From www.southshorenow.ca ~ November 2010
St. Cecilia presents impressive lineup of concerts
by Robert Hirtle
St. Cecilia Concert Series is gearing up for a busy winter season and will kick things off with a trio of musical events scheduled for the month of November.
On November 13 the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra (NSYO), under the direction of Dinuk Wijeratne, will perform at St. John's Anglican Church, Lunenburg, at 7:30 pm.
Founded as a non-profit entity in 1977, the NSYO has fulfilled the role of providing students with educational opportunities which are not available elsewhere in the province.
Described as one of the finest orchestras in Canada, NSYO can boast that nearly 85 per cent of its over 1,000 alumni have gone on to professions in a music-related field.
Mr. Wijeratne, who is returning for his fifth year as director of the orchestra, is also serving as St. Cecilia's musician-in-residence.
He studied music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, before joining composer John Corigliano at his studio in New York's Juilliard School of Music in 2001.
He made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2004, performing with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, and has also appeared at the Kennedy Centre, Opera Bastille in Paris and the Lincoln Centre in New York, as well as venues in his native Sri Lanka, the Middle East and Europe.
Mr. Wijeratne has lectured at Dalhousie University as well as the Nova Scotia Community College, and has also served as conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Symphony Nova Scotia.
In 2008 he was awarded the Jean-Marie Beaudet Award for Orchestral Conducting by the Canada Council for the Arts and has also earned numerous other awards including the Semma Jazz Improvisation Prize, the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors and the John Manduell Prize.
For the November 13 concert, the orchestra will be performing works by Mr. Wijeratne, as well as compositions by Liszt, Milhaud, Brahms, Dvorak and Steve Cohen.
The evening's festivities will also include 2010-11 concerto winner Evan Mounce performing Milhaud's Scaramouche for Alto Saxophone as well as Cohen's Concertino for Soprano Saxophone.
From the Bridgewater Bulletiin ~ November 24, 2009
Barbara Butler brings world-class talent to South Shore
by Robert Hirtle
Five years ago when Musique Royale's artistic and managing director Barbara Butler came to Mahone Bay to take in a concert at the one of the town's historic three churches, she didn't know the trip was going to radically change her life.
"It was very, very unexpected for me at the time," she told a recent gathering of the Lunenburg County First! Chowder Club. "Sometimes the world looks different and that was one of those days when the world looked wonderful and this looked like a wonderful place to live."
Although not looking for a house at the time, she and her partner, Roy MacAuley, found one residence in particular that "just was there and we made a decision that day and bought it."
"Sometimes it's easier to make big decisions than to decide what you're going to have for supper," she laughed. "Roy is a retired policeman, and he loves woodworking, so he saw this house as fixing it up. For me, I saw house concerts."
A native Newfoundlander, Ms Butler was the daughter of an Anglican minister father and a mother who served as parish organist, a combination which served well in developing in her a love of church music when she was just a youngster.
"It started with me very, very early, my love for church music and how music connects with people," she said. "We all know that music is the universal language and the most powerful language of all that connects us in a way I don't think any other language does."
Moving to Nova Scotia as a teenager, Ms Butler later attended Acadia University and from there "moved onto various things through my life," eventually pursuing a career as a concert presenter.
"That just evolved. I really didn't plan on being a concert presenter, there just seemed to be a gap that I felt at the time," she said.
Living in Halifax, Ms Butler founded the now-celebrated St. Cecilia Concert Society, an organization with a mandate to promote emerging classical artists by giving them a venue to display their talents in front of Nova Scotia audiences.
Over the past 21 years, St. Cecilia's has evolved into the premier presenter of classical music in the Atlantic provinces, highlighting not only local but national and international performers.
For a number of years, Ms Butler was forced to use other people's houses to host performances, as she didn't have sufficient space at her own residence to do so.
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