By MYRON LOVE The Winnipeg Music Festival annually held in March and, once again, this year, recognized a number of younger members of our community for outstanding achievement.
Both Juliet Eskin and Gregory Hyman produced gold level results in voice and instrumental music.
At 15, Gregory is a five-year veteran of the annual festival. Initially, the son of Hartley and Rishona Hyman focused solely on classical guitar, an instrument that he took up when he was five. He added voice lessons to his repertoire six years ago – studying with voice teacher Kelly Robinson (who is also Juliet Eskin’s mother and voice coach).
And this year, he authored gold level performances in both categories – one being Vocal Solo, Folk Song, Boys, 14 years and under – the other being a classical guitar solo at the Grade 5 level.
He also this year was awarded the Norman Phillips Memorial Bursary as well as the Winnipeg Male Chorus scholarship.
The Ravenscourt student doesn’t restrict his music making just to the yearly festival though. Three years ago, Bernie Bellan wrote a report on the teen’s budding recording career. In May 2021, he released his first album,“Basement,” on all streaming platforms. He reports that over the past few months, he has been busy writing songs for his second album.
The songs, he says, can already be heard on his website. He also has a podcast, “Talk and Rock with Gregory Hyman” – now in its third season, in which he interviews various people in the business across Canada.
Earlier this year, the young performing artist mounted his first solo concert, using all his own compositions, at the Rec-Room. “I put together a four-piece band,” he reports. “We sold out the place (with a 115-seat capacity).”
He adds that he is currently working on a new compilation of songs and is working with a producer. The goal is to put out a new album in the fall.
For Juliet Eskin, 13, this was her second go-round at the festival. Two years ago, she stood out – with violin entries in the Grade 5 level with violin solos in both the Baroque and Canadian Composers categories. This year, the daughter of Robinson and her husband, Josh Eskin (and granddaughter of well-known local chazzan Michael Eskin), earned gold in both violin – as a member of a string quartet (that also included Elazar Schwartz, son of Drs. Leonard and Anna Schwartz), and voice (solo, own choice, 14 and under category).
If that wasn’t enough to keep the Grant Park Junior High school student busy, her mother reports that Juliet had a lead role in her school’s recent musical, is now studying the viola and, best of all, she is currently the concertmaster for the Winnipeg Youth Orchestra. Essentially, she is the first chair violin and leads the orchestra.
As well, she and her younger brother, Dylan, take dance lessons at Kickit Dance Studio and competed recently in a national dance competition called The View, where Dylan was awarded the Judges’ Choice for Novice Dancer with the most potential and given a major trophy and Dance Convention Scholarship.
Rounding out this year’s Jewish WMF stars are the Kravetsky brothers: Noah and Nathan. Both sons of Dr. Azriel Kravetsky and Dr. Carrie Palatnick play piano. For Noah, who is 12 and has been studying piano for five years, this was his second time competing in the WMF. Last year, he earned gold ranking in three piano categories and received a scholarship to enter this year’s music festival.
This year he was overall winner in his baroque class. It was a trophy class and he was invited to compete for the Quest Musique trophy against other grade 5 winners. He also got a gold in his 20th century class and silver in his Canadian composer class.
Nine-year-old Nathan won gold last year and, this year, earned three golds in, respectively: Own Choice, Classical composers and 20th/21st century Composers level 2 categories. He has also been taking lessons since he was five.
Nathan and Noah are both Gray Academy students.
We look forward to the continued musical success of Noah and Nate, Juliet and Gregory and what new talent may be unveiled at next year’s Winnipeg Music festival.