Prix Goyer Announcement

I am honoured to share the news with you that I have been chosen as the first recipient of the Prix Goyer (Extreme Emerging Artist) – Canada’s largest prize for an emerging artist in classical music. The official announcement will be taking place this Saturday. Suffice it to say, it’s all a bit overwhelming… it is really too much to be rewarded for something that one already loves doing… but I am nonetheless excited for the possibilities that come with such an opportunity.

I’m not sure if there might be another opportunity to do this publicly, so I must be sure to thank (profusely) noncerto, Mécénat Musica, Ensemble Caprice and composer Matthias Maute for their support.

Follow this link for more information about the prize, noncerto, and the Mecenat Musica program.

I’ll leave it at that for now. Thanks to all of you for your kind messages and well-wishes.

Phil

 

Beethoven Concerto No. 4 in G major

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It’s my pleasure to post this performance of l’Orchestre Intemporel. The brainchild of Point d’arrêt’s Frederic-Alexandre Michaud, this orchestra came together (after months and months of planning, but with only three days of rehearsal) in October to present this stellar concert. The group is comprised of great Quebec/Canadian talent, students and pros, including students of McGill, l’Université de Montreal, and the Conservatoire de musique du Montréal, as well as members of the OSM.

Orchestras that are thrown together don’t usually pan out. It’s an obvious point that it takes considerable time and energy to produce a unified sound and for each section to find their voice. This group defied the odds and did a spectacular job. Led by Frederic-Alexandre, the ensemble produced some incredible moments of beauty (concertmaster Alex Read played chillingly beautiful solos in Scheherazade) and real excitement brewed in Mendelssohn’s Hebrides suite.

I also can’t express enough my appreciation for the orchestra’s work in preparing Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto. It was such a pleasure for me to have the chance to perform this at-times reflective, at-times rollicking piece. Also, performing a concerto is like playing chamber music with a LOT of people at once and it’s pretty baller experience.

There are a lot of great renditions of Beethoven 4 out there; Mitsuko Uchida’s is a prime example. I certainly plan to continue performing this work whenever I can and perhaps one day reach the kind of zen place that Uchida occupies. I was most definitely not zen during this performance; there were many moments of “Whoops, that was a loose definition of the right notes” and “Wow, I am going reeeeal fast here…”

Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy the performance (warts and all) as much as I enjoyed sharing it with the audience.

 

Happy New Year!

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Wow, my hand looks enormous.

 

New year, new glasses!

I hope you had a relaxing holiday with all the fixin’s.

The new year ushers in an exciting second half to the 14-15 season, and I will be keeping you abreast of all developments right here! I’m currently in Toronto with Victor Fournelle-Blain and we’ll be performing at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre tomorrow at noon. Victor is phenomenal string player and a stalwart musician. A show not to be missed (but chances are good you’ll miss it… COC’s noon-hour series is consistently packed to the rafters)!

But this isn’t my first gig of the year – that honour belongs to the Fung-Chiu Duo’s concerts for Prairie Debut. We just completed our three-part tour of the Prairies with a final trip through Alberta. We had spectacular receptions at the Shell Theatre in Fort Saskatchewan (named so for its proximity to the Saskatchewan River… which is located in Alberta…), a super visit with the fine folks of Westlock, and a bittersweet finale at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose.

And nice as it would be to go back into hibernation following tomorrow’s recital, there’s no time to rest: “A Tribute to Fritz Kreisler” takes off THIS Saturday! There’s still a lot of work for Ewald and I to do on the stage-presentation side of things (props to work out and moustaches to trim) but we cannot wait till we kick things off in Riviere-du-Loup this Saturday night.

Speaking of Fritz Kreisler, I’m sure you’d be interested to know that I spent my Christmas dabbling in the dark arts of graphic design. Having just recorded our Kreisler album kind-of-at-the-last-minute, it was natural that our CD production process would all unfold kind-of-at-the-last-minute. And since no reasonable professional would take such a last-minute gig over the Christmas break, I was stuck with the honour of designing our CD from scratch.

I’m not really entirely sure how it all came together, definitely not without the incredible assistance of Kerry Kavalo and Sebastian Chow, but I’m fairly proud of having learned the absolute-minimum-basics of working with a Photoshop-like program (GIMP – free for Mac!) and having designed this myself!

I did this!

I did this!

Thanks to the good folks over at Duplium for their unwavering support and countless hours spent emailing me and explaining patiently all of the things I did wrong.

I’ll end this post with a preview of our upcoming disc. Please enjoy :)

Phil

P.S. Check back soon for news from noncerto about my upcoming solo videos!

Spot the wolf?

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The other side of the building is not a butt.

 

I’m beginning to understand the difficulty in keeping up a blog (and active website). You don’t want to inundate audiences with ceaseless posts about nothing, but with each day that passes between posts you feel like the post must be THAT much more worthy. And so you take a stab at a post, and constantly tell yourself it isn’t enough of a post to merit the amount of time that has passed. It’s a horrible cycle.

So I here I am to break that cycle with a mundane, just-OK post from my tour with Prairie Debut.

For those of you keeping track, I last left you in sweet anticipation of my performance of Beethoven 4 with l’Orchestre Intemporel and Frederic-Alexandre Michaud. By all accounts, it went OK. It was not bad. It had good moments. I’ll give you my proper verdict when I get my hands on the recording. Until then, enjoy this photo (this part looks like it sounded OK).

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Janelle and I are on Part Two of our Prairie Debut tour. We have been on quite the hectic schedule – we recently came off of a seven-concert back-to-back run… complete with school shows and workshops. I have done some pretty hectic schedules, but this last leg really took me for a ride. We began with a performance in Yorkton, followed by a day off, followed by concerts in Estevan, Shaunavon, Watrous, Rosthern, Biggar, Regina and Carman. We’re now in the Yukon completing Part Two.

It has been phenomenal seeing the Prairies (+ Yukon) in all their glory. No matter how tired or grumpy I may be, I am always bowled over by the beauty of Canada… even when I’m witnessing it on very little sleep and in the beginning of a very long drive.

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I may or may not have taking this while driving. Maybe.

I don’t have too much to add for the moment. This was to get back on the wagon and get back to posting. Suffice it to say, it’s been a real treat meeting each and every presenter and audience member on our tour so far. We’re currently in Whitehorse wrapping up this leg of the tour.

Now, here’s a raven. It’s huge. And they’re everywhere.

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That bird is way bigger than you think.