Mt. A teams with UdeM for diverse exhibition of faculty talent
This week, Mount Allison’s department of music is thrilled to host one of Canada’s great virtuosos. Internationally renowned pianist, pedagogue and recording artist André Laplante will host a master class and recital, performing works by Bach-Busoni, Mozart, Hétu and Liszt.
Throughout his career, critics have not shied away from praising his musicality and technique. The Calgary Herald, for example, wrote: “Laplante evokes a world, now nearly past, in which a concert is a serious artistic event.” Claims such as these do not go unsupported, as Laplante has received extensive accolades and recognition in Canada and around the world. Laplante was named an officer of the Order of Canada and has won a multitude of Opus and Félix awards. He tours across North America and Europe on a yearly basis, also taking time to teach at many conservatories in the United States, along with the Montreal Conservatory in his home province of Quebec.
Laplante’s repertoire consists of a large variety of style and era. From his elegant, charming performances of Mozart to his interpretation of Liszt’s famously virtuosic Sonata in B Minor, Laplante has a rollercoaster of a recital planned for every occasion and never ceases to demonstrate his vast array of talents. It has also been said that Laplante brings his full musical mind to his performances of works by Bach-Busoni. Laplante fuses the perfect amount of Busoni’s romanticism into his Bach arrangements: humble yet full of fervour. The amount of experience and intelligence in his performances is truly stunning.
At 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 in Brunton Auditorium, Laplante will give a recital of some of his specialty works, including Liszt’s Sonata and pieces by the prolific Québécois composer Jacques Hétu. Hétu’s compositions truly complement Laplante’s performing style, giving Laplante the opportunity to use the full ability of his technique while keeping his musicality in perfect context: never too much or too little. On Friday, Nov. 6 at 12:30 p.m., Brunton will host Laplante once more for a master class with a few Mt. A music students.
Ten fine arts faculty members at Mount Allison have compiled their work for display in a new exhibition, “2 Solitudes,” at the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts (PCCA). They are accompanied by the works of nine fine arts professors from the Université de Moncton.
The exhibition is part of the Casino New Brunswick Artist in Residence program, shared between the fine arts faculties of both universities. Each participating artist – nine from UdeM and 10 from Mount Allison – chose one piece for display.
While the bulk of his work consists of prints, Mt. A professor Erik Edson chose a mixed-media piece, Panda, for the exhibition. In the piece, a basketball hoop is mounted on a panda-shaped backboard of stained plywood.
Underneath the basketball hoop is a basketball-shaped night light, which was added to the original piece later on.
“I set [the piece] right above this plug, which is not normal in a gallery setting,” said Edson. “So I went to the dollar store and saw a basketball night light, and decided it was fated to be.”
Edson often applies these concepts of innovation and impulsiveness to his work; each component of Panda was taken from or inspired by something else.
“The shape of the panda is from a children’s toy. The idea of the trophy backboard and staining the wood is from a taxidermy mount. The basketball hoop is a real basketball hoop,” said Edson. “Everything is what it is, but the scale may change or the context changes.”
“I’m interested in the process of working with innovating what you have,” said Edson. “You see something that reminds you of something else, and there’s a kind of stream of consciousness going on.”
Chris Down chose to contribute a never-before displayed painting to the exhibition. An oil painting from 2014, Bank portrays a large, dirt-covered snowbank beneath a dark blue sky.
“In the last four or five years, my work has been rooted in images of landscape,” said Down. “It’s really about trying to understand something about my relationship to the world.”
Bank is part of a body of work inspired by photographs that Down had previously taken. The photographs were primarily taken within walking distance of Down’s house, such as the snowbank found on the same street. Despite being rooted in photographic evidence, Down hoped that his painting would convey more than the landscape alone.
“I’m hoping that the work will have some kind of resonance with people that is not necessarily about the description of whatever is in the image, but is more about the feeling that it evokes,” said Down.
“2 Solitudes” will be on display in the lobby of the PCCA until Nov. 27.