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February 1, 2019 – Ensemble Made in Canada

Dear friends,
We are delighted to bring back to Virtuosi Concerts the ENSEMBLE MADE IN CANADA (EMIC) as part of their cross-country winter tour of their innovative Mosaïque Project. This is Canada’s pre-eminent piano quartet and their exciting performances have always evoked an enthusiastic response from our patrons.

EMIC received the CBC Galaxie Stars Award from the Banff Centre for the Arts and were featured in Chatelaine Magazine’s 80th Anniversary issue as “Women to Watch”.

Here is what they wrote about their upcoming Winnipeg concert:

“Tonight’s program features one of the first major pieces ever written for the piano quartet genre which comprises a piano, violin, viola and cello. Mozart had been commissioned by the publisher Franz Hoffmeister to write three piano quartets in 1785. After Mozart had completed the first in G minor, Hoffmeister released him from his obligation, as he considered the piece to be too difficult both to play and to sell to the public. Nevertheless, Mozart composed a second piano quartet, which is the E flat piano quartet that we will perform for you. We will travel 100 years to 1875 when Brahms completed his dramatic piano quartet in C minor that begins with the sighing motive which has been speculated to represent a musical way of saying “Clara” who was a lifelong love interest of Brahms. Fast forward from 1885 to 2019 and we will share with you the most recent piano quartets written by some wonderful Canadian composers.
Our Mosaïque Project consists of three components: a commissioned suite of piano quartets by 14 Canadian composers, each inspired by a particular region of Canada, a national concert tour throughout the 2018-2019 season, and a specially designed website that will document audience-generated artwork inspired by the musical commission. We are excited to bring 7 of our new pieces to you tonight!”

The Mosaïque Project’s Manitoba piece, Red River Fantasy, composed by Andrew Downing, is based “…on  a Métis fiddle tune called The Red River Jig after the dance it accompanies, and most likely adapted from little bits of Scottish and French-Canadian fiddle tunes”. Downing is the winner of two JUNOs, West Coast Music Awards, SOCAN Award and the Grand Prix de Jazz from the Montreal Jazz Festival, double bass player, cellist, composer and educator Andrew Downing plays primarily in the creative jazz scene in Canada, but also performs classical chamber music, improvised music, folk and roots music, and world music.

As EMIC mentioned, the concert is anchored by 2 major piano quartets of Mozart and Brahms. The 7 Canadian composers will each introduce their work via 1 minute audio clips (but sadly, Mozart and Brahms declined our invitation).

The musicologist Alfred Einstein described the last movement of Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E flat as “the purest, most childlike and godlike melody ever sung.”

Russell Steinberg wrote that the Brahms Piano Quartet in C minor “shows the art of the lion tamer”! Brahms was embroiled working out his passionate feelings for Clara Schumann amid the tragedy of her husband (and his friend) Robert in a mental asylum. His brooding and torment are reflected in the note that he wrote to his publisher: “On the cover you must have a picture, namely a head with a pistol to it.”

Indra Egan, piano
It would seem that Schumann is working his way into the programme in a number of ways; one of which is through our Young Artist, Indra Egan. She will be opening our dynamic concert tonight with Widmung S. 566, originally written by Schumann in 1840 and later arranged by Franz Liszt in 1848.

Pianist Indra Egan is in her final year of her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at the University of Manitoba, where she studies with Dr. Laura Loewen and Dr. David Moroz. An extremely versatile artist, Indra also works as a collaborative pianist, vocal coach and repetiteur in art song, opera, musical theatre, ballet, chamber music and choral accompanying. Most recently, she was selected to attend the Orford International Academy’s Contemporary Music summer program on full scholarship.


All in all, an extraordinary program for this Saturday night.

Don’t forget: there will be a Pre-Concert Talk at 6:30 PM with Ensemble Made in Canada, hosted by Sarah Jo Kirsch. You won’t want to miss this!

See you all soon!