Role(s) in this year's festival:
Répétiteur/Pianist:City Workers in Love
Répétiteur/Pianist: Into the Woods
How am I preparing for NUOVA's program?
- “Into the Woods” is most definitely the most played album in my iTunes library right now. By having the production constantly playing in my mind, I can more easily transition through the many different timbres that Sondheim requires. The instrumentation is also more engrained in my mind by doing this. There are spots in “City Workers in Love” where drilling the many flourishes and getting used to the sequential writing that expends most of my time working on it (not to mention the many changes in tempi to perfect!). This is of course in conjunction with working with my instructor, Bonnie Nicholson, who answers any accompanying question I ever raise. I feel very confident knowing that she has my back in preparing both “City Workers in Love” and “Into the Woods.”
What attracts you to NUOVA's programs? Why this year?
- Completing the requirements for my music degree at the University of Saskatchewan this year gives me the confidence that I need to enter into a reputable program such as NUOVA. I hope for this program to give me the perspective I need to know where and how I want to enter further education at a master’s level, and give me experience with being a répétiteur in a professional setting. NUOVA gives me the opportunity to work with contemporaries that are desiring the same level of engagement in the music world, and expose me to well-respected directors and musicians in the wide-spread world of opera.
Education: B.Mus.Ed. (Piano) from University of Saskatchewan
Awards: Sean Longstaff Memorial Award (2013-2014), Bishop Klein Award (2013-2015), University of Saskatchewan Guaranteed Entrance Scholarship (2014-2015), Sarah Jane Abrey Bursary (2014-2015 and 2015-2016), Eleanor Magel (Staflund) Kirk Bursary in Music (2015-2016), David L. Kaplan Music Scholarship (2016-2017 and 2017-2018), and August and Irene Olivier Scholarship in Music (2017-2018)
Experience: Shurniak Concerto Competition (accompanist); U of S Collage Concert (performer and accompanist); U of S accompanist (1st, 2nd and 3rd year recitals); SMFA District, Provincial, and Kinsmen Competition (performer and accompanist); Saskatoon Opera chorus member ("Il barbiere di Siviglia" and "Don Giovanni")
Mentors/Inspirations: Bonnie Nicholson (Robin Harrison), Kathleen Lohrenz Gable, Jan Lisiecki, Valentina Lisitsa, Janina Fialkowska, Kathleen Solose
Upcoming Engagement: Home for the Holidays (Saskatoon Opera)
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Matthew Praksas was drawn to playing the piano from an early age. Having enjoyed several music theatre productions in high school, Matthew has sought out collaborative experiences in University and he has performed with a wide variety of soloists from vocalists to percussionists. Matthew’s involvement in the Greystone Singers as a baritone and the Wind Orchestra as a french horn player has positively influenced his interpretation style and critical listening skills. Involvement in the Saskatoon Opera’s productions has helped to inspire a passion for opera and an appreciation for the work involved in a successful production.
Matthew has completed his B.Mus.Ed. degree and his piano instructor is Bonnie Nicholson. In his first experience with Saskatoon Music Festival in May 2017, he won two first place awards and was runner-up to the top pianist (Kinsmen award) for the senior level. He subsequently was awarded the Senior French Piano Award at the provincial festival. On 15 March 2018, he performed his fourth-year piano recital in Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, receiving a standing ovation from those in attendance.