Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Classical 2014 — Remembering the Joys and the Woes: From The Spec

By Leonard Turnevicius, in the Hamilton Spectator

[December 22, 2014]

You have to take the good with the bad, the joy with the woe, the ecstasy with the pity. Such was the case with Hamilton's classical music scene in 2014. So, before the big countdown commences and the band strikes up with "Auld Lang Syne," let's take a quick peek in the rear-view mirror at some of the good and the bad that happened this year.


We won't start off with the bad, though. We'll begin with the downright terrible. On Jan. 8, Opera Hamilton walked through death's door when it announced it was ceasing operations due to insufficient funds. With that, professionally staged opera in the city went down the drain. The organization had provided onstage chills and spills aplenty since 1980, but financially, it was a slow-motion train wreck waiting to happen. On the heels of the announcement, OH cochair Dennis Darby was quoted in The Spectator as saying, "We're hopeful that maybe something will emerge in the next few months and we'll re-emerge."

Re-emerge in a few months? Houston, we have a negative. As for the 32 orchestral musicians who still hadn't been paid in full for their services for OH's Falstaff in October 2013, in an email to The Spectator in mid-November, Larry Feudo, president of Hamilton Musicians' Guild, local 293 AFM, would only divulge that, "We are still in the thick of it and can't comment yet."

Also in January, Montréal-based Julian Kuerti returned to guest conduct the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. When asked if he was interested in the vacant music director position at the HPO, Kuerti, responded, "If the artistic chemistry is right, who knows what the future holds?" The future? Right now, it doesn't hold the HPO's music director post. Kuerti didn't apply for the opening. Pity.


Soprano and former "Canada's Got Talent" judge Measha Brueggergosman was in recital at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre with pianist Chris Mokrzewski. Singing in German is still a mouthful for Brueggergosman, witness her overcooked interpretations of selected songs from Brahms's "Op. 69." The second half, comprised of songs by Copland, Ellington, and Joni Mitchell, was pretty cool, though.

Read more on The Spectator website

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