York music students in the spotlight this week

William Bellehumeur(Left) Jason Doell(Right)

Two music students step into the spotlight with awards and performances this week.

William Bellehumeur, a pianist who has just completed his first year of study at York University, recently added another prize to his growing list of accolades. As the recipient of the Rose Bowl trophy at the Peel Music Festival, he was one of the featured performers at the awards ceremony May 26 at Brampton’s Rose Theatre, where he reprised his winning performance of Franz Liszt’s Vallée d’Obermann.

William BellehumeurWilliam Bellehumeur

The festival adjudicator, Queen’s University music Professor John Burge, complimented Bellehumeur on his “superb playing” and “very fine expressive shaping”.

Bellehumeur earned these glowing remarks in taking top honours in three categories: the concerto competition, Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto’s advanced performance exam and the Canadian work category. He was the runner up in the concert etude.

He is advancing to the provincial finals in Peterborough on Friday, June 8, where he will play the first and second movements of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in B flat minor and Canadian composer Pierre Hétu’s Variations Pour Piano, Op. 8.  The winner in that competition will compete in the Nationals later this summer in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Bellehumeur’s other honours this year include three firsts at the Guelph Kiwanis Festival, gold standing in the concerto competition and first place in the advanced performers recital class in the North York Music Festival and second prize in the concerto competition at the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival.

Bellehumeur studies at York University with music Professor Christina Petrowska Quilico, one of Canada’s foremost pianists, who enthused about his success.

“Sincere congratulations to William on his incredible winning streak,” said Petrowska Quilico. “He’s a rare talent.”

For a taste of William Bellehumeur’s keyboard wizardry, listen to his performance of Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 2 No. 3 in C Major.

Also this week, an ensemble made up almost entirely of York music grads and students will give the world premiere performance of a site-specific composition by Jason Doell (BFA Spec. Hons. ‘10), who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in music at York. Delicate Triangles will be presented at Toronto’s trendy Gladstone Hotel this evening (June 6) at 8pm and Friday, June 8 at 8pm.

Jason DoellJason Doell

Doell describes the work as a “multi-ensemble piece of gonzo chamber music” created for a mobile audience. The title, Delicate Triangles, speaks to the geometry and sound of the space. It’s also the name of a piece of found poetry the composer says he stole from a Japanese friend who was trying to find the words to express the concept of a love triangle. 

The musicians Doell has assembled for the performance includes conductor Hillary Thomson, guitarists Gabrielle Charron-Merrit and Sebastian Shinwell, and saxophonist Ruhee Dewji, all BFA grads in the class of 2010; violinist Vira Burmenko (BFA ‘09, MA ‘11); and conductor Lendl Barcelos (BA ‘10). The York musicians are joined onstage by Jay Hay (sax/clarinet), Cory Latkovitch (cello) and Brent O’Toole (bass).

The ensembles will perform simultaneously from different locations in the Gladstone’s second floor gallery. Like the sounds they create, the groups will dissolve, transform and recombine throughout the space. All the while, the audience is free to roam the gallery, allowing each person to form an individual relationship with the work and the area it occupies.

Doell is very excited to share his new composition with patrons of the Gladstone, a cultural destination and performance venue located at 1214 Queen Street West that’s billed as Canada’s premier art hotel.

“I’ve lived in the neighbourhood for more than 10 years and used to play regularly at the Gladstone before it was renovated,” said Doell. “When I approached them with the idea of this performance, they were incredibly supportive. It’s a thrill to see the event become a reality.”

Admission is $10 or pay-what-you-can.