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Aesop's Feast

I found this work by Charles Valentin Alkan on youtube.
It's just so amazing! I want to play it when I'm older!


My Nutcracker Performance Dates

I'm going to be a mouse in the National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker.
The scene with the mice is in the first act.

We just found out my performance schedule.

I'll be performing on:

  • Sunday, December 23rd at 1pm
  • Saturday, December 29th at 5:30pm
  • Friday, January 4th at 1pm

(The performance schedule is 'subject to change')

Information on how to buy tickets is available online at the National Ballet of Canada's website:

See you at the ballet!


Andrés Segovia, Father of Classical Guitar

Andrés Segovia is known as the Father of Classical Guitar. He transcribed a lot of music which were for other instruments to guitar and he developed a standard technique for guitar.

We're so lucky to have videos of him playing.

Here is one of him playing Isaac Albéniz's Asturias

There is a video where he talks about how the guitar is like an orchestra.

This is a video of Segovia playing Danza in G by Granados

This last piece is of Segovia playing Bach's Prelude BWV 1007.

Joaquín Rodrigo & the Guitar as a Concert Instrument

Joaquín Rodrigo's was born on November 22, 1901 in Spain.
He went almost completely blind when he was 3 years old. He studied music, including piano and violin. People know him best for his guitar compositions and using it as a concert instrument.

Here are two of his most famous works.
Concierto de Aranjuez, 2nd Movement (Adagio)

Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre

I LOVE it when the guitar is featured with the orchestra! It's so dramatic!


Francisco Tárrega and the Nokia Ring Tone

Today is Francisco Tárrega's birthday. He was born on November 21, 1852 and he died in 1909.

He had an eye infection when he was young which messed up his eyesight but he studied music and his first 2 music teachers were blind. He ran away a lot but by the time he was a teen he could play both the piano and guitar. He wrote lots of pieces for the guitar and he transcribed piano works by Beethoven and Chopin and others for the guitar.

His most known piece is a clip from "Grand Vals" which is used in the Nokia Ring Tone.
I don't think he could have guessed that his music would be used the way it is now. Telephones were just becoming popular around the time he died and they hadn't even thought of cellphones yet.

Here's another piece by Tárrega that I mentioned in an earlier blog post. It's Recuerdos de la Alhambra played by Drew Henderson.

Here's Tárrega's Lagrima played by Miloš Karadaglić 


Tchaikovsky's Flower Waltz on Classical Guitar

I found the coolest version of Tchaikovsky's Flower Waltz from the Nutcracker. It's by a classical guitar quartet called Quatuor Obane.

Here's the link on youtube.

Can you imagine the ballet dancers dancing to classical guitar? I wonder if it would change the way they dance to it.


In the Nutcracker!

I'm going to be a mouse in the Nutcracker!
We've had 2 rehearsals so far. I love it!

This is my second year dancing at Canada's National Ballet School in their Associates Program. I used to keep it a secret because I was afraid of being bullied. But, now I don't care if everybody knows. Dancing makes me feel happy!

I can't wait to see what the full ballet is like.. :-)

I'll find out which days I'll be performing in a couple weeks.
The show will run from December 19 - January 5.

Here's a link to the National Ballet of Canada's website:


Yesterday by the Beatles

Today, Mom recorded me singing and playing "Yesterday" by the Beatles. It's the first time that I've sung and played at the same time.

Here it is:

I hope you like it!

TSO's Beethoven Triple Concerto

Last night, Dad and I went to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Beethoven Triple Concerto. Peter Oundjian conducted.

The first thing I noticed was that the orchestra was all dressed up. The men were wearing white bow-ties, white vests and tuxedos with tails. The women wore all black. They looked very nice.

The first piece in the concert was Triptyque by Mercure. He was from Montreal, Quebec. What was interesting was that the 1st movement and the 3rd movement were mirror images of each other. I was very lucky to be there because it doesn't seem like there are a lot of recordings of it. I can't find it on youtube and Mom can't find it on "Beethoven on Demand"

The second piece was Beethoven's Triple Concerto. They call it a triple concerto because there are three soloists.

The three soloists were:
- André Laplante, piano
- Jonathan Crow, violin
- Shauna Rolston, cello

They are all Canadian.

André Laplante was really feeling the music. He was moving his hands and head to the music even when he wasn't playing. It was fun to watch.

I was hoping to see Shauna Rolston's blue cello. All of the pictures I've seen of her, she has a blue cello, but she used a regular one for the performance. I wonder if they sound different. Maybe the regular looking one sounds better?

I really liked the First Movement. It was really dramatic!
The Triple Concerto was excellent!

The final piece in the concert was Shostakovich's Symphony # 12 "The Year 1917".  Jonathan Crow was back as First Violinist. It's not Shostakovich's most popular symphony.  People thought it was celebrating Communism because he wrote it to celebrate Lenin. But, people understand it better now. The TSO hadn't played it in twenty years!

I was really interested in what was going on with the percussionists. They were all playing at the end. I could listen to it again and again.

Here is a link to Shostakovich's Symphony #12 on youtube.

National Ballet of Canada - The Music

I found youtube clips about the music of the 3 ballets I most want to watch.
You get to hear David Briskin, the Music Director and Principal Conductor for the National Ballet of Canada's Orchestra speak about the music of these ballets.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The Nutcracker

Romeo and Juliet

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is on now, but I don't know if my Mom will be able to get rush tickets.

I know we'll definitely go to the Nutcracker this year! I'm so excited!

The National Ballet of Canada's website is:
You can buy tickets online.


Rick Mercer & Ballet

I found the clip of Rick Mercer at the National Ballet of Canada on youtube.
It's so funny, you just have to watch it!

Here is an older clip of him at the National Ballet School.
He even tried on pointe shoes!

Christmas Crafts

I've been making Christmas presents for my family and friends.
Mom helped me make some treble clefs with beads. She bent and cut the wire and I chose the beads and put them on. I think they look good.


"Listen to This" on TVO

Mom found this documentary for me to watch on TVO. It's about kids from the Jane and Finch area in Toronto who are in a program called "Evolving Through the Arts" at their school.

Here is a link to the full documentary:
I don't know how long it will be online on

Here's a preview on youtube

The kids are very talented and they make up their own songs to sing.
Mom wanted me to watch it so I could understand what other kids my age are going through.  I'm sad that they have to worry about crime a lot. My life is different from theirs because I homeschool, I have private music lessons and I don't have to worry about crime as much. But one thing we have in common is our love of music. I'm glad they got the chance to have such good music teachers.

(I didn't expect to see StokeS in the film. I know him from the Ontario Science Centre. I had no idea he was a musician! Next time I see him at the Science Centre, I'm going to tell him that I saw him in "Listen to This".)

Here are some other links:


Studying for my Basic Rudiments Exam

I have been studying for my Basic Rudiments Exam.  I'll take it next month. I have lots of old exam papers to practice on. I've been getting good marks on the ones I've done so far.

I am kind of nervous about my spelling if I have to define the Italian terms. I won't have a spell check to help me with spelling on the exam. I'm going to keep practicing and I hope my spelling will be good.


President Obama's Inauguration

I wonder what music they'll have for President Obama's inauguration?

At President Obama's inauguration in 2009 they had an arrangement of Aaron Copland's version of "Simple Gifts" by John Williams called "Air and Simple Gifts". Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill and Gabriela Montero played.

I'm excited to see what they will do for this inauguration!


TSO's La Vida Breve: A Spanish Opera

Last night we went to Manuel de Falla's La Vida Breve: A Spanish Opera. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

The first thing I noticed was that the members of the orchestra were all dressed up. The men were wearing white bow-ties. They looked really nice.

They started off the program with Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony Number 8 in F Major, Opus 93.
It was fun!

After the intermission the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir came out and soloists came on.

Here is a list of the soloists:
Nancy Fabiola Herrera, mezzo-soprano
Cristina Faus, mezzo-soprano
Aidan Ferguson, mezzo-soprano
Vicente Ombuena, tenor
Gustavo Peña, tenor
Alfredo García, baritone
Josep Miquel Ramón, bass-baritone
Pedro Sanz, cantaor

We got to read surtitles to help us understand what they were singing because they were singing in Spanish.

Nancy Fabiola Herrera played the part of Salud who was in love with Paco. Salud was REALLY in love with Paco. She was excellent!

My only word to describe Núria Pomares' dancing is "Wow!"
She's so amazing!

I wish that there was more guitar playing in the concert. I wanted to see more playing by Pablo Sáinz-Villegas.

I won't spoil the ending of the opera for you.
It was really good!

Tour of the National Ballet of Canada

We went on a tour of the National Ballet of Canada's Walter Carsen Centre yesterday. We got to see the Shoe Room and learn about the dancers' shoes and even saw their pointe shoes. Then we got to see some very detailed miniature sets. I think this one was from the Nutcracker. 

We also went to the Costume department and saw some of their elaborate costumes. They are hand made and they were gorgeous!

The best part of the tour was getting to see the dancers rehearse Romeo and Juliet. They will perform it in March next year. The men were so strong and the women were so graceful. It must be hard work to dance for so many hours every day. They are so talented and so wonderful to watch!

The piano accompanist was very good too. He understood exactly what the répétiteur wanted of him. They would start and stop at different points to try to get the parts better and he would know exactly where to pick up.

I wonder when they will start rehearsals with the orchestra?

Here is a link to the National Ballet of Canada's website

Here is a link to information about their tours