Cultivating Culture - London’s Impressive Performing Arts

Below is an excerpt from Niagara-based travel writer Mike Keenan’s review of his recent visit to London. The article was published in the Niagara Review, the St. Catharines Times, and the Welland Tribune.


After window shopping on Richmond St., we cross the park to Centennial Hall where Orchestra London will perform their opening night Beethoven selections. We arrive early for the pre-performance talk by Alain Trudel, conductor and music director and piano soloist, Janina Fialkowska.
Coincidentally, Fialkowska completes today’s “overcoming cancer” theme. She began playing the piano at age of 5, studied at Juilliard in New York and performed with top-ranked, orchestras, but in 2002, was diagnosed with a tumour in her left arm. Surgery prevented the use of her arm so she spent two years performing the Ravel and Prokofiev “concertos for the left hand,” which she had transcribed for her right hand. In 2004, she resumed her two-handed career and won additional awards and recognition for her talent. She tells us that tonight’s Piano Concerto No. 4 never fails to give her goose bumps, and that it’s the most beautiful piano concerto that she knows.
Trudel, one of the busiest and most sought-after conductors on the Canadian scene, exudes energy with synapses firing so fast, he can barely complete one thought before veering off on another. He cleverly helps us understand how brilliant Beethoven was in writing such glorious music while being 60% deaf. In animated fashion, he also prepares us for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica,” the first part of which was dedicated to Napoleon but later rescinded when the emperor assumed dictatorial status.


Read the full article here.

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