The Great Debate features: Tom Allen, author, and CBC broadcaster, Robert Harris, music journalist, writer, teacher and broadcaster, Peter Hall, (mostly) retired radio host; and special guest appearance from soprano and broadcaster Julie Nesrallah and William Littler, music critic and speaker. Watch as they face off in a lively debate on a favourite topic: Ludwig Beethoven. This is a rare chance to hear prominent experts debate one of the greatest composers of all time. The Great Debate features musical illustrations from Victoria Kogan (piano) and Atis Bankas (Violin).
About the Performers:
Host – Peter Hall
If you enjoy Buffalo Toronto Public Media, since 1994 you have seen Peter Hall on WNED PBS television asking you for money, a job for which he was originally recruited by Canadian favorite Goldie Gardner. Retired (mostly) he continues a decades long career as radio host on WNED Classical, these days (mostly) on Sunday afternoons. Hall is also the co-host of “Theater Talk” with Anthony Chase (Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m.) on local NPR affiliate WBFO.
Before his retirement (mostly) Hall was the radio producer and host of “Philharmonic Friday” (broadcasting BPO performances) and was the emcee for the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition. Around town he’s been the pre-concert host for Buffalo Chamber Music Society concerts and if you see him at a recital, concert, opera, play, or musical (often at Shaw or Stratford!) and he has a pen in his hand, he’s probably reviewing for buffalorising.com.
Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For over twenty years he has taught undergraduate and graduate classes at Canisius College in Buffalo.
Depending on the season, on weekends he can be seen riding his bicycle or teaching downhill skiing at Kissing Bridge.
Tom was born in Montreal and went to school there, at Marianapolis College and McGill, before finishing degrees at Boston University and Yale. Tom worked as a bass trombonist in New York City when there were still places you just didn’t go, in Toronto, and on tour with the Great Lakes Brass. He began working for the CBC on his 30th birthday, a very long time ago, and at the time of writing he still is. Tom has since written three books, with a fourth on the way, became a Resident Artist with Soulpepper Theatre and hosted many spectacular concerts there, and written a series of cabaret storytelling shows we call Chamber Musicals, including Bohemians in Brooklyn, The Judgment of Paris and From Weimar to Vaudeville, The Last Curlew and The Missing Pages. Tom lives in Toronto with his beloved, the harpist Lori Gemmell, his son, and a very enthusiastic dog.
Julie Nesrallah: Special Appearance
Mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah is a singer, actress and broadcaster who dazzles audiences with her engaging personality and her rich, expressive voice. Miss Nesrallah has sung for leading opera companies, symphonies, festivals and chamber music ensembles across Canada and the U.S. and around the world. Julie débuted as Isabella in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri at Pacific Opera Victoria and went on to perform major roles including The Composer in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Cenerentola in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen and Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto, among others.
Musical Illustrations by Victoria Kogan:
Russian born Dr Victoria Korchinskaya-Kogan is one of the most significant pianist of our time. Praised as “an admirably gifted performer’’ by Yuri Temirkanov, “the pianist of great talent, having extraordinary skills and boundless musicality” by Mikhail Pletnev and a “true artist” by Yefim Bronfman, Victoria is the winner of The Stravinsky Piano Competition, Andorra Piano Competition, E-Piano Competition in Minneapolis and I International Piano Competition In Korea among others.
Born in Moscow, 1978 as the granddaughter of the famous violinists Leonid Kogan and Elizaveta Gilels, Victoria started to play the piano at the age of 5. One year later she debuted at the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Her mother Prof. Dr. Nina Kogan is working at the Moscow Conservatory. Her uncle Pavel Kogan is a Russian violinist and conductor who currently leads the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra.
Victoria received her M.M. and D.M.A. from the Moscow Conservatory where she studied with Lev Vlassenko, Sergei Dorensky and Pavel Nersessian. Her masterclasses include studying with Andreas Stayer, Dmitry Bashkirov, Claude Frank, William Nabore and Jose Feghali.