Mélanie Léonard and True North

Mélanie Léonard, our guest conductor, was born in Montréal and grew up in nearby Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.  She is Music Director of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra and held the positions of resident conductor (2009-2012) and associate conductor (2012-2013) with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.  Her busy schedule includes guest conducting orchestras across Canada as well as several major recording projects.

Her CV boasts an impressive list of works including much of the standard concert repertoire but more impressive, her catalogue includes an extensive list of modern and 20th century composers from Adams to Zemlinksy.  And most impressive is the number of Canadian composers she has championed as a conductor and Music Director.

We asked her to share a few thoughts on her passion for new music and today’s programme.


On presenting “new music”.

I value the opportunity to surprise the audience with new repertoire. There is something very special in the sharing of the unexpected. When we step out of our comfort zone, we open ourselves to the discovery of new emotional territories. We are either pleasantly surprised or confronted, but both experiences are as equally rewarding, because they provide us with a new perspective that furthers our experience of music in general. As a conductor, I face a similar challenge. Assimilating new music forces me to stretch my concept sounds and challenges my musical instincts. It is an enriching experience that nourishes my growth as a musician. We face an incredible responsibility in building our current musical history. It is an immense honour to make today’s music alive through sharing it with an audience. In performing Canadian repertoire, we uphold our traditions and create new ones


About today’s programme.

All the music on this program was composed by a living Canadian composer. Each composer has its own aesthetic, approach and language. The program covers a wide range of moods, from meditative to majestic and heroic; from nostalgic to joyful. Each work proposes a journey through evocative and narrative music. We will hear musical depictions of the Atlantic Ocean (Mar Atlantico), an emotional reflection on the music of Bach (Nostalgia), musical renditions of poems by Canadian poet Miriam Waddington (Prairie sketches), an imagined narrative based on the story of Robin Hood (Sherwood Legend) and music inspired by a legendary story about the Chinese Spring Festival (Jubilation of spring). In this program, the music tells a story, but despite the original inspiration of the works, it is an invitation for the audience to venture into the Canadian music landscape and make their own story.

Mélanie Léonard’s full biography along with reviews and photographs can be found at: https://www.melanieleonard.ca/ .

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