John Cage turns 100!
November 14, 2012

Here at The Leading Note, we are proud to celebrate the life and work of John Cage, one of the most influential figures in music of the twentieth century.  This year marks 100 years since his birth.

Happy Birthday, John Cage

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Poulenc wrote a solo flute piece!?
August 9, 2012

Every flute player has either played or heard Poulenc’s Flute Sonata (and if you haven’t, stop everything and find it on YouTube!), but until just a few years ago, we all believed that this was the sum total of his flute works.  Not so!

Until the late ’90s it remained unknown, hidden in the collection of Frederick R. Koch, a Yale graduate, until it arrived in the hands of the Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The collection contained manuscripts of many of our valued composers: Debussy, Ravel, Berlioz, Faure, Gounod, Massenet, Duparc, Poulenc, Walton, Mozart, Schubert, Wagner, Puccini and Chopin, amongst others! Can you imagine having these manuscripts in your basement!?

Ransom Wilson, a professor at Yale, heard about this collection and immediately made an appointment to see the beautiful new acquisitions. He was not disappointed. The previously unknown work for solo flute is dated 1942. Wilson has this to say about the piece:

“Un Joueur de flute berce les ruines (A flute player lullabies the ruins) is in a modal, melancholic style. (…) Short and simple, but of undeniable beauty, [it] is undoubtedly an important addition to the solo flute repertoire.”
                                                              ~ Excerpt from Ransom Wilson’s Preface

Un Joueur de flute berce les ruines by Francis Poulenc is available at the Leading Note. Call or email today to order your copy!

CDs by Local Composers
February 13, 2012

One of the ways The Leading Note supports the music community is by selling local artist’s work on consignment.  In addition to a large selection of sheet music we have a growing number of recordings available from our local composers. Here is a selection:

Steven Gellman: Musica Eterna

Recently released is Musica Eterna, the premiere recording of the celebrated Steven Gellman.  This CD features four pieces of chamber music performed by Ottawa’s greatest performers, including the maestro, Gellman, himself in the first track; NACO’s Joanna G’froerer, flute, and Jethro Marks, viola; pianists Andrew Tunis and Stephane Lemelin; and superstar violinists Andrew Wan (Concertmaster, MSO) and Jonathan Crow (Concertmaster, TSO).

Roddy Ellias: Acts of Light

Also recently released is the ethereally beautiful Acts of Light by Donna Brown and Roddy Ellias.  All tracks are composed by Ottawa’s Roddy Ellias with texts by the composer’s wife Sandra Nicholls.  The pieces are performed by Ottawa’s Donna Brown (soprano), Jennifer Swartz (harp), Ken Simpson (marimba), Frederic Lacroix (piano), Roddy Ellias, (guitar).  Don’t miss out on this amazing disc!

Colin Mack: Imprints

Colin Mack’s Imprints is an excellent recording by another cross-section of Ottawa’s finest musicians.  Here we have engaging performances by Robert Cram, Doreen Taylor-Claxton, Shoshana Telner, John Wong, Claudia Cashin-Mack, Noemi Racine and Julian Armour (Music and Beyond).  This is one recording that will certainly leave its imprint on your ear!

Jan Jarvlepp: Flights of Fancy

Innovative composer and cellist Jan Jarvlepp has three recordings for sale here at the Leading Note: Flights of Fancy, Soundtracks of the Imagination and Garbage Concerto.  Jarvlepp’s musical fusion combines the excitement of rock and jazz rhythms with the large scale classical structures found in orchestral and chamber music.  Perfect for any genre-jumper!

Evelyn Stroobach: Aurora Borealis

Evelyn Stroobach’s compact disc entitled Aurora Borealis contains eleven of her compositions composed for a variety of different musical genres and her works are performed by some of Canada’s leading musicians.  This eclectic mix was actually the first local artist CD to be entered in our catalogue.  Don’t miss out!

Hail: Canadian Art Song (Taylor-Claxton & Dueck)

Local soprano Doreen Taylor-Claxton teams up with pianist Valerie Dueck in the recording Hail: Canadian Art Song. Both are award winners with great skill and a long list of accomplishments.  The pieces they perform are almost exclusively by Ottawa composers, including John G. Armstrong, James Wright, Colin Mack and Fred Lacroix.

Deirdre Piper: Canadian Sounds

Organist and composer Deirdre Piper presents a selection of organ music by Canadian composers alongside some of her own chamber music. Canadian Sounds includes “Diversions” for saxophone quartet, performed by Saxart, and “Khoreia”, a chamber work performed by Peter Smith (clarinet), Joan Harrison (cello), and Elaine Keillor (piano).

Such a wealth of local culture all in one place!  Come visit us!

60 x 60 New Music Concert
January 27, 2012

Don’t miss out on your chance to attend this exciting and innovative listening experience featuring two Leading Note staff members!


Sixty one minute composition by sixty composers played by a live chamber ensemble featuring Whitney O’Hearn (mezzo-soprano), Aura Giles (flute), Rebecca Danard (clarinets), Brigit Knecht (violin), Joan Harrison (cello), Nick Rodgerson (piano) and Margaret Ashburner (harp).

In this continuous hour of music, each piece will be matched with a single still image, chosen either by the composer or the performers. Composers include students from De La Salle, members of Ottawa New Music Creators, as well as renowned and emerging composers from across Canada and around the world.

Here are the details:

When: Monday, January 30, 7:30pm

Where: De La Salle Auditorium, 501 Old St. Patrick St.

Get your tickets here:

Advance tickets $20 (students $15)
Tickets at the door $25 (students $20)
For more information about this and other ONMC concerts, please visit:

Hope to see you there!

Christmas Approacheth!
December 8, 2011

This season, give the gift of music.

Looking for that perfect stocking-stuffer for the music lover in your family? The Leading Note’s gift shelves are fully stocked with new gift items large and small. We have something for everyone, whether it’s a gift for your music teacher or your musical friend.

To start with, the essential Christmas card! It’s still not too late to get them in the mail and we have many different cards available, from Jazz Santa to Christmas Quartet:

On the grander scale we have unique hand crafted artwork by Québecois artist Francine Desbiens. To get a sample of her work visit: Each piece is a beautiful and intricate copper-etched painting of an instrument in a beautiful gilded frame. We have flute, violin, piano, trumpet and trombone prints available. An upscale gift for any music lover!

Next we have the new and very cool Henle puzzles that we blogged about previously. 500 pieces of insight through Mozart or Haydn’s own handwriting! Appropriate for any age and for the whole family.

On the smaller scale we have a variety of music-themed coffee cups and travel mugs. New this year we have the musical canteen. This is the perfect gift for the music student on the go. It is available in red, green or blue and each one comes with two possible caps. A steal of a deal!

In the home decor line we have a new votive candle and  picture frames in a variety of musical styles .

It may not be a toy, but it’s certainly something we all use to play music! The beautiful Wittner Maelzel Metronomes make a wonderful gift for any musician. This table-top metronome will command your rhythm and your attention all at the same time. We have three sizes and three available colours.

Stocking Stuffers!!

And as usual, we continue to stock all kinds of great stocking stuffers! Here’s a short, and by no means complete, list of my personal favourites:



And if there’s nothing here that seems just right, we also offer Gift Certificates for any denomination. Our gift certificates never expire and the recipient is sure to receive something they will truly enjoy.