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Susan O'Neill-Senyshyn


 

is now a recording artist for Albany Records, New York. Please visit:

http://www.albanyrecords.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AR&Product_Code=TROY1445&Category_Code=a-Instru

 

If you would like to place an order, you may do so online at www.arkivmusic.com or www.hbdirect.com

 

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EpvvPVH-Hw


"A flautist who plays seamlessly, with intensity of feeling and a convincing sense of phrase... the playing is admirable - full of passion, freedom and charm."—Award winning critic Juliette de Marcellus

Susan O’Neill has an international reputation as a musician, music psychologist, and music educator. She has a unique background with a BMus honour degree in music performance (University of Ottawa) and three separate graduate degrees in the disciplines of music, psychology and education, including a Masters in Performance Studies from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As a flautist, O’Neill studied with Ervin Monroe (Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Robert Cram (National Arts Centre Orchestra), Timothy Hutchins (Montreal Symphony Orchestra), Paul Edmund-Davies (London Symphony Orchestra, UK), and Geoffrey Gilbert who taught many top players including James Galway. In 1986 she won the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary and the Ottawa University Concerto Competition. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in both England and Canada.


Dr. O’Neill has taught in universities in England, Hong Kong, Portugal, United States and Canada. Her first faculty position was at Keele University (UK) with the internationally acclaimed Unit for the Study of Musical Skill and Development, where she later became Associate Director along with Professor John Sloboda. In 2000, she was promoted to the equivalent rank of Associate Professor and was co-founder and Director of a leading UK graduate program in Music Psychology. Before joining the Don Wright Faculty of Music in 2007, O’Neill was awarded a prestigious 2-year fellowship at the University of Michigan, followed by a faculty position at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education.


Dr. O’Neill has contributed to more than 100 publications, including eight chapters in edited books published by Oxford University Press: The Social Psychology of Music (1997), Music and Emotion: Theory and Research (2001), The Science and Psychology of Music Performance (2002), Musical Identities (2002), The Child as Musician (2006), A Cultural Psychology for Music Education (2009), Handbook of Research on Music Learning (2010), Oxford Handbook of Music Education (forthcoming). She also contributed to the psychology of music entry in the The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001, 2nd ed.).

She is currently Director of Research for Youth, Music and Education (RYME), funded by  the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The research examines the way young people value music-making and the impact of youth music participation on well-being, cultural identiy, creativity and innovation. Dr. O'Neill was appointed recently as Senior Editor of the CMEA (Canadian Music Educators' Association) Biennial Book Series Research to Practice. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario and an Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University. For information please go to: http://www.music.uwo.ca/bios/soneill.html

 

REFLECTIONS & RELATIONSHIPS • Yaroslav Senyshyn (pn); Susan O’Neill Senyshyn (fl) • ALBANY 1444 (64:29) LISZT Années de pèlerinage: Sonetto 104. FRANCK Violin Sonata (trans. for flute). IBERT Jeux: Sonatine pour Flûte et Piano: Tendre. KUZMENKO In Memorium to the Victims of Chornobyl. SMITH Image, op. 33/1, 2.MEDAGLIA-MILLER Étude no. 1 in c, op. 8

Captured “live,” pianist Yaroslav Senyshyn and his wife, flutist Susan O’Neill-Senyshyn, present a program polarized between Romantic and contemporary music, with the Ibert, an unabashedly sentimental work by a 20th-century composer, bridging the gap between the two disparate genres. Whether the music illustrates Reflections and Relationships to the degree hypothesized by Senyshyn in his program notes must be evaluated subjectively by each listener, but considered purely as music, this CD contains excellent performances of intriguingly varied repertoire.

Senyshyn’s Liszt is exultant, dramatic, dreamy, rhetorically cohesive, with smoothly executed transitions and a beautifully shaded tonal palette. Senyshyn negotiates the fioratura with ease; ditto the dynamic extremes—this is Liszt, after all. Altogether this is an ingratiating, satisfying performance.

The Franck Sonata was written for violin and piano, but is occasionally heard in a transcription for flute, as here. The flute “sings” as well as the violin, and is as agile: O’Neill-Senyshyn’s richly emotive playing in the slower movements and her easy mastery of the testing rapid-fire unisons in the fast ones easily supports those claims. However, the flute is compromised by the necessity for taking a breath from time to time (I may be wrong, but I haven’t heard of classical flutists employing circular breathing, as some saxophonists do). Nonetheless, in the right hands (as here), the instrument is capable of beautiful, long-lined phrases. The primary consideration, then, is timbral, with the sound of a vibrating column of air contrasted to that generated by bowed or plucked strings.

Interpretively, the Senyshyns have a fine grasp of the music’s lyrical, passionate, and rhapsodic nature. Franck’s piano writing often demands a virtuoso technique and Yaroslav Senyshyn successfully “walks the tightrope,” energetically pressing forward when the music demands it but never outstripping or swamping his partner even when both instruments are at full stretch, as in the exciting second and fourth movements.

When he wishes, he’s capable of a truly colossal sound; try Kuzmenko’s In Memoriam to the Victims of Chornobyl, in which Senyshyn does as much as a pianist can conceivably do to convey horror through dynamics. He can also play with great delicacy and refinement, as when he’s portraying the innocent children whose play is so devastatingly interrupted.

William David Smith’s Image No. 1 opens with low, murky textures contrasted with bright shards of sound. Explosive episodes and vehement single-note repetitions, combined with a marked Russian feeling, recall Prokofiev.

Initially, Image No. 2 substitutes soft sprinkles of sound for brutality: I’m guessing that the una corda has an important part to play in Senyshyn’s creation of a beguiling, other-worldly atmosphere. The second half of the piece revisits the angry sonic assaults of the first Image, but with slightly less intensity.

Reeves Medaglia-Miller’s Étude is also somewhat Russian in inclination, with a declarative opening reminiscent of Rachmaninoff. The piece doesn’t strive to be “modern,” and could have been written by a contemporary of Liszt: its periodic, furious athletic figures must require quick, strong fingers, but in its less strenuous moments the music is somber and majestic. The Liszt connection (probably not intended by the composer) can be heard in the, admittedly brief, thematic fragments that hark back to the Hungarian Rhapsodies.

To recap, this is an eclectic program of standard and contemporary music masterfully performed by two insightful, communicative, and virtuosic musicians. Robert Schulslaper

This article (above) originally appeared in Issue 37:4 (Mar/Apr 2014) of Fanfare Magazine.

 

 

FEATURE REVIEW by Colin Clarke

REFLECTIONS & RELATIONSHIPS • Yaroslav Senyshyn (pn); Susan O’Neill Senyshyn (fl) • ALBANY 1444 (64:29) LISZT Années de pèlerinage: Sonetto 104. FRANCK Violin Sonata (trans. for flute). IBERT Jeux: Sonatine pour Flûte et Piano: Tendre. KUZMENKO In Memorium to the Victims of Chornobyl. SMITHImage, op. 33/1, 2. MEDAGLIA-MILLER Étude no. 1 in c, op. 8

 

This well-planned recital begins with a substantial slab of solo piano. The Liszt is given an impassioned performance by Senyshyn, who has a similarly impressive, mainly Rachmaninoff disc reviewed below. Applause is retained as the performers walk on stage for the Franck (the Liszt is shorn of this). The flautist Susan O’Neill-Senyshyn makes a dark, dusky flute sound entirely appropriate for the first movement of the Franck. There is an element of the benefits of live performance here, in that phrases are lovingly dwelt upon in a way that studio conditions might well inhibit. The tricky piano opening to the second movement is excellently done. Senyshyn is a pianist of real sensitivity, and it is noteworthy that he never even threatens to overwhelm his soloist, despite Franck’s complex demands. The third movement is beautifully crepuscular; the Finale is reflective and pastoral. The Ibert slow movement receives a wonderfully shaded account. It almost seems a shame to have the applause at the end. Larysia Kuzmenko is Composer-in-Residence with the Toronto Symphony. Her In Memoriam to the Victims of Chornobyl is for solo piano and, in terms of harmonic language, introduces a more Modernist slant than heretofore. The headlong, dissonant toccata element is very involving (especially when played with such grit as here), as is the granitic climax. The movements from Smith’s Image (again for solo piano: the use of the singular is correct) are fascinating in their emotional range, and Senyshyn again seems the ideal interpreter, fearlessly delivering clusters one moment, proffering reflective balm the next. Smith, born in Toronto, is also a Trappist monk. Finally, the fascinating Étude by Reeves Madaglia-Miller, a name new to me. There seems to be an almost Mussorgskian bareness to some of this piece. It makes for a hard-edged but effective close to a fascinating and well recorded disc; a pity the applause retained is a mere token gesture, as if the producer could not decide whether or not to include it. Nevertheless, recommended. Colin Clarke

 

FEATURE REVIEW by Maria Nockin

REFLECTIONS & RELATIONSHIPS • Yaroslav Senyshyn (pn); Susan O’Neill Senyshyn (fl) • ALBANY 1444 (64:29)

LISZT Années de pèlerinage: Sonetto 104. FRANCK Violin Sonata (trans. for flute). IBERT Jeux: Sonatine pour Flûte et Piano: Tendre. KUZMENKO In Memorium to the Victims of Chornobyl. SMITHImage, op. 33/1, 2. MEDAGLIA-MILLER Étude no. 1 in c, op. 8

Pianist Yaroslav Senyshyn and flutist Susan O’Neill Senyshyn recorded Reflections & Relationships at a live concert, and the enthusiasm of the audience is part of the ambience of this compact disc. Both artists teach at the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. The performance begins with “Sonneto 104” from Liszt’s second book of Années de Pèlerinage(Years of Pilgrimage). The composer wrote it about his visits to Italy between 1837 and 1849 but only published it in 1858. In “Sonneto 104” he laments that he grasps the world but obtains nothing. Perhaps that idea echoed Liszt’s thoughts on the cost of fame. Senyshyn is a passionate pianist who delivers a significant emotional impact.

His wife joins him for a flute transcription of César Franck’s A-Major Sonata. Originally, it had been the composer’s wedding gift to violinist Eugène Ysaÿe. Here, transcribed for flute and piano, it does not have the allowance for breath that a piece written expressly for flute would have. Still, it contains the rich harmonic language that listeners have loved for more than a century. O’Neill-Senyshyn plays with a sweet tone and well-planned phrasing, while her husband plays with considerable passion. He has a marked ability to evoke emotion with his approach to the piano and it is most evident in the turbulent Allegro movement.

James Galway and Martha Argerich perform this Franck Sonata on a comparable but much older RCA Victor Europe disc, but their rendition is much lighter and faster. The Senyshyns follow the Sonata with Tendre, a section of Jacques Ibert’s Sonatine for Flute and Piano from his Jeux. Although the piece is less than three minutes long, it sets the mood for an exotic dream. There is a complete performance of the Sonatine on a 1998 Warner Classics disc featuring Emmanuel Pahud and Eric LeSage. Their playing is elegant and their style idiomatically French.

Larysa Kuzmenko’s In Memoriam to the Victims of Chornobyl is a thoughtful reflection on the nuclear disaster and its effects on the people who were caught up in it. She writes strong percussive music in the tradition of great 20th-century composers from the former Soviet Union. Senyshyn uses the full range of his Steinway grand’s dynamics in depicting the 1986 event.

Image, Nos. 1 and 2, by Trappist Monk William David Smith are also strong dark works for piano. The first, in particular, is as bracing as a jolt of espresso. The second offers a bit of respite before finishing in a strong and decisive manner. Unfortunately, there is a tiny buzz in the ambient sound on these two tracks that is not evident elsewhere.

The finale, Étude No. 1 in C Minor by Reeves Medaglia-Miller, continues the dramatic mood, with the solo piano painting sound waves with myriad colors and weaving an emotion-packed aural tapestry. It would have been nice to hear more of the flute at the end, but it is important to hear new music and the final three pieces for piano are by composers who should be better known. Maria Nockin

These articles (above) originally appeared in Issue 37:4 (Mar/Apr 2014) of Fanfare Magazine.

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Release Details of Susan O'Neill-Senyshyn's Recent CD's


 

Title: Live At Von Kuster Hall

Artist Name: Yaroslav Senyshyn (Piano) and Susan O'Neill-Senyshyn (Flute)

Genre: Classical

Sub Genre: Piano Classical

Label: Platon Promotions

Explicit Lyrics: no

Catalog Number: (to be generated)

UPC: 881034442994

Release Date: 2009-10-16

Copyright Year: 2009

Number of Tracks: 7

 Track Details

Bottom of Form

Track #

Title

Duration

Explicit

ISRC

01

Franz Liszt: Années De Pèlerinage-Se...

07:15

No

USQY50964221

02

César Franck: Sonata In A Major For...

06:34

No

USQY50964222

03

César Franck: Sonata In A Major For...

08:26

No

USQY50964223

04

César Frank: Sonata In A Major For ...

07:22

No

USQY50964224

05

César Franck: Sonata In A Major For...

07:02

No

USQY50964225

06

Jacques Ibert: Jeux – Sonatine Pour ...

02:57

No

USQY50964226

07

Larysa Kuzmenko: In Memoriam To Th...

07:51

No

USQY50964227

 

 

OTHER CD'S TBA