Young Patrons Circle Highlights

Young Patrons Circle members get their photos taken backstage with Cirque artists during intermission, March 2014.

Young Patrons Circle members get their photos taken backstage with Cirque artists during intermission, March 2014.

The month of June is a time of transition for a lot of people – we graduate, travel the world and experience new things. As we prepare to kick off our Young Patrons Circle program for the 2014-15 season, starting with our Patio Party this Thursday, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from last year.

The 2013-14 season began with Great Romantics which featured  romantic genre gurus Brahms and Rachmaninoff. YPC members had the opportunity to meet guest musician and pianist Jon Kimura Parker at the Tapas Lounge after party.

Following The Four Seasons in November, members got a backstage tour and meet and greet with musicians.

Happy Hour with the HPO featured the HPO Brass and Hachey the MouthPEACE at the Baltimore House, March 2014.

Happy Hour with the HPO featured the HPO Brass and Hachey the MouthPEACE at the Baltimore House, March 2014.

The HPO  certainly became a circus at Cirque de la Symphonie where Young Patrsons Circle members had the chance to have their photos taken with our acrobats. They even stopped by the after party to chat with some of our young patrons!

There was Happy Hour with the HPO featuring Hachey the MouthPEACE at the Baltimore House where young professionals swung by after work for libations beat-boxing and brass duo.

Our first Music Director Candidate Gemma New introduced herself to the YPC crowd at the after party on her night as guest conductor at Pastorale.

Our composer in residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte and two Young Patrons Circle members at our Gala, May 2014.

Our composer in residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte and two Young Patrons Circle members at our Gala, May 2014.

The HPO’s first annual gala, An Evening with James Sommerville, was held in honour of departing Music Director Jamie. Guests enjoyed performances by the Darcy Hepner Jazz Orchestra, soloist Paula Arciniega, and the HPO Wind Trio.

We look forward to beginning the highlight reel for the our 2014-15 Young Patrons Circle program and meeting new friends along the way.  The summer kicks off with the hpoGO Summer Patio Party happening this Thursday, June 26 at Radius. Be sure to catch a live performance of HPO violinist and violist duet and an up close and personal look at their string instruments.




Don’t Fiddle With My Heart

Ever have the feeling you’ve said something that didn’t come out right?

“I love you” is probably one of the most difficult things to say in the English language. Feelings of love often run deeper than words can express and when the moment comes to say it, no matter what, you can’t always be certain your beloved feels the same. Their reaction can impact you in a number of emotional ways: the experience can be elating, devastating, or less climatic than you hoped. Even when confronting the uncertainty of love, the expression may still feel incomplete. Hans Christian Anderson reminds us that “when words fail, music speaks.”

Relationships are much more socially versatile in the present compared to the lives and times of classical composers. In particular, societal pressure and social constraints provided Chopin and Wager with difficulty when pursuing their love interests. It seems that some classical legends either opted for an affair or married more than once. Here is a modest sampling of the most steamy and romantic relationships of some adored classical composers.

Frédéric Chopin & George Sand

chopin roundAmantine Aurore Dupin

Frédéric Chopin experienced a prominent yet complicated attraction to Amantine Aurore Dupin,  otherwise known as George Sand, a French novelist and woman who went both against the grain in literature and fashion. Initially, Chopin was put off by Sand’s masculine appearance; however the two became lovers after Chopin’s prospective engagement fell through. Sand was 6 years Chopin’s senior and the couple experienced societal resistance to their  relationship within the first years of living together in Spain. They eventually settled into adjacent apartments in Square d’Orléans, Paris. Chopin’s health continued to deteriorate along with the relationship; the couple separated after 10 years as Sand grew tired of caring for Chopin.

Chopin’s Nocturnes, Op. 62 remains one of his most well known and romantic works:

Wolfgang Amadeus & Constanze Mozart

The film Amadeus portrayed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Constanze’s marriage as a tumultuous journey for the pair. Mozart began courting Constanze while boarding at her family’s home. It became obvious to Constanze’s mother that Mozart was very fond of her daughter and swiftly dismissed him from the family nest. Although their courtship continued, it was disrupted when Mozart learned Constanze permitted another young man to measure her calves in a parlor game. Mozart also encountered difficulties in securing his father’s blessing for the couple to marry. Despite protests and threats from both their families, Mozart and Constanze wed on August 4, 1782. They had 6 children, but only 2 survived. Mozart accumulated large amounts of debt throughout the marriage, which he initially kept from Constanze; however, she assumed control of household expenses after discovering their ongoing financial crisis. They remained together until Mozart’s death in 1791 at the age of 35.

One of Mozart’s many romantic pieces includes Piano Concerto No. 21:

Richard & Cosima Wagner

Perhaps one of the most notable affairs among classical composers was between Richard and Cosima Wagner. Daughter of Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt, Cosima caught Richard’s eye during a performance in Leipzig while sharing conducting duties with her husband, Hans von Bülow. Following the performance, Richard wrote: “I felt utterly transported by the sight of Cosima…she appeared to me as if stepping from another world.” While Von Bülow was rehearsing, Richard and Cosima shared a long cab ride around Berlin where they professed their love for one another. Despite Von Bülow’s adoration for Wagner and knowledge of the affair, Cosima and Richard had three children while Cosima remained married. Von Bülow reluctantly granted a divorce to Cosima, which allowed her to marry Richard on August 25, 1870.

Wagner composed Siegfried Idyll for Cosima as a birthday present celebrating the birth of their second son Siegfried:

Ethel Smyth & Emmeline Pankhurst
Ethel SmuthEmmeline-Pankhurst

Esteemed British composer Ethel Smyth was the only notable female composer of her time and an active feminist who followed the leadership of suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst. Ethel fell in love with Emmeline while fighting for the women’s vote. The pair protested by throwing rocks at the windows of politicians on 10 Downing Street and were subsequently arrested together. They were placed in adjoining cells where the prison matron allowed Ethel and Emmeline to take “tea” together.

Ethel’s most regarded work remains The March of the Women which was adopted by suffragists throughout London and Holloway Prison where Ethel conducted fellow inmates with a toothbrush:

HPO Celebrates Black History Month

As Hamilton celebrates Black History month and the accomplishments of Black Canadians, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to present the symphony of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the first black composer of the European classical tradition.

ImageThe “Black Mozart”

Joseph Boulogne occupies a truly rare place in the history of orchestral music.  Born in 1745 on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe to a former slave and white plantation owner, Joseph defied the odds to become one of the most accomplished figures of the African Diaspora in the classical era.

Joseph Boulogne, more commonly known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, began studying the violin as a young boy in Guadeloupe and continued when his family moved to Paris.  Saint-Georges studied under some of the most well-known musical figures in France, who recognized his immense talent from a young age.  He made his solo debut as a violinist performing his own compositions and became music director of one of the finest orchestras in France shortly thereafter.

A master swordsman as well, Saint-Georges focused more on music than fencing as he aged.  His success, against the odds and social customs of 18th century Europe,  are a true testament to his courage, strength and conviction as a musician.  He died in 1799 and left the modern orchestral world with a canon of over 25 orchestral works, five operas and numerous string quartets, sonatas and songs.

His music is similar to the styles of Mozart and his Symphony No. 2 in D major will be performed by the HPO on February 15 in Luminescence, a program of music inspired by Paris.  Also on that program is the work of Saint-Georges’ contemporary, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.

Black Canadians contribute to
classical music in our community and beyond…

ImageNathaniel Dett, composer

Born in Niagara Falls in 1882, Robert Nathaniel Dett was one of the most successful black composers of his time and known for incorporating Negro spirituals into the classical music style.  An accomplished pianist, Dett performed at Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall.  Dett’s compositions are still performed today by groups such as the Toronto-based Nathaniel Dett Chorale, who perform his works as well as other works by composers of the African Diaspora.

ImageColin Clarke, Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

As Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Colin Clarke has shaped the orchestral education of our region’s most skilled and dedicated young symphonic musicians.  A classically trained percussionist, Clarke keeps a busy schedule as founding artistic director of the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra and as a clinician and adjudicator around Canada and the US.  Clarke received the Clifford Evans Award for conducting and participated in the International Conducting Workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he conducted the symphonies of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with the highly celebrated New Symphony Orchestra.

ImageTanya Charles, professional violinist

Violinist Tanya Charles has captivated audiences across Canada and the Caribbean with her passion, energy, flair, and finesse. Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Tanya began her violin studies, in a group setting, at the age of 10 in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s itinerant strings program and was concertmaster of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.  Tanya went on to study at the University of Toronto and the Glenn Gould School and regularly performs with many orchestras in Ontario including the Sinfonia Toronto.

ImageKaren Burke, conductor of the Toronto Mass Choir and composer

McMaster trained Karen Burke is the artistic director of the Juno award winning Toronto Mass Choir, a touring choir on the cutting edge of the Canadian gospel music scene.  In 2011 the Toronto Mass Choir performed with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for a Christmas concert that featured gospel and symphonic greats alike.