Music of the City and the Stars features two new compositions by Andrew Paul MacDonald where he is the featured soloist with the Quatuor Saguenay. The opening work, Lyra, is a musical examination of the constellation Lyra set in seven movements played segue. The piece opens with Hermes’ invention of the lyre as his gift to Apollo, and follows it through the magical hands of Orpheus as he encounters the Argonauts, Eurydice, Hades, and finally the Bacchants. The work closes with Zeus placing the lyre in the heavens in memory of the great musical wizard. Exotic string writing and electronic effects applied to the guitar create an eerie and timeless atmosphere. The album’s companion work, Restless City, features both concerto-like exchanges and intimate expressive passages. Set in three substantial movements, this jazz-inspired composition pays homage to bebop legends Charlie Parker, Tadd Dameron and Thelonious Monk.

Acclaimed Canadian composer Andrew Paul MacDonald was recently appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian music. His compositions have won many prestigious prizes, including the 1995 JUNO Award for “Best Classical Composition” for his Violin Concerto. Renowned as a composer of works for symphony orchestra, opera, chamber ensembles, and soloists, MacDonald has been commissioned by artists across Canada and performed around the globe. A protégé of Alexandre Lagoya, MacDonald is also a concert guitarist who has premiered a number of works especially written for him. In addition to having been soloist in the great concertos by Villa-Lobos, Rodrigo, and R.R. Bennett among others, MacDonald recently starred in the premiere of his own new concerto, Electric Pleasures. Professor of Composition at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Québec for over thirty years, MacDonald has inspired many young musicians who now boast successful careers.

Formerly known as the Alcan Quartet, the Quatuor Saguenay consists of violinists Marie Bégin and Nathalie Camus, violist Luc Beauchemin, and cellist David Ellis. Based in Saguenay, Quebec, the quartet has developed a reputation for excellence throughout Canada and internationally since its formation in 1989. The quartet’s originality, contagious enthusiasm, unique sonority, and remarkable cohesion have all contributed to its long-term success, both on the stage and on recordings. Celebrating thirty years of performing in 2019, the ensemble’s list of accomplishments is impressive: over 1,500 concerts in Europe, Asia, and North America; more than a hundred radio broadcasts (Radio-Canada, CBC, NPR, Radio France, etc.); numerous appearances on television; twenty-five albums; and many commissioned works.