First Azrieli Music Project concert features MSO and award winners

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A unique program combining music by Jewish composers and music new work performed in public for the first time is on tap for a special concert evening October 19 by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kent Nagano.

The new works are the result of awards granted to a contemporary composer and a new commission by the Azrieli Foundation and its Azrieli Music Project, named after the late and innovative Montreal-based master builder, David Azrieli. He died in July 2014 at age 92.

For starters, four soloists, including accomplished soprano Sharon Azrieli Perez, David Azrieli’s daughter, tenor Frédéric Antoun, prize-winning pianist Serhiy Salov, and clarinetist André Moisan, the MSO and MSO chorus, will perform masterworks by Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein.

The evening opens with soprano Azrieli singing two pieces from Mahler’s five-song-cycle, Rükert Lider –Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder! (Do not look at my songs!) and Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft (I breathed a gentle fragrance).

Next is the world premiere of The Seven Heavenly Halls, described as “a groundbreaking and epic work” for tenor, choir and orchestra by composer Brian Current, first winner of the $50,000 Azrieli Commissioning Competition. The soloist is Canadian tenor Frédéric Antoun.

The audience will then hear another new work, a Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet by Wlad Marhulets, first winner of the $50,000 Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music, featuring MSO clarinetist André Moisan. The piece is described as spectacular.

Next the orchestra will play the sublime and lovely Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th symphony in C sharp minor.

For the closer, Ukrainian-born Canadian pianist Serhiy Salov and the orchestra will play Leonard Bernstein’s rarely performed 2nd Symphony, The Age of Anxiety, based on a W.H. Auden poem. It portrays the spiritual journey of self-discovery by four people in a New York bar.

The concert at the Maison symphonique de Montréal starts at 8 pm. For tickets, call 514-842-9951

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