Mozart Requiem – baritone Daniel Thielmann

Putting on a large scale choral work gives the SSO a chance to showcase some of the exceptional vocal talents that Canada has to offer.  For our Mozart Requiem we are excited to present the SSO debut of baritone Daniel Thielmann.

He’s no stranger to Mozart lovers in Saskatoon, as he won over the hearts of many as Leporello in Saskatoon Opera’s Don Giovanni just a few seasons ago.  He gained praise for having a beautiful Mozartian sound as well as his remarkable comic acting.

Daniel, a baritone in the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program, holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Manitoba. Recent credits include the cover for Marcello in La Boheme with Vancouver Opera and Pritchitch in VO’s production of The Merry Widow, the title role in Don Giovanni with the University of Toronto, and Dandini in La Cenerentola with the University of Manitoba. He has also performed the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni with Saskatoon Opera, and Le Dancaïre in Carmen with Opera NUOVA. In 2015 he attended the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden, Austria, where he worked with professionals Elly Ameling, Andreas Schmidt, Robert Holl, Rudolf Jansen, Helmut Deutsch, and others. Mr. Thielmann has also sung with renowned Toronto-based choral ensemble Tafelmusik, and has experience as both a soloist and chorister with Canzona, Manitoba’s premiere Baroque choral ensemble. You can see Daniel in the upcoming Vancouver Opera’s production of La Cenerentola once again as, Dandini.
Daniel makes his SSO debut on March 23rd with Mozart’s Requiem.

Mozart Requiem – tenor Michael Harris

Michael Harris, tenor, Messiah

For our performance of Mozart’s Requiem, we’re joined by long time SSO collaborator Michael Harris.

Tenor Michael Harris was born in London, England, completed his Bachelor of Music at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and earned an Advanced Performance Diploma with Distinction at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

Michael Harris, tenor, MessiahSaskatchewan performances have included Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation and Clausen’s A New Beginning, Britten’s Serenade with the Prairie Virtuosi, the SMFA Centennial performance of Sterndale Bennett’s May Queen in Regina, and has toured with Saskatoon Opera Association in the production of Purcell’s King Arthur, as Lancelot. He has performed many roles through the years with the Saskatoon Opera Association, and most recently in the November production of Merry Christmas, Stephen Leacock, in the eponymous role.

Michael was the Musical Director of the Saskatoon Francophone choir Choeur des plaines for the past 11 years, and is also currently Musical Director at St. John’s Cathedral. He was Musical Director for the Saskatoon Summer Players’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pinafore, and has been Chorus Master for the Saskatoon Opera Association past productions of La Bohème and La Traviata.

In addition to his operatic and oratorio performances Michael has been a President of the Saskatoon branch of the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association. He currently resides in Saskatoon with his wife Taunya and children William and Branwen, where he maintains a voice studio.

He has been a soloist at various Gustin House concerts, performing such works as Schubert’s Winterreise and Finzi’s Dies Natalis – and most recently Schumann’s Dichterliebe. Michael has been a featured soloist in many SSO concerts, including that of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and is thrilled to take part in this performance of Mozart’s Requiem.

Mozart Requiem – mezzo soprano Jardena Gertler-Jaffe

The SSO loves being able to showcase the exceptional talents that comes out of our community – so its no surprise we’re excited to work with Jardena Gertler-Jaffe as she makes her SSO debut.

Hailed for her rich, full sound, Jardena Gertler-Jaffe is a mezzo soprano from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. A graduate of the Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Toronto (2015), Jardena is also an alumna of celebrated training programs SongFest and Opera NUOVA. Her past voice teachers include Nancy Argenta, Monica Whicher and Patrick Raftery, and she is currently studying with Audrey B. Luna in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As a studied performer of Baroque style, Jardena has appeared as a soloist with Victoria Baroque, The Okanagan Festival Singers, Cor Unum Ensemble, and Toronto’s Theatre of Early Music. Jardena’s recent opera credits include singing the roles of Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Victoria Conservatory of Music), Molly/ Nephthys/ Tahemet in Dean Burry’s Isis and the Seven Scorpions (Saskatoon Opera in Schools), Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (Saskatoon Opera in Schools), and Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas (University of Toronto).

While performing is her main focus, Jardena also completed a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto in November 2017. Jardena continually seeks to incorporate her research interests, concerning the construction of musical and cultural identities in the face of oppression, into her artistic practice.

Mozart Requiem – soprano Andrea Lett

We are so excited to feature soprano Andrea Lett in her SSO debut!  Andrea grew up in Prince Albert, and has gone on to make quite a splash as a soprano across North America.  Saskatoon audiences fell in love with Andrea this past June when she stole the show as Musetta in Saskatoon Opera’s La Boheme.

Praised for her “clear voice soaring to stratospheric heights” (Opera Canada), soprano Andrea Lett makes highly anticipated debuts in the 2018/19 season with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (Mozart Requiem), and Manitoba Opera (Zerlina in Don Giovanni), as well as returning to Saskatoon Opera for the role of Musetta in their Mainstage production of La Bohème this summer.
Lett was recently engaged at San Francisco Opera as a principal cover (Ah Sing) for the world premiere of John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West.

A 2017 Apprentice Artist for Santa Fe Opera, her roles have included Adele cover (Santa Fe Opera), Queen of the Night (Manitoba Underground Opera), Gretel (Saskatoon Opera School Tour), and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore (Winnipeg G&S society). Ms. Lett is a graduate of the Opera School at University of Toronto (M.Mus Opera) where she studied with soprano Mary Morrison and Holds a B.Mus Perf from the University of Manitoba with Monica Huisman.

Andrea joins a cast of prairie voices for this very special performance of Mozart’s Requiem as part of our Finding Heinz Moehn concert on March 23rd.

Ichmouratov’s Youth Overture

This weekend we’re thrilled to be performing Airat Ichmouratov’s Youth Overture.  The piece is a fantastical explosion of sound and energy, and asks a great deal from the orchestra – we’ve been looking forward to bringing his music to the Saskatoon audience for a few years!

The music of Russian-Canadian composer and conductor Airat Ichmouratov, has been performed by a wide range of ensembles and musicians in countries around the world, including Maxim Vengerov, Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Metropolitain, Les Violons du Roy, New Orford Quartet, Yuli Turovsky & I Musici de Montreal, 13 Strings (Ottawa), Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Alcan Quartet, Orford Camerata Ensemble, Mark Simons, Andre Moisan, Jean Francois Rivest, Alain Trudel, Yegor Dyachkov, and Stephane Tetreault, just to name a few. Versatile in form and style, Ichmouratov’s compositions have been influenced by Mahler, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Mussorgsky.

Some of his recent works such as Fantastic Dances and Second String Quartet, were recorded by I Musici de Montréal for “Analekta,” Alcan Quartet for “ATMA,” and Cadenzas for Beethoven Violin Concerto by Alexandre Da Costa with Taipei Symphony Orchestra and Johannes Wildner as conductor for “Warner Classics.” His latest projects include the composition of Klezmer-influenced Quintet for Andre Moisan & Molinary Quartet, “Youth” Overture for Orchestre de la Francophonie, and Symphony No. 1 for Longueuil Symphony Orchestra.

Ichmouratov was named as Resident Composer 2012 at Concerts aux îles du Bic (Canada), in 2013 Composer of Summer at Orford Arts Centre (Canada) and in 2015 Summer Composer at 17e edition of the Festival Classique des Hautes-Laurentides (Canada). As of 2010, Ichmouratov is the Associate Composer with Canadian Music Centre.
Holding a PhD in orchestral conducting from the University of Montreal, Airat Ichmouratov has frequently been invited as the guest conductor of the Tatarstan’s State Symphony Orchestra, the Kazan Chamber Orchestra “La Primavera” (Russia), Orchestre Metropolitain, Laval Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra London, New Brunswick Symphony Orchestra, and also I Musici of Montreal and 13 Strings (Ottawa). Airat Ichmouratov served as Conductor in Residence of Les Violons du Roy in Quebec City from 2007 until 2009. One of their concerts under Ichmouratov’s direction, “Russian Impressions” also presented the world premiere of his Cello Concerto, which won the Opus Prize in the “Best Concert of the Year” category. Airat was appointed to the position of Assistant Resident Conductor of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra from 2009 until 2011. In August 2011, Ichmouratov conducted I Music de Montreal on tour in USA, Brazil, and Peru. In October 2011, he made his debut with Tatarstan Academic State Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia) and was immediately re-invited to conduct Puccini’s Turandot during the 2012-13 season and on the following European Tour.

Born in Kazan, Russia, Airat Ichmouratov studied clarinet at the Kazan State Conservatory. In 1993, when he was appointed as Associate clarinetist of the Tatarstan’s Opera and Ballet Theatre, and of the Kazan State Symphony Orchestra, he began to extensively tour Europe. In 2000, he obtained a Master degree at the University of Montreal. He then founded the Muczynski Trio, which won first prize and the Grand Award at the National Music Festival (Canada, 2002) and First Prize at the 8th International Chamber Music Competition in Krakow (Poland, 2004). The Trio has also recorded for CBC and has given performances in Canada, China, Russia, and Europe.

In 2000, Mr. Ichmouratov joined the Klezmer group Kleztory, in which he plays the clarinet, composes, and arranges. In 2004, Kleztory recorded a unique CD; Klezmer Music with I Musici de Montreal and Yuli Turovsky, recorded on the “Chandos” label (Great Britain). In 2007 Kleztory’s album “Nomade” won the Opus Prize. His most recent (2014) Album Arrival was nominated as Best album of the Year in the Traditional music category by ADISQ. In 2012, Kleztory won Klezmer Furth Prize at International Klezmer festival and Competition in Amsterdam, and as a result appeared at the Furth Klezmer Festival during the following spring. With Kleztory Ichmouratov has appeared as soloist with several orchestras, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, I Musici de Montreal, Les Violons du Roy, and Brussels Chamber Orchestra and toured intensively in Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Romany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, and China.

You can hear his Youth Overture February 9th at TCU Place with the SSO!

Introducing Andréa Tyniec

As Andréa says, “we learn so much about ourselves when we experience a brand new piece of music.”  And we like to think that experiencing a new artist on stage is also a wonderful chance to learn.  Andréa Tyniec makes her SSO debut on February 9th, and ever since the day we planned this concert we’ve been looking forward to this very special artist taking the stage to captivate our patrons.

Violinist Andréa Tyniec has created a versatile performance career as a soloist and as a collaborator with dance and theatre; and is recognized asa promoter of contemporary music, particularly of Canadian new works.

Acclaimed for her “exceptional musicality and intensity” (La Presse), she has performed as a soloist internationally and across Canada with orchestras such as l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Calgary Symphony led by Eric Paetkau, the Münchener Kammerorchester (Germany), and I Virtuosi Italiani (Italy).

​Andréa premiered and recorded violin concertos by André Ristic and Ana Sokolovic with the ECM+, led by Véronique Lacroix (ATMA). She released her “simply stunning” (The WholeNote) recording of the Six Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe in 2015.

​Her latest performances include the premiere of her meditation-concert “Forgiveness is Freedom”, a performance and healing ritual for brave audiences. Highlights of the 2018-2019 season include performances of Peteris Vasks violin concerto with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and Christos Hatzis “Arabesque” violin concerto with Sinfonia Toronto.

​Among the many awards and honors she has received, Andréa is the 1st Prize winner of Italy’s Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition 2008. Andréa performed her Debut recital at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 2009, and has performed internationally in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Poland, Turkey, and in the USA.

​Born to Polish and Bolivian parents and raised in Montreal, Canada, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Music Performance at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Sonia Jelinkova, followed by a master’s degree in Music Performance at Michigan State University. While she was based in Europe, Andréa completed her Solistendiplom at the
Hochschule Musik und Theater Zürich and her Konzertexamen at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe with Josef Rissin. She also participated in masterclasses with Salvatore Accardo at the Fondazione Walter Stauffer in Cremona, Italy, and was greatly inspired by her studies with Ana Chumachenco. She is a graduate Fellow of the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Raum’s King Lear

Saskatchewan composer Elizabeth Raum has left her imprint on the classical music landscape of Canada.  We’re always delighted when we get a chance to play her music – and are very excited for the SSO Wind Quintet to be playing Raum’s take on Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Elizabeth was commissioned by Regina’s Globe Theatre to write incidental music to their 1987 production of King Lear. After the production, she decided to use the themes in a woodwind quintet with four connected movements: ‘King Lear’s Fanfare’; ‘The Fool’s Song’; ‘Regan and Goneril’; and ‘Cordelia’s Death’. The original quintet has the alto trombone playing the usual French horn part of the woodwind quintet …, but she also wrote a version with French horn which is featured in the storm section of the third movement as representing Lear’s ‘Blow winds blow and crack your cheeks’ monologue.

Raum’s is one of many musical takes on Lear – maybe most curiously is the tale of Verdi’s failed opera King Lear.  Though the great opera composer had begun work on Lear, he sadly abandoned it. Shakespeare’s darkest play about an aging, mad monarch and his beyond-sadistic daughters maybe needed to wait until the invention of modern dissonance to penetrate its dark heart.  So Verdi repurposed much of the music he had planned to use for Lear and used it in his masterpiece Simon Boccanagra.

Hear Raum’s King Lear with the SSO Wind Quintet on February 3rd at If Music Be the Food of Love.

A Winter’s Tale from Brian Burman

As part of our week exploring the musical impact of Shakespeare, the SSO Chamber Ensemble is exploring chamber works inspired by the plays of the bard.  And we’re thrilled to be performing Brian Burman’s Winter’s Tale.

Brian Burman was grew up in Los Gatos, California, on the edge of what today is known as Silicon Valley. An avid cartoonist since early childhood, he began official art studies at Humboldt State University in 1979, and after a few semesters changed to a major in Film Production. At the same time he was studying piano and composition, as well as performing with the school Big Band and several jazz ensembles.

Temporarily interrupting his formal education, in 1982 he moved to Santa Cruz to start a Rock/Jazz Fusion band with friends, and began composing classical chamber music. His first chamber works were performed with the Santa Cruz New Music Works in 1983. In 1984 he decided to continue his film studies at San Francisco State University, and completed a BA in Film Production, following it up with a Masters’ diploma in 1994.

He had always composed the music for his own films, and other film students began asking him to compose for theirs as well. It became clear that film was the place to unite his passions for visual art and music, with editing as the key to the synthesis.

Upon completion of his Masters in Film Production in 1994, Burman emigrated to Switzerland. After a year toiling in a low budget video studio, he was hired by the state sponsored Swiss Television SRF, where he is employed to this day. He is mostly editing documentaries and reports on art, music and culture in general, writing online articles and making video reports on film history, as well as composing music for documentaries. Alongside his work at television, he  freelances as a video director, with such varied employers as the Rose d’Or television festival, the Catholic Church of Kanton Zug (making video portraits of art objects and historical relics), and election spots for the Green Party. He has continued composing music for theatre and dance performances, as well as classical music for concert performance. His works have been performed in the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Mainz Ballet and the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus (Germany), and many theatres in Switzerland.

In 2006 Burman  received a commission from the Zürich Conservatory of Music, which was soon to be fusioned together with the Theater School and the College of Arts into the Zürich Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK). The commission was for a work for Conservatory students to perform in a production together with actors the theatre school, which had never been done before, under the direction of Seraina Sievi. Brian chose a Woodwind Quintet, for music to Shakespeare’s play “The Winter’s Tale”.  At the same time, he was directing a documentary for Swiss Television on the Film Music of Dmitri Shostakovich, and deeply immersed in his music for theatre and film versions of various Shakespeare plays, which ended up having a strong influence on the music. The story’s settings in Sicily and Bohemia (the modern day Czech Republic) summoned shades of Corelli, Dvořák and Bartók. The piece was revised in 2018, and our performance on February 3 will be it’s premiere in a concert setting.

We can’t wait for you to hear this incredible work!

Juliet’s Tomb and Beethoven’s Quartet

Beethoven never wanted his string quartets to have a programmatic nature, as some other composers had been given their own works.  But years after being published, a story came to light that expressed Beethoven’s love of the work of William Shakespeare.

As part of our upcoming If Music Be the Food of Love concert featuring chamber music inspired by Shakespeare, we’d have been remiss to leave out Beethoven’s small nod to his enjoyment of Romeo and Juliet in the String Quartet Op 18 No 1.

While sketching some striking passages near the end of the second movement, Beethoven jotted down references to Romeo and Juliet, curiously in French. He writes these words for successive musical phrases: “il prend le tmobeau,” “dese[s]poir,” “il se tue,” and “les dernier soupirs,” thus depicting Romeo at Juliet’s tomg: his arrival, his despair, his suicide, and the last sighs.  Reflecting Beethoven’s love of Shakespeare, these allusions are confirmed by a remark attributed to Karl Amenda, Beethoven’s close friend and the recipient of the first version of the quartet.  Amenda reported that when he hear Beethoven play this slow movement (presumably at the piano), Amenda said, “It pictured for me two lovers parting,” whereupon Beethoven said, “Good! I was thinking of the burial vault scene of Juliet.”

Though he shared these insights with his friend, he did not include the references in the printed score, showing his reluctance to provide explicit literary programs for his string quartets.

Join the SSO Chamber Ensemble on February 3rd to hear this beautiful work.

Milhaud’s Creation of the World

In the 1920’s, Darius Milhaud was part of an avant-garde group of French composers designated by the music critic Henri Collet as “Les Six.” This association was loose to say the least, and not unified, as The Mighty Five had been in Russia in a single mission. Sometimes they did collaborate with one another, but generally each composer was independent. The whole set only collaborated once on a set of piano pieces known as L’Album des Six. What they all agreed upon was to “refresh” French music with new artistic perspectives.

According to Milhaud, “Collet chose six names absolutely arbitrarily, those of Auric, Durey, Honegger, Poulenc, Tailleferre and me simply because we knew each other and we were pals, and appeared on the same musical programs, no matter if our temperaments and personalities were not all the same. Auric and Poulenc followed ideas of Cocteau, Honegger follower German Romanticism, and myself Mediterranean lyricism.” (Benjamin Ivry in Francis Poulenc).

Les Six socialized frequently, especially at the Gaya Bar, where Milhaud liked to hear Jean Wiener play “negro music” in a popular style. Black exoticism in dance and music was embraced by in-the-know Parisians. During the jazz age in Paris this music was often labeled “le tumult noir (the black noise).”

Wiener was also a composer who had a particular fondness for “the blues” and “hot American energy.” In his own works and concerts, he was a steady promoter of jazz. The new American sound was attractive to European tastes, even though it smacked of populism and a certain uneducated quality. In Der Steppenwolf, the main character expressed the jazz effect;“This kind of music, has always had a certain charm for me…Jazz was repugnant to me, and yet ten times preferable to all the academic music of the day… its raw and savage gaiety reached an underworld of instinct and breathed a simply, honest sensuality… Unblushingly negroid, it had the mood of childlike happiness.”

Milhaud was fascinated by American jazz and credited the (American) Billy Arnold’s Novelty Jazz Band as having introduced him to jazz when he heard them during his visit to London in 1920. He was particularly drawn to the freedoms of jazz and its rhythms. “Their constant use of syncopation in the melody was done with such contrapuntal freedom as to create the impression of an almost chaotic improvisation, whereas in fact, it was something remarkably precise.” In 1922 he came to New York and listened to many genres of jazz, paid close attention to the ensembles, and wrote musical sketches.

By the time Milhaud wrote his music for the ballet La création du monde 1923, he was writing for a well-established popular taste. The ballet references African creation myths taken from Blaise Cendrar’s Anthologie negre. Leonard Bernstein summarized: “The Creation of the World emerges not as a flirtation but as a real love affair with jazz.” Milhaud explained, “This is a work making wholesale use of the jazz style to convey a purely classical feeling.”

The ballet has five parts …

1. Chaos before Creation: slow and mysterious, gradually growing in intensity. Listen for elements of polytonality and the soft closure.

2. Lifting darkness and creation of trees, plants, insects, birds and beasts: jazzy solos for flute, oboe, and horn. Life and the making of it is an exhilarating and delicate process.

3. Man and woman are created: increase of movement and excitement, exuberant.

4. The desire of man and woman: beautiful seduction music from clarinet.

5. The kiss: a beautiful conclusion, introduced quietly by oboe, a bit of excitement, followed by softly fluttering flutes with a tender goodbye from the saxophone.