Every year I receive many scores from composers near and far asking Cantala to consider learning and performing their music. Lately these requests have been building up and I just couldn’t ignore their requests any longer! So I decided to add on a spring project every year into Cantala’s season where we will workshop and record this music for these composers. It is exciting work and we are thrilled to do it.
This past week saw the final recording of 8 weeks of work learning Beverly Lewis’ Five Texts of William Shakespeare for SSA a cappella Choir.
We had a wonderful time learning this music so quickly with just a small group of 10 who were able to participate. It was a rich and beautiful experience and the music was fantastic. We are lucky to have such talented composers knocking at our door -no less from here in Toronto.
Listen below for one short sneek peak recording of No.4 “Farewell! Thou Art Too Dear for My Possessing” from Lewis’ above mentioned choral work.
Bev Lewis was born in New Brunswick and obtained Bachelor degrees in both Music and Education from Mount Allison University in 1981. Her Undergraduate major was piano, which she studied with Dr. Janet Hammock. While studying at Mount Allison, Bev received the Herbert Sharp Renewable Scholarship during all years in attendance at Mount Allison University as well as winning the Don Wright Award in Music Education (vocal - grades 5 to 9) in 1981. In 1990, Beverly began studies in composition with Dr. Alexander (Sasha) Rapoport in Toronto. Since then she has won several awards in the Amadeus Carol Competition as well as a City of Toronto Arts Council composer’s grant. Bev has also had several choral works published by Warner Chappell Music. She has had compositions premiered by both the Amadeus Choir of Toronto (The Pie Carol and This Endris Night), the North Toronto Women's Chamber Choir (En Nocte Media, Venite) and Kammermusik Toronto (A Soldier’s Prayer, formerly entitled Prayer to St. Peter). In November, 2006, at the Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, her piece for oboe and piano, He Sits, Spinning, received its CBC radio broadcast premiere on Music Around Us (Keith Horner, host). Bev’s piece for English horn and piano, Fundy Temperaments, commissioned by Michele Fiala, oboist and then Assistant Professor at Western Kentucky University, was premiered in a recital at the Annual Conference of the International Double Reed Society in Birmingham, UK in July 2009 and, immediately following that, in Paris, France. In the fall of 2009, Bev’s choral setting of Psalm 104 for SATB Choir, tenor soloist, marimba and piano was premiered by Crumlin United Church near London, Ontario, who had commissioned the piece to be composed in celebration of its 125th Anniversary. Recently, some of her short pedagogical piano pieces have been chosen for inclusion in the Contemporary Showcase Festival of the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects. In addition to her composition work, Beverly has sung choirs as an alto for most of her life in various churches, at Mount Allison University and, from 1983 to 1988, in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) under the direction of Dr. Elmer Iseler. During her time singing with TMC, Bev performed at Carnegie Hall, New York in May 1984 in performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Copland’s In the Beginning. She also sang with TMC for Pope John Paul II at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto in September 1984. From 1999 to 2002, Bev was the accompanist for the North Toronto Women's Chamber Choir and, from 2001 to 2002, she played continuo with the Davenport Chamber Orchestra. Since 1999, she has been a founding member of the oboe/piano duo, Entr'Acte Ensemble with oboist Donald Boere. Since 2005, she has been the pianist and continuo player for the Xavier Consort. She currently resides in Toronto, where she teaches piano at the University Settlement Music and Arts School, is Director of Music at Bathurst United Church and is a freelance composer/arranger, accompanist and chamber musician. She also works as Supervisor of Examinations for the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto.