The BIG news this month is the ECMA (East Coast Music Awards) nomination of my album “I am in Need of Music”. Composers Alasdair MacLean, John Plant and Emily Doolittle are also nominated for their individual compositions. Fingers crossed for everyone! The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia also submitted the CD for a Nova Scotia Masterworks award and those results will be announced in the fall.
On February 18th, I performed the settings by Alasdair MacLean and Christos Hatzis with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, led by Anne Manson. The lovely and quite intimate church where the MCO perform was perfect for the songs and I hear the concert attracted some new audience members from the literary world. Winnipeg’s wonderful bookstore, McNally’s, invited Anne Manson and I to talk about the programme and its connection to Pulitzer prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop.
SUMMERTIME TOUR / LES VOIX HUMAINES
After Winnipeg, I flew to Montreal just in time to rehearse the programme “Summertime” with Les Voix Humaines. We played three concerts near Montreal in three vastly different acoustics and in the middle of winter! The halls were either to dry or too big so we were amplified in all venues. Troopers as always, the viols adapted easily. It made me miss the wonderful spaces used for concerts, even in the smallest towns, in Europe. Here’s an excerpt of “Summertime” with Les Voix Humaines from the previous year, recorded in a wonderful church in St-Lambert, Qc.
My next performance will be “The Myth of Europa” with the Toronto Masque Theatre. A new piece by Canadian composer James Rolfe and librettist Stephen Heighton for soprano, barytone and small ensemble will be paired with the cantata “Europe” by baroque French composer Michel Pignolet de Montéclair. Actor Martin Julien will be performing with me in the Rolfe. These two works are staged and performed on April 25th and 26th at Trinity United Church, 427 Bloor street in Toronto. Rehearsals start in a few weeks with stage director Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière. I’ll write more about it after the first week of rehearsals.
At the end of this month, I will be working on my next album with co-producer John Adams (Stonehouse Sound). This is a Christmas music CD from a songbook that was found in the cradle of Acadia : Memramcook. The songs originate from different regions in France and most of them were completely new to me. How exciting to find NEW Christmas songs! The team of players is absolutely wonderful too : David Greenberg (violin), Nick Halley (percussion), Alexander Weimann (keyboards) and Jac Gautreau (accordion, guitar, dulcimer and keyboards). The tunes, beautiful and simple, are arranged in very different styles. Some of these may come as a bit of a surprise!