Fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her recent release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno...
Fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her recent release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical CD, Solo & Chamber Music and won the 2015 Québec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. Her first Baroque CD, La voce del violoncello, was praised for its “careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos” (Toronto Star) and for the “honest, reflective beauty of her music making” (Strings). Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. In May 2017, she released Fiorè, the world premiere recording of the sonatas of Angelo Maria Fiorè and various unknown Italian arias, performed alongside Lorenzo Ghielmi and Suzie LeBlanc.
Frey’s debut album, Dialoghi, is titled for the solo piece written for her by Steven Stucky, and her CD of new works for Baroque cello, titled Guided By Voices, has been released on the Analekta label in March 2019. These works are by Scott Godin, Linda Catlin Smith, Ken Ueno, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Maxime McKinley, and Lisa Streich. She also recently performed Lutoslawski’s cello concerto and a new concerto by Colin Labadie with the Laurier Symphony, as well as a concerto by Keiko Devaux with Ensemble Arkea and conductor Dina Gilbert.
Frey’s honours include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, American Musicological Society, and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. In recent seasons she has performed with Il Gardellino, Constantinople, Clavecin en concert, Ensemble Caprice, SMAM, Les Idées heureuses, Arion, Les Boréades, and Theatre of Early Music, as well as with her quartet, Pallade Musica, grand prize winners of the 2012 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition and second prize winners in the 2014 International Van Wassenaer Competition in Utrecht. Currently a course instructor at McGill University, Frey holds degrees from Mannes, McGill, and Juilliard and is the Visiting Fellow in Music from 2019-2022 at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.
Frey’s careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos on this, her second album, make for a great program…Frey’s assured technique and natural-sounding musicality. She is one of a growing number of younger performers who can make period instrumental solos sizzle with the same heat as artists using modern instruments and bows.
Anyone numb to these overplayed [Bach] suites should go to her next concert.
The program here is little short of magical, and Elinor Frey’s expressive playing and command of the baroque violoncello is remarkable to behold.
[…] the elegantly shaped bowed lines contrasting with the gently pointed bass notes and occasional flourished chord – simply exquisite. Full marks then for discovery and execution!