Inaugural Evening at the Atelier

Rosemarie Umetsu has not only been a supporter of the arts through her fashion collaborations but has also loved to entertain enthusiasts housing countless performances at her beloved atelier. Having recently moved locations, the couturier has officially embarked on a new chapter in her fascinating career.

“We have now created a Fashion House taking the Atelier to a higher level of fashion experience with clients and where I can use this space to further augment my design culture”. As she is presently in JUNO mode designing for up to 5 nominees this year and with names like Isabel Bayrakdarian, Measha Brueggergosman, Yuja Wang and many more under her client roster, there was an urge to dive even deeper into developing Umetsu’s fashion expression.

In addition, Yamaha Canada Music has also come on board as a top level sponsor where the atelier is now in a position to continue in an expansive way of what was done in the past. The space can now enhance the goal even further to support arts groups and helping nurture developing artists, as well as assist the established.

Tomorrow evening, the Yamaha Recital Space will present its inaugural recital featuring Korean-Canadian pianist Younggun Kim as well as debut the new Yamaha CX piano. With bookings already going into 2018, I think it’s safe to say that everyone is excited to embrace this new urban event space and its great acoustics.

Younggun Kim performs at Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu

Younggun Kim’s performances have been known for their “technical capacity and a lush sound” with concerts spanning all across North America and Europe. This Saturday, a special inaugural concert will be taking place where the Korean-Canadian pianist will allow audiences to experience a new performance space in the Yorkville area.

Couturier Rosemarie Umetsu, for many years, has opened her atelier doors to artists and opera singers having organized countless intimate concerts. With a brand new location and in partnership with Yamaha Canada, Kim’s recital will be the first of many to come in this brand new chapter.

With his performance attire also being prepared by Umetsu (as he will also be debuting a brand new Yamaha piano)piani, we chatted with Royal Conservatory alum about his upcoming musical presentational and of course, a little fashion.

MC: What’s your approach when performing intimate recitals in comparison to playing at Roy Thomson or Walter Hall?

YK: An intimate space means less distance between me and the audience, which gives me a chance to communicate with them in a way that is unique to such spaces. It is an interesting sensation as a performer that it feels as if I’m playing in a private gathering, surrounded by my friends. It is also possible to verbally communicate with the audience more easily in such a setting; from explaining the background of the next piece to cracking some jokes, playing for a smaller crowd is a great opportunity to connect closely with the public – more so if one doesn’t need a microphone. Lastly, the characteristics of a more intimate space enable a whole other palette that is not necessarily accessible in a large hall; even the smallest nuances will not be lost to the public, and while it isn’t feasible to stuff an entire Wagner production in a 150-people space, such a venue is quite ideal for solo piano and chamber music.

In a way, this is similar when comparing a public lecture and a seminar class. Both have their respective virtues. I’m really looking forward to this Saturday’s session.

MC: Share more details about the evening’s program.

YK: It’s a mixture of popular pieces, rarely played gems, and rarely played versions of these popular works. Every piano enthusiast will recognize the two Chopin works that I have programmed; however, they may not be familiar with Godowsky, who rewrote many of Chopin’s works including his Etudes. Godowsky’s pieces are new works using Chopin’s pieces as a starting point and they deserve to be played more than they are. The practical problem is that Godowsky’s works are, because of his affinity for polyphonic writing, complex harmonic language and his adventurous spirit, considered to be some of the most difficult piano music to play. Imagine playing two Chopin Etudes simultaneously – and that’s exactly what one of the pieces I’ll be playing is about. Also interesting are the Kapustin set; unlike the rest of the program, Kapustin’s musical language is jazz; they are very exciting and quite honestly, always great fun to play. I am happy to say that they have proven themselves to be audience favourites too. I am also playing pieces by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Liszt; they are well-known pieces but for a variety of reasons not often performed in public.

MC: Finally, tell us more about your personal style and what fashion means to you both as a musical stage performer.

YK: I always try to dress myself according to the occasion. I believe that how I look is very important in creating a persona on the stage, and it is not disconnected from what I try to convey aurally; after all, you will be ‘seen’ as well as heard on the stage. So far my efforts in fashion have been concentrated on dressing myself in a way to show the same seriousness and dedication that I give to my music; maybe it is time for me to move ahead!

MC + NEW CREATIONS CONTEST

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 13th annual New Creations Festival kicks off on March 4th and we are more than ecstatic to share our latest giveaway. Participants will have the chance to win a festival pass to ALL THREE performances. We will be giving away three passes!

To enter, you must follow both MIMA CULTURE and the TSO on Instagram and Twitter and share which performance you are looking forward to the most using the hashtag #NCF17. The lucky winner* will be announced on Wednesday March 1st via Instagram direct message.

english final printedBold, experimental, and cutting edge, this year’s Festival is curated by Polaris Music Prize winner Owen Pallett, a renowned Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist. The 2017 New Creations Festival fuses the pop- and classical-music worlds, with a touch of electronic music, a little dose of improvisation, and a blend of Aboriginal and folk sounds. To further enhance the Festival, concertgoers can enjoy an array of ancillary events—curated by Canadian composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte—including pre-concert performances, intermission chats, and post-concert parties (all included with concert tickets). The Festival also features two more free events: Composers in Conversation, a forum presented in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre on March 7, and a noon-hour concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, presented in collaboration with the Canadian Opera Company on March 9. All New Creations Festival performances are part of Canada Mosaic—a Signature Project of Canada 150.

Guest artists include Canadian throat singer extraordinaire Tanya Tagaq, prominent Canadian violinist James Ehnes, distinguished pianist Yefim Bronfman, and the celebrated Kronos Quartet performing works by Nicole Lizée, Cassandra Miller, Owen Pallett, Nico Muhly, and more.

new creations artistsClick here for details.

*Contest open to Ontario residents only

A Family Affair

As an ode to the upcoming Family Day long weekend, I thought it would be nice to send out a special thanks to all the dedicated parents out there who invest countless amounts of time with their kids for, well, pretty much everything.

Being a musician, music teacher, and now a parent myself, inspiration and dedication go a long way but when you’re still a kid, mom and dad play an integral role when it comes to staying motivated. Even though we’ve all been there, practicing music hasn’t always been at the top of the fun list. It paid off of course.

Musical memories and where our interests first began are always nice to reminisce and look back on. Whether it was the first time you went to a classical concert with your family, or saw someone play an instrument you’ve never heard before, these moments paved the way for many who now have a vast musical career.

On February 20th, the talented musicians from Pocket Concerts will be presenting an extra special concert catered to the next generation of music enthusiasts. Families with little ones and older are warmly invited to experience a Family Day filled performance (and conveniently in the early afternoon just in case a nap time needs to follow after an exciting musical experience).

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We chat with PC’s Artistic Directors Rory McLeod  and Emily Rho about some of their cherished memories.

MC: Can you share a musical pass-time when you were younger?

RML: My mom is a cellist, so the house was always full of music when I was a kid. I remember waking up to the sound of her teaching on Saturday mornings throughout my childhood, but what really stands out is the memory of listening to LPs (yes, I am old enough for that) in our living room. When we were really young (probably 2 and 4 years old), my brother Alex (also a violist) and I used to listen to Swan Lake, dress up in tights, and dance around the living room pretending to be princes.

My first memory of attending a concert is from when I was about 8 years old. My grandma gave me and my mom a pair of tickets to a concert in Roy Thompson Hall. I’m guessing it must have bee the TSO, and there was a female soloist. I have no memory of what piece she played, but I remember that she was wearing a green dress with puffy sleeves, and I was impressed that she could memorize such a long “song.”

ER: When I was about ten, my mom took me to an orchestra concert. It was my first time hearing Beethoven Symphony No. 5, and Zubin Mehta was conducting. The performance made such an impression on me that I developed an intense crush (for a ten year old) on Maestro Mehta, which led me to a quest to find all the recordings by him. This ‘obsession’ was not easy, not having grown up with the Internet, iTunes, smart phones, etc., but possible more satisfying because that.

MC: When did you realize that you wanted to learn your instrument of
and venture into the performance realm during your musical
studies?

RML: I started on the violin when I was five, and I don’t remember making that decision. My brother Alex played, so I probably wanted to emulate him. I chose the viola much later in life, once again following in Alex’s footsteps. He picked up the viola when he was 12, but it took me much longer.

When I was 19 and living in Montreal, doing a B.A. in English Literature, my violin teacher left town for the summer. I had more time on my hands than usual and wanted to take some lessons, and I happened to be working at Wilder and Davis (a violin shop), so I borrowed a viola from them, contacted Jean MacRae, and started taking some viola lessons. I started playing a lot of chamber music on viola (the best way to learn the instrument), and played both instruments for a while.

Then my violin was stolen. It was tragic at the time, but eventually the insurance money came through, and I had to decide whether to buy another violin, or take the leap and buy a viola. I discovered that I preferred the sound of every viola I tried over every violin, and decided it was a sign. Over the course of the following year, I decided I wanted to make a go at becoming a professional musician, with the viola as my instrument.

Dominic puts clarinet away RESIZEDER: I didn’t really choose the piano. We had my mom’s piano at home, so it was one of the toys from the beginning. I started lessons when I was about three, and I can’t quite say that I’m one of those people who made the decision to pursue music deliberately. Things just went from one thing to another, and I ended up playing the piano for a living! Having said that, I do distinctly remember the fun and thrill of performing from a young age, and I’ve always craved the opportunities to be on stage and share. 

Click here to purchase your tickets (children and youth under 19 are free)

Symphonic Style with Rachel Sin

The poised and structured manner that is Rachel Sin, after many years of admiring her work, still impresses me to this very day. The Toronto-based designer is no stranger to the runway and she will be presenting her latest collection next month for the launch of Toronto Women’s Fashion Week.
RachelSin-About2In preparation to present her latest pieces for FW17, I wondered, what does Rachel do to unwind and refresh herself? The symphony.

If you want to catch the former-architect anywhere else besides her studio, more than likely it would be it will be at Roy Thomson Hall. A fashionable and cultural outing is the ultimate form of entertainment in my books.

Here are some of her favourite go-to ensembles for any musical occasion.

Work-to-Night-at-the-Symphony

A mid-week performance always adds a nice mix to your work schedule. Fact: classical music does wonders to your work productivity (your boss with be very thankful).

Dinner Date and the Opera

Change things up and add a cultural flare to your regular dinner-and-a-movie outing. Whether you’re more of an Opera Buffa or Opera Seria fan, there’s a Rachel Sin outfit for either.

Sunday Matinee Recital

Rib Knit Turtleneck Dress 212

Rib Knit Turtleneck Dress

A personal favourite, sometimes, the best way to finish your weekend is to go solo and have some you-time while attending an early afternoon performance.

The Rachel Sin FW 2017 Collection with be presented on March 10th, 2017.

*Photos courtesy of RachelSin.com