For Immediate Release - Tuesday February 26, 2019
Award-winning young performers bookend the 2019 festival, with the Rolston String Quartet, last winner of the Banff International quartet competition, kicking off the series on Friday May 31, and Montreal pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, silver medalist at the last Chopin International in Warsaw, serving up a delicious finale on Friday June 21. In the middle, Vancouver violinist David Gillham performs in recital with Musicfest director/pianist Ken Gee on Friday June 7, and the popular Festival Trio—violinist Sadie Fields, cellist Paul Pulford and Ken Gee—returns on Friday June 14.
All the concerts are at 7:30 pm in the acoustically perfect Recital Hall of the Guelph Youth Music Centre
, 75 Cardigan St., Guelph.
Last year’s catchy theme was Shamelessly Romantic. This year, it is Romantic Impressions. Not quite as humorous, but indicative of the running thread of Debussy in every concert, from Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor (Rolston Quartet), Violin Sonata (David Gillham), Cello Sonata (Paul Pulford) and Images (Charles Richard-Hamelin). Plus there is the brilliant Ravel Violin Sonata (Sadie Fields). Director Ken Gee said, “I adore Debussy and Ravel deeply, and welcome the chance to explore and find new musical ideas and nuances in the sonata performances with my friends, and to enjoy the insights of the great performers in the series. I know people will love these concerts.”
The Rolston String Quartet
recently completed two years in residence at Yale, and it is lucky that they will all be in the Toronto area at the end of May. The reviews have been great…
“The Rolston String Quartet performed with a maturity and cohesion rivaling the best string quartets in the world." – Musical Toronto
“an electrifying performance” – Strings Magazine
“They already belong to a generation of string players performing at a level difficult to imagine in generations past.” – Toronto Star
The quartet’s program on May 31 of Mozart’s “Dissonance”, Ligeti’s Quartet no. 1 and the Debussy, especially in the perfect chamber music acoustics of the GYMC Recital Hall, will be wonderful.
David Gilham is a wonderful violinist who performs with easy artistry and gorgeous sound. He appeared in Musicfest’s 10th anniversary season with his brilliant pianist/wife Chiharu Iinuma. Chiharu recently performed a stunning recital with cellist Thomas Wiebe at the GYMC. This time, he performs with musicfest director/pianist Ken Gee. His recital on June 7 could easily be called Shamelessly Romantic 2, with Brahms, Smetana, Ysaye, Saint-Saëns and Wieniawski along with the Debussy Sonata. It’s going to be fun!
The Festival Trio is truly an ensemble of friends. Violinist Sadie Fields
has lived in Europe for years now, settled into Brussels, now with a young family, and has not slowed down her playing career one bit (she’s lucky to have an obliging family and in-laws who take care of the kids while she’s off on tour). We have a strong personal and musical connection which makes playing together a true pleasure. Cellist Paul Pulford retired from the music department of WLU and moved to his “summer” home in New Brunswick, but that doesn’t stop him from hopping in the Prius and driving back to play in the trio. Everyone will love the June 14 program of the Debussy Cello Sonata, Ravel Violin Sonata and Dvorak’s sumptuous Dumky Trio.
is the kind of pianist I love. That he has impeccable chops is a given. Otherwise, you don’t become a Silver medalist and laureate of the Krystian Zimerman award for the best sonata at the Chopin Internation in Warsaw, or a prize winner at the Montreal International Musical Competition and the Seoul International Music Competition in South Korea. Charles was recently awarded the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec and the prestigious Career Development Award offered by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto.
But prizes aside, you only embark on a “praise-winning” career if you have special musicality, insight and artistry. Fireworks get attention, but artistry makes your playing something to be treasured for years to come, and Charles Richard-Hamelin has that. He truly is standing out as one of the most important pianists of his generation. And although everybody must ask him to play Chopin (like Judy Garland was always asked to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow), he will perform music by Enescu, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, and of course some Chopin in his Musicfest recital on June 21.
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