The excitement is electric.
The sound-check’s done and… we’re about to take centre stage.
In 2015, we completed construction and opened the Award-winning Bella Concert Hall and the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts. While it still has that ‘new theatre smell’ we’d like to amplify its acoustics by showcasing the finest local, national and international talent to play it.
We would like to announce the debut of SEVEN CONCERT SERIES taking place at the versatile venues in the Mount Royal University Conservatory’s Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts in 2016-17. These concert events will showcase some of the most innovative contemporary artists to bring music to your ears. We want our MRU Insiders to be the first to know what’s up.
Join us on May 13th, 2016 as we announce the line-up.
This will take place at the James Ehnes concert, our final Wyatt Series event for this season.
Our follow us online for up-to-the-moment social media releases. (Follow @MRUConservatory or mtroyal.ca/enjoy)
The Bella Concert Hall was built on sound.
The Soundscape Series showcases the amplification of these artistic vibrations in their acoustic glory.
* 5 concerts from local, national and international influential artists and ensembles.
Importing world-class musicians from around the globe. Let’s give them a true Calgarian white-hatted welcome.
* 5 concerts will take audiences on musical adventures in many musical genres.
Northern Lights Series
2016 is the Year of Music in Calgary. 2017 is Canada’s 150th Birthday.
What better way to celebrate our home and native land than to feature some of its finest artists.
*5 concerts will define our country’s energy, diversity and talent.
Our celebrated Wyatt Series continues to feature contemporary masters of classical works in performance and mentorship of our music students. This series honours the late Hal and Marnie Wyatt, longtime supporters of the Mount Royal University Conservatory.
* 3 concerts from modern masters.
Family Portrait Series
Music, Speech Arts and Theatre are for all-ages. To ensure that the younger family members, and those who are young at heart, get to experience amazing music and storytelling, we have the Family Portrait Series.
* 2 narrative shows that will inspire imaginations, whether it’s your first or ‘bazillionth’ time at a performance.
The Spotlight Series showcases our diverse and talented instructors in performance. We’re so proud of our instructors, we want to bring their talents to centre stage. This monthly feature is as varied and exciting as the programs we offer.
Historically, the Salon was a favourite meeting place for musicians of all styles to play, listen and collaborate. We’re bringing it back. Throughout the season, we’ll be offering these opportunities for folks to mix, mingle and enjoy a variety of musical entertainment.
Of course, we’ll still be presenting concert events featuring all of our incredible performance ensembles and programs, including festive favourites Winter Fantasia and Sounds of the Season.
Connect with us on social media for your chance to win tickets to each of the series, or the grand prize, seasons tickets to ALL concert events in our 2016-17 Season!
Like, follow and spread the message to your friends and family. It’s going to be an inspiring season of sound at the Mount Royal University Conservatory!
– by JLove
The New York Times reported that, “superb violinist Christian Tetzlaff pulled out of an important concert at Carnegie Hall.” It was for an arguably more important occasion as he flew home to Germany to welcome a new addition to his family. The remaining trio of Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), Tabea Zimmermann (viola) and Clemens Hagen (cello) were left without a premiere violinist to play Brahms’ three piano quartets on the famed stage.
Enter Canadian violinist James Ehnes.
Ehnes, who will be appearing at the Bella Concert Hall as a part of the Wyatt Concert Series on May 13th, 2016 describes his last minute substitution as “quick, crazy and fun.” The Times reviewer Anthony Tommasini thoroughly praised the fill-in’s contribution, “Mr. Ehnes’s velvety sound and sensitivity fit well with the vibrant playing of his colleagues on this night.” There’s no doubt his notable contribution was appreciated by his esteemed collaborators and the audience alike.
Now back home with his family in Florida, Ehnes takes a breath to reflect on the quartet’s shows which included performances at Chapel Hill, North Carolina and at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. He also has a moment to acknowledge his recent Juno win for Classical Album of the Year which was announced here in Calgary. “We work so hard on these albums, it’s nice to be recognized.” A humble comment for an artist who has now won eleven of the coveted prizes.
“The genesis for each (album) is different,” he explains. “Andrew Armstrong and I have pieces we’ve played a lot over the years. When you work with a collaborator, at some point, you get to where you feel like everything is clicking. If you have the opportunity to record at that point… that’s when you want to. We were having our moment,” he continues, siting his accompanist Andrew Armstrong who he has collaborated with since 2001 and will be joining him onstage at the Bella, “There was no P.R. plan. It was just the two of us saying we like these pieces… let’s record them.”
Calgarians will rejoice to see the pair tackle works by Brahms, Handel, Beethoven and Canadian composer Bramwell Tovey, but that’s not the only partnership they’ll witness. Ehnes’ oldest collaborator is The Marsick, the Stradivarius violin crafted in 1715 and named after a Belgian violinist of the late 1800s. “It’s been like a family member,” Ehnes says. He first saw and heard the instrument in 1996 at age 20. He imagines the life of the instrument in context, “It’s incredible to think that you’re only a custodian for a short period,” his respect for the Stradivarius is unwavering, “I’d love to think when it leaves my hands it’s no worse off than when it came in my hands.”
His whole family will be joining him for this leg of his 40th birthday tour. For his children, whom are Canadian but live in the U.S., this drive from Vancouver to Winnipeg with concert stops along the way is a great way for them to experience their homeland. “I wanted them to see all these places across Canada that have been good to me.” Ehnes reflects with both patriotic and paternal pride. “I want them to see the scale.”
Their family tour will be documented by filmmaker and close friend Nate Bauer who will be shooting footage from the road and backstage. As to what the collected documentary clips are used for, time will tell. Until then, it’s a marvellous family video.
Expect to see the cameras rolling as Ehnes and Armstrong take the stage at the Bella on May 13th, 2016. It will be their debut at this venue and Ehnes is excited. “I’ve been hearing wonderful things about it,” he admits, “lots of people have said it’s a great sounding hall.”
As he prepares to return to Calgary to team up with Armstrong and The Marsick at the Bella, there’s no doubt he’s glad he got to play Carnegie Hall to warm up for it.
In fact, I know one. Ralph Maier… and if I knew many more, he’d likely still be my favourite vihuela player. The instrument, he explains to me, “is the Spanish equivalent of a lute…except it’s shaped like a guitar.” A gifted guitarist, he touts, “Over the last ten years, I’ve gotten into doing things on period instruments.”
Maier is not only an expert to those who have the privilege of hearing him, he’s backed it up with the academic research, he finished a Musicology PhD in Spanish Renaissance Music in vihuela. So, for those who are interested in hearing a master at work, check out his upcoming recital Ralph Maier & Friends on Sunday, May 1st, 2016 from 2-3pm in the TransAlta Pavilion of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts.
Not only will he be strumming a vihuela, Maier’s program includes some pieces on the Baroque guitar, which is a five-course instrument meaning it has five pairings of strings to strum. The strumming, traditionally, was meant to accompany dancing, so there are a series of universal chord progressions known to many players of the time; much like a Blues progression today. The progression, Maier says,“became a staple. Then, composers would write a variation on it.” Among those composers, he lists Bach, who added his own touch to the Spanish plucking tradition. Maier’s study of the form has led him to complete his latest CD, aptly titled “Variations” which is available on both iTunes and CD Baby.
Musically speaking, he gets history. My personal history, having known Ralph for nearly two decades, is that there’s nothing he can’t play on a guitar. Tim Brady is a contemporary composer who wrote a piece for 20 electric guitars. Maier was one of the twenty. He was so inspired by this composition that he recorded it for his latest CD, playing all twenty parts multi-tracked. After recording it, he sent his interpretation to the composer. His reaction, according to Maier, was, “he liked it and that was very reassuring.”
Recently, in addition to his teaching at MRU Conservatory he has been teaching university classes like The History of Led Zepplin, Progressive Rock Music and The History of Heavy Metal. “I’m all over the place, musically.”
Maier will be reuniting with the Oberon Guitar Trio (Brad Mahon & Murray Visscher) as well as teaming up with flutist Tim Janz for this program. As to what era their contributions might represent, it’s anybody’s guess.
When I asked directly what we could expect in this Spotlight Series Concert, his answer was confidently nebulous. “I’m not absolutely sure.”
Such is the secret of a true modern Renaissance man.
On April 30th, 2016, you’ll find Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall and Sting at the White House. There will also be some jazz music featured in Bologna, Italy in the Jazz 4 Peace Celebration, and in the Quartet Diminished in Concert show at Niavaran Hall in Tehran, Iran.
Jazz music brings together the improvised solo expressions of individual instruments into an artistic whole in a combo. That’s the message of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day, celebrated this year on April 30, 2016.
“UNESCO (United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared this day a day that celebrates creativity and diversity of Jazz music,” says in-the-know saxophonist Mark DeJong.
DeJong, who’s the new Artistic Coordinator at MRU Conservatory, has composed a special something to celebrate at the TransAlta Pavilion, “We are celebrating some of our renowned jazz alumni. We’re featuring a great local vocalist by the name of Aimee-Jo Benoit. She has a great following with indie bands like Woodpigeon. Joining her are some former grads of the Jazz Program.”
The program is made up of some jazz standards, “She’s going to dive in to the American Songbook for those ‘tin pan alley’ chestnuts.” DeJong continues, “then some jazz originals and really creative interpretations of some of her favourite Canadian icons like Joni Mitchell and Neil young.” No matter what the source inspiration is, DeJong insists that Benoit promises to, “breathe new life into them.”
He would know first hand.
DeJong is among the esteemed alumni joining Benoit onstage with saxophone in hand. “This is my first presentation as the new Artistic Coordinator at MRU Conservatory.” he says, “One of the things I wanted to do was be involved in the early shows both as a programmer and on the ground on the stage.”
As a unique UNESCO moment, DeJong and the combo are excited to have CBC’s Tim Tamashiro take the stage as guest emcee. “Anyone who’s a jazz fan in Canada knows Tim… not only with his incredible career as a jazz vocalist, but as the host of CBC Radio 2’s Tonic.” The ‘drinky’ jazz crooner will be on hand to spread the harmonious message to the jazz community, “he’s such an energetic and creative personality,” DeJong says, “We’re really delighted that he’s able to join us.”
Benoit, DeJong and Tamashiro are warming their chops for April 30th. To celebrate UNESCO International Jazz Day with the rest of the world, click here, or head to the White House.
- by JLove
The building of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts is now complete and the doors are open. All that is missing is you!
Join the Mount Royal Conservatory for the Opening Festival for the stunning new Bella Concert Hall from September 19 to October 3. Four gala concerts will launch the Bella as Calgary’s newest performing space, which will truly come alive when audiences are there to appreciate the incredible acoustics.
The Opening Festival performances are:
- Sept 19; 8 pm – Bella Voce Opera Gala featuring the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus with Sally Dibblee, Andrea Hill, Gordon Gietz and Brett Polegato
- Sept 27; 3 pm – Luminous Night, a 250-voice choral extravaganza with Mount Royal’s Artio and Kantorei choirs as well as Calgary’s best choral ensembles
- Sept 30; 7:30 pm – Yuja Wang, internationally acclaimed as the most important pianist of her generation and graduate of Mount Royal Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth; playing the exceptional Hamburg Steinway she helped to select especially for the new concert ahll
- Oct 3; 8 pm – Yuja Wang & Friends, including renowned artists Ning Feng, violin, Teng Li, viola, and Tao Li, cello, in a concert of Brahms chamber music masterworks.
Wednesday, August 26 marked the official VIP opening of MRU’s new Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, with the dazzling Bella Concert Hall at its heart. Sixteen years in the making, under the leadership of former Conservatory Director Paul Dornian, this new facility is now the home of the Conservatory, which welcomes over 4000 students annually to learn music, speech arts and more.
Paul Dornian is now President and CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and will be on hand for the opening festivities to see his dreams become reality.
“The Conservatory nurtures and optimizes artistic potential within each student,” says Program Director Elaine Danelesko. “We empower individuals to creatively express themselves through music and speech arts by offering instruction to every person, every age and every level of development. We support students to achieve their dreams, from recreational enrichment to pre-professional training.”
The spaces in the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts — comprising the TransAlta Pavilion, 43 soundproof studio rooms and several meeting/ensemble spaces — are also available for rent to the Calgary community and beyond for events and performances.
The Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts is named for the philanthropic Taylor family, who donated $21 million dollars for the building, The Bella Concert Hall is named in honour of the beloved matriarch of the Taylor family.
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
Imagine having the world’s top classical musicians teaching in your classroom.
For Mount Royal Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth, it’s all part of the program.
The unique program offers the public and the Conservatory’s gifted students a chance to be up close with the masters. Artists in residence offer an exceptional opportunity for the Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth students, enriching curriculum through master classes. Academy piano students, ranging in age from 9 to 18, are benefitting from Denk’s mentorship.
Concert-goers have a rare opportunity to experience a world-class performance in the intimate 300-seat Leacock Theatre.
“Jeremy Denk’s performances in New York City have become among the hottest concert tickets to purchase,” says Conservatory Academy Manager Bill van der Sloot. “He is equally loved by classical music lovers and fellow artists as an artist among artists. He can make a profound impression on our young artists.”
Denk is one of North America’s most thought-provoking, multi-faceted, and compelling artists. He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London, and regularly gives recitals in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, and throughout the United States. The pianist’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, The Guardian, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. One of his New Yorker contributions, “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” earned him a book deal from Random House.
Now entering its ninth season, The Wyatt Artist in Residence Concert Series continues attracting the world’s leading classical musicians to teach and perform in Calgary.
The series honours Mount Royal Conservatory Foundation chair emeritus Hal Wyatt and his late wife, Marnie, long-time friends and supporters of the Conservatory.
Wyatt performers are stars in the classical world. Past performers include pianist/composer Anton Kuerti, Grammy award-winning cellist Lynn Harrell, violinist James Ehnes, and Morningside Music Bridge alumna Yuja Wang.
Swedish cellist Frans Helmersson is the season’s final concert April 24, 2015.
Jazz faculty from Mount Royal University Conservatory are taking to the stage for Christmas in Song Nov. 29. From left: Derek Stoll, Tyler Hornby, Rubim de Toledo, Ralf Buschmeyer, Corinne Plomish Buschmeyer. Call 403-440-7770 for tickets.
We’re jazzing things up for Christmas in Song with some of Calgary’s best jazz performers.
Taking to the stage Nov. 29 are Conservatory jazz faculty vocalist Corinne Plomish Buschmeyer, guitarist Ralf Buschmeyer, bassist Rubim De Toledo, drummer Tyler Hornby and pianist Derek Stoll.
While these performers are regularly seen and heard playing in city clubs and lounges, many fans don’t realize the talented musicians are also teaching the next generation through the Conservatory’s jazz programs.
Christmas tunes and jazz are a seasonal favourite, says Plomish Buschmeyer.
“I’ve been singing these tunes for many years now and really enjoy the vibe,” she said. “I love Christmas and am always happy to share the joy through song.”
Plomish Buschmeyer has had a long career performing and touring with Dan Hill, Dwight Yoakam, Arsenio Hall, Martin Short, Tommy Banks, Air Supply and Daniel Lanois.
Guitarist Buschmeyer teaches Monday Night Jazz Guitar and is coordinator for the summer Blues & Jazz Guitar Workshop at Mount Royal Conservatory. He has seven CDs to his credit.
De Toledo is a bass instructor at the Mount Royal Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth, and director of the Conservatory’s annual Summer Jazz Workshop.
Hornby coordinates the Conservatory’s Drumset Educational Camp each summer.
Stoll has performed extensively as a jazz pianist and bassist with both local and international musicians. He has taught music for almost three decades, and has been an instructor with Mount Royal Conservatory since 2001.
Joining our jazz faculty on stage is vocal soloist Chenelle Roberts, who is a prolific performer, having been part of several choral ensembles over the years and now an actively sought-after as a soloist.
Christmas in Song is Nov. 29, 2014 at Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.
Call 403-440-7770 for tickets today.
What goes into building 26 years of tradition?
We asked Mount Royal University Conservatory choral director Jean-Louis Bleau (yes, that Jean-Louis Bleau, one of Avenue magazine’s Top 40 Under 40). Bleau is known for asking his choirs to engage difficult music, always seeking to push members past their perceived limitations in order to produce music which — while challenging — is ultimately very rewarding.
This year’s Christmas in Song is no different.
Bleau oversees Mount Royal’s family of choirs, which this year totals around 130 singers between ages five to seniors.
“Having this year’s CIS so early has indeed made it much more challenging,” said Bleau.
“Kantorei, for example, will perform the Cadman Requiem on Nov. 22 and only seven days later be singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. It is a very quick turn around, however, with the music being so different it keeps us engaged moving from one style to the next. That makes it interesting and keeps us on our toes and pressing forward.”
This year adding the Jazz component opened the door to some new possibilities, he says.
“Each year we have worked to incorporate and highlight different programs on offer at Mount Royal University Conservatory. This year we thought we would draw attention to the Conservatory’s Jazz program and the wonderful faculty who teach our Jazz programs. This also gives our orchestra and choirs an opportunity to work in a different genre and collaborate with different artists.”
Christmas in Song has delighted family audiences with a mixture of holiday favourites, classical masterpieces and traditional carols. It’s become a treasured part of the city’s holiday festivities.
Christmas in Song is an excellent showcase featuring the talents of the Calgary Youth Orchestra, and Mount Royal’s family of choirs: Arietta, Arioso, Artio and Kantorei. This year, the Conservatory’s Jazz faculty and students will be adding some seasonal swing.
Tickets available at mtroyal.ca/christmas or by calling 403-440-7770. Group and family discounts available.
Hear Montreal’s Luc Beauséjour tonight.
Award-winning harpsichordist and organist Luc Beauséjour is renowned for the elegance, virtuosity, and expressiveness of his playing, which has won him an enthusiastic audience and the continuing praise of critics and music specialists.
Beauséjour performing schedule sees him travelling throughout Canada, France, the United States, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, and Bermuda. He has performed in Paris, Boston, Washington D.C., Vienna, Munich, and Montreal, as well as at numerous festivals, including the Festival d’Uzès (France), the Lanaudière International Festival, the Festival d’Ambronay, the festival Un été à Bourges, the Lamèque Early Music Festival (New Brunswick), and the Vancouver Early Music Festival. He was invited to perform the Goldberg Variations at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto for a CBC commemoration of the great pianist’s birthday—testimony to the recognition he has earned as one of Canada’s finest musicians. He is also heard regularly on both CBC and Radio-Canada.
He was born in Rawdon, Quebec, and holds a doctorate from the Université de Montréal. He studied harpsichord with Mireille Lagacé and organ with Bernard Lagacé. He also trained in Europe under Ton Koopman and Kenneth Gilbert. He was first-prize winner of the 1985 Erwin Bodky International Harpischord Competition in Boston, he has also won prizes at several other competitions and received a number of grants from the Canada Council and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Mr. Beauséjour teaches harpsichord and organ in Montreal.
What a great way to start Organ Festival!
8 p.m.: Celebrity Organ Recital — Luc Beauséjour (Montreal)
- Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, Rozsa Centre, University of Calgary, 206 University Court N.W.
- Tickets: $25 regular, $18 student/senior. On sale at the University of Calgary Campus Ticket Centre.
This event is hosted by the School of Creative and Performing Arts (Music) of the University of Calgary.