Calgary flautist Jiajia Li is among the selected participants in the Stingray Classical Music Program. Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino.
Calgary flautist Jiajia Li is among the selected participants in the Stingray Classical Music Program. Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino.

Stingray Donates $525K To NMC's Classical Music Program

The National Music Centre will receive a $525,000 contribution from Stingray over the next seven years to support classical music residencies at Studio Bell, the company announced today.

The artists who have already been selected to help launch the program over the second half of 2019 include Montreal-based post-classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais, celebrated Calgary flautist Jiajia Li, and Edmonton musician Anders Muskens, who specializes in historical keyboards.

“As a Canadian company and a member of the music community, Stingray is committed to promoting local talent. We are proud to support the future of classical music in Canada and to invest in connecting them with the tools to fuel their work,” said Mathieu Péloquin, senior vice-president, marketing and communications, of Stingray, in the press release.

“Stingray’s support of this program will connect some of the country’s most talented classical artists with a world-class facility where the possibilities of exploration are endless,” said Adam Fox, Director of Programs, NMC. “We are so grateful for this gift to the National Music Centre and for the opportunity to serve more artists.”

As previously announced, Montreal-based Jean-Michel Blais will be in residence at Studio Bell this summer, though his residency will now fall under the Stingray Classical stream. Blais will present an intimate workshop backstage in Studio Bell’s recording studios, illuminating his philosophy of improvisation on July 29 at 7:00 pm. Blais landed on the Polaris Music Prize Short List in 2018 for his sophomore record Dans ma main, an expansive album of post-classical piano music that blends his classical skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment. “I was able to preview the National Music Centre’s collection during a visit to Studio Bell in 2018,” said Blais. “To say that I was inspired by the breadth and depth of what was housed in the building is an understatement. I may not sleep during my time there.”

Born in Beijing and now based in Calgary, flautist Jiajia Li is a prize winner of the “Prinzessin Margaret von Hessen” competition (Germany), and three-time scholarship recipient from Banff Centre. As a soloist, Li has performed at the Calgary New Music Festival, Edmonton Art Festival “The Works”, Sled Island, and with the Kensington Sinfonia. Li will use her time in residence to record a new EP. She will perform a public workshop in December at Studio Bell. More details will be announced soon. “I’m super excited to explore NMC’s instrument collection and experiment with adding unique sounds to my music,” she said.

Edmonton’s Anders Muskens specializes in historical performance on keyboard instruments from the 18th and early 19th century—namely the forte-piano, harpsichord, clavichord, and organ. NMC will present an in-studio experience with the forte-piano master on October 25.

"NMC has a lovely collection of originals and replicas of historic instruments,” said Muskens. “I am really looking forward to showcasing the truly special sound that these instruments create: these are the sounds that inspired Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven—and are vastly different from modern instruments.”

Stingray Classical Music Program is an offshoot of the National Music Centre’s Artist in Residence program.

The Stingray Classical Music Program offers access to three historic recording consoles and over 300 musical artifacts, spanning 450 years of music technology and innovation.

Stingray, a proudly Canadian music, media, and technology company, this year has allocated $6.7 million to Canadian content development initiatives through payments to music industry organizations and bursaries for up-and-coming artists.

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