We’re happy to share some big news from Peter Rudzik, one of the Conservatory’s branch faculty.
His composition, Hot Springs, is featured in the latest issue of International Piano magazine.
For the first time, readers can compete for the best recording of the piece.
Rudzik shared his story with us:
“It was my idea to organize the competition and both Claire Jackson (editor of International Piano) and Louise Greener (manager) thought it was brilliant. I hope there will be lots of contestants. I’m trying to promote it in Canada as much as I can.”
Q: What was the inspiration behind your composition?
Peter Rudzik: “Hot Springs as a title is quite self-explanatory. It was inspired by the countless Rocky Mountain hot springs I’ve been to over the years and since I associate them with fun and bubbly pleasures, so is the piece. I like to think it’s lighthearted and fun though not easy to perform.”
Rudzik is an award-winning pianist hailing from Poland. As a student, his scholarship from the Chopin Society in Warsaw led to numerous recitals and appearances on national television and radio. He took post graduate studies at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen, Denmark.
His love of teaching led him to Mount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary. Many of his students, which cover all levels from beginners to the licentiate, have achieved top levels of excellence both provincially and nationally.
Sherri Zickefoose, Jan. 20. 2015
Curious about the beauty behind Mount Royal Conservatory’s new concert hall?
The concert hall is named in honour of Mary Belle (Sherwood) Taylor, the matriarch of Calgary’s Taylor family who generously donated to make the project a reality.
Loved ones called her Bella – Italian for beautiful and a commonly used musical term – so it’s a perfect fit.
Want to learn more about Bella?
With a goal of making life better for everyone around her, Bella succeeded at every turn.
Whether it was scratching out a new life on a southern Alberta farm as a young bride, supplementing tough times by supporting her family or rallying for a much-needed community school, Mary Belle orchestrated success.
“She was a great Alberta pioneering woman, in every sense,” said son Don Taylor.
The Bella Concert Hall — at the heart of the new Conservatory — is named in honour of the Taylor family matriarch Mary Belle (Sherwood) Taylor (1891-1972), known simply as Bella to loved ones.
Slated to open next fall, the city’s much needed mid-sized professional concert hall would not have been possible without a generous $21-million contribution provided by the Taylor family.It’s the largest private donation in Mount Royal University’s history.
The concert hall will serve music students and audiences, as well as providing a hub for a broad range of performing arts activities for the community.
The story of Bella is the story of true pioneering spirit. In the spring of 1912, the 21-year-old bride boarded a train in Kingston, Ontario, bravely heading west to start a life farming with her husband on the Prairies. After the family lost the farm in Barons, Alberta during The Depression, Bella moved to Calgary where she began ran a boarding house for 12 years to help support her family.
“She was an incredibly great lady and very hard-working,” said Taylor.
Bella was an enthusiastic supporter of education and was instrumental in bringing an elementary to Grade 12 schoolhouse to serve Barons, a rural village located 170 kilometres south of Calgary. The school was featured as a filming location in a scene of the 1978 film Superman.
“It was such a small community, it couldn’t be justified. But she campaigned with the local and provincial governments. And it happened solely because of her efforts.”
Much like Bella’s efforts to further education, the Taylor family’s philanthropy will benefit music lovers and theatre goers for generations to come.
“If my mother was here I’m sure she would be justly proud,” said Taylor.
Learn more about the new Conservatory and Bella Concert Hall here:
Sherri Zickefoose, Jan. 23, 2015
Even if you haven’t met James Desautels yet, chances are you may have already heard him.
The newest Conservatory strings faculty member (and Academy alumnus) is enjoying more than two decades working full-time in the music entertainment industry.
If you watched the final episode of NBC’s The Office, you were hearing Desautels as first violinist during Dwight and Angela’s wedding scene. Here he is performing what we heard:
From Itzhak Perlman to Pearl Jam, Desautels has toured the world sharing the stage with stars of the classical world, famous rockers and everyone in between.
Now, the award-winning Calgarian is sharing his experience as an accomplished songwriter, composer, producer, conductor and Grammy voting member by offering a host of new classes in popular music at the Conservatory.
This fall, the Conservatory is offering new classes in songwriting, rock bands and rock orchestra, country, rhythm and blues, music industry business, history of popular music and more.
“Popular music is timeless. Great songs live forever,” said Desautels. “Popular music is for everyone. This opportunity for musical expression and performance is unparalleled.”
New group classes for rock band offers an opportunity for people who are looking to play with other musicians and strut their stuff on stage.
“The thrill of live music is universal,” he says. “Great things happen when we come together to share music.”
Performance opportunities lead to confidence and practical training in popular music, says Desautels.
“Many people are interested in taking their playing to a higher level. The Conservatory offers Rock band courses for all combinations of instruments Faculty and students can dream up. This offers a unique opportunity for students to collaborate while studying and performing together.
Rock orchestra is “a one of a kind opportunity and life changing experience for students to be a part of a massive sonic landscape,” said Desautels.
The classically-trained violinist (who also plays piano, viola, mandolin and guitar, says expanding performing opportunities and introducing songwriting for Conservatory students offers them a unique experience.
“It’s freeing to write what I’m feeling. I find that collaboration is key — co-writing is magical. The flow that comes with another person cannot be matched alone. And it is thrilling to create something that wasn’t there before. Performing this music the energy exchange between the stage and the crowd is immediate.”
Desautels got his start studying classical violin at age five. Two years later he began studying fiddle, country and bluegrass music. As a teenager he toured internationally, performing classical and fiddle music, and earned a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction at age 21. Desautels received a Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona and moved to Austin, Texas to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Desautels says popular music classes offer students of all backgrounds and abilities opportunities to enrich themselves.
“We are completing Mount Royal Conservatory’s music with all the branches of the musical tree.”
Watch for more announcements about popular music at the Conservatory. Sign up for our enewsletters to receive the latest news.
Sherri Zickefoose, Jan. 20, 2015