Virtuoso pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, one of Canada’s leading interpreters of contemporary music, presents “New Twists on the Classics,” a solo recital of works by four Canadian composers that take inspiration from masterworks in the classical repertoire. This showcase performance in the Faculty Concert Series of York University’s Music Department takes place Nov. 12 at 7:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall at York’s Keele campus.
The first half of the program features “new twists” by long-time friends and collaborators of the pianist. Fantasia on a Theme of Schumann, composed by Steven Gellman, a classmate from Petrowska Quilico’s student days at Juilliard, was inspired by Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44. Remembering Schubert is by Ann Southam (1937-2010), one of Canada’s most prominent composers, whose musical collaboration with Petrowska Quilico spanned nearly three decades. Masks of Astarte, a piece reminiscent of Prokofiev and Bartok, was composed by Patrick Cardy (1953-2005), a former colleague of the pianist from when they both taught at Carleton University.
The second part of the program is devoted to John Rea’s Las Meninas, 21 transformal variations on Schuman’s suite for solo piano, Kinderszenen (Scenes of Childhood). Rea, a two-time winner of the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music who is honoured as composer of the year in the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec’s 2015-16 Homage Series, dedicated each of the variations to an influential musical figure, from Frédéric Chopin to Phillip Glass. Like the 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez from which Rea borrowed the title, Las Meninas offers multiple perspectives and changing points of view.
Petrowska Quilico will also give a short midday recital on campus Nov. 26 at 12:30pm to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Southam’s death. The performance, titled “Remembering Ann Southam”, will feature the composer’s Stitches in Time, Altitude Lake, Where and excerpts from Rivers and Glass Houses. Admission is free.
Both recitals will be recorded for CD.
The Southam anniversary will also be marked by the Canadian Music Centre’s re-release of two of Petrowska Quilico’s acclaimed recordings of Southam’s works – Glass Houses Revisited (2011) and Glass Houses Volume 2 (2014) – as a boxed set on the Centrediscs label. Glass Houses Revisited, which Petrowska Quilico had edited and revised with the composer’s blessing not long before her death, has become one of Centrediscs’ all-time best-sellers. Both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star accorded it four stars out of four, and it was named one of “30 best Canadian classical recordings ever” by CBC Music.
Christina Petrowska Quilico: Music for the Eyes and Ears offers a video introduction to the pianist’s performances of Ann Southam’s works.
One of Canada’s foremost pianists and a multiple Juno nominee, Christina Petrowska Quilico has appeared in solo recitals, chamber settings and with orchestras on four continents. Widely recognized as an innovative and adventurous artist, she is a long-time champion of contemporary and Canadian music, but is equally at home in the traditional classical repertoire. CBC Music chose her as one of “20 Can’t-Miss Classical Pianists of 2014”, placing her in a shared spotlight with some of the world’s most celebrated pianists, and in 2015 named her among “25 Greatest Canadian Pianists”. Her 37 recordings span three centuries of music, and have won accolades from critics and audiences alike. She has been a professor of piano performance and musicology at York University since 1987.
“New Twists on the Classics” is the second performance in the 2015-16 Faculty Concert Series, spotlighting faculty artists in York University’s Department of Music. Upcoming concerts will feature jazz composer and drummer Barry Elmes (Feb. 4, 2016), and composer, pianist and digital instrumentalist Michael Coghlan (Mar. 10, 2016).
Admission is $15 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors. For ticket information, contact the Box Office online or call 416-736-5888.