Looking forward to a lovely afternoon programme of classical and world-music selections with my friend and colleague, the wonderful flutist Lucie Jones. You’ll hear a sweet sonata by Leonarda da Vinci (yes, he was also a composer!), Piazzola Tangos that demand some pretty fancy footwork and a Raga by Ravi Shankar, composed specifically for flute and harp. The concert is rounded out by a beautiful harp solo by Carlos Salzedo and finishes up with a sprightly collection of Celtic folksongs to send you home with a spring in your step.
The free concert starts at 2 p.m. in the TransAlta Pavilion in the beautiful new Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, the new home of Mount Royal University’s Conservatory.
Woke up to a pretty dusting of snow and the crisp chill of winter in the air. I love the season of Advent and all the opportunities to make beautiful music. This week I'm rehearsing to perform the Ceremony of Carols again, this time with the Calgary Boys Choir on the 6th and with the Savridi Singers (womens choir) on the 11th. Both will be wonderful opportunities to enjoy a calm, heartwarming evening in the midst of the pre-Christmas hectic. Come join us!
Wonderful concert last night with Spiritus Chamber choir, performing Britten's Ceremony of Carols, to celebrate this first weekend of Advent 2016. It's a rare treat to play this piece with a full SATB chorus and in particular with such an exceptional group! Thank-you Timothy Schantz for all the fantastic work you do here! Eager for tonight's performance at Christ Church Anglican, 3602 8 St SW, Calgary
Gianetta is excited about her upcoming performance with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra of Canadian composer Marjan Mozetich’s Concerto for 2 harps and orchestra – The Passion of Angels. Full information and tickets available through Edmonton Winspear .
Here is her bio from the programme:
Award-winning harpist Gianetta Baril has had a notable and wide-ranging career since beginning her musical life in Edmonton. Studies originally took her to Toronto and then to France to work with the Master Pierre Jamet. In 1985, Gianetta moved to Germany where she lived for 16 years, concertizing throughout Europe. During this time, Gianetta recorded two harp concertos with the Edmonton Symphony. The recording won the 1989 Juno Award for the Best recording of a Canadian work for the concerto by Oskar Morawetz and earned praise from the French magazine Repertoire des disques Compactes. Her performance of that same work in Prague stands out as a highlight in a career filled with memorable moments. In April, 2016, she was honoured to present the opening recital of the First São Paulo HarpFest in Brazil, introducing the audience to the full sound palette of the harp in traditional and contemporary Canadian harp repertoire.
Gianetta Baril also has a passion for mentorship, carrying on the legacy of her studies with the great Judy Loman. She has active teaching studios at MRU Conservatory and the University of Calgary and is co-founder of the Canadian International Summer Harp Institute. In 2015, Gianetta gave masterclasses in Brazil and established two harp programs for social projects in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. She now returns to Brazil each Spring to maintain her volunteer commitments and create life-changing opportunities for underprivileged children through music. For more information on her ongoing fundraiser “Harping for Harps”, please visit her website: www.forloveofharp.com.
Ms. Baril last appeared with the ESO in May 1986.
Excited to be preparing for “Labyrinth” in 3 days. Rehearsing with my former student Scott Ross-Molyneux is a treat and we are going to have such a great time at Wine-Ohs! Part of the Calgary New Music Festival, the programme is filled with exciting works that show the breadth of all the harp can do. No fluffy angels but raging bulls and epic battles. This concert will shatter any preconceptions of the harp as a musical lightweight!
First of all thank-you so much for your support of the 2014 Harping for Harps fundraising initiative which resulted in the purchase and donation of 3 new CAMAC lever harps to 2 projects in Brazil.
As you may know, since my return to Canada last June, I have been continuing to work with my Brazilian teaching assistants via skype. They and the students are doing well and some new ones have been started too!
In order to maintain the foundation laid last year, my plan is to return each year around the beginning of their school year. The time for my first return trip is nearly here and I am very excited to be working with the students again soon. As there are some items needed, I have decided to do a second Harping for Harps concert fundraiser coming up very soon – March 5th from 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at St. David’s United Church, 3303 Capitol Hill Crescent NW, Calgary. I will play some music of course but will also share pictures, videos and stories from my time there last year.
As I mentioned there are some items needed for which I am fundraising specifically. The biggest challenge the students are facing right now is that they cannot take harps home to practice. To do regular work, the only option at the moment is for them to practice 3 or 4 times each week at the music projects. Unfortunately, many of the students live very far from the projects (3-15 kms) and most of them have to walk to get there so it is very hard to expect them to do this more than once or twice each week. Clearly, this is a huge barrier to their progress on the instrument. My goal with this second fundraising concert is to raise enough to purchase 2 or 3 “tiny” harps from a company either in the U.S. or the U.K. These harps would be used as models for the projects’ own luthiery students to build instruments for the children to practice on at home.
It is certainly a difficult time for our economy in Canada and I know we are all tightening our belts. Nevertheless, if you are able to support this initiative in any way, the students and I would be most grateful! It would be wonderful to see you at the concert on the 5th in any case! If you are unable to attend but would like to support the projects, please feel free to contact me by email or phone.
UPDATE 2016-03-01: Now includes details about Brazil Strings!
Thank-you again for your support which has facilitated an incredible opportunity for these vulnerable children in Brazil.
I am so excited that this concert will also be broadcast live tomorrow. The concert is free but if anyone feels so inclined, you can send a “tip” (donation) through concert window. All donations will go toward the Harping for Harps project costs in Brazil. See you tomorrow!! Wayfaring with Gianetta Baril and Friends
I love everyone here – I want to stay.
I love everyone at home – my children, parents, friends. I am so eager to hug them all. I miss them so much. Let’s go, I want to take you all from Brazil with me. No, I want to stay but everyone from home to come here.
I love my home – miss my garden, kitchen, my cats, the mountains the cool clear mountain air, camping in my wee little tent.
I love my beach in Rio, the islands in Fiji, the breathtaking mountains in Nepal, the feeling of freedom and joy racing up the hill on a moped to get a little closer to the infinite vastness of the sky above.
I miss my family in Nepal. I want to be there to help them harvest rice, share meals, spicy snacks, drink warm roxy on the rooftop, laugh, be together, be me. No, I need to be here to help them more.
I want to take the children to Canada so they can go to a good school. I want the children here to come to Canada to study in the summer. No, its better for me to be here for them. But then, I’ll need to leave home again, leave my children, my students there, my colleagues, friends…
I love my backpack – the weight feels so good on my back. Can’t wait to explore again – alone, meeting so many interesting people. No harp, no titles, just me. Learn new languages, food, feel unsettled and free.
But I can’t wait to come back here – not just for one month but for 5! Speak Portuguese again, listen to bossa nova, dance samba, walk on the beach every morning and greet all the other regulars. And this next time, bring my own children, or a friend. Introduce them to every unique and wonderful person I hold so dear in my heart.
I want to lie on the beach. Make music with friends. I want to race up a mountain on a scooter, down mountains on skis, learn another new language, improv. I want to fly on the water with a kite – one with the wind, sit alone at a lake so silent I hear the birds gliding overhead.
I want it all, I want you all – all to be with me, all the time.
Ah yes, you are here in my heart – always, everywhere, Forever!
Finding I have a few moments of quiet time this evening, I felt it would be good to let you all know how things are here in Brazil with the harp projects.
After 3 months of intense work getting the 2 projects organized and starting students, I realized that I really did need more time to establish a solid foundation before I could feel confident about returning to Canada. Thanks to the understanding and support of Canadian colleagues, I was able to extend my stay for another month. As it is now, I will be returning to Canada in one week on June 26th, exactly 10 months after my departure.
As you know, at the beginning of March, after introducing the harp to all of the students, many children took the opportunity to try it. What an exciting few days to share that first moment of discovery with so many curious young people!
After a couple of weeks of trial lessons, we had 10 eager and motivated new harp students between the ages of 5 and 13. 4 students are at ASMB (Ação Social Pela Música do Brasil) in Chapeau Mangueira community in Rio de Janeiro and 6 are at PIM (Programa Integração Pela Musica) in Vassouras, a city in the interior of the state of Rio de Janeiro. One of the 3 harps, Carlos, was donated to PIM and the other two, Judy and Henriketa were donated to ASMB. It has been humbling to witness the dedication of the children who have all come from such difficult circumstances. The potential of these children is immense and they have all blossomed in various ways. After less than two months of lessons, on May 6th, two students of ASMB gave their first live performance in a trio with me performing “The Girl from Ipanema.” It was a thrill for us all and one we will not forget. Thanks to the efforts of the director of the ASMB, Fiorella Solares, the media has broadcast, both in print and on television, reports about the harp donations and the opportunity this has given the students. Here’s a link to the TV report – http://noticias.band.uol.com.br/jornaldorio/video/2015/05/06/15464568/projeto-de-musica-em-comunidade-ganha-harpas.html
– filmed in the building in the community of Chapeu Mangueira where the students attend lessons 3 times each week.
With my departure imminent, we decided it would be wonderful to give the students an intensive weekend of lessons, masterclasses, ensemble and orchestra playing. From June 19 – 21st, besides lessons etc., the students will get to know each other and have some fun together – first steps to establish a broader community and support system. For some of them, it will be their first time away from home and to experience the countryside outside of Rio. They are very excited! For me, it speaks to the respect that the parents have for the project and myself and I am honoured to have gained their trust in such a way. When 7-year-old Samuel asked if I could take him back to Canada with me, it made me so much more aware of how dramatically the lives of these children has already changed. Before I agreed to start this project, I determined that if I were to open the doors to these children I could not possibly allow them to close again. Now I am even more committed!
The extra month has been spent doing some longer-term planning, working intensively with my two teaching assistants and getting another one started as well. Both ASMB and PIM plan to get internet in place so that I can continue teaching via skype once a month. As you can imagine, it will be exceptionally hard for me to leave next week but it will be eased by knowing that we are already planning for my return next March.
Wonderful people gave the generous donations to Harping for Harps in order to make a difference in the lives of children who have so little. In the name of the children and in my own name, thank-you most sincerely!
We’ve only just begun…
I am so pleased to write with some great news! After 5 months of travel, on January 31st I finally arrived in Brazil to begin work on the Harping for Harps project for which I began fundraising a year ago.
When I got to Rio, I was thrilled to see that the three harps which I had been able to donate had arrived safely from France! The sets of replacement strings were missing from the original shipment but they are also on their way to Rio now. The humidity here is certainly higher than in Calgary so it’s a good thing we’ll have the extra strings.
In the first couple of days, I met with most of the people with whom I will be working and discussed many of the details involved. There are only a couple of books for teaching so I have ordered some from the U.S. and France, hoping they will arrive in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be setting up two teaching studios as the projects are actually in 2 different cities (Rio de Janeiro and Vassouras, a small city in the state of Rio de Janeiro) so I will be going back and forth every week. There is still a lot of planning to do but I am very encouraged. I will have two teaching assistants, Rafael (seen in the photo above along with my dear friend and colleague, Cristina Braga) and Rayana, who will be with me for most of the time I am with the children. In this way, besides solidifying their own knowledge of harp technique and repertoire, they will also be learning teaching methods and be better equipped to continue the work with the children once I return to Canada.
As the children are now on the summer holiday and will not return to school until March 2nd, I am taking a few weeks up in the northeast of Brazil to work intensively on my Portuguese both in private lessons and in conversation with locals as well as to have some fun in the ocean. The upcoming time with the children is bound to be very intense and there is a lot of work to do to get the projects up and running on a solid foundation in the 3 months remaining in my sabbatical! The time already seems too short but if necessary, I may be able to extend it by one month. We’ll see!
To all of the Harping for Harps donors, I have a request for some feedback. It is quite common here to give names to the instruments (my harps all have names too!) and I would love to have your input on this. I have a few ideas for the 3 harps we have been able to donate so here are three sets of options:
– 1. Henriette, Carlos, Judy. This represents the direct lineage from my teacher, Judy Loman, a prodigy of the great Spanish/American harpist Carlos Salzedo, who was one of the two most renowned students of the great French harpist, Henriette Renié.
– 2. Calgary, Alberta, Canada – no explanation needed
– 3. Gabriel (Fauré), Claude (Debussy), Marcel (Tournier) – 3 of the great composers for the harp in the 20th century.
If you’d like to put in your vote for the naming, please leave it as a comment here. I will have to make the decision by March 1st so please get back to me quickly!