(Posted 9:30 p.m., May 1)
honours 'piano mom' with memorial concert
By Fred Sherwin
Claudia Chan performed with friends Barbara Zuchowicz and Camilo D'Avila
at a special concert at the Orleans Theatre last Saturday night to benefit
the Ride to Conquer Cancer and the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.
nearly a year since Gloucester music teacher Elaine Kruse passed away suddenly
following a short battle with cancer. Her death came as shock to many people
that knew her, especially her extended family of piano students who knew
her simply as their piano mom.
is one of those former students. She studied with Kruse for nearly 10 years
from the age of 8 to 17. During that time Kruse not only taught her about
scales, movements and octaves, she also taught her many things about life
and over time they became close friends.
a huge influence on me in being more open-minded and not afraid to try different
things," says Chan who has signed on to take part in the Ride to Conquer
Cancer, a 200 kilometre bike ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls on June
13-14 to support cancer research at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
The ride is a
huge challenge, but no bigger than the challenge she's faced during her
first year at the Glenn Glould School of Music in Toronto. Where before Chan
was a big fish in a small pond living and studying in Ottawa, at the Glenn
Gould School she is definely a small fish in a big pond of incredibly talented
the life lessons Kruse has taught her for not only helping to get through
her first year at the Glenn Gould School, but excelling. In fact. she made
it to the finals of the school's 2009 Concerto Competition.
During the past
year she's performed at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at Toronto's Four
Seasons Centre. She played at the Bad Bertrich Klaviersommer Festival in
Germany and performed as soloist with the Hart House and Cathedral Bluffs
Symphony Orchestras in Toronto. She was also one of four finalists in the
Guelph Concerto Competition.
But the two performances
she's been looking forward to the most are a pair of concerts she planned
and put together to help raise money for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. The
first of the concerts took place at the Orleans Theatre last Saturday night.
The evening featured
several memorable solo performances by Chan as well as a number of works
featuring accompanists Camilo D'Avilo on clarinet and Barbara Zuchowicz
D'Avila is a
tremendously gifted clarinettest from Columbia and a recent graduate from
the Glenn Gould School, as well as a close friend of Chan's, while Zuchowicz
is also a friend of Chan's who lives and performs right here in Ottawa.
The pair teamed
up on the opening piece, Ravel's Concerto in G+, which Chan has arranged
as a duet for piano and cello. The 19-year-old pianist then performed a
selection of movements from Musica Ricercata by Gygory Ligeti before
being joined on stage by D'Avila for Drei Romanzen by Robert Schumann.
After the duet,
Chan remained on stage and performed a mesmerizing rendition of Frederic
Chopin's Scherzo No. 4 entirely by memory, which was the highlight
of the evening.
Following a short
intermission, Chan returned to the stage for a fiery performance of Ile
de Feu I by Olivier Messiaen. The stage manager then came out and started
setting up five music stands, side by side, across the front left of the
stage which raised a few eyebrows in the audience,
Before long D'Avila
appeared from behind the stage curtain and laid out several pieces of sheet
music across the stands before announcing that he would be playing Moonflowers,
Baby!, a jazz sonata written by Meyer Kupferman which he rather audaciously
said included ever aspect of the clarinet. What followed was filled with
emotional undulations that would make Kupfermann proud.
solo performance, it was Zuchowicz's turn to dazzle the audience, which
she did with a spellbinding performance of the second and third movements
of Suite for Cello, Op. 72 by Benjamin Britten.
The program then
came to a close with all three musicians taking to the stage to perform
"The Swan" from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens.
It was the perfect ending to what was an absolutely flawless evening of
It's been a long
time since the Orleans Theatre stage has been graced with the presence of
three such talented classical musicians as Chan, D'Avila and Zuchowicz --
if ever, and it had me dreaming of the potential performances we may see
when the 500-seat Shenkman Arts Centre opens next month.
with the proceeds garnered through the ticket sales and donations brought
in by last Saturday's concert, Chan is well on her way to meeting the $2500
minimal donation required for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and she will very
likely exceed if through on-line donations and next week's second benefit
concert in Toronto.
André Lepage was overwhelmed not only by the concert, but by the generosity
shown by Chan and her friends.
is so nice. I'm flabbergasted to be honest with. For Claudia to do something
like this says a lot about the type of person she is," said Lepage
who believes his departed wife would have been immensely proud of the entire
few of Elaine's students called her their piano mom and she used to tell
them that she would always be their teacher no matter where they were. They
had a very special bond."
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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