She’s GEMMA NEW, and “This is her music” Reply

Opinion by Danny (& Terry) Gaisin

Saturdays on CBC radio has an interesting program called “This is my Music” in which Arts celebrities are introduced (bios that are mind-boggling) and then present two hours of their favorite musical works.
The Hamilton Philharmonic’s Gemma New was featured yesterday and her presentation was superb. Reflecting on her personality, her taste is not only eclectic, it’s also surprising. She selected the Louis Armstrong/Ella Fitzgerald duet -‘Cheek to Cheek’. Then, Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’; a 180-degree change. Abrupt pace change, “The famous ‘Star Wars’ by John Williams (who along with Leroy Anderson) are a couple of the last century’s greatest composers. More…

5 @ 1st presents Schubert’s “The Trout” Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
As a Leap Day concert, 5 at the First presented Schubert’s piano quintet  ‘The Trout’ with the AYR trio plus Mayumi Seiler, violin, and Joel Quarrington double bass.  The afternoon began with Rachel Mercer, the R of the AYR Trio, and Quarrington playing a duet for cello and double bass in D major by Gioacchino Rossini.   This duet was composed for Europe’s larger than life double bass virtuoso, Domenico Dragonetti, a contemporary of Beethoven, who demonstrated that the double bass was an instrument worthy of its own music rather than simply copying the cello part.  He expanded the range and usage of the double bass

Berick, Park, Seiler, Quarrington & Mercer performing; not fishing for “THE TROUT”


SCHEHERAZADE, HPO’s masterful interpretation Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Considering this scribe’s sixth decade of writing about classical concerts, it seems like I’ve heard every work in the genre. Not so, Last night we finally had the opportunity to hear something novel. The Hamilton Philharmonic’s opening work was Rossini’s Semiramide overture. Composed two centuries ago, the tragic libretto deals with the Queen having to choose an heir to her throne. Final act screw-ups result in her and those around her all dying. The longish overture (14 minutes) incorporates actual themes and arias from the opera and is a toe tapping work that like ‘Bolero’ offers multiple opportunities for individual instruments to shine.

David Pell; Gemma New & the HPO interpreting Henri Tomasi’s concerto


Hammer Baroque Ensemble performs Boccherini & Mozart Reply

review by Judith Caldwell
Hammer Baroque presented a program of music by Boccherini and Mozart organized by cellist Elinor Frey.  In her introduction Frey said Boccherini was one of her favourite composers because as a cellist himself he wrote interesting music for that instrument instead of the typical ‘accompaniment’ music for cello as composed by his contemporary Hayden.  The concert had an international flavour with Belgian traverso player, Jan De Winne, who is also currently one of the most respected flute makers in the world.  He performed on a flute he recently made tuned to A = 422 Hz, the pitch of the tuning fork of Mozart’s piano.  *

DeWinne; Andriani; Chalk; Frey & Croce performing


Mixed bag of performers at “5 @ 1st” opening 2020 concert Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
For their first concert of the new decade  5 at the First had no less than twelve string players in a quartet, several duos and finally an octet.  The program began with a quartet from the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Beth Cushnie & Elise deBlieck violin, Sarah Cushnie, viola and cellist Christiana Lammers playing the first movement of Antonin Dvorak’s String Quartet in F major.  This is a group of 16 & 17 year olds who have played together for about six months who played this difficult piece very well, especially once they overcame their initial tension and relaxed into the music.

the performers for 5@ 1st’s 2020 opening concert


A delightful H.P.O. Closing 2019 concert Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

‘Tis the season to be jolly” and director Gemma New’s Hamilton Philharmonic ended the year with what epitomizes eclectic and certainly jolly. A projected BBC cartoon, recited and orchestrially accompanied; Hamilton’s Youth Choir; and the musicians of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra augmenting their more mature professionals. Something for everyone.
From a vibrant opening interpretation of Anderson’s ‘Christmas Festival’ to the sing-along ending, this was an evening with something for every taste and especially, every age group.  The youth choir under long-time director Zimfira Poloz performed works by Quartel; Kastalsky and Saindon.

  “ILLUMINI” – the Ham’n Children’s Choir with the HPO