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A look back at Fall 2017

December 19, 2017 — 

The Fall 2017 semester has been a busy one for the Desautels Faculty of Music. In September we celebrated the grand opening of the music addition (Taché Two) at the annual Homecoming Gala. The Gala was a wonderful celebration that included performances by students and faculty members, as well as a performance by the faculty’s benefactor, Marcel A. Desautels. The evening also featured the announcement of a new scholarship fund for graduate studies in music, generously donated by Bonnie Buhler. The faculty is so appreciative of the support from these and all of our wonderful donors!

The first concert in the new building was Carmina Burana & Les Noces: Masterworks of Orff and Stravinsky, a joint presentation with the University of Manitoba Singers, percussion ensemble, and piano quartet. The concert began with works by Stravinsky, featuring four pianists and the percussion ensemble. Vocal solos were captivating, and the audience was enthralled. Up next was the powerful choral work Carmina Burana. Once again, the audience was hypnotized – during the brief moments of silence you could hear a pin drop. The concert was a huge success and not a spare seat was to be had.

From October 17-20, the National Arts Centre Orchestra visited the faculty for a one-week residency. Students had the opportunity to work with some of the players either one-on-one or with a small ensemble. Masterclasses with members of the NACO were a highlight of the visit and provided valuable new insights for our students.

In November our calendar of events was packed with performances and events. On November 4th we held a mini jazz camp where members of the Jazz faculty and some of our very own jazz students had the chance to work with an amazing group of high school students. On November 24th, the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble were joined by special high school guest musicians in the show Masks and Machines. We were thrilled to welcome these young musicians to play with our ensembles and hope to see many of them audition in February 2018!

On November 12th we held the final round of the annual concerto competition. The winners of this years’ concerto competition were Albert Chen (piano), Daniel Preun (bassoon), John Sellick (viola) and Jinyu Chen (clarinet). We look forward to hearing all these wonderful performers next year.

The month of November also featured the University Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre students in Life in the Key of Genius. With a dialogue and concept written by Katherine Twaddle, the opera laid out details of W. A. Mozart’s life in chronological order. The music worked wonderfully with the plot, the performers brought electric energy to their characters, and the use of humor was artfully added and demonstrated. The orchestra’s performance was executed flawlessly, never overpowering the singers or being too far in the background. The entire performance was a huge success and great entertainment for all ages.

There were so many more notable concerts and events beyond the ones highlighted above. Congratulations to all the performers, and congratulations to every student and faculty member for making it through the semester. Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday break. Get some much needed rest, and we’ll see you for the start of a new semester on January third!

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