ARC Ensemble
The Royal Conservatory of Music
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ARC Ensemble presents EXIT: MUSIC

ARC Ensemble is thrilled to present EXIT: MUSIC, a documentary directed by James Murdoch that examines the impact of National Socialism on the lives of five composers. As a taste, we are sharing the trailer. This revealing and captivating film will be released in the Spring of 2016.

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The Rediscovery of a Great Jewish Composer

SIMON WYNBERG, MOSAIC MAGAZINE
December 2015

Jerzy Fitelberg was a favorite of Aaron Copland and Arthur Rubinstein. Then he was lost to history. Now, sixty years after his death, his music is being played again.

Music that survives only in its written form requires an intermediary, sometimes hundreds of intermediaries, in order to bring it to life. This is one way in which music differs from other arts: no performer, interpreter, or outside actor is needed to experience a novel or a poem, a sculpture or a painting. But the fact that we experience musical pieces through hearing them in time is the source not only of their mysterious power over us but—when they have the misfortune to exist only in the complicated and inexact notation used to write them down—of their potential to be overlooked and lost. A major art gallery will have a keen sense of the extent and quality of its holdings whether or not they are on exhibit at any given moment; by contrast, a national music library or archive can possess the entire corpus of a forgotten composer and have absolutely no idea of its artistic worth.

My work with the ARC Ensemble, a group of chamber musicians based at Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music, involves finding and assessing music that fell off the map in the wake of World War II and/or was out of sync with the atonalist avant-garde that followed. Seventy years after war’s end, thousands of works remain unexplored, many hiding in plain sight in libraries around the world.

Such is the fate of the Polish-American composer Jerzy (George) Fitelberg, whom I first encountered through his surviving cousin Gary. An unlikely spokesman, Gary, who lives in Los Angeles, was unfamiliar with most of his cousin’s work and had also lost a substantial collection of his manuscripts in a house fire. But he was intent on interesting the ARC Ensemble in Jerzy’s legacy. Spurred by his enthusiasm, I set out to find out what I could.

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Footage from ARC Ensemble's debut at the Lincoln Center Festival this past July




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Royal Conservatory on a mission to recover suppressed works

ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN
The Globe and Mail

They were dismissed from their jobs, forced into exile, often imprisoned and killed. They are the composers who suffered and died under Hitler and Stalin, and the Royal Conservatory of Music plans to establish an in-house institute to help retrieve their suppressed works.

“It’s striking to me how much of this music is simply unknown and unexplored,” says Simon Wynberg, artistic director of the RCM’s ARC Ensemble, which over the past decade has championed works by suppressed composers through concert tours and recordings, two of which were nominated for Grammy awards.

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A Green and Pleasant Land

 
As the ARC Ensemble moves into its 10th anniversary season, we have begun to look back at our archives. Among our past series are two concerts of English music composed between the wars which we presented under the title "A Green and Pleasant Land." These performances, which included poetry of the period read by R.H. Thompson, were broadcast by CBC Radio 2, and later packaged for NPR affiliates with introductions by the ARC Ensemble's Artistic Director, SImon Wynberg.

 

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Upcoming Concerts

2016

March 17
deBijloke
Ghent, Belgium

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A short account of Mieczysław Weinberg's tumultuous life between 1940 and 1953; music from the ARC Ensemble's Grammy-nominated CD "On the Threshold of Hope."

The ARC Ensemble perform the opening movement of Paul Ben-Haim's Clarinet Quintet at the Enav Center, Tel Aviv.

James Conlon, Honorary Chairman of the ARC Ensemble talks about the Music in Exile tour to Israel in March 2011.

Benjamin Bowman – violin, and David Louie – piano, perform Mendelssohn's D minor Sonata movement which survives in an incomplete manuscript in the Mendelssohn collection of the Berlin State LIbrary. The work was completed by David Louie and its score can be downloaded here.

The ARC Ensemble's much-praised video Honour Bound, The Exile of Adolf Busch – directed by James Murcoch and produced by Simon Wynberg and James Murdoch, funded by Bravo!Fact.

The ARC Ensemble perform the opening movement of Paul Ben-Haim's Clarinet Quintet at the Enav Center, Tel Aviv.

James Conlon, Honorary Chairman of the ARC Ensemble talks about the Music in Exile tour to Israel in March 2011.

Benjamin Bowman – violin, and David Louie – piano, perform Mendelssohn's D minor Sonata movement which survives in an incomplete manuscript in the Mendelssohn collection of the Berlin State LIbrary. The work was completed by David Louie and its score can be downloaded here.

The ARC Ensemble's much-praised video Honour Bound, The Exile of Adolf Busch – directed by James Murcoch and produced by Simon Wynberg and James Murdoch, funded by Bravo!Fact.

"...expertly played by members of the eight-strong ARC Ensemble."
– Fionna Maddocks, The Guardian
July 21, 2013

"The recording is finely balanced, matching these committed and illuminating performances."
– Edward Bhesania, The Strad
August 28, 2013

"The ARC Ensemble arrived from Canada to offer rare repertory at Wigmore Hall [and] gave a beautifully performed programme of chamber works by Jewish composers undermined by Nazism: a fluent Clarinet Sonata by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a vigorous Piano Quintet on Polish tunes by Szymon Laks, Paul Ben-Haim's big-boned, late-Romantic Piano Quartet in C minor, and, most memorable, an unfinished D minor violin sonata movement by the teenage Mendelssohn (Hider had it in for him, too), completed by the pianist David Louie, who played it with Benjamin Bowman. The composer's magical fleetness was in evidence, and other inspirations besides!"
– Paul Driver, The Sunday Times (London)
March 17, 2013

"Weinberg, a friend and follower of Shostakovich, died in partial obscurity in 1996, but his music is undergoing something of a revival… As a point of departure, I would recommend a superb disc of Weinberg's Clarinet Sonata, "Jewish Songs" and Piano Quintet, with members of the Arc Ensemble."
Alex Ross, The New Yorker Blog, August 29, 2011