Friday, May 06, 2016

19minus2 - OCMS-YSO 17th Annual Concert

OCMS-YSO will be presenting our 17th Annual Concert on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall at York University. Order tickets by emailing

OCMS-YSO is grateful to our presenting sponsor, RBC Royal Bank, as well as two program sponsors, L-Can Real Estate Group and Paul Chan Professional Corporation.

The concert title "19minus2" refers to the mathematical equation 19 minus 2, which equals to 17, the age of our group. The title also relates to our programme. Most of our pieces this year were composed during the long 19th century with the exception of 2 works by Handel and Telemann. 

OCMS-YSO is honoured to be working with three special soloists this year. Soprano Daphne Hsu will perform a selection of 19th century favourites, while pianist Stanford Cheung will perform Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1. Our very own violist Matthew Chan will be performing Telemann's Viola Concerto in G Major. We hope to see you there on Saturday, June 4, 2016!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

2015-2016 Sponsors

A big Thank You to the following corporate sponsors of our 2015-2016 season:

Sunday, December 06, 2015

YSO is Coming to Town! Holiday Concerts 2015

'Tis the season again! YSO is coming to town with two holiday concerts this year.

Family and Friends Holiday Concert
Friday, December 11, 2015 @ 8:30 PM
Armadale Community Centre (2401 Denison Street, Markham, ON L3S 1G3)
Light refreshments and snacks will be provided

Community Volunteer Holiday Concert
Saturday, December 12, 2015 @ 2:00 PM
Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care (2311 McNicoll Avenue, Scarborough, ON M1V 5L3)

Concert Programme

A Most Wonderful Christmas
Arranged by Robert Sheldon

A Trumpeter's Lullaby
Leroy Anderson
Hank Chu, trumpet solo

Viola Concerto in G Major TWV 51 G9
Georg Philipp Telemann
Matthew Chan, viola solo

Blue Tango
Leroy Anderson

A Christmas Festival
Leroy Anderson

Hope to see you soon!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Three Golden Rules of Practicing

My fellow colleague, Dr. Timothy Hagen, has written a fantastic post about the three golden rules of practicing. Below is the summary of the three rules. Please visit for a detailed discussion of these rules.

Golden Rule #1 of Practicing: Never play something wrong the same way twice.
Golden Rule #2 of Practicing: You must understand the problem before you can fix the problem.
Golden Rule #3 of Practicing: Always practice the smallest amount you can to fix a problem.

We are all busy people, meaning that none of us have the luxury to just practice for hours and hours everyday and do nothing else. Therefore, we must all learn to practice SMART in order to achieve the best result in the shortest amount of time.

Enjoy Dr. Hagen's post and happy practicing!

18th NAC Orchestra Artist Training Young Artists Program

Applications now being accepted for the 18th NAC Orchestra Artist Training Young Artists Program in Ottawa, Canada. Deadline: Monday, February 8th, 2016. Pinchas Zukerman, Founder, Patinka Kopec, Artistic Director, Sara Vared, Honorary Patron. Full financial support for senior-level Canadians and partial support for senior-level international and all precollege-level students. For more information, please visit

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dvorak's New World Symphony - The Tuba Part

Since we have been looking through Dvorak's 9th symphony this month.  I thought I would share what the tuba part comprises of.

Composer of the Month (Oct.2015) Leroy Anderson

Nationality: American      |     June 29, 1908 - May 18, 1975

Leroy Anderson was an American composer of short and light concert pieces.  Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Swedish parents, Anderson grew up learning the piano taught by his mother.  He went on to study piano at the New England Conservatory of Music and entered Harvard University in 1925.  There, Anderson had a myriad of instructors: musical harmony with Walter Spalding, counterpoint with Edward Ballantine, canon and fugue with William C. Heilman, orchestration with Edward B. Hill, composition with Walter Piston, double bass with Gaston Dufresne, and organ with Henry Gideon.  He went on to Harvard Graduate School and studied composition with Walter Piston and Georges Enescu.

After receiving his Master of Arts in Music in 1930, Anderson continued studying at Harvard, working towards a PhD in German and Scandinavian languages.  He eventually became fluent in Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, German, French, Italian, and Portuguese, along with his native language of English and Swedish.

Anderson's musical endeavors came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler who conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Anderson was asked to create a composition to make his concerts more enjoyable.  He wrote his first signature work in 1938: Jazz Pizzicato and the accompanying Jazz Legato.

Although Anderson joined the U.S. Army in 1942, he continued to compose.  In 1945, he wrote "The Syncopated Clock" and "Christmas Festival" in 1950.  In 1951, he wrote his first hit, "Blue Tango", which earned the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts.

Other notable works include "Sleigh Ride", also reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts; "Bugler's Holiday", an exciting solo for three Bugles; "Trumpeter's Lullaby", a trumpet solo; and "The Typewriter", the intial performances of which Arthur Fiedler would wear green eyeshade and mime working on an old typewriter while the orchestra played.

In 1975, Anderson died of cancer in Woodbury, Connecticut and was buried there. He has since been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988.  In 1995, The new headquarters of the Harvard University Band was named the Anderson Band Center in honor of him.  His house has also been placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Bonus:  Leroy Anderson composed music for one musical in his lifetime: Goldilocks.  Although it gained critical success, he quickly shied away from that type of activity, preferring to write orchestral miniatures instead.

Take a listen to the overture to Goldilocks!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Composer of the Month (Sept.2015) Mikhail Glinka

Nationality: Russian    |    June 1st 1804 - February 15 1857

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka was born wealthy to a family that had a strong tradition of both loyalty and service to the Tsar (emperor).  As a small child, Glinka was first introduced to music by listening to his uncle's orchestra that would play Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.  Along with Russian, German, French, and geography, he was also instructed to play the piano and violin.

At the age of 13, Glinka went to Saint Petersburg to study at a school for children of the nobility.  During this time, he learned Latin, English, and Persian, studied mathematics and zoology, and had piano lessons with Charles Mayer.  Upon graduation, Glinka was appointed assistant secretary of the Department of Public Highways.  The work was light, which allowed him to spend more time in musical endeavors.

In 1830, Glinka took a trip to Milan and study at the conservatory with Francesco Basili.  On his way back, he stopped by in Vienna where he heard the music of Franz Liszt.  In Berlin, he studied composition under Siegfried Dehn. Upon his father's death in 1834, Glinka left Berlin and returned to Novospasskoye.

Glinka is credited with two great operas.  The first, A Life for the Tsar, tells the story of a Russian peasant who sacrifices his life for the Tsar by leading astray a group of marauding Poles.  A Life for the Tsar became an instant success after its premiere in 1836. The second opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila, was based on a plot concocted by a drunk poet in 15 minutes.  Consequently, the opera became a dramatic muddle.  On the other hand, the quality of music was much higher than in Glinka's first opera.  When it was first performed in 1842, it was met with a cool reception.  It wasn't until later on that the opera grew substantially in popularity.

Dejected, Glinka travelled to Paris and Spain, interacting with Hector Berlioz and spent the remainder of his life composing and living in a quiet and relaxed manner.  He died in Berlin on February 15th 1857 following a cold.

As the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, Glinka is regarded as the fountainhead of Russian classical music.  His music became influential towards future composers - especially The Five (Mily Balakirev, Cèsar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Alexander Borodin).

Below are recordings of the overtures to his two greatest operatic works.
A Life for the Tsar

Ruslan and Ludmilla