Friday, June 9, 2023

Celebrated Pianist Returns To Hamilton After Fifteen Years

It’s a dream of any young musician to win a prestigious competition. Doing so can launch a career as a soloist, offer recording contracts and ultimately, change their life.

By the time David Jalbert competed at the 1997 Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal Competition, he had already placed first several times at the Canadian Music Competition. After his 1997 win, Jalbert gave recitals, participated in chamber music and engagements with major orchestras around the world and in 2003, signed a recording contract.

It was not long after this period that Hamilton audiences got their last taste of Jalbert’s work. In 2007, the pianist performed a recital with cellist Denise Djokic at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. It was around the same time that he accepted a position in the Faculty of Music at the University of Ottawa- and Hamilton hasn’t seen him since.

Until now. After fifteen years, Jalbert will return to the HCA on November 27- this time, as a solo act.

The November 27 concert is part of the HCA’s PASS series; a Sunday series featuring some of Canada’s most renowned musicians, dancers and performers. 

Much has changed since that 2007 appearance. Jalbert is recognized for his work as a piano teacher at the University of Ottawa, with one of his students, Stephen Eckert, being named as one of this year’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30” by the CBC. 

In 2015, CBC was naming Jalbert to one of their lists- of the top twenty-five Canadian pianists of all time (he was fourteenth). At the time, CBC noted that If David Jalbert isn’t a household name, it’s because he conducts his career entirely on his own terms. He plays with intelligence and exquisite taste and chooses repertoire about which he has something new and significant to say, whether it’s Fauré’s Nocturnes, Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues, or chamber music by Poulenc, Ives and Rachmaninoff.”

The program for the November 27 program has been curated by Jalbert, and reflects the varied taste of a musician who is combining old and new. The afternoon program will open with Smoke Darkened Sky; a piece written specifically for Jalbert by his University of Ottawa colleague Kelly-Marie Murphy. From there, Jalbert surrenders to popular piano composers, with two works by Chopin, as well as works by Beethoven, Brahms and a sonata by Prokofiev. 

Jalbert is also in the midst of recording the complete Prokofiev piano sonatas for his label, ATMA Classique. The first volume, featuring sonatas 1-4 was released last week; volume two is pending release. With Sonata #7 on the program for his HCA recital, the concert serves as a sneak peek of what’s to come on the next recording. 

November 27th’s concert is part of the Fall 2022 Performing Arts Sunday Series season. PASS showcases Canada’s finest talents, from music to theatre and dance. To learn more about PASS, visit

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