Aprils ChildPianist Eve Egoyan is best known as an interpreter of new music for piano who has performed premieres of many works by Canadian and international composers as a solo recitalist in Canada, England, France, Germany, Portugal, Japan and the US. She has released eight critically acclaimed solo CDs: seven are of works by contemporary composers and one is of works by Erik Satie. Egoyan is both soloist and executive producer on these discs. Egoyan is also an improvising musician, and has collaborated on a wide range of dance projects, interdisciplinary performances, film work and  sound installations. The recipient of numerous commissions and awards, Egoyan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) and is one of 50 Canadian performers and conductors designated as “CMC ambassador” by the Canadian Music Centre.

Egoyan was born and grew up in Victoria, BC. After graduating from the University of Victoria she studied in Berlin, then London (England), eventually returning to Canada where she completed an M.Mus. at the University of Toronto with Patricia Parr.

About your childhood photo ...?

I certainly remember almost living on that beach as a child, loving the beach, the ocean — I’m missing it now.

Anything you would like say to that little person?

Can I play with you? What do you enjoy most about the beach?

Earliest memories of hearing music?

My mother was very self-conscious about her voice, its intonation. She never sang. My father was spontaneously musical, able to pick out tunes on various instruments. There was always classical music played in the house and I was often taken to hear the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. Art, in all its various forms, was important to both my parents who were painters. Listening to and loving classical concert music was a huge part of my general upbringing.

Other musicians in your childhood family?

Not that I know of. I really don’t know my family’s story beyond my grandparents due to the tragic history of Armenia and Armenians. Certainly there were and are artists, artisans and craftspeople in my family.

When and why did you first play the piano?

Piano was my first instrument. We didn’t have a piano in the house. Our neighbour, however, Mrs. Kerley, had a piano. I bugged her to teach me. We had a gentle, unspoken exchange — piano lessons for companionship. After a while I finally convinced my parents that I wanted formal piano lessons. Eventually I also studied violin and flute, briefly. I wanted to be a conductor.

First music teachers?

I am still very much in touch with my first piano teacher, Mrs. Brayshaw. She was able to invite my vibrant imaginative world into the discipline of lessons.

Where does music fit into your family life today?

We listen to a wide range of music. Listening to music most of the day through practising makes my ears a little weary. I do love sharing time at the piano with Viva, gently teaching her/improvising/playing duets. We also select concerts to go to as a family. It is interesting to bring my daughter up in a city which holds music of so many different cultures and so much diversity. 

Longer Version Coming soon to TheWholeNote.com

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daveyoung photo-ed nixon -4by5-promo

The Dave Young-Terry Promane Octet’s new CD Octet: Volume One (released January 2013) has a Juno nomination for “Traditional Jazz Album of the Year.” It is reviewed by Jim Galloway in our DisCoveries section, March 2013. 

Bassist, arranger and teacher Dave Young was born and raised in Winnipeg. He attended Kelvin High School, and then the University of Manitoba. Young has been a member of The Edmonton Symphony, The Winnipeg Symphony and The Hamilton Philharmonic. He’s collaborated over the years with an astounding “Who’s Who” including the late Oscar Peterson (with whom he had a thirty-five year musical relationship), Lenny Breau, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Zoot Simms, Joe Williams, Oliver Jones, Kenny Burrell, Cedar Walton, Hank Jones, Nat Adderly, Peter Appleyard, Gary Burton, Barney Kessell, Ed Bickert, Ranee Lee, Marcus Belgrave, Don Thompson, Kenny Burrell and James Moody.

Equally comfortable playing pretty much any kind of music, he wears his multiple awards and many fine recordings, his acute musical sensibilities and his life-long commitment to live music and jazz education like a comfy old jacket with lots of pockets. Dave Young is just all about the music – whatever the music is.

Today he lives in Wanless Park, Toronto, with partner Barbara Lewis, two cats Sharp and Flat, and a golden lab, Bailey. They spend much of their downtime repairing and maintaining a farm in Northumberland County north of Cobourg – 36 acres of pasture and cedar trees. “I did residential renovation work for 10 years in Toronto so still have the power tools to fix any problem at the farm. Music occupies a lot of my time:  practising, arranging with Sibelius, teaching (U of T Jazz) and travelling to play …”

musical child feb 2013About that childhood photo … ?

I remember when I sang in the Winnipeg Boys Choir. I was also playing the piano a bit and was just starting to play the violin. I remember Mrs. Christie who was the choir director - very animated and patient with a bunch of young boys, approximately 10 years old. Singing was fun and sociable.

Anything you would like to tell that young fellow?

I’d tell him to enjoy himself in his youth and learn as much as possible in the early years.

Suppose a friendly fellow traveller asks about your work?

I would just say that I'm a musician, and play a wide range of music, which I have done over the years. Variety is the secret of musical development for me. Blues, folk, rock and roll, Broadway shows, jazz, avant-garde improv, classical orchestral music and polka bands all helped me develop a special way of expressing myself. Music is an international language. It allows you to communicate when verbal language doesn’t.

Earliest musical memories?

I remember sitting under the piano and listening to my mother play classical pieces. I was quite young - maybe 2 or 3. I played and sang at home with my mother and father. My mother, Dorothy Young, was a classical pianist and teacher. She was quite artistic – an accomplished painter and an avid reader. My father, William Young, was a chartered accountant and a great singer - by ear. As a kid in Winnipeg he performed vaudeville -singing and dancing. My sister Sydney is also a very fine classical pianist. She graduated from Juilliard in NYC in the 60s.

I heard music live in our home and at concerts with my parents, and certainly on radio and TV which were important outlets in the 50's. Music at school was always interesting – concerts and music period. …

Early music making?

Piano was first, when I was about 8, followed by the violin, guitar, banjo and harmonica. My first teacher was my mother for piano, then Mr. Grymonpre for violin. I studied with him for 6 years and competed in the Kiwanis festival in Winnipeg - I was reasonably good. I first played the bass in my late teens at the suggestion of a bandleader who I was working with playing guitar. He said he was dropping the guitar from the group next week and if I wanted to keep playing in the dance band I should bring a bass next week. The other bass player left the group.

When did you begin to think of yourself as a career musician?

Not until I was in my late teens. I studied accounting as part of my Bachelor of Commerce degree and worked for a public accounting firm in Toronto when I arrived here in 1967.

Suppose an after-school club asked you to talk after school with a group of children.

How might you explain what you do for a living?

I say that I'm a performing musician who plays all over the world, and explain that I didn’t decide to do this. The role of musician evolved over a number of years

What advice, if any, might you offer to a young person who was already sure they were going to have a life in music of some kind?

Be as versatile as possible but try to specialize in one area of music

DaveYoung photo-Bill-King

UPCOMING…

You’ll can hear Dave Young at

  • The Salty Dog Bar & Grill (Mar 12)
  • The Rex Hotel Jazz Bar (Mar 20)
  • Mezetta Café (Mar 27)
  • Chalkers Pub (Mar 31)
  • Ichricki Sushi Restaurant (Apr 6)
  • Koerner Hall (Apr 13).

Visit daveyoung.ca, and under gig calendar you will find all the details!

The Dave Young-Terry Promane Octet new CD Octet: Volume One is reviewed by Jim Galloway in this month’s DISCoveries section.

For the 2012 Mystery Child Contest Click Here

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molly-2People either know who Molly Johnson is, or they don’t, and the latter may come to a surprise to some of her fans.

A funny thing often happens if someone asks “so who is Molly Johnson?” There’s this thunderstruck pause, followed by: “Well! She’s a (pause) singer! She’s a fabulous (pause) singer!” Then without stopping for breath they’re likely to say: “But she’s also ...” and they will go on to tell you something else about her. “Mother-singer-songwriter-artist-philanthropist-radio broadcaster” proposes her official online biography, and pretty much everyone who knows Johnson’s work knows from one area knows about another as well.

The little girl with the trademark grin in last month’s rocking horse photo has rocked and smiled her way into the hearts, minds and musical hungering of audiences in little intimate bars, grand and elegant nightclubs, great big concert halls and packed music festivals across Canada and France. Her career already embraces five decades, starting with a debut at the age of four in a Mirvish production of Porgy and Bess, and includes running wild in Kensington Market and on Queen Street, simultaneously sort of punk and glam, exploring and making musical scenes. On a trajectory that shows no sign of stopping, Johnson’s music is animated by everything from ballet, music theatre and cabaret repertoire, to dicso, punky art rock, pop-jazz, singer-songwriter collaborations, and the several bands in her experience. The music she sings today is significantly blues and jazz: smoky and emotionally informed in ways that only come from living broadly. But while her more recent and recordings are increasingly rooted in older jazz repertoire, you can’t pin down Molly Johnson for style.

Johnson grew up in Toronto with a black father and a white activist mother. Her ingrained need to set things right, but doing it her own way is reflected in her work with numerous charitable organisations that support health, education and human rights. Johnson herself started the Kumbaya Foundation and Festival in 1992 and ten years later, plans are underway to “power up to focus on the global battle against the HIV/AIDS pandemic by bringing together Canadians for an evening of music and words” in 2013.

In 2008 Johnson was honoured by being named an Officer of The Order Of Canada. She won a 2009 Juno Award for Best Vocal Jazz Album with her record Lucky, and holds a National Jazz Award for Best Female Vocalist.

Fans of Molly Johnson might go right on by her downtown house without noticing her hanging out on the porch with her two teenaged sons, her partner and her dog, or laughing uproariously in the laneway with a neighbourhood acquaintance—maybe even in her housecoat and slippers. But not on Saturday and Sunday mornings — that’s when you can hear Johnson’s unmistakable voice on CBC Radio 2 (6am-9am) sharing stories and music by and about ordinary and extraordinary Canadians.

Molly Johnson seems to have both those bases covered herself. 

For the December Mystery Child Click Here

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mysterychild oct scan-091007-0015Kevin Mallon grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A student at Chetham’s School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and at Dartington College of Arts, he studied composition with Peter Maxwell Davies and conducting with John Eliot Gardiner, specializing in baroque violin. Mallon was concertmaster with Le Concert Spirituel and Les Arts Florissants in Paris and led the Irish Baroque Orchestra until he moved to Canada for opportunities with Tafelmusik and at the University of Toronto.

kevinoutou img 7804Today he is artistic director (and a founder, with Chris Reibling) of the vocal and instrumental Aradia Ensemble, which tours widely and records extensively, and conductor of the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, with upwards of 50 NAXOS recordings. Mallon’s recent appointments are as music director of the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra (Ottawa) and conductor of the newly formed West Side Chamber Orchestra (New York).

Mallon specializes in music of the baroque period but conducts and is known for his fresh vigorous approach to a wide range of repertoire.

KEVIN MALLON, in this own words

Absolute earliest memories of music?

My mother playing the piano – we used to love it when she played the "Sabre Dance" from Khachaturian's ballet Gayane!  Also my father playing the piano and singing songs of the John McCormack repertoire – “Roses of Picardy.” My father was a big listener of the old tenors – Caruso, Björling, McCormack. He had a big collection of records and 78s, many of which I inherited. Indeed I got my love of records and being a collector from him. When I was about 14, he had a stroke and couldn't talk. Interestingly he lost interest in vocal music then and became an avid listener of orchestral music. This too was a big influence on me.

My uncle Kevin played the clarinet – the one in my childhood photo. He didn't stick with it his whole life although he is a great lover of music and a great supporter of mine. Kevin was an electronic engineer genius (went to university to do such at 17). He made my grandfather a stereogram in the 1960s, with a record player, a reel-to-reel and radio all built in – something else I inherited later on. Along with this he bought one of every type of record he could think of. (As kids we were always amazed that grand-da had a Beatles LP!) Among those records was a record of Menuhin playing the Beethoven concerto. I put it on one day, at the age of ten, and thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. I absolutely insisted then, that I get a violin and have lessons …

Do you remember that childhood photo being taken? 

No, but I have many happy memories of that period.

While it was likely not that way for the grown-ups at the time, I truly remember my early childhood as a golden time. Weekends were usually spent visiting my maternal grandparents in the small village of Jonesborough in rural Northern Ireland. These were large gatherings with the country folks seemingly able to listen to multiple conversations at once. I was the first grandchild – so of course I was spoilt rotten!

Imagine you could travel back through time and meet the little child in the childhood photo. Is there anything you would like to tell him?

Yes! As a teenager I was strongly independent, and when I left to go to music school at sixteen, I truly left home and distanced myself from my family. I may have fulfilled my independent aspirations, but I was often lonely and somewhat distanced from my family. I would want to tell that young child in the picture to stay close to this loving and supportive family.

Anything you'd like to ask?

I'm not sure if there is anything specific I would like to ask - but it would be a really neat thought that I could hang out with this younger me. I would like to see if his outlook and spirit is as I see it in the old photos – as I imagine myself to have been!

Suppose you're travelling, and chatting with a friendly fellow traveller, and they ask what you do for a living.

Well, I am a musician! When I say that I make my living primarily as a conductor, that usually opens up lots of questions, as people want to know how I do that, or what indeed it means to be a conductor. The fact that I play the violin also, usually makes it all seem that much more solid or understandable.

JUST THE BASICS

Where were you born?

It may come as a surprise, but I was born in Newark New Jersey. Yes, I’m American-- but I left to go to Ireland when I was 6 weeks old. I have multiple passports – US, British, Irish and am a landed immigrant in Canada!

Where did you grow up?

I spent my first 16 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and then spent 7 years as a student in England.

Where did you attend high school?

Until 16, I went to St. Malachy's college in Belfast, a Catholic grammar school with a particularly strong music department. At 16 I went to Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

What did you do after high school?

Dartington College of Arts (composition major, studies with Maxwell Davies), Royal Northern College, Manchester

What do you remember about your first music teacher?

I started having violin lessons with a Christian Brother who was learning at the same time. He was only ever a page ahead of me! Soon after, I got better teachers.

What were your first experiences of making music with other people? What do you remember about this?

Even though I grew up in Belfast in the middle of the so-called "troubles" there was a very good Belfast School of Music with orchestras from junior to the youth orchestra. I was lucky to work my way up through these.

When did conducting become part of the picture?

When I went to the specialist high school, Chetham's School of music in Manchester when I was sixteen, there were some students who were interested in conducting. One of my best friends –Grant Llewellyn was one such. He also is a conductor today. John Eliot Gardiner came to the school to conduct the student orchestra, which was of a high standard. He took me under his wing and became a mentor.

When did you first conduct for an audience? 

When I was 16, I was also a choirboy and the first piece I conducted in front of an audience as a Monteverdi mass.

Do you remember the point at which you began to think of yourself as a career musician?

I always wanted to be a musician. I wanted to be ambitious and to strive for the absolute best I could be. However, I remember one string teacher, while I was in Belfast, trying to discourage me from auditioning for the music school in Manchester, saying that I didn't have the talent and the best I could aspire to would be to be a music teacher. (He meant this in a derogatory sense-- clearly I respect such a position!) Anyhow, it made me all the more determined!

Did you ever think you would do something else?

I have always been a writer-- in and around music, but also creatively. A number of years ago, I had a bad fall off Tafelmusik's stage. I tore my shoulder. In order to heal, I studied as an Alexander teacher and qualified as such. I haven't in fact started a practice as a teacher, but I do hope to someday.

Where does music fit into your family life today?

I am extremely lucky in that my fiancé is a huge support to me. She sits on Aradia's board and is  sort of my unofficial manager. It makes a huge difference to me that I can share my professional life with her. She also has a real job, by the way, working for the government!

UPCOMING …

I am just finishing a busy 2 months: in September and October I had eight major projects – including one CD, one opera and working with orchestras in New York, Toronto, Windsor, Ottawa and Nova Scotia. In November I was supposed to do Cosi fan tutte in Bulgaria and on tour in Europe, but the production was cancelled! So, I am going to Europe anyhow to have meetings in Holland, to visit my mother in Ireland and to visit my brothers in Abu Dhabi!

December brings concerts with the Thirteen Strings (December 11) and Aradia's “Dublin Messiah” (December 22nd)

NEW RECORDINGS ...

I just recorded a CD for Naxos with my New York orchestra, the West Side Chamber Orchestra, of modern harpsichord concerti – Glass, Francaix and Rutter.  Later this season sees the release of a 3 Cd set of Handel, Concerti grossi Op.6 with Aradia (Naxos also).

I have just signed a new, long-term contract with Naxos.

For an extended version of Jane Bunnett's interview, please re-visit this page next week
 

adult jane bunnett band danilo img 5246Jane Bunnett plays soprano saxophone, flute, piccolo and piano, and is one of Canada’s foremost jazz musicians. Known for her improvising talents, technical alacrity, versatile writing, band leading abilities and also for her collaborative work celebrating the music of Cuba, Bunnett is a multiple JUNO Award winner, Grammy nominee, and a recipient of the Order of Canada. A film, Embracing Voices: The Woman Behind The Music Of Jane Bunnett, which follows a recent recording project, premiered in April 2012. Driven by a deep appreciation for the universality of music, she continues to tour internationally, forge new collaborations and record.

Bunnett lives with her partner of 34 years, trumpet player Larry Cramer, in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood and enjoys “painting and creating art, gardening, hiking in the woods, chilling out and cooking with friends and digging into our great vintage record collection.” This summer marked Jane’s and Larry’s fourth year as co-artistic directors of the Bancroft & Maynooth Jazz and Blues Fest.

About that childhood photo?

I do remember loving my stuffed animals. Often at night they’d end up one by one in my bed because I’d be sorry about any of them feeling left out. My mother would come in and find me asleep on the floor. Today maybe I’d tell little me “don’t ever let the sidemen upstage you!”

What is your earliest musical memory?

Lying under a grand piano, having all that lovely music wash over me. This was at our neighbours’ home, Rosemary Hahn and Marta Stayner — two elderly German ladies — sisters. Rosemary had studied to become a concert pianist. She was incredibly widely read and philosophical, and was pretty much my first piano teacher — she had a major impact on my life.

My parents cut a miniature gate in the fence so as a four-year-old I could visit freely.

What do you remember about music as a child?

I loved lip-syncing and pretending to play along with records in front of a big mirror with my friends. We had the Supremes and Aretha Franklin ... There was also the Jim Kweskin Jug Band — Maria Muldar sang with them. I got the idea of making home made instruments and I’d bring my friends over to play jug band with me.

We made one of those things with a wash tub with a string and a broomstick. And I remember that the Canadian Brass come to perform for us at Brown School. Right in front of us they cut up a garden hose into pieces, stuck some kind of nozzles on the ends, and played them like horns. We had band in grade 5 and 6, and I loved it.

I saw this NFB film in grade 6 or 7 with people playing music on flower pots, so I went out and gathered terracotta pots and hung them from the pipes in the basement to play on them. My brother lent me some kind of a tape recorder, and I recorded it.

And I had these bongos — I remember playing along with Gordon Lightfoot’s The way I feel is like a robin. It was kind of bossa nova Lightfoot.

I loved going to Sam’s to buy a new record. I’d come home, turn the lights out and listen in the dark ... 

A longer version of Jane Bunnett’s interview continues at thewholenote.com.

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