Fall concerts feature diverse performances

York’s Department of Music launches its fall season with three diverse performances featuring guest artists and music from three continents. The first concert presents global folk rhythms in an orchestral setting, the second showcases two sopranos in recital, and the third presents a trio of gospel choirs.

On Oct. 12, Frenesí Orchestra Switzerland, directed by Roland Fink, will take the stage in the Recital Hall in Accolade East. Sponsored by the Swiss Embassy, this 20-member international touring ensemble will treat listeners to a medley of folk music from European countries – Switzerland, Germany, France, Ireland, Scotland and Greece – as well as South America.

                                            Right: Roland Fink

On Oct. 19, Canadian sopranos Nancy Argenta and Ingrid Attrot, accompanied by pianist Emily Hamper, will share the stage. Well-known on the international opera and concert circuit, Argenta and Attrot will lend their lyrical voices to a program of solos and duets by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Fauré, Mozart and Dallapicola, and perform a suite of British folk songs composed especially for them by Simon Kent.

Argenta first captured critical attention in 1983 in the role of La Chasseuresse in Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Hyppolyte at Aricie at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France. Since then, she has established herself as one of the foremost sopranos of her generation and a renowned interpreter of the works of Bach, Purcell, Mozart and Schubert. She has recorded widely, winning prizes and critical acclaim for her performances of Baroque music and lieder.

Left: Nancy Argenta

Attrot, hailed by critics as “a singer of uncommon theatrical sensibility and musical intelligence”, divides her time between the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies. She launched her career as a prizewinner in Canada’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition. Devoted to contemporary repertoire, she is equally at home in western classical music of earlier centuries.

                                                Right: Ingrid Attrot

Her extensive discography includes Respighi’s Deita Silvane, Stanford’s Stabat Mater, Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea and Holst’s The Wandering Scholar.

Both artists are also sought-after voice instructors and on Oct. 17 and 20 they will conduct master classes for young singers in York’s classical vocal performance program.

On Oct. 21, York’s Music Department hosts the first annual Gospelfest workshop. The 90-voice York University Gospel Choir, directed by York music Professor Karen Burke (see Nov. 24, 2005 issue of YFile), will lift their voices with the 50-voice University of Toronto Gospel Choir and the 40-voice McMaster University Gospel Choir.

Left: Karen Burke

Accompanied by a three-piece rhythm section, each choir will perform one or two pieces, followed by an opportunity for the choirs to learn a new work together. At 4pm, the gospel showcase begins with a performance by each choir, followed by the combined choirs. The workshop will be capped off by a special appearance by the Juno Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir, directed by Burke.

The workshop is open to members of the York community as well as the general public. Anyone who would like to learn how to sing gospel music or simply listen to some outstanding singing is welcome. Observers may come and go between 1 and 5pm, while remaining respectful of the teaching and performing process going on.


The Oct. 12 and 19 concerts start at 7:30pm in the Recital Hall, Accolade East. Admission is $12, and $5 for students. Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Box Office (416-736-5888) or online.

Gospelfest will also be held in the Recital Hall, Accolade East. Admission is free. To register, as space is limited, contact Karen Burke at ext. 77131.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.