Suzie LeBlanc, soprano
Kiya Tabassian, setar & shourangiz, leader
Michel Angers, baroque guitar & theorbo
Elinor Frey, viola da gamba
Tanya LaPerriere, baroque violin
Didem Başar, kanun
Patrick Graham, percussion
Il ballo delle ingrate - Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Si dolce è il tormento - Claudio Monteverdi
Bergamasca - Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (c. 1580-1651)/Marco Uccellini (c. 1603-1680)
Sinfonia - Salomone Rossi (c. 1570-1630)
L’Eraclito amoroso - Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)
Capona / Ciaconna - Giovanni Girola mo Kapsberger /Andrea Falconieri (c. 1585-1656)
Sentirete una canzonetta - Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665)
Toccata Arpeggiata - Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
A Marillide deh vieni - Stefano Landi (1587-1639)
Colasione - Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
A che più l'arco tendere - Stefano Landi
Passacaglia - Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Canario - Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Amor dormiglione - Barbara Strozzi
Born in Acadia, Suzie LeBlanc is one of the most sought after early music sopranos of her generation. In 2004, she began adding Acadian folk music, art song and lieder to her repertoire, and recorded Mozart lieder with Yannick Nézet-Seguin. She followed this with "Chants de terre et de ciel" by Messiaen, with Robert Kortgaard, and "Tempi con Variazioni" with the ensemble Melosphere. The last two were awarded an Opus Prize in the Contemporary and World Music categories. Her latest CD, “I Am in Need of Music” on poems by Elizabeth Bishop, won an ECMA award for Best Classical Album of the Year.
The recipient of four honorary doctorates for her contribution to Acadian culture and early music performance, she also played the lead role in the award winning film Lost Song (Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008).
She likes to work on projects connected with the land and the sea, with geography and history. Her album Tout passe is selected from a collection of Acadian songs found with the help of historian and collector Georges Arsenault of Prince Edward Island. She sang the songs in churches as she walked the centuries-old pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostela, and chose the ones that got the best response from fellow pilgrims, or that became good musical companions on the way.
For her album I am in need of music on poems by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Bishop, she retraced Bishop’s Newfoundland walk (thanks to Bishop’s unpublished journal) with artist and documentary film maker Linda Rae Dornan, and commissioned four Canadian composers to write original settings of Bishop's poetry. The documentary film by Linda Rae Dornan, Walking With EB, is paired with the recording. Suzie LeBlanc is the artistic director of Le Nouvel Opéra, in Montreal.
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Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey as its foundation—geographical journeys, but also historical, cultural and inner. It also seeks inspiration from all sources, and aims for distant horizons.
Inspired by the ancient city illuminating East and West, the ensemble was conceived as a forum for encounters and cross-fertilization in 1998, in Montreal. Since then, as seasoned travelers, the musicians of the ensemble have explored a wide range of musical avenues: from mediaeval manuscripts to contemporary aesthetics, from Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque.
In its research and creations, Constantinople joins forces with other leading figures on the international scene. The common denominator that Constantinople brings into play when merging different musical styles is their modal expression, but also their decidedly contemporary—and thus unifying—language.
Alongside its tours in Europe, Middle East and America, Constantinople presents every year a concert season in Montreal, featuring new works. Most of its productions have been recorded and broadcast by CBC/Radio-Canada, and some have been relayed to European audiences via the European Broadcasting Union. Constantinople has 16 albums to its credit on labels Analekta, Atma, World Village, Buda Musique et MaCase. The ensemble is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
Over the course of the decade, the ensemble has created over 40 new works and traveled to nearly 125 cities in 25 countries.
At age 14, Kiya Tabassian emigrated with his family to Quebec from Iran, bringing with him some initial musical training in ancient Persian music (setar and vocals) and a fledgling musical career. Determined to become a musician, composer and historical torchbearer, he continued his self-education in Persian music, meeting frequently with Reza Gassemi and Kayhan Kalhor. At the same time, he studied composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay and Michel Gonneville. In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople with the idea of developing an ensemble for musical creation that draws from the heritage of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, of Europe, and of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Serving as its artistic director, Kiya has developed close to 40 programs with his ensemble, which continues to be met with unparalleled acclaim by audiences around the world.
He has performed on stages throughout the world and collaborated on many eclectic projects as a composer, performer and improviser. These have included regular collaborations with Radio-Canada since 1996; participation in the international MediMuses project as a member of the group researching the history and repertoire of Mediterranean music and as a contributor on several publishing and recording initiatives from 2002 to 2005; musical collaborations with the Atlas Ensemble (Holland) and, as a tutor, with the Atlas Academy, on a dual project aimed at linking contemporary music with oral traditions, since 2009.
Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talents as a composer, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the European Broadcasting Union. He has also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
In the summer of 2017, he was named associate artist at the prestigious Rencontres musicales de Conques festival (formerly the Conques, la Lumière du Roman music festival), where he presented three of his most recent creations with Constantinople, Dalla Porta d’Oriente, Crossings and Beyond the Horizon.
Kiya was a member of the Conseil des arts de Montréal for seven years, serving as chair of the music decision-making committee for three years. He recently received a mandate from the Conseil québécois de la musique to set up a committee that will examine the role of music from around the world within the context of performance music. His desire to be involved and engaged with the musical community and Quebec society led him, in 2017, to co-found the Centre des musiciens du monde in Montreal, for which he will serve as artistic director.
His artistic projects and creations have received the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.