Wednesday May 19, 2021 | 7:30PM
Ensemble Constantinople; Michel Angers, baroque guitar, theorbo; Didem Başar, kanun; Elinor Frey, baroque cello; Patrick Graham, percussion; Tanya LaPerrière, baroque violin, viola d'amore; Kiya Tabassian, setar, shourangiz
For this concert, Ensemble Constantinople has taken the liberty of reinventing the music left by Italian early baroque composers such Kapsberger, Monteverdi and Rossi. In response to these beautiful works, Constantinople will interpret a few masterpieces from the Polish composer at the Ottoman court, Ali Ufuki, as well as new compositions by Constantinople music director, Kiya Tabassian. The ensemble aims to create a dialogue that recreates the spirit of the cultural exchanges between Venice and Eastern capital cities, such as Constantinople. The spontaneous changes, sharp contrasts and unusual rhythmic groupings in this program provide fertile ground for the musicians of Constantinople, who always welcome the chance to free themselves from the cultural codes of old Europe.
This concert is generously supported by José Verstappen, Elaine Adair, and Jo Anne Tharalson
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (c.1580-1651) / A. Falconieri (c. 1585-1656)
Capona / Ciaconna
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
L’Aube d’une forêt
Salomone Rossi (c. 1570-1630)
Ali Ufki (1610-1675)
Fath-e Bâb – Nikriz Pishrow
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Il ballo delle ingrate (Excerpt)
Pishrev-i Zarb-i Feth
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Pietro Paolo Borrono (1490-1563)
Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey—geographical certainly, but also historical, cultural and inner—as its cornerstone. It draws inspiration from all sources and aims for distant horizons. Inspired by the ancient city illuminating the East and West, Constantinople was founded in 1998 in Montreal by its artistic director, Kiya Tabassian.
Since its founding, the ensemble promotes the creation of new works incorporating musical elements of diverse musical traditions around the world, drawing from medieval manuscripts to a contemporary aesthetic, passing by Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque. Underpinned by a spirit of research and creation, Constantinople has joined forces with leading international artists such as singers Marco Beasley, Françoise Atlan, Savina Yannatou and Suzie Le Blanc; the Mandinka griot Ablaye Cissoko; the Greek ensemble En Chordais, the Belgian duo Belem and the American group The Klezmatics; sarangi virtuoso Dhruba Ghosh, Syrian clarinettist and composer Kinan Azmeh, and Iranian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor.
Regularly invited to perform in international festivals and prestigious concert halls, such as the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, the Rencontres musicales de Conques in France, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Festival de Carthage in Tunisia, the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens and the BOZAR in Brussels, Constantinople is acclaimed by the public, music professionals and critics alike. The ensemble has 19 albums to its credit on labels Analekta, Atma, World Village, Buda Musique, MaCase, Glossa, and Dreyer Gaido. Over the past fifteen years, Constantinople has created nearly 50 works and travelled to more than 240 cities in 54 countries.
Michel Angers, baroque guitar, theorbo
Canadian guitarist/lutenist Michel Angers collaborates in numerous artistic projects for various ensembles as a continuo player (Tafelmusik, Constantinople, Les Violons du Roy, Les Idees Heureuses, Les Poètes de l’Amérique Française and Consort Laurentia) and as a soloist throughout Canada, America, and Europe. He is also a recording artist for renowned Italian label Stradivarius. Angers values the honour of educating others and maintains a successful private studio. He is a sought-after mentor serving on faculty with the Orford Center for the Arts and the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance.
Upon receiving his Master of Music degree from Laval University in Québec, Angers was awarded the highest distinction from the Quebec Music Conservatory. In 2005, Angers won the classical guitar category of the prestigious Canadian Music Competition.
Receiving Numerous grants by many cultural organizations, he has been a scholar of Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute (Lucas Harris) and Early Music America which gave him the opportunity to attend the Accademia d’Amore in Seattle to study under the direction of Stephen Stubbs. In 2011, Michel Angers won the Award of Artistic Creation presented by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec. Twice a grant holder of the Marco Fodella Foundation, Angers specialized in early music under Paul Beier, at the Academy of Music in Milan.
Didem Başar, kanun
Born in a family steeped in music, kanun (Turkish zither) player and composer Didem Başar began her music education at the Istanbul Turkish Music State Conservatory when she was 11 years old. After completing the Conservatory’s kanun program, she continued training at the same institution and received a bachelor’s degree in composition.
Her interest in examining the effects of art on society led her to pursue a master’s degree in the musical analysis of Mevlevi music at Marmara University. She gave lectures on Turkish music and kanun playing techniques at Halic University’s Turkish Music Conservatory and the Istanbul University State Conservatory from 2001 until she moved
to Canada in 2007. Relocating to Montreal has given Didem the opportunity to reinterpret her music in a new environment whose vividness is the result of the turbulent convergence of manifold cultures flowing from different parts of the world.
After composing for different ensembles and playing with different artists over the past 15 years, Didem Başar wanted to create her own project, which would intersect her two musical influences: Turkish and Western classical music. During an artistic residency at the World Musicians Centre in Montreal, she was able to call on the talents of Noemy Braun, a classical cellist with a flair for improvisation, Guy Pelletier, a flute virtuoso and highly versatile musician known for exploring different genres and styles, Brigitte Dajczer, a violinist rooted in Eastern European and Romani folk music, and Patrick Graham, another remarkably versatile musician with a broad knowledge of different percussion instruments from all over the world. The album, Levantine Rhapsody, was released in February 2020 and received the Opus Award for best world music album of the year, as well as many other prestigious nominations.
Elinor Frey, baroque cello
Fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her recent release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical CD, Solo & Chamber Music and won the 2015 Québec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. Her first Baroque CD, La voce del violoncello, was praised for its “careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos” (Toronto Star) and for the “honest, reflective beauty of her music making” (Strings). Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. In May 2017, she released Fiorè, the world premiere recording of the sonatas of Angelo Maria Fiorè and various unknown Italian arias, performed alongside Lorenzo Ghielmi and Suzie LeBlanc.
Frey’s debut album, Dialoghi, is titled for the solo piece written for her by Steven Stucky, and her CD of new works for Baroque cello, titled Guided By Voices, will be released on the Analekta label in March 2019. These works are by Scott Godin, Linda Catlin Smith, Ken Ueno, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Maxime McKinley, and Lisa Streich. She also recently performed Lutoslawski’s cello concerto and a new concerto by Colin Labadie with the Laurier Symphony, as well as a concerto by Keiko Devaux with Ensemble Arkea and conductor Dina Gilbert.
Frey’s honours include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, American Musicological Society, and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. In recent seasons she has performed with Il Gardellino, Constantinople, Clavecin en concert, Ensemble Caprice, SMAM, Les Idées heureuses, Arion, Les Boréades, and Theatre of Early Music, as well as with her quartet, Pallade Musica, grand prize winners of the 2012 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition and second prize winners in the 2014 International Van Wassenaer Competition in Utrecht. Currently a course instructor at McGill University, Frey holds degrees from Mannes, McGill, and Juilliard and is the Visiting Fellow in Music from 2019-2022 at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.
Patrick Graham, percussion
Over a two decades career based in Montreal, Canadian multi-percussionist Patrick Graham has been described as a “master improviser… on the border of several forms of traditional and creative music, embracing the world of rhythm as a whole” (Yves Bernard, Le Devoir). Patrick displays a talent for fusing an eclectic array of influences—ranging from Japanese percussion, through Indian and Irish rhythms, to Mediterranean frame drumming—as a well as a passion for new sounds and improvisation. This unique cross-genre approach is reflective of an extensive and ongoing study of the art of percussion, including a Bachelor of Music from McGill University in Montreal, as well as private training in several countries with Trichy Sankaran, Glen Velez, Carlo Rizzo, Zohar Fresco and Taichi Ozaki. In addition, Patrick has attended workshops and master classes at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University, the Labyrinth centre in Crete and participated in the Taiko Koh-Kan workshops conducted by the group Kodō, on Sado Island in Japan.
Patrick performs, tours and records regularly with many groups and ensembles, including Constantinople, as well as contributing to productions by IMAX, Cirque du Soleil and Ubisoft Games. Alongside a busy performing and recording schedule, Patrick is also active as an instructor, teaching percussion and rhythm workshops in Canada, the USA, India, China and Japan, as well as for the Cirque du Soleil.
In March 2020, Patrick released Lumina, his latest solo project.
Tanya LaPerrière, baroque violin, viola d'amore
Recognized for the elegance and passion of her interpretations, Tanya LaPerrière is a graduated violin master of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels under the direction of Mira Glodeanu, as well as McGill University under the guidance of Chantal Rémillard. Co-solo violin of Arion orchestra, she also performs on Canadian and international stages with the celebrated ensembles Caprice, Constantinople, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Clavecin en concert and Les Idées Heureuses. She is currently collaborating as a coach for the baroque orchestra at Université de Montréal (OBUM) alongside Luc Beauséjour.
She also leads as solo violin and founding member her quartet, Pallade Musica, winner of prestigious awards in Utrecht (Holland) and New York (United States), also nominated for two Opus Awards for their recordings on the Atma label. Ms. LaPerrière regularly performs as Concertmaster in Canadian ensembles and is building a solid reputation as a leader in early music throughout the country.
Kiya Tabassian, setar, shourangiz
Born in 1976 in Tehran, Iran. At age 14, Kiya Tabassian emigrated with his family to Quebec from Iran, bringing with him some initial musical training in Persian music and a fledgling musical career. Determined to become a musician and composer, he continued his self-education in Persian music, meeting frequently with Reza Gassemi and Kayhan Kalhor. At the same time, he studied composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay. In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople with the idea of developing an ensemble for musical creation that draws from the heritage of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, of Europe, and of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Serving as its artistic director, Kiya has developed close to 40 programs with his ensemble, which continues to be met with unparalleled acclaim by audiences around the world.
He has performed on stages throughout the world and collaborated on many eclectic projects as a composer, performer and improviser. These have included regular collaborations with Radio-Canada since 1996; participation in the international MediMuses project as a member of the group researching the history and repertoire of Mediterranean music and as a contributor on several publishing and recording initiatives from 2002 to 2005; musical collaborations with the Atlas Ensemble (Holland) and, as a tutor, with the Atlas Academy, on a dual project aimed at linking contemporary music with oral traditions, since 2009.
Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talents as a composer, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the European Broadcasting Union. He has also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
Since the summer of 2017, he is Associate Artist at the prestigious Rencontres musicales de Conques festival (formerly the Conques, la Lumière du Roman music festival), where he presented many recent creations with Constantinople.
Kiya was a member of the Conseil des arts de Montréal for seven years, serving as chair of the music decision-making committee for three years, and he is now a Board member of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He also received a mandate from the Conseil québécois de la musique to set up a committee that will examine the role of music from around the world within the context of performance music. His desire to be involved and engaged with the musical community and Quebec society led him, in 2017, to co-found the Centre des musiciens du monde in Montreal, for which he will serve as artistic director.
His artistic projects and creations have received the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for years.