• Steve Ambler

Trio Beau Soir


(Left to right): Isabelle Fortier (harp), Marie-Violaine Ponte (flute) and Jean-François Gagné (countertenor and viola) comprise the Trio Beau Soir.

The Hudson Chamber Music Series’ 35th season kicks off on October 15 at 4pm in the St. James Church Hall at 642 Main Road in Hudson. The Trio Beau Soir will be performing works by Schumann, Berlioz, Fauré and Debussy.

The Trio consists of Isabelle Fortier (harp), Jean-François Gagné (countertenor and viola), and Marie-Violaine Ponte (flute).

Isabelle Fortier graduated from the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec in 1996. She has toured with numerous orchestras in Canada, Japan, the United States and Europe. Isabelle was appointed Principal harpist of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec in 2004, and she continues to perform as a soloist with major North American orchestras.

Jean-François Gagné is a talented violinist and arranger as well as a singer and violist. He obtained a position with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec at the age of 23, and has regularly performed with the Violons du Roy and various chamber ensembles including the Abyss Quartet, with whom he recorded two albums for the Productions XXI label.

Mari-Violaine Ponte has been a member of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra since 2001, and currently performs as second flute as well as piccolo. She has a bachelor’s degree in performance from McGill University and went on to study flute with Carolyn Christie at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and piccolo with Virginia Spicer. She has taught at the CAMMAC Centre at MacDonald Lake at the Music Preparatory School at the Faculté de Musique at Université Laval.

The Trio’s unusual combination of instruments means that they draw on the talents of Jean-François as an arranger to perform works from the Romantic and Modern periods. The October concert will feature selections from works by Schumann, Berlioz, Fauré and Debussy.

Robert Schumann will be represented on the programme by his Kinderszenen (originally for piano) and his Dichterliebe song cycle. Both are among his best-loved works. Kinderszenen was composed in 1838 and as such is the earliest work chronologically on the programme. The Dichterliebe songs are part of the core of the art song repertoire. The trio will perform two extracts from Hector Berlioz’ song cycle Les Nuits d’été, composed in 1841. These songs are about the progress of love from youthful innocence to loss and renewal, and are most often performed in the concert hall with orchestral accompaniment. Gabriel Fauré was a prolific composer of songs and is considered a master of the French art song. Ravel wrote that he had saved French music from the dominance of the German Lied. Three of his most beloved songs are on the programme. The concert concludes with works by Claude Debussy: his famous piano piece La fille aux cheveux de lin and his Petite Suite, originally for piano four hands and transcribed many times, including a well-known orchestral version.

This is a concert that is sure to please lovers of familiar Romantic songs presented in an innovative way.

St. James Church Hall is an ideal setting for chamber music, with its wonderful acoustics and an unparalleled view of the Lake of Two Mountains. Individual tickets will be available at a cost of $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. Season tickets for the four-concert season will also be on sale at a substantial saving: $70 for adults and $55 for seniors.

For more information, including more detailed bios of the members of the Trio Beau Soir and a link to their web site, and information on the rest of the 35th season, see the Hudson Chamber Music’s site at www.hudsonchambermusic.ca/.

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