JUNO Award nominee for Classical Composition of the Year, 2016: Piano Quartet

JUNO Award winning composer John Burge truly revels in the sonorous variety of textures and emotions that are possible in chamber music. Driven by strong melodic profiles and rhythmic independence, the music on this CD is inspired by themes as diverse as nature, particle physics and ballet, offering a tour de force of instrumental writing. Award-winning piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada rises to the occasion with passionate and committed performances, drawing on their vast experience, unique sound blend and mix of personalities.

Named among 80 « Women to Watch » by Chatelaine Magazine, Ensemble Made In Canada is praised for « astonishing energy and zeal…a true ensemble…not just unified playing, but with one soul. » The group is dedicated to commissioning new Canadian work and is Ensemble-in-Residence at Western University in London, Ontario.

JUNO Award winning composer and professor at Queen’s University, Dr. John Burge, recently received the Queen’s University Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship and was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada. From 1998-2006 he was President of the Canadian League of Composers, and serves on the Board of Directors of the SOCAN Foundation.

1. Pas de Deux (2010) 15:54
For violin and cello

2. String Theory (2011) 14:59
For viola and piano

3.-5. Piano Quartet (2012) 34:28


« Artful composing and fine players: a good match. » – Christian Carey, Sequenza21

« Throughout there is the spice of chromatic modernism, classical developmental presence plus a neo- and post-romantic passion that come together convincingly and individually.
Ensemble Made in Canada do much to communicate the excitement and depth of the music. They are a first-rate ensemble who play with great conviction and elan. The combination of Burge’s dynamic individuality and the Ensemble Made in Canada’s brio and brilliance make for a real winner. Bravo! »
– Grego Edwards, Classical Modern Music Blog

« John Burge (b.1961) has produced a large body of instrumental and vocal works, while teaching at Queen’s University since 1987 and serving as president of the Canadian League of Composers (1998 to 2006). His Flanders Fields Reflections for string orchestra won the 2009 JUNO for best Canadian composition. The three works on this disc display Burge’s characteristic neo-romantic coupling of melodiousness with strong rhythmic drive. Ensemble Made in Canada, formed in 2006 and winner of the CBC Galaxie Rising Stars award, is currently ensemble-in-residence at Western University. The ensemble commissioned this CD’s major work, the 34-minute Piano Quartet (2012), in which two highly propulsive movements, the first employing minimalist elements, bracket an elegiac Adagietto containing a scherzo (Presto misterioso). All three movements are dramatic attention-holders. The disc opens with Pas de Deux (2010), performed by the Ensemble’s violinist Elissa Lee and cellist Rachel Mercer. Its structure mirrors that of the balletic duo and the music’s warm lyricism and rocking rhythm could easily be choreographed for a real, danced love-duet. The ensemble’s other pair, violist Sharon Wei and pianist Angela Park, perform String Theory (2011), composed as the test piece for the 2012 Eckhardt-Gramatté competition. It’s « a compendium of string effects, » writes Burge, designed to challenge the competitors’ techniques, yet it’s no hodge-podge of mere « effects, » thanks to its constant melodic and rhythmic forward motion. Three very engaging pieces, very engagingly performed. » – Michael Schulman, the WholeNote