ROAD TRIP! A PAN-CANADIAN PARTNERSHIP
VIOLINIST AMY HILLIS AND PIANIST MEAGAN MILATZ SELECTED TO TOUR IN 2019-2020
Calgary, June 5, 2018 – Violinist Amy Hillis and pianist Meagan Milatz – also known as meagan&amy – have been selected for a pan-Canadian tour offered by Debut Atlantic, Jeunesses Musicales Canada and Prairie Debut in 2019-2020. The three classical music organizations announced in September 2017 that they were teaming up to offer an emerging artist or ensemble a tour that would span the country. Road Trip! A Pan-Canadian Partnership also celebrates two important anniversaries: Jeunesses Musicales Canada’s 70th, and Debut Atlantic’s 40th.
“We received over 50 applications, all worthy candidates, but meagan&amy’s proposal stood out. Their collaborative musicianship combined with their very accessible, yet audacious repertoire made an immediate impression upon the jury”, says Danièle LeBlanc, Executive and Artistic Director at Jeunesses Musicales Canada. meagan&amy‘s concert will explore the idea of a musical identity able to bridge all provinces and territories, presenting works by local composers as well as European classical works, as a way of considering their influence on Canadian music.
“meagan&amy’s concert proposal is all the more interesting as they hail from the Prairies, have studied in Montreal, and have performed across the country, bringing a broad perspective to their programming that strives to reflect the similarities and differences of Canada’s diverse regions.”, says Mhiran Faraday, Executive Director at Debut Atlantic.
Road Trip! A Pan-Canadian Partnership, will run between September 2019 and May 2020, and will offer close to forty performances, taking place across 10 provinces and territories. “We are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity to meagan&amy, especially since emerging artists very rarely get to play tours of this scope”, adds Po Yeh, Executive Director at Prairie Debut.
Amy Hillis has “a rich, warm sound and has mastered the violin with such ease, that it is impossible to ignore her passion in performance” (Ludwig Van Montréal). Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Amy collaborates with musicians from around the world in order to explore new approaches to classical and contemporary music. Amy was a 2017 artist-in-residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, a residency awarded by the Conseils des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. She is also the winner of the 2018 Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, the 2017 McGill Concerto Competition, the Sylva Gelber Foundation Music Award, and a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Her principal teachers have been Axel Strauss, Ian Swensen, Denise Lupien and Eduard Minevich. Amy is a member of the Montreal-based SOMA Quartet as well as first violinist and manager of the prairie-based Horizon String Quartet. She performs on the 1820 Joannes Franciscus Pressenda, on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.
A seasoned performer, Meagan Milatz has appeared as soloist with several Canadian orchestras including the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra, the McGill Symphony Orchestra, and most recently the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Top prizewinner at the 2014 Shean Piano Competition and the 2011 CFMTA National Piano Competition, her performance endeavours have brought her to international stages, including Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Bruges, Belgium; Gijón, Spain; and Gda?sk, Poland. Equally passionate as a collaborative pianist, Milatz is currently based in Montreal where she collaborates frequently with Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the OSM. She received her Master’s degree from McGill University where she studied modern piano with Ilya Poletaev and fortepiano with Tom Beghin. In 2017, Milatz was a participant in the famed Kneisel Hall Young Artist Program, and is currently studying collaborative piano with Philip Chiu. She is a 2017 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award recipient.
meagan&amy share an intense passion for innovative programming and fearless music-making. Praised for their energy, sensitivity and musical maturity, they began their partnership in 2011 at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, even though both hail from Saskatchewan. Their individual strengths – Milatz’s interest in the fortepiano and Hillis’s aptitudes for contemporary music – have combined to inform the wide range of repertoire which they present.
For Immediate Release:
A PAN-CANADIAN TOUR FOR EMERGING ARTISTS IN 2019-2020
Calgary AB, September 8, 2017 – Three Canadian classical music organizations join forces to offer a pan-Canadian tour to an exceptional Canadian emerging artist or musical ensemble in 2019-2020.
Debut Atlantic, Jeunesses Musicales Canada and Prairie Debut are teaming up to build a tour that will span the country. “It will be a first collaboration for our three organizations, and an amazing opportunity for a young Canadian artist or ensemble”, says Mhiran Faraday, Executive Director at Debut Atlantic.
This initiative, uniting the three organizations, is also a way to celebrate two important anniversaries: Jeunesses Musicales Canada’s 70th, and Debut Atlantic’s 40th. “It is a significant milestone for us, and we are very happy to highlight it with a collaboration of this scope”, declares Danièle LeBlanc, Executive and Artistic Director at Jeunesses Musicales Canada.
The tour, set to run between September 2019 and April 2020, should count close to forty performances, taking place across 10 provinces and territories. “Emerging artists very rarely get to play on tours of this scope. We hope to provide an exceptional artist or ensemble with an unique opportunity”, adds Po Yeh, Executive Director at Prairie Debut.
Applicants interested in this tour are invited to submit their electronic application to Jeunesses Musicales Canada, who will manage the applications on behalf of all three organizations. However, all three organizations will be involved in the selection process. All applications must be submitted before October 20, 2017. Candidates must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and must not have toured with any of the three organizations. The registration form and detailed selection criteria, as well as the complete list of requested documents are available on Jeunesses Musicales Canada’s website.
PRAIRIE DEBUT HAS MOVED!
Please update your records with Prairie Debut’s new address and contact info (as of July 1, 2017):
Po Yeh, Executive Director
Prairie Debut Inc.
P.O. Box 15106
Aspen Woods RPO
Calgary, Alberta T3N 0N8
MEET PRAIRIE DEBUT’S 2018/19 TOURING ARTISTS
Our 2018/19 Season will feature 4 touring artists. We are very excited to showcase their incredible talents at the fall booking conferences in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Keep in touch to find out more about these musicians, showcases will be announced this fall.
PRAIRIE DEBUT ANNOUNCES THE APPOINTMENT OF PO YEH AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Po Yeh joins Prairie Debut as the new Executive Director, commencing July 2017. She come to Prairie Debut from the Honens Piano Competition, where most recently as Director, Corporate & Community Engagement, she managed corporate development, government and foundation funding, and community and learning programs. Po has been actively involved in the arts community for over ten years in Calgary and nationally. She has demonstrated a keen interest in supporting the performance and creation of contemporary Canadian new music – as manager for New Works Calgary and Land’s End Ensemble; board member of the Canadian New Music Network, Luminous Voices and Canada Music Week Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Associations.
Po holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia and a Chartered Professional Accountant designation, certificates in Arts & Cultural Management and in Public Relations from Grant MacEwan and Mount Royal Universities respectively, and an Associate Diploma in Piano from The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto).
“Lynne Bailey has been the heart and soul of Prairie Debut from the beginning of the organization and has overseen the organization’s growth, from a seed of an idea to a network that is widely respected provincially and nationally. Canadian Classical and World music artists have had extensive tours of Western Canada as a result of Lynne’s tireless work over two plus decades. When Lynne announced her desire to retire in the Summer of 2017 to the Prairie Debut Board, the thought of finding a qualified candidate was daunting. The hiring committee was impressed with the quality of all of the candidates and were thrilled that someone with Po Yeh’s background and skill set would be available to the organization. The Prairie Debut Board of Directors welcomes Po and looks forward to helping her take the organization to the next level,” says Kevin Korchinski, Prairie Debut Board Chairman.
Po Yeh will begin her Prairie Debut career on July 4, 2017 and will be working with Lynne Bailey until July 14, 2017. The Prairie Debut office will officially move to Calgary as of July 17, 2017.
“I have long admired the work of Prairie Debut – its highly regarded reputation for excellence and significant contribution in developing the careers of Canadian classical and world music artists,” says Po Yeh, incoming Executive Director for Prairie Debut. “I am excited by the opportunity to lead Prairie Debut and bring creative talents to communities across the Prairies, so these experiences may delight, inspire, educate, connect and communicate with audiences.”
“Po Yeh is a great fit for Prairie Debut. She’s a smart, visionary leader with a depth of knowledge in both organizational development and artistic growth. Plus she is a really great person and I have no doubt that Prairie Debut artists and community presenters will love working with Po and that she will lead the organization into a very exciting next phase of growth,” says Lynne Bailey, outgoing Executive Director for Prairie Debut.
RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It has been my privilege to be Executive Director of Prairie Debut since its inception in 1995. Throughout the 20 seasons of presenting classical and world music in the Prairies, it has been an honour to work with all the stakeholders who contribute to this organization; the artists who perform, the presenters we work with, the Board, the sponsors, and the individual donors who support Prairie Debut.
Journeys & Journals – Selected Stories from our Newsletter
DUO MILOT & BAREIL’S DUOS & DUELS WILL DAZZLE THE WEST!
The relationship of the performers and their passion for the music played is the foundation of Duo Milot & Bareil. A couple on stage and in life, harpist Valérie Milot and violinist Antoine Bareil offer performances marked by exceptional artistry and intimate connection. The duo will begin the first leg of their Prairie Debut tour in February, which will see them perform in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Duos & Duels is a unique program highlighting the dynamics between the violin and harp. While some pieces pair the instruments as a beautifully intertwined duo, other pieces pit them in an artistic battle of virtuosity. In English or French, the duo takes time to explain their instruments, tell stories about the music, and share anecdotes about performance experiences.
Thursday, February 2/17
Station Arts Centre
Station Arts Centre Theatre
Friday, February 10 & Saturday, February 11/17
Wainwright Encore Entertainment Society
Wainright Communiplex Theatre
Saturday, February 4/17
Chautaqua Edson Art Council
Red Brick Theatre
Sunday, February 12/17
Sunday, February 5/17
Stettler Variety Showcase
Performing Arts Centre
Tuesday, February 14/17
Kindersley & District Arts Council
Norman Ritchie Community Centre
Thursday, February 9/17
Maclab Centre for the Performing Arts
Swift Current SK
Wednesday, February 15/17
Swift Current Allied Arts Council
Sky Centre Theatre
Duo Milot & Bareil continues their Prairie Debut Tour in April performing in Spruce Grove AB, Regina SK, and Fort McMurray AB.
FLÛTE ALORS! BRING BACH ‘N’ JAZZ TO THE PRAIRIES
Prairie Debut’s first tour of 2017 will be the recorder quartet Flûte Alors! who will be performing in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta this month. Dynamic and versatile, Flûte Alors! is not afraid to push the limits of traditional recorder performance. Since 1999, this award-winning quartet has received distinction for the audacity of their programs and the excellence of their performances.
The Flûte Alors! program, Bach’n Jazz, is inspired by the cultural diversity seen from a bistro patio in Old Montréal. Infused with masterpieces by J.S. Bach, paired with the jazz standards of Dizzy Gillespie and more, it is a concert like no other. The quartet also presents their own thrilling arrangements that push the performance technique of the recorder to unbelievable new limits.
Thursday, January 19/17
Golden Prairie Arts Council
Carman Collegiate Theatre
Saturday, January 21/17
Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, University of Winnipeg
Monday, January 23/17
Estevan Arts Council
Trinity Lutheran Church
Tuesday, January 24/17
Yorkton Arts Council
Anne Portnuff Theatre
High River AB
Friday, January 27/17
High River Gift of Music
High River United Church
Sunday, January 29/17
Burman University Theatre
Tuesday, January 31/17
ProSeries, Brandon University School of Music
Lorne Watson Recital Hall
Lyell Gustin Recital Series
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
Regina Musical Club
Westminster United Church
DUO FORTIN-POIRIER DAZZLES THE PRAIRIES!
Duo Fortin-Poirier successfully completed their Prairie Debut Tour last month. The Duo performed to sold out crowds in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon. Pianists Amélie Fortin and Marie-Christine Poirier, received standing ovations and praise from the audiences across the Prairies.
Their tour program titled Mémoires, featured works for one piano-four hands and spanned the classical, tango, and ragtime genres. In addition to their exquisite music and stage presence, the duo set up a video projector, to give the audience a close up view of the piano keyboard. The video ensured there was never a bad seat in the house, and the audiences loved the intimacy of visually hovering over the piano to watch the performance.
In addition, Duo Fortin-Poirier went to a number of French & English schools throughout the prairies, bringing piano music to children who would otherwise not have access to the concerts. These outreach activities were well received and beneficial to both the students and the artists.
AMAZING SHOWCASES BY PRAIRIE DEBUT 2017-18 TOURING ARTISTS!
Prairie Debut’s 2017-18 Touring Artists showcased at the Prairie Contact events this fall. Congratulations to Henderson-Kolk Duo, The Chooi Brothers and Proteus Saxophone Quartet on their incredible showcases. All three artists wowed the conference attendees with their great performances.
Henderson-Kolk Duo, guitar duo
Guitarists Michael Kolk & Drew Henderson performing their spectacular arrangement of Mozart’s Symphony 40 at the OSAC Showcase in Saskatoon, SK.
Timothy Chooi and Lynne Bailey pose for a selfie in front of the Prairie Debut booth at the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta Showcase in Fort Saskatchewan, AB.
Proteus Saxophone Quartet
Proteus Saxophone Quartet members (L-R) Holly DeCaigny, Tommy Davis, Michael Morimoto, & Mark Michalak pose outside of the Access Event Centre in Morden, MB before their showcase at the Manitoba Arts Network Showcase.
PRAIRIE DEBUT THANKS SPONSOR RBC FOUNDATION
The RBC Foundation – Emerging Artist Project is a fund that contributes to Prairie Debut’s ability to bring our artists to small communities throughout Alberta and Yukon. We are grateful to RBC for their generous sponsorship. Your partnership with Prairie Debut provides wonderful opportunities for concerts and outreach that make a significant impact for communities and artists.
Photos: Left – Lynne Bailey with Priscilla Ng & Jerilynn Daniels of the RBC FOundation Alberta and Territories Region. Centre- Lynne Bailey with Jim Wilson, Manager of the RBC Whitehorse Branch. Right – Photo taken following Duo Fortin-Poirier’s performance in Whitehorse, YK (L-R) Lynne Bailey, Amélie Fortin, Marie-Christine Poirier & the wonderful RBC staff from Whitehorse.
DUO FORTIN-POIRIER: OUR FIRST 2016-17 TOUR
Duo Fortin-Poirier will begin Prairie Debut’s 2016-17 touring season, performing concerts in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Yukon. The duo, featuring pianists Amélie Fortin and Marie-Christine Poirier, has been heralded as one of the most promising of its generation. Graduates of the Université de Montréal, each pianist has won several awards and grants individually before making their debut as a duo team in 2005. With an intuitive musicianship, this young duo has an extraordinarily natural partnership that has quickly garnered acclaim.
Their concert program titled Mémoires, features works for one piano, four hands and spans the classical, tango, and ragtime genres. Exploring the theme of memories, the program weaves between the intensity of Piazzolla’s tangos, the lyricism of Rachmaninov, and the liveliness of Samuel Barber. Mémoires is a concert that blends hard driving rhythm with sweet nostalgia, resonating with audiences who will remember the dynamism of Duo Fortin-Poirier.
Sunday, September 18/16
Regina Musical Clu
Riddell Centre Theatre
Snow Lake MB
Monday, October 3/16
Ravna House Concerts
Saturday, October 1/16
Southern Manitoba Concerts
Altona Bergthaler Mennonite Church
Saturday, October 8/16
Yukon Arts Centre
Friday, November 4/16
Eastern Manitoba Concert Association
Pinawa Community Centre
Monday, November 7/16
Steinbach Arts Council
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Station Arts Centre
Station Arts Theatre
Thursday, November 10/16
Melfort Arts Council
CJVR Performing Arts Theatre
Saturday, November 12/16
Estevan Arts Council Estevan
Trinity Lutheran Church
Tuesday, November 15/16
Minnedosa Performing Arts Committee
Minnedosa United Church
CONGRATULATIONS NIKKI, THE METROPOLITAN OPERA ORCHESTRA’S NEWEST CONCERTMASTER
Prairie Debut congratulates violinist Nikki Chooi on his appointment to one of the world’s most prestigious positions, Concertmaster of New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Nikki, one of Prairie Debut’s 2017-18 touring artists, begins his contract this fall.
“It’s a dream job,” said 27 year old Nikki, “the orchestra is known to be one of the leading ensembles in the world, and just to think that I’m about to be a part of it. It hasn’t settled in yet. I’m still on cloud nine.”
As First Prize Winner of the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Nikki completed an extensive tour with Chamber Music New Zealand, performed with Giordano Bellincampi and the Auckland Philharmonia, recorded his debut album with the Atoll Label, and was featured at Australia’s Musica Viva Recital Series. He is also a winner of the 2013 Astral Artists’ Auditions and Laureate of the 2012 Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition. As soloist, Nikki has performed with Canadian and international orchestras.
PRAIRIE DEBUT IS THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE OUR NEWEST SPONSOR MNP LTD.
A leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada, MNP proudly serves and responds to the needs of clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Through partner-led engagements, MNP provides a collaborative, cost-effective approach to doing business and personalized strategies to help organizations succeed across the country and around the world.
Prairie Debut depends on these generous sponsorships and donations to continue bringing the highest quality Canadian classical and world musicians to Western Canada. We are honoured to have this new partnership with MNP Ltd.
SUCCESSFUL STRAT PLAN MOVES PRAIRIE DEBUT AHEAD
Prairie Debut’s board and staff completed an amazing Strategic Planning Meeting this past May in Winnipeg MB. Big ideas were discussed, a review of the mandate, and the organization looks forward to continuing its role in the arts in western Canada.
Prairie Debut has steadfastly promoted the arts in communities that would otherwise have no opportunity to be enriched by live classical and world music performances of this calibre and financially supporting the tours in order for its viability into these rural areas. In doing so, Prairie Debut contributes to community enrichment, audience growth and emerging artist career development.
Prairie Debut and our artists have travelled the 100,000 km of open prairie roads and by-ways bringing with them instruments as varied as harpsichords, marimbas, bassoons, accordions, and yes, they have carried multi-million dollar violins onto small prop planes in order to reach northern towns. All this travel to reach over 1 million Western Canadian’s lives throughout our 19 year history.
We wish to sincerely thank CAPACOA for its support of this meeting through the Capacity Building Program. The weekend was a huge success because of our fantastic facilitator, Jan Layh, who kept everyone on track (and smiling). As always thanks to all the board members: Andrea Davison, Brian DeGagne, Guy Few, Kevin Korchinski, Andrew Kwan, and Elizabeth Wilkie for their enthusiasm and support for Prairie Debut.