"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording – Exciting Updates

Check out this exciting article about Suzie LeBlanc and the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording project which appeared today on the wesbite Musical Toronto. The article is written by John Terauds. It highlights the fund-raising concert taking place in Toronto on Friday.

There is even more to update!:
We are excited to say that the final recording session for the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording occurred yesterday and today (27-28 November). The first two sessions took place at St. David’s Church in Halifax, N.S., but a technical issue (the timpani could not fit through the door at St. David’s!) moved the final recording to Chezzetcook, N.S., an Acadian settlement east of Halifax. It took place in historic St. Anselms church.

Just to remind you, the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording is comprised of settings of Bishop’s poems by Canadian composers Emily Doolittle, Christos Hatzis, Alasdair MacLean and John Plant. Along with Suzie LeBlanc, there is a stellar cast of musicians involved: composer/musician/conductor Dinuk Wijeratne, the Blue Engine String Quartet, and other musicians from Symphony Nova Scotia. The producer/technicians John S.D. Adams and Rod Snedden have guided these sessions from the beginning.

This final recording session marks a major milestone in the project. An amazing team – a community, really – has come together to move the process along to this stage. There is still a lot of work to do before this amazing music can be shared with the world. The winter will be focused on editing, mixing, all that post-production work. All this means that there is also still a need for us to raise funds.

Suzie LeBlanc and some very special guests will give a presentation about the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording at a fund-raiser for the project in Toronto on Friday – this coming Friday, 30 November!! The event will take place at the Canadian Music Centre (Chalmers House), at 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto, from 5:30 to 7:00. If you are in Toronto and able to attend, Suzie would be thrilled to see you. [See the posts below for more information about this event.]

If you are not able to attend and would like to contribute to help make the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording a reality, you can find out more information at:

The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia and Suzie LeBlanc want to thank all those who have contributed so far. We want to thank the amazing composers, musicians and technicians who have put so much creativity and energy into this recording. We can’t wait to share this glorious music with you all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

EB Legacy Recording Fund-raiser: Auctioning a painting by artist Alfred Villeneuve

On Friday, 30 November 2012, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the Canadian Music Centre (Chalmers House) (http://www.musiccentre.ca/home.cfm), Suzie LeBlanc and friends are holding a fund-raiser for the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording.
We are excited to announce that part of that fund-raiser will include a silent auction on a painting done by Ontario artist Alfred Villeneuve. You can learn more about Alfred at his website:

Alfred has kindly donated a beautiful painting, “Pic Island Revisited.” Alfred writes of this painting, “It was inspired while walking the beach along Pic Bay. We has stopped the night before to camp. The next morning I got up early and went out to explore the bay area. I scanned the horizon, the small group of land masses, and up to the mountains to the northwest. I watched a train, high up along the skirt of the mountain, making its way around. Suddenly, I was struck by the realization that it was probably along that same ridge that Lauren Harris and others had painted from when he created ‘Above Lake Superior’ and ‘Pic Island.’ That morning, I felt the vapors of history about. I sat and absorbed as much of that beautiful early morn before going back to the bustle of four adults and the daily routines of life….It is a work that is dear to me, and so much the better that I pass it on.” Alfred has kindly provided a image of this painting....

This painting is 12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas.
It retails for $1,100.00
There is a minimum reserve bid of $400.00

We regret that Alfred is not able to attend the fund-raiser in person, but something essential about his vision of the world will be there to represent him. We are profoundly grateful to Alfred for his support of the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording.

Ed. Note: On a personal note, I had the great privilege of seeing several of Alfred’s painting “in the flesh,” so to speak, at the home of a good friend of mine in Halifax, N.S. She has one of them, a large canvas, hung on her living room wall and when I entered this room for the first time and saw the painting, I stopped in my tracks in amazement. Alfred’s paintings are wondrously dynamic, richly textured, vibrantly expressive. One of his heroes is Emily Carr, a painter whose work I deeply admire; and I can say that seeing Alfred’s work gave me the same “hair standing on the back of the neck” feeling that a Carr painting gives me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording Fund-raiser – Exciting venue for this event

As we have already noted below, Suzie LeBlanc will be hosting a fund-raising event for the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording in Toronto on 30 November 2012. One of the many exciting things about this event is its location. It is being held at the Canadian Music Centre’s (http://www.musiccentre.ca/home.cfm) new performance and community space in Chalmers House at 20 St. Joseph Street. This space opened recently and is receiving lots of attention and praise. If you haven’t had a chance to see this new venue, which supports Canadian music (and composers, musicians, singers, etc.), this is an opportunity to do so, and to support the CD project, which will bring incredible new Canadian music inspired by and based on Elizabeth Bishop poems to the world.

 The performance space at the Chalmers House, the Canadian Music Centre's new facility

You can find out more information about the EB Legacy Recording, and can donate online at, www.eb100legacyrecording.blogspot.ca. We are grateful for all the support we have received.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording fund-raiser in Toronto!

Suzie LeBlanc has been working hard to organize a fund-raising event in support of the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording. It will take place in Toronto on 30 November, 2012. The details of this exciting event are below. Everyone is welcome.

 Suzie LeBlanc on a pilgrimage.


You are invited to an intimate preview hosted by soprano Suzie LeBlanc in support of a unique project that blends voice, poetry and the work of four of Canada’s finest composers. Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop loved music, collaborations and new adventures. In that spirit, Suzie has commissioned composers Christos Hatzis, Alasdair MacLean, John Plant and Emily Doolittle to bring the essence of her poetry to a thrilling new recording project. Joined by conductor Dinuk Wijeratne and an ensemble of exceptional musicians, Suzie is creating a tribute to honour and explore the life of a great Canadian-American artist.

Please join Suzie LeBlanc and friends on Friday, November 30, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the new performance space in the Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto


Elizabeth Bishop, 1945. Joseph Breitenbach photo

Elizabeth Bishop – “I am in need of music”
During the 2011 Elizabeth Bishop Centenary celebration in Nova Scotia, a dozen new works were commissioned and performed to rave reviews. With interest in Elizabeth Bishop spanning the globe, the intention has been to create a recording of this music and make it available to the world. Since July 2012, Suzie LeBlanc, Honorary Patron of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia, has partnered with the Society in a fund-raising campaign to support this independent project with a goal of $60,000.

 Suzie sitting in Elizabeth Bishop's House in Great Village, Nova Scotia


Stay tuned for an update about the fund-raising concert for the EB legacy recording that was organized by Australian composer Dindy Vaughan. The event took place on 28 October in Australia and was a wonderful afternoon of music and conversation, which raised a lot of money. An account of this event will be posted soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kathleen Spivack’s new memoir about Robert Lowell

With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, & Others by Kathleen Spivack
In 1959 Kathleen Spivack won a fellowship to study at Boston University with Robert Lowell. Her fellow students were Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, among others. Thus began a relationship with the famous poet and his circle that would last to the end of his life in 1977 and beyond. Spivack presents a lovingly rendered story of her time among some of the most esteemed artists of a generation. Part memoir, part loose collection of anecdotes, artistic considerations, and soulful yet clear-eyed reminiscences of a lost time and place, hers is an intimate portrait of the often suffering Lowell, the great and near great artists he attracted, his teaching methods, his private world, and the significant legacy he left to his students. Through the story of a youthful artist finding her poetic voice among literary giants, Spivack thoughtfully considers how poets work. She looks at friendships, addiction, despair, perseverance and survival, and how social changes altered lives and circumstances. This is a beautifully written portrait of friends who loved and lived words, and made great beauty together.

A touching and deeply revealing look into the lives and thoughts of some of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, With Robert Lowell and His Circle will appeal to writers, students, and thoughtful literary readers, as well as to scholars.

Sunday, December 2, 2012, 4-6 p.m.
Co-hosted by the Harvard Bookstore and the Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Refreshment, books, and celebration at both locations
The Harvard Bookstore: 1256 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA, 617-661-1515
The Grolier Poetry Bookshop: 6 Plympton St, Cambridge, MA, 617-547-4648