Nahre Sol: pianist, composer, pioneer, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra

Pianist-composer Nahre Sol is among the most intriguing artists making music online today. The Juilliard-trained, California-based musician has one of YouTube’s top classical music channels, entertaining an online audience of over 400K subscribers and millions of casual viewers. With charming titles like “Jazz improvisation on the Chopin Nocturne,” “Funk as digested by a classical musician,” and “How I wrote a Fugue,” her channel offers music education of the most engaging kind: accessible, fun, but also rich and incisive.

Labelling Nahre a YouTube musician would however be selling her short. Her educational videos are interspersed with acrobatic improvisations and marvelous original music. She’s also an innovator in blending online and live music long before the pandemic forced Canadian musicians to think more along similar lines.

In November of 2020, Nahre worked with the MCO in a popular YouTube video entitled, “What I’m Learning About Orchestral Writing (both MIDI and LIVE).” Her May 27th concert with the MCO is the second part of our collaboration with her, and features Nahre Sol performing a series of short works the MCO commissioned from her. They are bold and cinematic, and allow Nahre Sol to cut loose as a superb technician of her instrument. There’s a special intimacy to the way she’s captured this performance from home; we get close-ups of her hands, a cameo from at least one household pet, and a peek into this brilliant musician’s lifeworld.

Our May 27th concert with Nahre Sol also features the cherished musicians of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in performance at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church. Karl Stobbe, Rachel Kristenson, Paul Nagelberg, and other familiar faces come together to perform works by Bach, Haydn, and Rossini along with a number of lively fiddle tunes. We hope you’ll join us at this eclectic concert —accessible for up to two weeks after the live-stream—and connect with the MCO in the Live Chat section.

Click below to add a Household Ticket to your cart (only one ticket required per household). This ticket allows you to invite up to five other households to view this event!

The concert begins at 7.30pm CDT on MCO's YouTube channel on May 27th. Household tickets for casual buyers are $20; all MCO subscribers are automatically given access to this concert. Click here to add a ticket to your cart (only one ticket required per household!) or call the MCO Ticketline 204-783-7377. The MCO will then send you a private link for accessing the concert a few days before the event. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Click above to add Household Ticket to cart; only one ticket required per household; click ‘Continue Shopping’ for other tickets.

Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Anne Manson, Music Director
Karl Stobbe, Concertmaster
Online Presentation
27 May 2021 through 13 June 2021

Violinists (from left to right in Bach): Momoko Matsumura, Mona Coarda, Mary Lawton, Karl Stobbe, Rachel Kristenson, Maya de Forest, and Chris Anstey; Pamela Fay, viola; Desiree Abbey, cello; David Fay, bass; Nahre Sol, piano; Rodrigo Muñoz, percussion

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Partita No. 3 in E Major, bwv 1006
—Prelude & Giga

Violinists noted above

Tom Knific (b. 1959)
Duo for Viola and Double Bass

  1. Henley-on-Thames
  2. The Event

Pamela Fay & David Fay

Michael Haydn (1737-1806)
Trio – Divertimento in E-flat Major, P 102 / MH 9

  1. Adagio con Variazioni
  2. Menuetto
  3. Presto

Pamela Fay, Desiree Abbey & David Fay

Nahre Sol
Any Which Way

Nahre Sol

Martin Heyworth
Divertimento a tre
—Scherzo : Allegretto (movement)

Pamela Fay, Desiree Abbey & David Fay

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Duetto for Viola and Double Bass

  1. Allegro
  2. Andante molto
  3. Allegro

Pamela Fay & David Fay

Traditional (Graham Townsend†)
Fiddle Medley

  1. Heel & Toe Polka and Blackjack Whiskey† medley
  2. McDowell’s Breakdown†
  3. Indifference
  4. Ukrainian medley

Violinists noted above

MCO season sponsor / CN
Music Director sponsor / Roger Groening—in memoriam Edd Groening
Concertmaster sponsor / Robert Giesbrecht
Season media sponsors / Classic 107 & Golden West Broadcasting

MCO at Home sponsor / Christianson Wealth Advisors, National Bank Financial

The MCO gratefully acknowledges the support of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts CouncilThe Winnipeg Foundation, and the Richardson Foundation.

Nahre Sol

Nahre Sol performs, composes and teaches an eclectic mixture of music that draws from aspects of improvisation, the avant-garde, traditional Western forms and harmony, jazz, and minimalism. She runs a notable series of videos on YouTube that distill her distinct perspective as a classically-trained pianist with an insatiable appetite for new ideas about music theory, harmony, practicing, and composition. She has gained notoriety and over 380,000 subscribers through her videos breaking down the stylistic elements of great classical composers and documentaries that share excursions into various genres she explores.

She holds degrees from The Juilliard School and The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed at venues across North America and Europe, including The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gusman Theatre in Miami, in addition to numerous spaces in Canada, France, Holland, Italy, Poland, and Germany. In 2013 she was a recipient of the Harriet Hale Woolley Grant, which enabled her to study in Paris under Gabriel Tacchino and Narcis Bonet, pupils of Francis Poulenc and Nadia Boulanger. Nahre's music has been premiered in New York City, Buenos Aires, Paris, and Toronto by artists such as Julian Martin, Han Chen, Jaewon Bang, Jeremy Smith, and Griffin McMahon. She has given performances, masterclasses, and talks at institutions such as the Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University MIT, Syracuse University, University of Costa Rica, among others. In 2019-2020, she was the co-host of Sound Field, a music channel by PBS Digital Studios alongside drummer LA Buckner. Recently, she released her debut album of original works for keyboard, Alice in Wonderland, which features a mix of compositions for solo piano, synthesizers, and prepared piano. Also in 2021, she has been contributing to video game and film projects that will be publicly announced in the near future.

Tom Knific (b. 1959)
Duo for Viola and Double Bass

The Duo was commissioned by Thomas Martin, principal bassist of the London Symphony Orchestra, and premiered by him and violist Igor Fedotov at the International Society of Bassists convention at Western Michigan University, June, 2005. My inspiration for the music came from a most memorable visit I paid to Mr. Martin two years earlier.

The first movement, "Henley-on-Thames", is named for the extraordinarily quaint town where he lived. Henley-on-Thames oozes charm, with its ancient buildings and lanes, and the pageantry of its summer regattas. Although located a short train ride from the center of London, Thomas Martin kept a dozen horses of exotic breeds in his front yard. I tried to imbue this movement with the feeling of an age gone by, and the sense nostalgia that this creates.

Before departing, Thomas Martin invited us to "an event", which is gentrified English for an equestrian outing. Minutes later, we were in open fields watching his daughter as well as British military officers competing in "The Event". The melody for this movement, which captures the motion of the horses, was contributed by my son Gene. It is set in a theme and variations format with blues and jazz (true Americana) trades between the instruments, which gives the illusion of improvisation. In essence, it is a joyous romp.

Trio–Divertimento in E-flat Major, P. 102/MH 9
Michael Haydn

Michael Haydn has never attained anything close to the level of esteem enjoyed by his older brother Joseph, but his music is too appealing and well-crafted to languish in obscurity. After apprentice years spent in what is now Romania, he came to work in Salzburg, Austria about 1760, there to remain for the rest of his life. He came to know the Mozarts, father Leopold and son Wolfgang, quite well. For the court of Salzburg, he composed numerous religious vocal works, the music by which he was best known during his lifetime. He also created vast quantities of instrumental music, including forty-plus symphonies and numerous chamber pieces. He won renown as an inspiring teacher, numbering Carl Maria von Weber among his students. His catalogue of purely instrumental works includes nine works for three instruments, variously known as sonatas, nocturnes and divertimentos. The one you will hear at this concert begins with a beguiling set of variations on an attractive theme, continues with a courtly Menuetto and concludes with a vivacious Finale.

Martin Heyworth
Divertimento a tre
—Scherzo : Allegretto (movement)

The composer has written the following note:

1. Scherzo: Allegretto

This concise divertimento for 3 instruments stemmed from a request to write a work for the present performers, for either one or two violas with, in either case, a double-bass. Dating from November 2017, the penultimate month of the composer’s 46-year career as a physician with a particular focus on administration and research (the last 19 years at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center), the piece underwent some relatively minor revisions in 2018.

If there are other works for the dark and rich-sounding combination of two violas and double-bass, the composer is unaware of them. More familiar string trio configurations include violin, viola, and ‘cello (as in works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Arnold Schoenberg), 2 violins and ‘cello (as in string trios by Haydn), 2 violins and viola (Dvořák), and baryton, viola, and ‘cello, an instrumental combination for which Haydn wrote approximately 120 extant works between around 1765 and the mid-1770s for his employer, Prince Nicolaus Esterházy, who played the baryton (a sort of mutant viola da gamba, with gut strings, and wire sympathetic strings at the back of the instrument that can be plucked).

The first movement of the present work comprises an initial section in A minor (minore), followed by one in A major (maggiore) in which alternation of short and long notes between the various instruments generates rhythmic flexibility. The maggiore section has a distant thematic resemblance to an aria in Handel’s opera Tamerlano (1724), and is based on music that the present composer wrote for a wedding in Walton West (Pembrokeshire, Southwest Wales), and played on a small organ at that event in September 1977. The minore section, which recurs in an abbreviated form after the A major central part of the movement, includes triplets (3 notes per beat) and involves ‘at the bridge’ (sul ponticello) playing in the viola parts, which produces a metallic ‘whining’ sound. After the abbreviated repeat of the minore section, a few bars based on the maggiore portion conclude the movement. The minore section is thematically related to the second movement of the composer’s second symphony (Sinfonia No. 2; written during 2015-2020), a movement on which work had started when the request to write the present divertimento was received.

The composer would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the performers in playing this piece.

Duetto in D Major for Cello and Double Bass (arr. or Viola & Double Bass)
Gioachino Rossini

Rossini’s primary creative focus was opera, a field in which he won global and enduring success. He also created a considerable body of brief instrumental works, among them six charming sonatas for strings (composed at the age of 12), numerous cleverly-named piano works (Pretentious Prelude, Oh, I’ve Spilled the Peas!), and this delightful duettto. He composed it in 1824, in the period between the operas Semiramide and The Journey to Reims. It was commissioned (the fee was £50, a considerable sum for the day) by Sir George Salomons. This English banker also served as Lord Mayor of London and a Member of Parliament – and somehow found time to perform as an amateur cellist. The occasion of the commission to Rossini was a swank soirée in London at which Salomons would perform with the most eminent double bass virtuoso of the day, Italy’s Domenico Dragonetti. Rossini’s piece – despite the haste in which he apparently created it – displays all the fluency and melodic appeal that characterize his finest operas.

Musicologist Kai Christiansen has written, “This three-movement work is a delight in many pleasures. As one’s listening shifts to the deeper range of cello and bass, the instruments reveal a whole new world of colour, tone, and surprisingly, as an ensemble, satisfying breadth.”