Kristine Bogyo (1946-2007) founded Mooredale Concerts in 1986 and was its music director until 2007. This is a small part of her remarkable story.
Kristine Bogyo started cello at age six and pursued its study to the highest levels: with Janos Starker in Indiana and Bernard Greenhouse in New York. She has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Montreal Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (as principal cellist) and played in the orchestras of the Canadian Opera Company and National Ballet. She has played recitals and chamber music throughout North America.
Then, almost by chance, she set off in a quite different direction. When her elder son was ten she looked for a youth orchestra for him and found none. Her solution: start one, beginning with eight to ten children in her living room. That was 1986. By the next year, it had 30 members and moved to Mooredale House on Crescent Road. Now called the Mooredale Youth Orchestra, it is actually three graded orchestras, Junior (ages 6-12) , Intermediate (ages 10-15) and Senior (ages 12-20).
A couple of years after starting the youth orchestras, Ms. Bogyo began looking for concerts for orchestra members. “Good music, well performed at an affordable price” was the aim. Again unable to find what she was looking for, she started a professional concerts series under the auspices of Mooredale House, called Mooredale Concerts. In 2003, Music & Truffles became the third leg of this very unique classical music enterprise – hour-long events for young people ages 5 to 12, using the same distinguished artists as the concert series. It’s aim – to awaken and inspire a child’s musical intelligence with an educational, entertaining twist. That twist was Ms. Bogyo personally penning the scripts for these shows, and performing in many of them too! It was an instant hit and sold out performances for its first five years.
As a music director and conductor, Kristine Bogyo made a major contribution to the lives and education of many young people. For Mooredale Concerts, which presented about a dozen performances a year, Ms. Bogyo sought out brilliant young Canadian talents and provided them with cameo appearances at most Mooredale events, often followed by participation in chamber music with leading professionals. Since 1989, she employed and/or was the stimulus for over a hundred professional and highly accomplished young musicians working together in a variety of chamber ensembles. Some unknown young performers she showcased in the past have since become leading Canadian stars, including Isabel Bayrakdarian, Martin Beaver, Russell Braun, Measha Brueggergosman, Stewart Goodyear, Erika Raum, and James Sommerville.
Understanding the critical importance of new classical music, Kristine commissioned several Canadian composers to create new works, most notably ‘A Song of Lilith’, which premiered in 2001 and toured in many other cities across the country. She worked closely with celebrated Canadian author Joy Kogawa, composer Larysa Kuzmenko, and artist Lilian Broca to create this unique multi-media event.
As a performer, Kristine Bogyo also appeared as soloist with the New Chamber Orchestra, the North York Symphony, and the Northern Sinfonia. She also appeared with Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and participated in Music at Marlboro, the Festivals of Santa Fe, Parry Sound, Grand Tetons and Lockenhaus – Gidon Kremer’s festival in Austria. She has performed recitals in Chicago, Cleveland, Princeton, Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver, and was heard frequently on the CBC. She was co-founder of Festival of the Sound, a summer music concert series in Parry Sound, which began in 1980, and helped it to grow in its first five years.
In 2005 Bogyo was summoned to Rideau Hall to receive the Meritorious Service Medal from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, in recognition of her work promoting young Canadian musicians.
Bogyo was married to pianist Anton Kuerti. They often performed together, and released two successful CD’s. According to then Montreal Star, Ms. Bogyo was “one of those rarities that the world of cellists produces from time to time – a player of strength and vigour who can make a long, warm lyrical line sing.”
Order or download Kristine’s amazing recordings which includes Franck’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in A Major with Anton Kuerti at Amazon.com.
In addition to music, Bogyo was deeply devoted to literature and pictorial art, and delighted in roaming the great outdoors which included rafting trips down many rivers like the Nahani in the Northwest Territories, and experiencing nature in all parts of the world in which she visited.
In Her Own Words
The following are Kristine’s words and a glimpse into her forward reaching legacy for Mooredale Concerts.
When the Mooredale Youth Orchestra was started, I wanted to give young instrumentalists a chance to play together and enjoy music in a congenial setting. Pop culture is so prevalent around us. It pushes its aggressive presence into our lives and holds our children in its grasp. Whether they walk down Yonge Street, turn on the TV, go to the movies or listen to the radio, it screams, cajoles and seduces.
A friend once reprimanded me for “forcing” the Classics upon my own children. She said, “Why do you drag your kids to concerts, operas, and the theatre, when they’d much rather sit at home and rent a video?”
As a child my parents “dragged me” to concerts again and again, and as I sat quietly enveloped in dreams, thought or sleep, I sometimes thought I was bored. But in reality I was an open funnel through which music poured into me, shaping my soul and my life.
Familiarity and appreciation of the arts deepen our character and give greater meaning to our existence. Art is an exuberant form of self-expression, and there is a terrific feeling of joy when we suddenly discover for ourselves why a great work is great!
Through Mooredale Concerts we want to contribute something significant to Toronto’s music life and to enrich the cultural world of those who like more informal and intimate concerts. Because the series is unique, it is popular and well attended.
We are not only entertaining and educating young people by presenting professional concerts accompanied by informative commentary, but also giving young Canadian talent an opportunity to perform in public both as a soloist and in collaboration with well known musicians. The Mooredale Youth Orchestra program is one of the best in Toronto, attracting fine young players from far and wide.
Music is invisible and transient, and meaningful especially if the performers can share the moment of creativity as it unfolds on stage. Our audiences are consistently wonderful, silent and attentive, they are an inspiration to the performers who in turn lead them into the realm of the immortal masters.