STRUM & SING
Please note there are no physical tickets for this concerts — all tickets must be purchased online or over the phone (204-783-7377). Please review our ticket and social gathering policies before ordering your tickets for, and attending, our 2021-22 concerts.
WAY BACK WHEN, in the mid-eighteenth century, we had the Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”) movement — romanticism still in its moody, adolescent years.
In April, concert curator and clarinetist Cathy Wood and the MCO present our wonderful Strum and Sing concert, which resonates as much with spring’s optimism as Sturm und Drang moodiness. Weber’s Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet — the one piece we’re performing from the S&D era — is so joyful in parts it seems to sing. A sunny thing it is compared to the stormy paintings of shipwrecks and emo poems made popular by early romanticism.
Jessie Montgomery’s Strum meanwhile is a celebration of “American folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement,” says Montgomery. A storm of strummed strings, with pizzicatos galore, earthy grooves, and rapturous thrums. The programme also includes Pulitzer and GRAMMY-winning Jennifer Higdon’s Soliloquy – a word that means “to give speech.” According to the piece’s note: “This work is a thoughtful, plaintive speech by the English horn, assisted by the strings.” A song without human voice, then, and a mournful but gorgeous one at that.
Who says works in the spirit of “storm and stress” have to be overly stressful?
Because this concert is a pop-up show, presented outside our Spring Series, we’re charging a cheap $20 per adult ticket. Join us for a lovely afternoon of music-making.
The concerts begins at 3.00pm (bar opens 2.00pm; theatre doors open 2.30pm) Saturday, 23 April 2022, at Théâtre Cercle Molière, 340 Provencher Boulevard. Physical tickets will not be issued, your name will appear on a list at the door. We can’t wait to connect with you!
Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Anne Manson, Music Director
Karl Stobbe, Concertmaster
Théâtre Cercle Molière
3.00pm, Saturday, 23 April 2022
Strum and Sing
Cathy Wood, clarinet
Nancy Hennen, flute
Kerry DuWors, violin
Josias Sanchez Sedillo, violin
Rob Richardson Jr., viola
Leanne Zacharias, cello
Emcee / Dr. Suzu Enns
Jessie Montgomery / Strum, for String Quartet
Jennifer Higdon / Soliloquy, for flute and strings
Carl Maria von Weber / Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet, op. 34
Clarinettist Cathy Wood has established herself internationally as a performer, educator, and advocate of Canadian music. She has been featured as a guest artist at many festivals including the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests, Nordic Music Days, and the Núna Iceland Canada Art Convergence. An enthusiast of new music, Dr. Wood has commissioned and premiered numerous works at festivals that celebrate new music, including the Winnipeg New Music Festival and Iceland’s Dark Music Days. Wood performs regularly with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Brandon Chamber Players, and with percussionist Victoria Sparks in duo Viðarneisti. She is on faculty at Brandon University and serves as the Continental Chair of North America and on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the International Clarinet Association. Cathy is a Buffet Crampon and Vandoren performing artist.
Flutist Nancy Hennen holds degrees in music from Mount Allison, McGill, and McMaster Universities. She has performed with Symphony Hamilton and the orchestras of Niagara, Windsor, and Thunder Bay. She is an active chamber musician, appearing with Musica Poetica, the Brandon Chamber Players, and the Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival in Manitoba, and New Music North and Consortium Aurora Borealis in Thunder Bay. Nancy is trained as a Suzuki Flute instructor, and has taught at the Great Lakes Flute Centre and Hillfield-Strathallan College as well as at Brock and Lakehead Universities. She has acted as a woodwind adjudicator for various festivals in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Nancy performs on both modern and baroque flutes. Her influential teachers include Carolyn Christie, Louis Moyse, Claire Guimond, and Wilbert Hazelzet. She is currently the flute instructor at Brandon University, and an active clinician in southwestern Manitoba.
Praised by Gramophone Magazine for her “soaring cantilena”, acclaimed Canadian violinist Kerry DuWors had performed across four continents. A versatile chamber musician, DuWors champions collaboration in an array of ensembles from her duo work to leading chamber orchestras. Performances with duo526, James Ehnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Dame Evelyn Glennie, collectif9, and The Knights. She has been soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony, Red Deer Symphony, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. DuWors’ most recent violin-piano album “Duo Fantasy” was released on Navona Records in May 2019 to rave reviews. She has won prestigious awards: Grand Prize at the 26th Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, Felix Galimir Award for Chamber Music Excellent, University of Toronto Eaton Graduate Scholarship, and two Canada Council Career Development Grants. She is a four-time laureate of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank. Committed to pedagogy and mentorship, DuWors has been Associate Professor at Brandon University since 2003.
A native of Mexico City, Josias holds master’s degrees in Violin Performance and Instrumental Conducting from Brandon University (BU) where he studied with Kerry DuWors, Robert Richardson Jr., Dr.Wendy McCallum, and Dr. Andreé Dagenais. Since his arrival in Brandon, Josias has been actively involved in the Southern and Western Manitoba. As a freelance violinist, Josias has participated with ensembles such as the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Brandon Chamber Players, and the Regina Symphony Orchestra. While in Canada, Josias has been fortunate to study with some of the country's leading musicians including the BU Music Faculty, and members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, National Arts Center Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. Josias' musical interests are chamber music, early and baroque music, conducting, and orchestral music.
Mr. Richardson often serves as a clinician, speaker and conductor at conservatories, workshops, and festivals across North America and beyond. He regularly presents at Suzuki conferences and leadership retreats in North America and has also presented at several Suzuki Conferences in Europe. Along with maintaining a violin/viola studio in the Suzuki Talent Education Program at Brandon University’s Eckhardt-Grammatté Conservatory of Music, he also conducts string orchestras and coaches chamber music. Robert performs regularly on both violin and viola in numerous chamber ensembles, including the Brandon Chamber Players of which he is a founding member. He presently serves as chairperson of the Canadian Suzuki Newsletter and the Canadian Suzuki Visionary committee and has served in several capacities for the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers Association and the Festival of the Arts both locally and provincially.
On faculty at BU since 2008, Leanne Zacharias is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose practice features new music, site-specific performance and collaboration with composers, songwriters, architects and artists of all stripes. She curates Music for Spaces, with unique performances across North America and Europe. A juror for the Warming Huts Art & Architecture Competition, she also co-directs Wheat City Nuit Blanche and adjudicates and teaches widely, including A Wild Studio (Canadian National Parks), Rosamunde Academy, Domaine Forget International Academy, Prairie Cello Institute and Hybrid Intensive (San Francisco). Recent work includes the premiere of Nicole Lizee’s cello concerto and release of her first solo album on Redshift Records.
Jessie Montgomery (b. 1981)
Montgomery is a violinist and composer whose music is heard across the country. She is a member of the Catalyst Quartet and plays with the Silk Road Ensemble and Sphinx Virtuosi. Recent works include a nonet inspired by the Great Migration, and a reimagining of Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha.
“I’ve always been interested in trying to find the intersection between different types of music,” she has said. “I imagine that music is a meeting place at which all people can converse about their unique differences and common stories.”
Strum is a celebration of “American folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement,” writes Montgomery. Its title refers to the guitar-like plucking of the strings that plays many roles: floating hum, earthy groove, rapturous thrum.
“The piece begins with fleeting nostalgia.” Melodies weave in, over, and between layers of strumming. Several minutes in, there is a shift in gears. The music shifts, “transforming into ecstatic celebration.”
—note by Tim Monro
Jennifer Higdon (b. 1962)
Jennifer Higdon is one of America’s most acclaimed and most frequently performed living composers. She has is a major figure in contemporary Classical music, receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto and a 2018 Grammy for her Viola Concerto, and a 2020 Grammy for her Harp Concerto. Most recently, Higdon received the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University, given to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition. Dr. Higdon holds the Rock Chair in Composition at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
The word "soliloquy" means to give a speech. This work is a thoughtful, plaintive speech by the english horn, assisted by the strings. It is purely musical thought.
This work was premiered in 1989 by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Peter Smith, soloist, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
—note by Jennifer Higdon
Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826)
Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet, op. 34
Weber’s impetus for writing his Op.34 Clarinet Quintet in B flat Major was his friendship with the clarinet virtuoso Heinrich Baermann which began in 1811. Weber worked on the quintet off and on for four years completing it in 1815. Baermann was a touring soloist and though most likely he might have preferred a concerto, quite often soloists found that it was quite impossible to find a decent orchestra in some of the smaller cities where they concertized. Soloists who were also composers, such as Louis Spohr, solved their problems by writing quartets or quintets known as “brillant” indicating they were a vehicle for the soloist. A kind of mini-concerto. The soloist need only find 4 or 5 good musicians, which even most small towns could supply, and a concert could be had. Weber’s Clarinet Quintet was designed to fill this bill and it provides all of the drama, thrills and pathos of a concerto. And as an opera composer, Weber had no difficulty creating dramatic operatic effects. While the work requires a clarinetist of high technical ability, it is not simply a 'show off' piece devoid of musical worth. To the contrary, the lovely melodies and fine handling of the themes make it a compelling piece of music.
The work is in four movements and begins with a dramatic Allegro. The second movement is entitled Fantasia. Here, Weber creates a work worthy of his best operatic efforts. It is dramatic and deeply felt. Next comes a lilting Menuetto, capriccio presto, which takes the place of a scherzo but in no way can it be styled a classical minuet. The finale is the piece de resistance, a rollicking Rondo allegro giojoso, which bounces forward effortlessly, like a horse racing the wind.
—note by Edition Silvertrust