La Scena Musicale

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Bye Bye Mister Don McLean: McGill Music Dean Fêted in Montreal

By Naomi Gold
Photos by Owen Egan
Photos, from top to bottom: 
Outgoing music dean Don McLean
Alexis Hauser conducting the McGill Symphony Orchestra
Pianist Anton Kuerti with the Cecilia String Quartet

McGill University's Laudatoria Gala recently honored former music dean Don McLean, who sings his Montreal swan song before returning to Toronto. During his nine-year tenure which began in 2001, the Faculty of Music emerged as a leader in both pedagogy and research.  In 2005, a $20 million gift was made by Canadian billionaire/philanthropist Seymour Schulich. And thus the new music building was constructed. It houses a state-of-the-art research/production facility known as the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, or the CIRMMT (pronounced KERMIT) lab. McLean also recruited renowned grammy-winning music producers, engineers and professors from the USA to McGill's Schulich School of Music.

Funds raised by this soirée are specifically earmarked towards the completion of CIRMMT's recording studio, the Music Multimedia Room.

Following a black-tie dinner, guests were treated to an über-eclectic concert which featured Hank Knox directing McGill's Baroque Orchestra with Vincent Lauzer on recorder, piano virtuoso Anton Kuerti interpreting Schumann, those sneaky Canadian Brass dudes, the Cecilia String Quartet, maestro Alexis Hauser leading McGill's Symphony Orchestra, McGill's Jazz Orchestra conducted by interim dean Gordon Foote, pianist Philip Chiu, trumpeter Jens Lindemann, and opera students performing Musetta's Waltz from La Bohème. Musical talent (and comedic schtick) abounded—both onstage and off—as many local luminaries filled the audience. Current and former professors, students, friends, staff and benefactors of the faculty were in attendance, including CBC broadcaster Kelly Rice, who served as the congenial gala emcee.

Post-performance, patrons proceeded to the new music building's Multimedia Room for a dazzling reception which featured appetizers aplenty, lotsa schmoozing, cool jazz, and oodles of fizz. Long after midnight, hearty revelers sang a chorus of Bye Bye Miss American Pie as the party spilled out into the 'starry starry'—and snowy night.

To access the full roster of concerts at the Schulich School of Music, click here

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