Knownfor her outstanding technique, Petrowska Quilico generally requires only one ortwo takes when recording a piece – and that’s a good thing, she says. “With thecontemporary music I focus on, some works are over two hours long and virtuallyimpossible to edit. I would be too exhausted to play it more than once.”
Onthe disc is Boulez’s "PremiŹre Sonate", recorded when PetrowskaQuilico performed the piece live when the celebrated composer received theGlenn Gould Prize in 2002. Boulez personally coached her in interpreting hiswork for the occasion.
“Boulezhas the best ears in the entire world,” Petrowska Quilico said. “I studied thepiece thoroughly before the performance but there was only one rehearsal, onthe same day. Boulez changed many details on the spot. ‘Faster, faster’ he kepthounding me, until I told him there was no way I could play any faster withoutcoffee. I had never seen such anervous group of musicians -- but everyone played brilliantly that night andBoulez was very happy.”
Petrowska’srendition of Alexina Louie’s composition “Star-Filled Night”, also featured onIngs, went into outer space with Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean on the spaceshuttle Columbia in 1992 – an event that Petrowska Quilico describes as acareer highlight.
“Mycolleague [York Music Professor] David Mott, who’s a friend of MacLean’s, askedme if I had any star-inspired music to send into space. I thought perhaps he’dbeen partying too hard, but I gave him a CD,” said Petrowska Quilico.
Inrecognition of her exceptional commitment to Canadian composers and theirmusic, Petrowska Quilico will be honoured next month with the Friends ofCanadian Music Award given by the Canadian Music Centre and Canadian League ofComposers.
Inaddition, for the Welspringe label, she has recorded the Gems series, whichincludes Gems with an Edge (modern music), Romantic Gems, Tango Gems, and VocalGems with her second husband, the late, internationally acclaimed baritoneLouis Quilico. Her Northern Sirens CD, featuring Canadian women composers, wasissued by York University’s Fine Arts Faculty. On the more traditional side shehas recorded the music of Chopin, Liszt and Debussy and four CDs with LouisQuilico, including Analekta’s Mr. Rigoletto: My Life in Music, inspired byPetrowska Quilico’s biography Mr. Rigoletto: In Conversation with Louis Quilico(Captus Press).
Bornin Ottawa, pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico studied with Boris Berlin at theRoyal Conservatory of Music, where she made her debut, with orchestra, at age10. She received a scholarship to study at New York’s Juilliard School as astudent of Rosina Lhévinne, Jeaneane Dowis and Irwin Freundlich. From them, sheacquired the formidable technique that has allowed her to learn challenging newworks in very short time, and to perform them with dazzling virtuosity. At 14,she made her New York concert debut with full orchestra at Town Hall as aco-winner with fellow student Murray Perahia of the High School of thePerforming Arts Concerto Competition. After graduation, she studied at theSorbonne in Paris, and later in Darmstadt and Berlin with Karlheinz Stockhausenand György Ligeti.
ChristinaPetrowska Quilico’s CDs may be ordered through the Canadian Music CentreBoutique at www.musiccentre.ca, www.amazon.ca and www.indiepool.com.
OTHERNEWS AND NOTES:
COACH-ING– Petrowska Quilico was coached by Pierre Boulez for her performance of hisPremiere Sonate (1946) when the celebrated French composer received the GlennGould Prize in 2002. This is the performance on the disc. Boulez, incidentally,was taught by Olivier Messiaen, who is also represented on Ings.
TITL-ING– The CD title Ings was suggested by the producer’s wife, storyteller SallyJaeger.
PREMIER-INGIN ST. JOHN’S – Christina Petrowska Quilico will premiere Ann Southam’s newcycle of Creeks and Rivers, which includes new works written for her, this Julyat the Sound Symposium in St. John’s NL (www.soundsymposium.com). She describesthe concert, which she calls Soundstill, as “an hour and a half ofintrospective and virtuosic music.” In the 17 movements are the premieres ofCommotion Creek, Fidget Creek, Fiddle Creek and Noisy Creek, as well as SpatialView of Pond II.
Originalpaintings of rivers and ponds, black and white pen and ink drawings andcollages by Petrowska Quilico will be displayed during the performance.
ENCOURAG-INGCANADIAN OPERA TALENT – In its third competition, the Christina and LouisQuilico Award for young opera singers attracted 59 entrants, from which 11finalists were selected. At the finals, on January 13 in Toronto, the $2,000first prize was presented to baritone Alexander Hajek, who is currently amember of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble. The Award is administered by theOntario Arts Foundation. The judges included Stuart Hamilton, Neil Crory andCarrol Anne Curry.
MUSICFOR THE SPHERES – Alexina Louie’s Star-Filled Night, which is featured on Ings,went into outer space with Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean on his firstmission on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1992 – an event that Petrowskadescribes as a career highlight. MacLean requested David Mott’s music to takeinto space on his second space shuttle mission in September 2006. The secondmovement of Mott’s piano concerto Eclipse - The Dark Shadowed Moon – writtenfor Petrowska Quilico – is dedicated to him.
FUGUESFOR GOULD’S 75TH – Petrowska Quilico was one of several pianists featured whenCBC Radio commissioned 10 prominent Canadian composers to create fugues inhonor of Glenn Gould’s 75th anniversary. Her performances of Ana Sokolovic’sPrelude and Fugue for GG and Kati Agocs’ Nostalgia for Airs Unheard have airednumerous times on CBC Radio 2’s The Signal and Music and Company.
PetrowskaQuilico’s recordings are available through the Canadian Music Centre,www.amazon.ca and www.indiepool.com.