Advanced Music Performance Studies, rehearses with the Orchestre symphonique de l’Isle at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall January 26, only days before the partnership's inaugural concert on January 30. | Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj
Pianist Zuzana Simurdova, a student in Concordia's Diploma in Advanced Music Performance Studies, rehearses with the Orchestre symphonique de l’Isle at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall January 26, only days before the partnership's inaugural concert on January 30. | Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

Concordia’s Department of Music has struck a valuable partnership with Montreal’s Orchestre symphonique de l’Isle (OSI).

The partnership will give music students the opportunity to perform with the orchestra as well as have excerpts from their compositions played by the musicians in sight-reading sessions.

“Students don’t usually have the opportunity to have their large works performed,” says Department of Music Chair and Professor Ricardo Dal Farra. “By being so close to an orchestra, it will provide the students with a very important experience, both from the pedagogical side and the real-world side.”

Established in 2001, the OSI is a volunteer-based organization comprising professional and semi-professional musicians.

“Along with professional musicians, we have doctors, lawyers, teachers, music students – who are all very talented. There’s a mishmash of everything,” says OSI President Sofica Lukianenko.

The partnership is expected to benefit primarily undergraduates studying composition or classical performance, but both the Department of Music and the OSI will encourage graduate performance students to play in the orchestra, and to audition for concerto performances as featured soloists.

Lukianenko, an accomplished violinist who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music from Concordia in 1994, says that while the partnership has no formal mentoring component, the students’ access to accomplished musicians will prove beneficial.

“We encourage the students to become part of the orchestra to understand how things work,” she says.

Composition students won’t be writing for every instrument of the 60-piece orchestra, but will have the opportunity to write for upwards of 35 different instrumentalists.

“They won’t normally write for a whole orchestra because it is an extremely complicated task, but they will have a full palette. It’s like giving them all the reds, oranges, yellows and so on to paint a picture,” says music professor Rosemary Mountain, who teaches musical composition. “It encourages them to develop their aural imaginations more fully.”

The OSI, currently under the artistic direction of conductor Cristian Gort, has performed at Concordia’s Oscar Peterson Concert Hall numerous times since 2001. It will continue to rehearse at the Loyola Campus facility throughout 2011.

To officially kick off the partnership, the OSI, along with Concordia music students and faculty, performed January 30 at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall as part of a fundraiser for a new grand piano for the venue.

The partnership’s next concert will take place June 18 with a performance of Jean Sibelius’s Symphony Number 2 in D major and Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, with soloists Katarzyna Musial and Gohar Manvelyan. An original composition by a faculty member or student will be included in the program of this concert.

Before then, the OSI will be at Oscar Peterson on March 19 without students, performing pieces from Bach, Stravinsky and Brahms.

Related links:
•    Concordia Department of Music
•    Oscar Peterson Concert Hall
•    Orchestre symphonique de l’Isle



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