Music

IMG_1086_3351Eifman Ballet – Tchaikovsky Pro et Contra

Boris Eifman’s ballet company is at the fore of contemporary St. Petersburg ballet. On July 6, 2016 the company performed “Tchaikovsky Pro et Contra” (which premiered in May 2016 in its current version, but goes back to its origins in 1993) at the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Since the early 1990s Eifman focused on the creation of large-scale psycho-dramatic ballets, and established this aesthetic form as the main direction for his company.
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ae7505e002389684Oleg Menshikov’s Dream Orchestra – in St. Pete

On July 2, 2016, St. Pete’s Music Hall hosted Moscow’s Ermolova Theatre musical performance of Dream Orchestra: Brass (which originally premiered in December 2011) created by its artistic director Oleg Menshikov. This performance alternated between Menshikov’s sweetly-nostalgic and optimistically light-hearted stories, memories, and favourite songs, as well as performances of thirty multi-talented musicians, who brought the many melodies that inspired and influenced the narrator’s work since childhood to a sold-out theatre.
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Belfry Theatre - Puttin' on the RitzPuttin’ on the Ritz – Belfry Theatre

The Belfry Theatre concluded its 40th anniversary season with a revival of Don Shipley’s 1976 musical review that premiered at the theatre forty years ago: Puttin’ on the Ritz (immortalized by Fred Astaire dancing in a top hat and tails) that features some 50 iconic songs and musical numbers composed by Irving Berlin. Directed by the renowned director of Pacific Opera and former Belfry artistic director Glynis Leyshon, who first revived the review in 1994, this production stars the exceptionally talented Lauren Bowler (from this season’s musical Chelsea Hotel), Andrew MacDonald-Smith, Katrina Reynolds, and John Ullyatt, and can be seen from April 12 to May 8, 2016.
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Music – Quebec: From Charlebois to Arcade Fire (photo by K.Sark)Music – Quebec: From Charlebois to Arcade Fire

Musée McCord opened its new exhibit Musique – Le Québec de Charlebois à Arcade Fire,on display from May 30 to October 13, 2014. The exhibit explores the Quebec music scene from the 1960s to today.

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Paul Sareault (photo by Umany)UMANY

I was first introduced to Umany by my friend Marianne on my first visit to Montréal in 2005. She invited me to a benefit concert that she helped organize in Terrebonne, just outside of Montréal, the proceeds and charity donations from which were going to Africa. Umany released their first single and played to a full auditorium of all ages.

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Aladdin Sane (photo by Brian Duffy)Bowie is… at the AGO in Toronto

This fall the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers North America its first chance to take an exciting odyssey through the world of David Bowie in the exhibition “David Bowie is,” created by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. Spanning five decades and featuring more than 300 objects from Bowie’s personal archive, the multi-media show exposes the ground-breaking artist’s collaborations in the fields of fashion, sound, theatre, art, and film. The exhibition opened on Sept. 25, 2013 and runs to Nov. 27, 2013.

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Beatles in Montréal 1964 – Exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière MuseumThe Beatles

Pointe-à-Callière Museum presents The Beatles in Montréal exhibition from March 29, 2013 to March 30, 2014, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the event. 360 objects are on display, including personal items, objects signed by The Beatles, records, instruments, Beatlemania-related items, film excerpts, archival photos, and pages from newspapers.

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Cirque du Soleil – Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour

Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour is perhaps the closest you can come to seeing Michael Jackson live in concert today, but the experience is even more enhanced with the incredible cutting-edge technology of light, sound, screen projections, screen graphics, and the talent of world-class acrobats, dancers, choreographers, musicians, and set and light designers, all collaborating with Cirque du Soleil.

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All About the Beez Neez – by Annie Becker

Annie Becker is a Vancouver-born musician who moved to Montréal in 2009. I met Annie at an open mic night at the Arts Café in 2010, where she blew everyone away with her voice and guitar skills. Last summer, Annie released her first album All About the Beez Neez, and while I was in Berlin last summer, I kept listening to it while biking all across the city, and it became my Berlin soundtrack. Her music is so empowering and inspiring. Questions about her songs began to formulate in my mind, and I couldn’t wait to come back to Montréal to talk to her about her music. We finally reconnected and here is what we talked about.

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Constantinople

As part of the festival Montréal en Lumiere, Salle Pierre-Mercure in Quartier Latin welcomed the creative ensemble Constantinople, currently touring the world with 266 concerts in 87 cities and 18  different countries. The ensemble consists of percussionist Ziya Tabassian (Montreal); setar player Kiya Tabassian, darbouka percussionist Misirli Ahmet (Turkey); percussionist Zohar Fresco (Israel); viola da gamba player Pierre-Yves Martel (Montreal), and santour player Amir Amiri.

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We Want Miles

Just in time for the Montréal Jazz Fest, the Musée des Beaux-Arts presents a multimedia retrospective We Want Miles. The exhibition is a time capsule, a glimpse into the life of  jazz legend Miles Davis (1926-1991). Each room reveals a new segment of his life, a new album, a new inspiration, along with amazing photographs, records, personal letters and artifacts, costumes, instruments, and music to provide the maximum sensory experience.

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This is Your Brain on Music

One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time is Daniel J. Levitin’s This is Your Brain on Music (2007). It covers a wide range of disciplines (neuroscience, psychology, musical theory) to explain the various processes that go on in our brain when we listen to music. Why do we really like certain types of music and completely dislike other types? Why does certain music touch us at an emotional level even more than language or poetry?

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