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WHO’S WHO | 5 Reasons To Watch Amici’s Virtual Concert – Celebrating Canada

By Ludwig Van on June 25, 2020


How can you tell the story of a country as vast as Canada? How can you capture through song the beauty of its landscapes or the diversity of its people?  This was our challenge.

Join the Amici Chamber Ensemble for Celebrating Canada a free virtual concert featuring some of their favourite Canadian repertoire from their most recent album, Inspired by Canada/ Notre Pays.

#1. Enjoy a performance of the highest quality…

Music in the time of COVID. Like most organizations, Amici was forced to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season. As a result, they have decided to record their first socially distanced concert for broadcast. Ensuring a concert of the highest quality was very important and therefore Amici recorded in studio with a professional sound engineer.

“What’s interesting in coming together again after such a long hiatus of not playing music is that it is so great to communicate with your fellow artists in the way you can only with chamber music. Everything feels fresh again, even though it is repertoire we have previously explored.” David Hetherington

Celebrating Canada features Mireille Asselin (soprano), Joaquin Valdepeñas (clarinet), David Hetherington (cello) and Serouj Kadjian (piano) performing an eclectic mix of musical gems which capture the spirit of our great country, including hits by the best ambassadors of Canadian song such as Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Claude Léveillée, in new arrangements by Serouj Kradjian.

#2. Its been a journey of discovery…

It all started in April of 2015, when Amici invited Mireille as featured guest artist in an eclectic program of chamber music with voice. They immediately noticed the versatility of her artistry. And a little more than a year later when she joined them for their fundraiser and sang an unforgettable version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.  

“I knew this would be the beginning of a beautiful musical partnership, and the idea for “Inspired by Canada / Notre Pays” was born that evening.”  Serouj Kradjian

The collaborators spent hours at the library digging through the stacks, listening to old recordings of chansonniers and folksingers, probing our own memories for important musical touchstones, and in the studio comparing notes and hashing out ideas. In the end, they distilled the list down to the material that spoke to them the most both musically and emotionally. The end result, Amici’s 2017 album Inspired by Canada/ Notre Pays, really was a labour of love!

Coming together again to perform this program now for our Canada Day program has provided the opportunity to revisit this wonderful music and everyone agrees that is feels different this time. A lot has happened in each of the performers lives and there is a different sense that accompanies the music now.

#3. Program features Serouj Krajian’s special arrangements…

Since that original Amici fundraiser, Mireille has become the inspiration for these new arrangements of old favorites and other undiscovered gems. 

“I admired her dedication and meticulousness in discovering and choosing the songs and the music which would represent our beloved country in the best possible way.”  Serouj Kradjian

Something that was especially rewarding about this whole development and recording process was re-discovering just how transformative a good arrangement of a piece of music can be!

“What Serouj has done with these songs is truly remarkable. My two favourite arrangements on the disc have to be his take of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” (with a sort of neo-classical/baroque twist which is so rhythmic and fun!) and his medley of Québec folksongs, he’s truly turned old standards into something brand new and exciting.” Mireille Asselin

#4. The program features Canadian Soprano, Mireille Asselin…

“It’s immensely cathartic to make music in a room with people again, it’s something I will never take for granted again.” Mireille Asselin

Longtime, Amici collaborator, Mireille Asselin is an accomplished opera, concert and recital singer and has appeared with many of North America’s major opera companies, orchestras and festivals as well as internationally. She is also an acknowledged champion of contemporary music and a respected interpreter of early music. She has been on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera since 2013 and is a graduate of The Royal Conservatory of Music and Yale University.

“Asselin is a treasure. She has the pure sound so prized by fans of baroque music, but she also has power, dramatic chops and good, old-fashioned charisma”. – The Toronto Star

#5 A virtual concert is the only way to currently enjoy Amici Chamber Ensemble…

This is a very challenging time in the arts, with no certainty of when artists will be able to present music to a live audience.  Amici is committed to bringing music to their patrons and are considering various options for the coming year such as socially distanced live concerts or continuing with virtual presentations. In the meantime, an online concert is the only way to enjoy a new Amici concert.

Amici is currently celebrating 33 years as one of Canada’s finest and most distinguished chamber music ensembles. Artistic Directors clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas, cellist David Hetherington and pianist Serouj Kradjian invite some of the finest musicians to join them in innovative and eclectic programming, celebrating friendship through music in a concert series presented in Mazzoleni Concert Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

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Join Amici Sunday, June 28, 3 pm EST at www.amiciensemble.com to watch the free virtual concert.


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Ludwig Van
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