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Les AMIS bring world-class musicians to Cobourg

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Vania Chan

Vania Chan


What began as an occasional concert at Cobourg's historic Cornell House has blossomed into a full-scale concert series that will take place in Cobourg in a variety of venues over the upcoming season.

Les AMIS is a group of professional musicians, musical friends dedicated to performing traditional orchestral and chamber-music repertoire as well as contemporary music, particularly music by Canadian composers. It has been pursuing these goals for more than three decades across Canada as well as internationally.

Begun 34 years ago in Toronto by world-class composer Michael Pepa, Les AMIS has enjoyed a long history of concerts internationally and in Toronto.

Les AMIS artistic director Michael Pepa has recently moved to Cobourg, bringing Les AMIS with him for regular concerts. In producing the concerts, Pepa has appointed Marianne Marusic — a Cobourg resident, piano teacher and owner of Cornell House — to organize dates and venues.

While the concerts were wonderful events for Cornell House, Marusic said, they have become so numerous and well-attended that a larger venue is required (though Cornell House will still host some of the more intimate events).

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (200 King St. E., Cobourg) will host an Oct. 23 concert featuring Erika Crinó (piano), Joyce Lai (violin) and Vania Chan (soprano).

All three maintain distinguished careers. Chan is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and veteran of Carnegie Hall. Both Crinó and Lai are stars of the international stage, who are back by popular demand after a June performance at Cornell House.

The program ranges from Bach and Mozart to works by the internationally acclaimed composer Pepa.

On Nov. 25, Les AMIS will host Julian Milkis and Alexander Sevastian.

Milkis is one of today's leading clarinetists, and the only student of clarinet icon Benny Goodman. The Juilliard-trained artist has garnered an international reputation as soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, and jazz clarinetist.

Sevastian, a native of Belarus and University of Toronto graduate, is the esteemed accordionist with the famous group Quartetto Gelato.

Many exciting events are planned in 2017. Performances will include the full 24-member Canadian Sinfonietta Orchestra, University of Toronto music professor and classical accordionist Joseph Macerollo O.C., world-renowned harpist, Erica Goodman (a Canadian Music Centre Ambassador), percussionist Beverly Johnston, Newfoundland native concert violinist and associate National Ballet of Canada concertmaster Lynn Kuo, internationally acclaimed Toronto Symphony cellist Winona Zelenka, Toronto Symphony pianist Rachel Kerr, and mezzo-soprano Maria Soulis, star of the international stage.

Marusic said this is a truly exciting development, bringing the highest level of concert artists to local audiences at an affordable price.

“This is truly an exciting development for Cobourg said Marusic as it will bring the highest level of concert artists to the area. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear musicians of the highest calibre at a very affordable price.”

For ticket information, contact the Victoria Hall Concert Hall box office 905-372-2210).