alexander weimann

The Gift of Music

Photo: Dina MacDougall

Photo: Dina MacDougall

The School of Music unveils rare, newly refurbished harpsichord — thanks to support from a generous donor.

This March, the School of Music unveiled one of the jewels of our instrument collection: a newly renovated double-manual harpsichord modeled on an 18th-century German original. Harpsichordist Alexander Weimann, along with violinist Chloe Meyers and viola da gamba player Natalie Mackie, showcased the new addition with a special concert at Roy Barnett Recital Hall featuring the works of German Baroque composers.

“Bach, Muffat, Buxtehude and Schmeltzer — it was the perfect repertoire, I think, to demonstrate what makes the instrument such an important and beautiful addition to the School,” says Professor Alex Fisher, who helped organize the renovation and the concert. 

 

 

LISTEN: Bach's Sonata in G major for gamba and harpsichord, as performed by Alexander Weimann (harpsichord) and Natalie Mackie (viola da gamba)

Craftsman Craig Tomlinson built the harpsichord by hand in the 1980s, based on the original German design by Christian Zell (1728) that is preserved today in the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg. Celebrated for its rich sound and variety of different tone colours, Tomlinson’s masterful replica had begun to show its age and needed some significant improvements.

A generous donation by Marlene Yemchuk, in honour of her son David Yemchuk (B.Sc. 2010), made the renovation possible.

“In the fall of 2016 Marlene and I began discussing a donation in the memory of David, an alumnus of the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who was an avid and talented musician in his own right,” Fisher says.

“After consulting with a variety of local performers and experts, we decided that the donation’s greatest impact would be to fully renovate the Zell harpsichord, which over the years had fallen into disrepair.”

 

 

LISTEN: Buxtehude's Sonata in A minor for violin, viola da gamba, and continuo, as performed by Weimann, Mackie, and Chloe Meyers (violin)

In addition, the generous donation also made possible some improvements to a second harpsichord by Ken Bakeman that is heavily used by students and faculty.

In his renovation of the Zell harpsichord, Tomlinson kept its original case, its lovely keyboards made of ebony and bone, and its beautifully painted soundboard, but completely restored the harpsichord’s action. He restrung the entire instrument, adjusting its regulation and voicing, rebuilt the stand on which it rests, and painted the entire exterior of the instrument in a deep black with gold bands. The finishing touch was the addition of a small plaque in David’s memory, inscribed with the phrase Musica Lieta Dono Divino (“Joyful Music: The Divine Gift”).

The result is, in Weimann and Fisher’s opinion, perhaps the finest instrument of its kind in Vancouver and the entire region.

“As a musician and devotee of early music, I can say that it an incredible gift to have such an important and beautiful instrument at the School. Thank you to Marlene and Craig!” Weimann says.

* * *

As one of the most beautiful instruments in the region, the Zell harpsichord needs a custom-made cover that will protect it from scuffs and scrapes and keep it in top condition. If there are early music enthusiasts out there who might be interested in making a small donation towards this commission, we would be extremely grateful for any support!

Please contact Prof. Fisher if you're interested.

 

 

SLIDESHOW: A closer look at the renovated harpsichord

Beyond the Gates

The latest news from School of Music faculty

Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestras Jonathan Girard has been named a Peter Wall Institute Wall Scholar for 2018–19. As one of nine scholars “tasked with finding new approaches to critically important questions,” Dr. Girard will work with 2017 Peter Wall Institute Visiting Artist Deborah Carruthers on a graphical score for orchestra, and has plans to commission new orchestral works that explore sonic expressions of climate change.

Prof. Nancy Hermiston (right) at Canada Music Week

Prof. Nancy Hermiston (right) at Canada Music Week

In November, the Canadian Music Centre honoured Professor Nancy Hermiston with a Barbara Pentland Award of Excellence for the UBC Opera’s many commissions, performances, and support of Canadian music.


Composer and Sessional Instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02) won the 2018 Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year for her orchestral work, My Name Is Amanda Todd. The 10-minute composition honours the memory of the Port Coquitlam teenager who died tragically in 2015. Watch Jocelyn and Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother, talk about the piece, and her daughter's legacy.

WATCH: Jocelyn Morlock's Juno Award speech

Sessional instructor and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann was nominated alongside Arion Orchestre Baroque for the Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble). Their album, Rebelles Baroques, is hailed for the "clarity and freshness of [its] interpretations" and attention to detail. Weimann is the Principal Artist and Director of the School of Music's Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program.


Sessional lecturer and saxophonist Julia Nolan joined the West Coast Symphony Orchestra for its 2018 Balkan Tour, which includes stops in Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro.  The tour will feature music by composers from Canada, the United States, Kosovo and Macedonia, including a reprise of Saxophone Concerto by composer and alumnus Stefan Hintersteininger (BMus’04, MLis’09).


Adjunct professor Elizabeth Volpé Bligh retired from her position as Principal Harp with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in January 2018, after 36 years. Her former student Lani Krantz (BMus’00) became Acting Principal Harp in her place, until auditions can be held for the role. Bligh will also continue to perform with the VSO occasionally.

Instructor Jocelyn Morlock wins Juno Award for Best Classical Composition

Congratulations to composer and sessional instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02), winner of this year's Juno Award for Best Classical Composition!

Jocelyn's My Name Is Amanda Todd, a 10-minute composition for orchestra, honours the memory of the Port Coquitlam teenager who died tragically in 2015. Jocelyn and Amanda's mother, Carol Todd, spoke about the piece, and Amanda's legacy, at the ceremony:


Two other UBC School of Music faculty and alumni were nominated for 2018 Juno Awards for their excellent work:

Alumnus Fraser Walters (BMus ’03) and his group The Tenors received a nod for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for Christmas Together, which "captures the joy and magic of the season, combining a mix of holiday classics, contemporary favourites and original songs." This is The Tenors' third Juno nomination — they won the same category in 2013. 

Sessional instructor and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann is nominated alongside Arion Orchestre Baroque for Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble). Their album, Rebelles Baroques, is hailed for the "clarity and freshness of [its] interpretations" and attention to detail. Weimann is the Principal Artist and Director of the School of Music's Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program.

Congratulations, Jocelyn, Fraser and Alex! 

 

UBC School of Music to unveil rare, newly renovated harpsichord at March 21st concert

Dina MacDougall/UBC School of Music

Dina MacDougall/UBC School of Music

On Wednesday, March 21st, the UBC School of Music will unveil one of the jewels of our instrument collection — a newly renovated double-manual harpsichord modeled on an 18th-century German original— at a special concert with renowned Early Music trio Alexander Weimann (harpsichord), Chloe Meyers (violin), and Natalie Mackie (viola da gamba).

The concert will feature works by Bach, Muffat, Buxtehude, and Schmelzer.

“We’re very excited to reintroduce this gorgeous instrument to the world,” says Prof. Alexander Fisher, who helped organize the renovation and the concert. “Alex and his trio have chosen the perfect repertoire, I think, to demonstrate what makes it such an important and beautiful addition to the School.”

Craftsman Craig Tomlinson built the harpsichord by hand in the 1980s, based on the original German design by Christian Zell (1728) that is preserved today in the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg. Celebrated for its rich sound and variety of different tone colours, Tomlinson’s masterful replica had begun to show its age and needed some significant improvements.

A generous donation by Marlene Yemchuk, in honour of her son David Yemchuck (B.Sc. 2010), made the renovation possible.

“It is an incredible gift to have such an important and beautiful instrument at the School. We owe a debt of thanks to Marlene Yemchuk and Craig Tomlinson.”

“In the fall of 2016 Marlene and I began discussing a donation in the memory of David, an alumnus of the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who was an avid and talented musician in his own right,” Fisher says.

“After consulting with a variety of local performers and experts, we decided that the donation’s greatest impact would be to fully renovate the Zell harpsichord, which over the years had fallen into disrepair.” In addition, the generous donation also made possible some improvements to a second harpsichord by Ken Bakeman that is heavily used by students and faculty.

In his renovation of the Zell harpsichord, Tomlinson kept its original case, its lovely keyboards made of ebony and bone, and its beautifully painted soundboard, but completely restored the harpsichord’s action. He restrung the entire instrument, adjusting its regulation and voicing, rebuilt the stand on which it rests, and painted the entire exterior of the instrument in a deep black with gold bands. The finishing touch was the addition of a small plaque in David’s memory, inscribed with the phrase Musica Lieta Dono Divino (“Joyful Music: The Divine Gift”).

The result is, in Weimann and Fisher’s opinion, perhaps the finest instrument of its kind in Vancouver and the entire region.

“As a musician and devotee of early music, I can say that it an incredible gift to have such an important and beautiful instrument at the School. Thank you to Marlene and Craig,” Weimann says.

You can see Weimann and the Zell harpsichord in action at Roy Barnett Recital Hall on Wednesday, March 21st at 12 p.m. Tickets for The Gift of Music will be available at the door for $5 (cash only). Visit the event page for more information about the concert. 

 

 

SLIDESHOW: View images of the fully restored Zell harpsichord

 

School of Music faculty and alumni nominated for 2018 Juno awards

Three UBC School of Music faculty and alumni have been nominated for 2018 Juno Awards!

Composer and sessional instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02) is nominated for Classical Composition of the Year for her orchestral work, My Name Is Amanda Todd. The 10-minute composition honours the memory of the Port Coquitlam teenager who died tragically in 2015. Watch Jocelyn talk about the piece, and the inspiration behind it, here.

Alumnus Fraser Walters (BMus ’03) and his group The Tenors received a nod for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for Christmas Together, which "captures the joy and magic of the season, combining a mix of holiday classics, contemporary favourites and original songs." This is The Tenors' third Juno nomination — they won the same category in 2013. 

Sessional instructor and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann is nominated alongside Arion Orchestre Baroque for Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble). Their album, Rebelles Baroques, is hailed for the "clarity and freshness of [its] interpretations" and attention to detail. Weimann is the Principal Artist and Director of the School of Music's Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program.

Congratulations, Jocelyn, Fraser and Alex! 

 

The Juno Connection

Congratulations to Alexander Weimann, Turning Point Ensemble and Musica Intima on their Juno nominations!

Alexander Weimann

Alexander Weimann

Thirst

Thirst

Weimann is the Principal Artist and Director of our Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program. He’s nominated for Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance with Bach: Magnificat BWV 243, his recording with Arion Baroque Orchestre.

Turning Point Ensemble and Musica Intima are nominated for Classical Composition of the Year for their recording of Ana Sokolović’s “And I need a room to receive five thousand people with raised glasses…or…what a glorious day, the birds are singing ‘halleluia.’” The song appears on the new album Thirst, a collaboration between the two groups released by Redshift Records.

Musica Intima is an internationally renowed vocal chamber group, while Turning Point Ensemble is a large chamber ensemble dedicated to "linking modern and contemporary music to music of our time and other artforms." A number of UBC faculty members and alumni perform in these two boundary-pushing Vancouver-based ensembles and were involved in the recording. Faculty members include:

Karen Wilson (BMus’74) produced the album. Will Howie (BMus’04) was the recording engineer and digital editor.

The Juno Awards will be announced on Sunday, April 2nd. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Listen: