This year, Canada is the theme for our program at the SpringWorks Festival. Celebrating one hundred-fifty years as a country has inspired us to explore Canadian music.
The theme begins with the performers. Both Charlotte and Michael are Canadian-born and trained. Together they have a personal connection to the music in their program featuring works by guitarists Mike McNamara, Robert Kubica and John Oliver; composers Anna Sokolovic and Dominick Argento.
Mike McNamara was Michael’s teacher for 9 years when Michael began playing as a youth in Windsor. His piece, Invocation and Dance, was composed after he graduated from Toronto with a Masters in Guitar Performance. Robert Kubica is also a Toronto graduate with a Masters in Guitar Performance. He performed world-wide in a guitar duo with his wife, Wilma Van Berkel. They are both instructors at Western University. His compositions are inspired by his appreciation for Canadian-folk music.
Charlotte’s vocal instructor, Patricia Green, is known for her performances of contemporary Canadian music. John Oliver, a composer from Vancouver, heard of Patricia’s reputation and reached out to her in search of voice-guitar duos who would perform his music. Patricia recommended Charlotte and Michael’s duo and he immediately sent Unseen Rain to Charlotte via e-mail.
Serbian born Ana Sokolovic teaches composition at L’Université du Montréal. Her song cycle, Love Songs, was commissioned by the Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company founded by John Hess, a Western University collaborative-piano professor.
Part of Canada’s culture stems from its relationship to foreign nations. Our closest neighbour and ally, the United States, has a significant influence on Canada. Dominick Argento grew up in Pennsylvania and attended the reputable Peabody Institute and Eastman School of Music. Dominick Argento’s Letters from Composers is a song cycle that sets historical letters to original music. You will hear the musings of and humourous anecdotes from Bach, Puccini, Mozart, Chopin and more.
Canada is a multicultural nation with a proud tradition of welcoming people from every country. The program reflects this diversity through the variety of composers and their contrasting backgrounds.
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