Red Deer music conductor Claude Lapalme feels heartened to experience an encouraging ‘first’ later in life — a Juno Award nomination.
On Tuesday, Lapalme, his musical ensemble Rosa Barocca and feature solo cellist Elinor Frey were delighted to discover they are all being recognized by Canada’s top music awards organization for their joint 2022 CD, Early Italian Cello Concertos.
The recording is nominated for Classical Album of the Year, along with four other releases from small ensembles.
“I’m very excited,” said Lapalme.”For me, personally, it’s great to see that musicians who are 60 and over can still receive their first Juno nomination… It’s never too late, so keep plugging, everyone!”
The long-time Red Deer resident, who’s also musical director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, is also flattered that Frey, a Montreal resident with a previous Juno nomination, chose Rosa Barocca, “a newly minted period instrument baroque orchestra,” to record the album with, when she could have picked any ensemble.
Rosa Barocca was formed in Alberta in 2016 with mostly strings musicians playing baroque tunes on old-style instruments. Besides Lapalme acting as conductor and artistic director, group members include other Central Alberta musicians: Janet Kuschak on cello, Naomi Delafield on violin, and Wendy Markosky on organ/harpsichord.
Lapalme met Frey through mutual friends “and we struck up a lovely professional relationship. I invited her to perform with us in 2019 and that got things started.”
Their joint recording, Early Italian Cello Concertos was released last April on Quebec label Analekta and is getting a lot of airplay around the world — along with some impressive reviews.
Reviewer Sebastian Scotney of the UK platform, theartsdesk.com, said “Frey takes us to a place where baroque music meets steampunk attitude. I loved it.”
Andrew Sammut for earlymusicamerica.org wrote that Rosa Barocca’s “tight, responsive playing adds color and spark… Lapalme’s well-judged tempos and nuanced direction find the sweet spot between refinement and fire.”
While it’s gratifying to receive Juno attention, Lapalme said he makes music because it’s his passion: “I really feel that working in music, for music’s sake, is the key to getting better and better at your craft, which has always been my priority.”
He remains thrilled with the acknowledgment and plans to attend the March 13 Juno Awards ceremony at Roger’s Place in Edmonton.
The CD can be ordered from music.analekta.com.