Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Local musicians in spotlight as weather turns beautiful

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It's all the rage these days to eat and buy local. A provincewide campaign was launched last year, urging us to discover and buy Manitoba-grown and raised foods more often. Considering the abundance of musical talent in our midst, we'd be well-advised to do the same when choosing concerts to attend.

Here are some upcoming performances that fit the bill:

On Friday, June 21 from 7:30-10 p.m., the ever-entrepreneurial Winnipeg classical guitarist/teacher Kurt Tittlemier has concocted All Things Natural, a summer solstice concert complete with wine and appetizers in the ambient surroundings of FortWhyte Alive (1961 McCreary Rd.). The program is full of works inspired by nature.

The Azure Quartet, comprised of members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra -- Elation Pauls and Chris Anstey, violins, Greg Hay, viola and Yuri Hooker, cello will perform Mozart's String Quartet #14 in G Major "Spring."

Renaissance ensemble, Damsel and Swains (Josée Vaillancourt, voice, Brian Richardson, narrator and Tittlemier, guitar) presents Le Roy's setting of a poem by Philippe Desportes. Soprano Sarah Kirsch performs Schubert lieder, accompanied by Tittlemier and the evening concludes with the premiere of Manitoba guitarist/composer Guy Michaud's Loon Cry for violin, viola and guitar.

Tickets are $20, $10 for students at FortWhyte Alive or by phoning 204-989-8355.

This is the seventh season for the popular Millennium Centre Noon Hour Summer Concert series. You can't beat free concerts featuring some of our city's most gifted musicians.

Held every Tuesday from noon to 12:55 p.m., the series is a great way to de-stress from a busy morning at work or just a lovely way to break up a summer day.

The Millennium Centre (389 Main St., at McDermot Avenue) is a beautifully restored old bank building, with high ceilings and gleaming marble. The resonant acoustics lend themselves well to single-line instruments.

"The audience is always enthusiastic and it's growing," said artistic director and WSO principal harpist Richard Turner. "The series offers consistent quality and is centred around the artists, not the repertoire. All the musicians are residents of the community. This is truly made in Manitoba."

The series runs through to Aug. 13. Next Tuesday, Elation Pauls, violin and Elise Lavallée, viola, both of the WSO, will play a Mozart duo, Handel's Passacaglia, a duet by Fuchs and some solo works.

Saxophonist Allen Harrington and pianist Laura Loewen are back this year on July 2 and off-stage couple, WSO violinists Darryl Strain and Julie Savard, have a program of Telemann, Corelli, Mozart and Haydn planned for July 9. Their section colleague, Simon MacDonald, with pianist Donna Laube is the highlighted artist on July 16.

We have few opportunities to hear solo bassoon, but thanks to WSO principal bassoonist Alex Eastley, there is one on July 23. Accompanied by pianist Carol Pollard, Eastley will play Studies on English Folk Songs by Vaughan Williams and waltzes by Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone.

Winnipeg soprano Valdine Anderson is featured on Aug. 6 and the series wraps up Aug. 13 with WSO principal cellist Yuri Hooker's interpretation of Bach's Suite No. 6 for Solo Cello.

Turner says the musicians like the opportunity to solo. "It demonstrates the versatility of the performers. We draw from all sections of the orchestra. You don't always get to hear the inner voices of the orchestra."

The intimate setting allows audience members to see their favourite musicians up close and to get a sense of their personalities as they introduce the works. You can also enjoy a light lunch for a modest cost.

How does the series continue without an admission fee? "We are so fortunate." says Turner. "It is 100 per cent through the guidance and support of Shirley and Bill Loewen. They make this possible."

On Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m., at St. Andrew's Anglican Church (2700 Portage Ave.) it's all about the organ, with the Royal Canadian College of Organists' annual organ fête. This is one of my favourite events of the season, partly because it features local church organists who are delighted to share their music with us and provide interesting tidbits about the instrument. There is a warm camaraderie about the evening and the refreshments served after the concert are a real treat.

This year's offering is called The Magic of Orchestras in the Organ, because the artists will be playing transcriptions of music written for other instruments.

"At the end of the 19th century, Britain built numerous organs in town halls, with the intent of bringing sophisticated classical music to the masses, particularly in areas that lacked orchestras," said Russ Greene, Winnipeg Centre RCCO president via email. "These organs were elaborate, large symphonic instruments and ushered in an era when concert organists had the popularity of modern rock stars."

The stars will be organists Barry Anderson, Michael Cutler, Linda Fearn, Peter Fyne, Erwin Kitsch, Lynne Mavins and Greene himself.

Tickets are $15, $5 for students at the door.

This is the last Music Matters of the season. Here's wishing you a sunny, music-filled Manitoba summer.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2013 C3


Updated on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 10:01 AM CDT: corrects accented characters

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