• Stephanie O’Hanley

Hudson’s own virtuose Ember-Leah Reed on Radio-Canada


PHOTO BY MATHIEU COUTURE

Hudson resident Ember-Leah Reed is competing in the Radio-Canada competition titled Virtuose showcasing the vocal talents of young singers in the province.

She’s only 14 but already Hudson resident Ember-Leah Reed is an accomplished violinist and singer. Among other things, she was an overall winner in the Festival-concours de musique classique Pierre-De Saurel 2015, she’s been a national finalist four times at the Canadian Music Competition, she played Carnegie Hall for an international music competition and performs both solo and in a group with her musician siblings. Given her talent, it’s no surprise to learn Reed is competing on the Radio-Canada reality TV show Virtuose, where she was one of four young musicians featured in the January 29 episode.

In Virtuose, host Gregory Charles introduces viewers to young musicians aged nine to 17 from across Quebec. The musicians, whose musical genres include classical, jazz, opera and traditional music, perform solo and in groups before a public audience and tenor Marc Hervieux. The audience ranks individual performances in order of preference and that ranking, combined with Hervieux’s evaluation, determines each candidate’s score.

At the moment Reed, who scored 81.9, is seventh out of 16 contestants on Virtuose. After the first six episodes, the 12 contestants with the best scores head to the semi-finals, which begin airing February 26.

Reed, who came to Virtuose through recommendations from the Pierre-De Saurel and Canadian Music competitions, said she doesn’t know when she’ll hear back from the show. “It’s okay, I don’t mind,” she said. As for reactions to her performance, she said, “A lot of people from my church (Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church), they liked it.

“It was very fun,” said Reed, who says she loves both playing violin and singing. “I think it was a good experience to (have) as a classical musician with TV and stuff.” Asked what she liked most, Reed said, “I liked performing and I liked the busyness of it because I’ve never really experienced so much stuff in one day.”

Surprisingly Reed doesn’t speak French. “I understand a little bit but I’m not French,” she said, adding that she’s still learning.

Another surprise? While she’s studied the violin since the age of four, she has never had singing lessons, said her mother, Michelle Reed. “When she was 10 we wanted to check her so she had coaching for 10 months, but that was it.”

Michelle Reed said her daughter’s experience with Virtuose was different from the “stuffy concert halls” they’re used to. “I’m very proud of her... I’m glad she did it because for classical musicians it’s nice to have this show to showcase them in this way, to showcase the craft. I thought that was a breath of fresh air as opposed to all the reality things you see on TV. It’s nice to see youth doing something positive and beautiful.”

This year for the first time ever, Reeds on Strings – Ember-Leah on violin along with her older sister, Ashley-Maria, on cello and older brother, Colton, on violin - are entering the Canadian Music Competition as a trio, Michelle Reed said.

On February 27, as a winner of the Festival-concours de musique classique Pierre-De Saurel, Ember-Leah Reed will perform at the Maison de la musique de Sorel-Tracy, Michelle Reed said.

“She performs a big work, Tchaikovsky, so it’s nice,” she said.

To see a video of Ember-Leah Reed performing, consult http://tinyurl.com/nvorb6r

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