Mount Royal Conservatory’s Morningside Music Bridge is entering its 18th year, and it remains the only program of its kind worldwide.
The month of July is packed with masterclasses, rehearsals and performances for our 70 international students. Here to teach them are leading musicians from around the globe.
One of them is Warsaw’s Tomasz Strahl. The celebrated, prize-winning cellist is a laureate of
competitions throughout Poland and the world. When he isn’t performing with prestigious quartets and noted musicians, Strahl teaches masterclasses at the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, and in the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Japan, South America and Calgary.
We caught up with Tomasz backstage in the Leacock Thursday night before his amazing performance of works by Schumann and Schubert with Morningside faculty David Moroz, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Teng Li, Tian Bonian and Diana Cohen.
Question: What makes Morningside Music Bridge unique?
Tomasz Strahl: This is a wonderful idea because the atmosphere is like an international gathering, not a competition. I admire young people from different countries — Europe, the United States, China, and Canada — playing together and spending time like families do.
Question: What has your experience been like as a mentor in Calgary?
Tomasz Strahl: Each professor (teacher), we generally agree, but we teach with different kinds of advice. It is my great pleasure to observe how the young people are open to my musical ideas. They want to know and pay attention to my advice. I’m working so much better because my connection with them is so strong. It’s a wonderful thing. They are first-class musicians.
Question: What has it been like to collaborate and perform with the international faculty?
Tomasz Strahl: It’s a pleasure to play with David Moroz and all the other fantastic musicians. Everyone in one place. It’s wonderful.
Question: How important is this program? For music students and for the world’s leading musicians who come to teach?
Tomasz Strahl: This music bridge, it really is a musical bridge for the different cultures. This is most important, the memories will be fantastic. After 20 years, they will remember this time in Calgary.