Thanks to the generous donations made by the Nicholas Arthur Kilburn Concert Series, the U of A Department of Music has had the opportunity to host numerous, world-renowned artists for the past 37 years. The reason behind the original donation in 1981 was to provide students and the community with inspirational performances every year.
Our featured guest for the 2017/2018 Kilburn Concert, coming up on April 8th, is the Choir of Royal Holloway! This fantastic choir, visiting all the way from London, England, will be performing music selections from around the world. They will also be joined by one of our own vocal groups, the Madrigal Singers, for a few pieces.
With the Kilburn Memorial Concert just around the corner we thought it would be fun to revisit some faculty members’ favourite Kilburn memories!
Dr. William Street
Dr. Street is currently the Department of Music Chair and has enjoyed many Kilburn Concerts since he began teaching at the U of A.
However, one concert Dr. Street has a personal connection to, was Maureen Forrester’s performance during his first year as a professor.
While still in university, Dr. Street had the opportunity to see Maureen Forrester perform, which was an experience he believes positively influenced him as a musician. Dr. Street feels there was something so significant about a musician who impacted him so greatly being the Kilburn artist the same year he became a professor at the U of A.
Dr. Street also shared the unique connection between the U of A and past Kilburn artist, Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy. Not only did Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy give a spectacular performance at the 2014/2015 Kilburn Concert, he also helped Dr. Street and Dr. Després pick out the Department’s new Steinway piano!
Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy will be returning in May to perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the inaugural concert for our new piano; along with performances from Dr. Després and Dr. Tao.
Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff
Dr. Ratzlaff is currently the director of the Richard Eaton Singers, as well as the director and conductor of the U of A Madrigal Singers.
As an active member of the choral community, it was Dr. Ratzlaff who suggested the Choir of Royal Holloway as this year’s guest. In Dr. Ratzlaff’s opinion, the Choir of Royal Holloway is possibly one of the best university choral groups you will ever see perform. They currently have several outstanding recordings featuring unique, contemporary repertoire.
One Kilburn memory that really sticks out for Dr. Ratzlaff was Phillip Addis’ performance of Schubert’s challenging work – The Winter’s Journey. This performance was supposed to be given by Canadian baritone, Russel Braun. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, Russel Braun was forced to cancel and Phillip Addis graciously stepped in with only a few days to prepare.
Although Dr. Ratzlaff was disappointed Russel Braun would be unable to perform, he is still impressed with how Phillip Addis was able to prepare this challenging repertoire in such a short period of time!
Dr. Jacques Després
Dr. Després has enjoyed many Kilburn concerts since starting at the University of Alberta in 2000.
One Kilburn Concert guest whose visit Dr. Després found especially exciting was pianist, Charles Richard-Hamelin. Not only was Charles Richard-Hamelin one of the youngest artists to perform in the Kilburn Concert Series, he’s also the only Canadian pianist to place second in the International Chopin Piano Competition.
Dr. Després first heard Charles’ performance at the Chopin Competition thanks to the magic of YouTube and immediately knew he would be an exceptional artist to feature in our Kilburn Memorial Concert Series. It was Dr. Després who suggested Charles Richard-Hamelin as last year’s guest artist.