On Wednesday, August 17th, 2022, the Rosamunde Summer String Academy and Festival started. Students from around the country and around the world have amassed at Winnipeg’s Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), to study and learn from some of Canadas’s foremost string players.
Headed by Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra violinist Elation Pauls, the Rosumunde Festival has not only attracted a large number of seriously dedicated string students, the festival has also brought to Winnipeg two of Canada’s premier string soloists; violinist Mark Fewer, and cellist Matt Haimovitz.
On Tuesday, August 23rd, and Thursday, August 25th, the Festival will present concerts that feature the illustrious faculty of the Rosamunde Summer String Academy. Both of these concerts start at 7:00 and take place at the Laudamus Auditorium, at CMU.
On the Tuesday night concert, cellist Matt Haimovitz will be playing two new pieces written for him. Pieces by Canadian singer-songwriter and composer Annabelle Chvostek, and jazz cellist Tomeka Reid will be performed alongside the music of Bach. The Chvostek and Reid pieces are on Haimovitz’s brand new album “Primavera III,” that was released on June 24th of this year.
As Haimovitz explains, “Over the pandemic things sort of shut down for a while… my first instinct was maybe this is an opportunity to commission new work. The album (Primavera III) is inspired by two paintings, Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera painting from 500 years ago, and then Charline von Heyl created and reacted to Botticelli’s painting and created “Primavera 2020” right before the pandemic hit. We’ve taken those two paintings as a basis, and asked 81 composers to engage those two paintings”
Also on the Tuesday night concert, Fewer and Haimovitz will be performing the Czech composer Erwin Schullhof’s (1894-1942) excellent Duo for violin and cello. This is a piece that has many musical influences.
“I would say there is a little bit of a ziguner... I mean there is a deep Roma feel there. His musical language is spectacular. He also was a person…maybe if I can make this comparison with Matt and myself… he was also a person that really enjoyed putting different worlds of musical exploration together in his works…and for the time he was writing in, that was pretty extraordinary,” says Fewer.
On the Thursday night concert, Mark fewer will be joined by one of his former students, the director of the Rosamunde Academy; Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra violinist Elation Pauls. They will be performing a Suite for two violins by Telemann.
Fewer is indeed a very proud teacher. “Seeing Elation here, and seeing her in her element, and seeing the success she’s had with this…I remember being at Rosamunde six or seven years ago, and seeing where she has taken it in that time to where it is now is really impressive. A little bit of my daddy gene inside of me is going ‘isn’t that great! My kid did good!’ and I am enjoying it from that perspective,” states Fewer.
The Thursday night concert is topped off with one of the supreme masterpieces of the string literature; Felix Mendelssohn’s miraculous string octet. Written when he was just 16, this is a piece that will have you holding on to the edge of your chair in sheer exhilaration.
The Rosamunde faculty concerts on Tuesday, August 23rd, and Thursday, August 25th, are sure to be really special. Tickets are $25.00 in advance, and $30.00 at the door. Both concerts start at 7:00pm and take place at CMU'S Laudamus Auditorium.