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Toronto Star: Canada’s music sounding sweet in Italy these days

By: William Littler Music Columnist, Published on Fri Nov 29 2013 (Excerpted below)
Canadian orchestras and musicians are becoming more recognized in Italy, despite the federal government cutting back support for Canadian artists touring abroad.

Together with New York, Toronto has been called one of the largest Italian cities outside Italy. Walk along stretches of College and St. Clair W. and you will understand why...

… the symbolic apex of Canadianism was witnessed in Rome, where the Accademia Filarmonica Romana hosted a Canada Day celebration in July as part of its annual Festival of Nations.

Ann Summers Dossena of Toronto’s International Resource Centre for Performing Artists organized the festivities in the Accademia’s historic home and gardens in central Rome. It was only the latest of a series of projects through which the part-time Italian resident has fostered relations between the two countries, including a Canadian festival mounted in L’ Aquila several years ago.

For Canada Day, she brought together a number of classical musicians, including the Borealis String Quartet from Vancouver, violinist Guillaume Tardif from Edmonton, Toronto clarinetist Kornel Wolak and Montreal soprano Jana Miller with pianist Jordan de Souza. Several Canadian compositions were featured, most of them receiving first performances in Italy.

Jazz was also represented by the Dominic Mancuso Group from Vaughan, together with a photographic exhibition and a CBC film of the late Toronto pianist Glenn Gould, introduced by your humble servant.

Maestro Cappelletto, director of the Accademia, expressed frank surprise at the high standard of the Canadian participants, a reaction not at all uncommon in Italy, where art and artists are concerned. Decades ago, when Summers Dossena helped organize the first Italian tour of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, the director of the prestigious Florence May Festival looked at her and said, “You mean there are orchestras in Canada?”

Perhaps ironically, the Canadian government has done little to promote Canadian cultural activity in Italy (by way of contrast, there is an active Italian Cultural Institute on Huron St. in midtown Toronto). Having cut back support for Canadian artists touring abroad, the government has largely left it to the private sector to fly the Maple Leaf.

But the Maple Leaf is flying and Summers Dossena continues to champion exchange between her two countries of residence.

In fact, she has organized a “welcome home” concert Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. at Lula Lounge on Dundas St. W., reuniting some of the musicians, including Miller, Tardif, Wolak and the Dominic Mancuso Group.

Even with only intermittent and partial government support Canadian artists are appearing successfully on the international stage; witness the National Ballet’s welcome return to London, recent tours to China by the NAC Orchestra and Toronto’s Soundstreams, and the forthcoming European tour of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

While attending Canada Day, Canada’s outgoing ambassador, James Fox, confessed to his own surprise when faced with a list of Canadian artists now performing in Italy. It may just be time for our leaders in government to recognize their value.

Read full article at TheStar.com

Artist News

Clarinetist Kornel Wolak recently returned from outstanding performances with orchestra in Ecuador, appeared in the Wolak/Donnelly Duo in Orillia and took off to perform in Poland for the next week. He returns to perform with Orchesta London, and with the Ontario Philharmonic in February.. Full information and contact are at: at: www.kornelwolak.com.

Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico has just launched a cd of Brazilian Tangos which marks her 31st cd . She will soon perform again with the Toronto Dance Theatre in their Eastern tour in live performances of 'Rivers' by Anne Southam. Full informaton and contact are at: www.petrowskaquilico.com

Hiaou Zhang will return to perform in Canada in March with the COC noon concerts, and with the Ontario Philharmonic, conducted by Marco Parisotto. Full information  and contact are at:  www.haiou-zhang.com

Artist Manager Ann Summers Dossena devotes herself to new challenges

Retiring from full career management and development of performing artists, I will continue to work in the arts as consultant, mentor, producer,  presenter, and as Founding Director of the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists. Read full press release.

After years of renting spaces, we must establish a much needed physical Centre where artists can come together from across Canada to share ideas, get help with auditions, be mentored, gain confidence, and to continue programs Encounters With Employers, and Career Moves workshops. Please visit IRCPA.net for more details.

The National Opera Center in New York was created by the Opera America companies by pooling their resources.  A campaign for space and funds for the Toronto Centre has begun.  I sincerely hope everyone will join with me and the Board of Directors of the IRCPA to establish a Centre which would be open to all disciplines as well as the opera community.

A fundraising event is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3rd, at the Lula Music and Arts Centre.  The two concerts the IRCPA presented in Rome in July to celebrate Canadian Day will be performed by most of the 13 artists who made their debuts there.  Please see the details at www.ircpa.net.

Clarinetist Kornel Wolak performs widely in Canada, tours native Poland, and made Rome debut on July 5th!

Kornel Wolak“Control and a smooth, elegant expressivity are what make Wolak shine”
– John Terauds, Toronto Star

Kornel Wolak, one of Canada’s leading solo clarinetists, has been crossing the country this winter and spring, with performances in B.C., large and small prairie centres, Toronto, and elsewhere.  Then it’s off to Europe for concerts in his native Poland.  On July 5, he makes his Rome debut at Canadian Day, part of Le Nazioni, The Festival of Nations.

The week-long Festival is hosted by the Accademia Filarmonica Romana, in its elegant building and grounds in central Rome.  There, Wolak performed with fellow Canadian artists in three works.  With Vancouver’s Borealis String Quartet, he will be featured in Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. He will join Montreal-based soprano Jana Miller and conductor/pianist Jordan de Souza in Schubert’s The Shepherd on the Rock and the European premiere of Ashes of Soldiers by Colin Eatock

As the first North American country invited to Le Nazioni, Canada presents its culture in a week that also features the cultures of Norway, Brazil and Morocco. Canada’s participation is organized by the Toronto-based International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, with IRCPA Director Ann Summers Dossena as producer.  Information is posted at ircpa.net and will appear shortly at www.filarmonicaromana.org.

Canada’s Music & Musicians Featured in Rome during Canadian Day, July 5, 2013

Evening Performances in the main garden

Each summer, Rome’s Accademia Filarmonica Romana invites countries to present their music and culture in a week-long Festival of one-day events, called I Nazione Festival of Nations. This year, for the first time, Canada will be hosted, Friday, July 5 in the Accademia’s elegant and historic home and gardens in central Rome.

Other countries invited to present their music and culture from July 1 to 4 are Norway, Brazil and Morocco .

Canadian Day will include two concerts, featuring artists from across the country: the Borealis String Quartet from Vancouver, violinist Guillaume Tardif of Edmonton; clarinetist Kornel Wolak of Toronto; and Montreal soprano Jana Miller and conductor/pianist Jordan de Souza. Complementing the classical music will be jazz, performed by two Ontario combos – the Mario Romano Jazz Quartet from Markham, and the Dominic Mancuso Quintet from Vaughan.

Films about Canadian icon Glenn Gould, courtesy of the Gould Estate and the Gould Foundation will be shown. Music critic William Littler, columnist with the Toronto Star, will speak about Gould’s legend and legacy. A special room, opening into the gardens, will serve as a video room, where the public can view DVDs of major Canadian artists and attractions.

Canada’s participation is being organized by the charitable, Toronto-based International Resource Centre for Performing Artists and produced by IRCPA Director Ann Summers Dossena.

For more information and to contribute, please visit:

Kornel Wolak's CLARINET EXTRAVAGANZA in Oshawa and Port Perry March 2nd & 3rd

Wolak Clarinet Extravaganza

Members of the Wolak Clarinet Extravaganza Trio include: Kornel Wolak, clarinet,  Michael Bridge, accordion/piano, and Michael Savona, guitar. 

They  will be heard in Oshawa's Regent Theatre on March 2nd and in Port Perry on March 3rd.  They will be accompanied by the Ontario Philharmonic String Quartet, comprised of principal string players of the orchestra.

>> More about Kornel Wolak | Clarinet Extravanganza
>> Artist's Website

World Premiere Centrediscs CD Set Launch January 22 at the Gould


Piano virtuoso Christina Petrowska Quilico performs a concert launching the world premiere of a two-CD Centrediscs recording, Visions: Rhapsodies & Fantasias, Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at the Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street W., Toronto.

The concert featuring the evocative, exhilarating and profoundly individual music of Constantine Caravassilis.

Tickets, $20, $15 students and seniors, are available from the Roy Thomson Hall box office, www.roythomson.com, phone 416-872-4255.

Constantine Caravassilis, composer,  Christina Petrowska Quilico, pianist, with Mary Morrison Freedman.Released on the Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs label, the two-CD recording is the result of the awarding of the inaugural Harry Freedman Recording Award jointly to Petrowska Quilico and Caravassilis in 2010.  It is also made possible by a recording grant from the Ontario Arts Council.

image004.jpgThe January 22 concert promises to be an extraordinary evening of music and art.  It features works from Constantine Caravassilis’ complete books of Rhapsodies and Fantasias for solo piano – most receiving their world premieres. As Petrowska Quilico describes them, “They are visions in sound, transcending lyricism to become a dramatic opera for the keyboard.”

> Download Full Press Release
> More about Christina Petrowska Quilico

Ontario Philharmonic delivers on promise of first-rate musicmaking
TORONTO STAR, Nov. 7, 2012

Marco Parisotto John Terauds
Special to the Star

On Tuesday night at Koerner Hall, the Ontario Philharmonic lived up to the bold challenge it has made to Toronto symphony lovers that they are an orchestra that must not be ignored.

For years, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has ruled unchallenged from Roy Thomson Hall as the city’s premier large ensemble. Pretenders have come and gone, but, unlike the Orchestre Métropolitain’s gentle rivalry with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, no single organization has managed to make a serious statement – until now.

Under music director Marco Parisotto, the Ontario Philharmonic—founded and long known as the Oshawa Symphony—showed that it has earned its spot at the resonant heart of Koerner Hall in a programme showcasing two favourite works by Russian composer Peter Ilytch Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).

The evening started with a flourish as star Russian-Israeli violinist Shlomo Mintz marked his 50th anniversary on stage with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. It was a vigorous, sharp-edged performance that highlighted the virtuosic side of this concert hall warhorse. In the final movement, out came Mintz’s dancing shoes as he reminded us of the Russian hoedown buried in this oft-played piece of music.
We have heard more graceful and polished renditions, namely by Canadian star James Ehnes, but Mintz was all about making a strong statement. Judging from the audience’s boisterous reaction, they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Parisotto and the orchestra were with their soloist every step of the way as his flawless accomplices.

The second half of the programme was devoted to the massive Symphony No. 5, which allowed the Ontario Philharmonic to show off the full breadth of its abilities, from sweet, delicate pianissimos to full-out, roof-lifting blasts of Tchaikovsky’s late-Romantic angst and, finally, triumph.

Parisotto conducted the piece from memory, showing total command of every detail and, numerous times, showing great skill in building the sound in graceful arcs.

All told, this was a concert that would not have felt out of place at Roy Thomson Hall. In fact, it was a particular pleasure to hear this larger-than-life music at Koerner Hall, which is slightly less than half the older auditorium’s size.
Yes, the music was downright loud at times, but it was also possible to hear every nuance in the score, giving the music particular interest and making it sound vividly alive.

And that’s what the thrill of a live performance is all about.

The Ontario Philharmonic is offering a series of three concerts at Koerner Hall this season. The second one is due on Dec. 4, an all-Brahms programme featuring piano soloist Anton Kuerti.

>> More about Marco Parisotto

Praise for Haiou Zhang's Canadian Recital Debut at Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre May 2nd

"to call him brilliant would be an insult. He was the finest pianist I have ever had the good fortune to hear  - it truly was an experience no one who attended will ever forget!"  
General Manager, Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre, Canada.

Zhang returns to Canada in 2013/14 in a program with the Ontario Philharmonic.

>> More about Haiou Zhang
>> Artist's Website

Christina Petrowska Quilico

Christina Petrowska Quilico is a leading interpreter of the 20th and 21st Century music. with over 26 cds available in recital and in live performances with orchestras,  In 2010, Petrowska Quilico and composer Constantine Caravassilis were jointly named the first winners of the 2010 Harry Freedman Recording Award.  The Glenn Gould Studio is the site on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 for the launch of this new cd entitled: VISIONS, the complete Book of Rhapsodies & Book of Fantasias.  In 2013 Christina will be heard in recital at the Canadian Operas Company's noon concert series  March 6, and in Soundstreams' Piano Ecstasy concert on April 26, in Koerner Hall.

>> More about Christina Petrowska Quilico
>> Artist's Website

IRCPA Opera Week 2012 Postponed

Due to funding cuts, International Resource Centre for the Arts "Opera Week" is postponed until the Fall this year. 

Details will be posted on IRCPA.net as soon as they are available. 

Ann Summers DossenaToronto Artist Manager ANN SUMMERS DOSSENA HONORED JANUARY 9 in New York with NAPAMA AWARD

Legendary Canadian artist manager Ann Summers Dossena of Toronto was honored by her peers from across North America, Monday in New York City.

Ms. Summers Dossena, who operates Ann Summers International in Toronto and Rome, was presented with the first Manager of the Year Award at the annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon of NAPAMA the North American Association of Performing Arts Managers and Agents and APAP the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. The presentation was made by Robert Baird, Toronto artist manager and president of NAPAMA, at the Hilton New York.

Ms. Summers Dossena was actually a founding member of NAPAMA, in the late 1970s. As well, she is an honorary life member of ISPA, the International Society for the Performing Arts, which has member arts presenters in 42 countries.

>> More about Ann Summers Dossena

José SerebrierGRAMMY-winning conductor and composer JosÉ Serebrier is one of most recorded classical artists in history. He has received thirty-eight GRAMMY nominations in recent years. All his recent recordings have received multiple GRAMMY nominations.

Serebrier has made international tours with the Juilliard Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Spain and others. His upcoming tours in 2011/12 are: China with the Orchestra of the Americas, Bermuda Festival and other festivals with the Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, South America with the Russian National Orchestra and Central and South America with the English Chamber Orchestra.

>> More about José Serebrier
>> Artist's Website

Ann Summers International
43 Bright St.
Toronto M5A 3H5
tel: (416) 362-1422
fax: (416) 359-0043

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