Conceived by Guylaine Lemaire, CAMMAC’s Artistic Director, Postcards features three ensembles selected from among CAMMAC’s teaching staff. CAMMAC teacher and McGill Doctorate of Music candidate Kevin O’Neil was commissioned to write a short piece for each of the ensembles.
The project was created to allow CAMMAC to develop, extend and innovate its artistic practice by taking it to a new level, a necessity for cultural organizations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time when live music is not available to most listeners, our objective is to bring beautiful musical moments at the Music Centre not only to CAMMAC’s members and community but also to a much wider audience than would be possible with a live performance.
The project also provides an opportunity for CAMMAC to promote its music programs by featuring performances by our exceptional teaching staff. And with new work being written for the project, we are proud to bring new artistic content of the highest calibre to Canadians.
We hope that the experience of this new Canadian music will allow many new listeners will discover just how much CAMMAC has to offer, and that it will inspire music lovers and musicians of all ages and abilities to visit the Music Centre and to participate in CAMMAC’s activities.
Guylaine Lemaire – Artistic Director of CAMMAC
“One of the greatest assets of the CAMMAC Music Centre is its superb roster of teachers, a group of over 100 professional musicians made up of some of Canada’s very finest performing artists. Every year, they come to CAMMAC to teach for our Summer Music Programs and to perform innovative concerts of the highest calibre at the Music Centre. Many of them also take part in our popular CAMMAC Musical Sundays Festival concert series.
With this project, we wished to hire some of our teachers to participate in 6 recorded “musical postcards” to be filmed on the beautiful site of the CAMMAC Music Centre at Lake MacDonald, in Québec’s picturesque Laurentians.
To be even more creative, we commissioned Montreal composer Kevin O’Neil to write a short piece for three groups of CAMMAC teachers for the summer of 2020. We also want to keep this idea going by having the option to keep writing variations or new movements to be performed by other artists closely associated with CAMMAC in the future.
The Music Centre had been silent throughout the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic when the groups came to the Music Centre in October 2020 to record their new piece as well as a piece of their choice. It was a very emotional moment for all to have music resonate through this beautiful site again to make these videos.
This project is a great way to promote our excellent musicians and the music programs at CAMMAC. It was meant to allow CAMMAC to reach many more Canadians than we would with a live performance, thus increasing the discoverability of CAMMAC and of Canadian artists. With new work having been written, the project provides Canadians with access to new Canadian artistic content, and takes CAMMAC’s artistic practice to a new level, which I believe is essential considering the context of the pandemic.”
Kevin O’Neil – Composer / Sound Recording and Editing
“When Guylaine Lemaire first proposed to me this wonderful project of hers, I was absolutely overjoyed – and perhaps just a little nervous – at the prospect of writing for musicians of such an exceedingly high calibre. In the weeks that followed, these veritable luminaries of the Canadian musical landscape generously gave of themselves throughout the creative process, and if the three works that comprise this commission seem quite different from one another, it’s because each piece was shaped by the particular alliance I was able to forge with its intended musicians. I certainly couldn’t have asked for more masterly and sympathetic interpretations, and thank Julien, Marc, Margaret, Mélisande, Alexa, Caroline, Marie-Laurence, and Vincent for lending their consummate artistry to my craft. I am, of course, also eternally grateful to Guylaine for giving me the chance to produce these little gifts for our dear CAMMAC community.”
Marc Djokic, violin & Julien Leblanc, piano
(M)élodie no. 1 – by Kevin O’Neil
Prelude no. 2 – by George Gershwin (arr. Heifetz)
Both from the Maritimes, musical duo Marc Djokic & Julien Leblanc have collaborated together for 10 years and have displayed their powerful playing and virtuosity from coast-to-coast tours across Canada. With their rich energy, style and enthusiasm towards engaging with the audience, they brought a renewed appreciation of violin and piano music to a diverse public.
Marc Djokic is a Canadian violinist and winner of the 2017-2018 Prix Goyer. Among the many distinctions that he has received throughout his career, he is a Prix Opus laureate and former Canada Council Instrument Bank recipient. Marc is currently concertmaster of l’Orchestre classique de Montreal, and Artist-in-Residence at CAMMAC.
Canadian pianist, Julien LeBlanc, dazzles with virtuosity and appealing enthusiasm. He is recognized for his great musical sensitivity and his ability to communicate the essence of the music.
About (M)élodie no. 1:
“The tune for (M)élodie no. 1 came to me one day in the Autumn of 2016, while noodling around on a public piano I came across while ambling about with my then-newborn daughter Elodie sleeping snuggled to my chest in a baby-wrap. For four years, this simple little fragment stuck with me, and though I tried here and there to make something of it, it never really found a home until this commission, where it seemed to suddenly wake up and demand to be played by Marc Djokic, who had recently become a new dad himself.” – Kevin O’Neil, composer
L’HARMONIE DES SAISONS
Viola da gamba: Margaret Little & Mélisande Corriveau
Sarabande – by Kevin O’Neil
Concert XLI: Le retour by Jean – by Sainte-Colombe
Margaret Little has been performing since 1975 as a soloist and chamber musician on the viola da gamba and baroque viola with various early music groups both in Canada and abroad. She has recorded over 100 albums, and her first solo CD, “Senza Continuo” was nominated for an Opus Award. She teaches the viola da gamba both privately and at the Faculty of Music at the Université de Montréal. She is the daughter of CAMMAC’s founding director, George Little.
A versatile musician, Mélisande Corriveau performs at home and abroad both as a soloist and chamber musician with many ensembles. She is the founder of L’Harmonie des Saisons with her partner harpsichordist Eric Milnes. Mélisande studied viola da gamba with Margaret Little and going to CAMMAC was part of her life for many years.
“In my initial research for this commission, I discovered that the viola da gamba’s tuning was not so different from my primary instrument, the guitar. I admit that my first sketches might have been just a little too guitar-y, but Margaret Little’s guidance allowed me to transform these into something more idiosyncratic to the viol and explore its singular means of expression. Formally, I was inspired by an interpretation I heard of Bach’s Partita No.1, BWV 825 (the performer of which I do not know) which was played so slowly that immense chasms of time seemed to gape in between each of a sarabande’s three beats. I wanted to compose something that had a similar type of temporal elasticity and wide-openness.” – Kevin O’Neil, composer
Recorders: Vincent Lauzer, Marie-Laurence Primeau, Alexa Raine-Wright, Caroline Tremblay
Quinta – by Kevin O’Neil
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland – by J. S. Bach
Dynamic and versatile, Montreal-based ensemble Flûte Alors! is composed of four new-generation recorder players. The ensemble has distinguished itself through the audacity of their programmes and the excellence of their performances. Through their masterful technique and extraordinary musicality, Flûte Alors! presents the recorder as an eloquent instrument capable of expressing the most extreme emotions and the subtlest of nuances. Each of these artists are in demand to perform at concert series and festivals both in Canada and abroad, and have appeared on numerous recordings.
Révélation Radio-Canada 2013-2014 and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2012 Opus Awards, recorder player Vincent Lauzer graduated from McGill University. Winner of several prizes in national and international competitions, he is a versatile performer, playing with Les Songes, Arion Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, La Bande Montréal Baroque, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Les Idées heureuses, and La Cigale.
A versatile artist, Marie-Laurence Primeau is an experienced recorder player and is now establishing a solid reputation as a viola da gamba player and baroque dancer. The complementarity of these arts gives a particular dimension to her playing and brought her to work with well-established ensembles such as le Consort des Voix Humaines, les Boréades de Montréal, la Cigale, les Idées Heureuses, les Voix Baroques and the Toronto Masque Theatre.
Equally at ease on the traverso and recorder, American/Canadian Alexa Raine-Wright maintains an active Montreal-based performance career. She is a graduate of McGill University, and is a founding member of the award-winning ensemble Infusion Baroque. She is the winner of several national and international competitions.
Winner of the first prize in her category at the Canadian Music Competition, Caroline Tremblay graduated with a Masters in Music Performance from l’Université de Montréal. Very active in concert with Flûte Alors!, Caroline has also performed solo and chamber music with orchestras such as Les Violons du Roy, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, l’Ensemble Caprice, I Musici, La Bande Montréal Baroque et La Chamaille. Music director of Sofabec (Société de flûte à bec de la Capitale), she is also guest director of the Société de flûte à bec de Montréal and the Toronto Early Music Players Organization (TEMPO). In addition, she is an Accredited Music Therapist.
“In writing for Flute Alors!, I knew that I wanted to leverage their experience with contemporary music idioms and their keen sense of “togetherness” to write something that was on one level very contrapuntal, yet at the same time treated the quartet as one organic whole, blurring the boundaries between polyphony, monophony, and heterophony. Being somewhat of a glutton for punishment, I also wanted to try making long crescendo-decrescendo gestures with an instrument that typically has a relatively narrow dynamic range. This experimentation was enabled by the trust and enthusiasm of my flautist collaborators. The electronics serve to unify the texture, which might otherwise be rendered too atomized by the COVID measures-induced physical distancing; they consist of an echo timed to the dotted eighth rhythm of the flautists’ steady eighth-note pulse, creating a cascade of syncopated sixteenth notes, a “trick” perhaps first popularized by Pink Floyd in their song “Run Like Hell”: Pink Flute?” – Kevin O’Neil, composer
COMPOSER / SOUND RECORDING AND EDITING:
Based in Montreal, Kevin O’Neil is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and respected teacher. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in classical guitar and composition from Dalhousie University, a Master’s degree in composition from l’Université de Montréal and is currently working on his PhD in Music Education at McGill University. He has composed music for film and theatre, and performs is active in several areas of the Montreal music scene, performing frequently onstage and recording in studio.
ARTISTIC DIRECTION – CAMMAC:
With a career in the music industry spanning more than 20 years, Guylaine Lemaire is a renowned violinist and violist, and an experienced arts administrator. She has performed with many of Canada’s finest musicians, ensembles and orchestras, and has appeared at virtually every major Canadian festival. Her recordings with the Chamber Players of Canada have all received strong acclaim in Canada and abroad, and receive regular radio play. She has served as Executive Director of Thirteen Strings (one of Canada’s few professional chamber orchestras) since 2013, and has also held the position of Artistic Director at CAMMAC since 2017.
After completing a master’s degree in International Relations at Laval University (Quebec) and training in documentary filmmaking at L’inis, Nicolas-Alexandre began his career as a film technician, before becoming a freelance director. Resolutely committed, he is interested in issues related to international development (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Quebec) and human rights. In 2014, his film “Citizens of Nowhere” examined the situation of Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic. Recently, his film on the inhabitants of the North Shore was nominated for a Gemini Award.
This project was produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Originals Initiative.
ABOUT CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS:
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, \enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.
ABOUT THE DIGITAL ORIGINALS INITIATIVE:
Digital Originals was an initiative launched in 2020 to help artists, arts groups, and organizations pivot their work for online sharing. Artists, groups or organizations could either adapt their existing work or create a new work for digital dissemination to the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic.