A piano concerto written in the 1940s by an 18-year-old Canadian composer, described as a genius by Sergei Rachmaninoff, is about to receive its Ontario première more than 70 years later.

Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico joins the Kindred Spirits Orchestra and conductor Kristian Alexander in the first Ontario performance of the Piano Concerto No. 4 by André Mathieu (1929-1968), on May 11, 2019, at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, in Richmond Hill, ON.

Montreal composer André Mathieu was a child prodigy, considered the “Canadian Mozart.” Having composed his fourth concerto at only 18, he gave several performances of it. However, no complete score seemed to exist until noted Quebec pianist Alain Lefèvre was given recordings made by Mathieu. Lefèvre engaged composer Gilles Bellemare to re-construct the work from the recordings, and a few handwritten pages. Lefèvre subsequently recorded it in 2008, and performed it in Montréal and the U.S.  Lynn René Bayley of Fanfare called the concerto “truly a work of genius.”

“Rachmaninoff on steroids,” is how Petrowska Quilico describes the concerto. “It’s challenging to play, but is a very expressive work, with lush harmonies, that I think will appeal to a wide audience. The pianist also has the benefit of leeway, in places, for his or her own interpretation.”

“André Mathieu has a unique style and exceptional talent for mixing orchestral colours,” said Kristian Alexander, Music Director of Kindred Spirits Orchestra. “I hope his inspired writing will continue attracting audiences across Canada and abroad.”