HAMILTON, ON – HPO Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson Schulte explores the lives and music of composers in the popular Talk and Tea series, presented online in our 20-21 Season. Each Talk and Tea episode includes fascinating stories and insights providing viewers with historical context and a unique understanding of the music featured on our Mainstage. All Talk and Tea episodes, hosted by Abigail, also feature special behind-the-scenes looks at HPO Mainstage concert rehearsals and performances by HPO ensembles.

“It is fascinating to do a deep dive into the lives of each featured composer and discover factors that played a role in influencing their work, as this understanding can enrich our experience as contemporary listeners today,” says Abigail of the Talk and Tea series. “Knowing the historical and cultural context behind each piece really helps us understand the grandeur and impact of renowned pieces and nurtures a deeper appreciation for the long-lasting significance of these composers.”

The 20-21 series begins online with the premiere of Talk and Tea: A New Year’s Celebration on Thursday, March 25 at 11am. Abigail explores Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s role in defining the national sound for his country. Talk and Tea: The Joy of Beethoven, premiering online April 8, highlights the life and legacy of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, whose work String Quartet No. 2 is featured on the Mainstage. Abigail explores the connection between the unique music trailblazers Haydn, Mendelssohn and Copland in Talk and Tea: Haydn & Mendelssohn. In Talk and Tea: Beethoven’s Eighth Abigail addresses the unique personal obstacles faced by Beethoven and the political stresses imposed upon Strauss and the impacts on each composer’s work and legacy. Talk and Tea: Mozart & Prokofiev highlights the piano virtuosos’ lives while exploring the progression from classical to neoclassical piano composition. The final episode of the 20-21 series, Talk and Tea: Intimate and Immersive sees Abigail joined by the HPO Composer Fellows for a discussion about Canada’s new music scene and the composers featured on our concerts Intimate & Immersive: Earthshine and Intimate & Immersive: Dragon Unfolding.

Talk and Tea episodes can be purchased individually for $12 (tax included) or as a full six-episode series for $56 (tax included). All broadcasts are available to view on-demand for 30 days following their premiere. All Talk and Tea episodes can be purchased at staginghpo.wpengine.com and viewed on our online concert platform broadcast.staginghpo.wpengine.com.


20-21 Talk and Tea Series

Talk and Tea: A New Year’s Celebration
Online Broadcast
Premieres March 25, 2021 at 11am

In this episode, Abigail offers insights into our Mainstage concert A New Year’s Celebration. Czech composer Antonín Dvořák helped to define a national sound for his country and exported it around the world. How did Dvořák do this and who stepped in to help him along the way? This Talk and Tea includes performances from the HPO Woodwind Quintet as well as a sneak-peek into rehearsal as our HPO musicians prepare to perform Dvořák’s String Quintet No. 2.


Talk and Tea: The Joy of Beethoven
Online broadcast
Premieres April 8, 2021 at 11am

In this episode, Abigail offers insights into our concert The Joy of Beethoven. From his first professional performance of Beethoven to being appreciated by Tchaikovsky late in his life, Edvard Grieg’s life and music documents Norway’s entrance to the international music scene. Grieg’s legacy influenced composers in the following century, such as Béla Bartók, who were trying to establish a national music sound of their own. This Talk and Tea features the HPO String Quartet and a special behind-the-scenes look into rehearsal as our string quartet prepares Grieg’s String Quartet No. 2 in F Major.


Talk and Tea: Haydn & Mendelssohn
Online Broadcast
Premieres May 6, 2021 at 11am

In this episode, Abigail offers insights into our concert Haydn & Mendelssohn. Haydn, Mendelssohn and Copland – What do these three very different composers from different eras have in common? They all started something great which made a lasting contribution to music. Haydn, known as “Father of the Symphony and the String Quartet”, Mendelssohn, founder of the Leipzig Conservatory and Bach revival, and Copland, “Dean of American Music,” all sowed the seeds for what was to come. This Talk and Tea features performances by our HPO Brass Quintet and HPO String Quartet as well as a glimpse into rehearsal as the orchestra prepares to perform Haydn’s Symphony No. 71.


Talk and Tea: Beethoven’s Eighth
Online Broadcast
Premieres May 20, 2021 at 11am

In this episode, Abigail offers insights into our concert Beethoven’s Eighth. Beethoven struggled with family issues, class issues and hearing loss which ultimately contributed to his unique musical voice and pushed him to become one of the most forward-looking composers of all time. Richard Strauss became an exalted conductor and composer but struggled with the increasing control of the Nazi party over his work. This Talk and Tea features the HPO string quartet and a peek into rehearsal as the orchestra rehearses Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony and Strauss’ Horn Concerto.


Talk and Tea: Mozart & Prokofiev
Online Broadcast
Premieres June 8, 2021 at 11am

In this episode, Abigail offers insights into our concert Mozart & Prokofiev. Mozart and Prokofiev were both incredible piano virtuosos who made their living as freelance composers and performers. In 1917, Prokofiev took inspiration from Mozart and other classical-era composers in the creation of his Classical Symphony No. 1, an early work of the neoclassical style. Balance, form, and other compositional details from the classical era were reimagined in music over a century later. In this Talk and Tea, hear Mozart’s works performed by the HPO Brass Quintet and String Quintet followed by their contemporary answer as we catch our orchestra rehearsing Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony No. 1.


Talk and Tea: Intimate & Immersive
Online Broadcast
Premieres June 14, 2021

In this episode, Abigail offers insights into June’s concerts Intimate & Immersive: Earthshine and Intimate & Immersive: Dragon Unfolding. How and when did Canada’s music scene form? Did orchestras just appear as we know them today? Meet the new generation of Canadian composers with our HPO Composer Fellows and learn about some interesting performance innovations in conversation with our HPO musicians.

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About the HPO: The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1884 as The Hamilton Orchestral Society and grew to become one of Canada’s major professional orchestras. Today, the HPO is a leader in Hamilton’s robust arts community where it provides professional orchestral services and music education programs to address the needs of the community. The HPO continues to commission and premiere works and is one of the artistic jewels of the Hamilton area. The combined musical talents of its artists continue to enrich the community and enhance the quality of life for its residents.

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Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra
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