Raoul Sosa

Raoul (Raùl) Sosa. Pianist, conductor, composer, teacher, b Buenos Aires 27 Jul 1939, naturalized Canadian 1973; diploma (Buenos Aires Conservatory) 1957.

Sosa, Raoul

Raoul (Raùl) Sosa. Pianist, conductor, composer, teacher, b Buenos Aires 27 Jul 1939, naturalized Canadian 1973; diploma (Buenos Aires Conservatory) 1957. After studying 1951-7 at the Buenos Aires Conservatory with Rafael Gonzalez (piano) and Lita Spena (piano and theory), Sosa made his debut in 1959 at the Teatro Colón and took part in numerous chamber music concerts. He was a finalist in the 1962 International Van Cliburn Competition. He continued his training 1963-7 with Magda Tagliafero in Paris and Salzburg on a French government scholarship and later worked with Stanislav Neuhaus in Italy. He played in 1965 at the Salle Chopin-Pleyel in Paris and made his London debut in 1967 at Wigmore Hall. He won first prize in the 1964 Jean-Hubert Biermans International Competition and was among the prize winners of the 1966 Magda Tagliafero International Competition, the 1966 Maria-Canals Competition, and the 1967 Santiago de Compostela Competition. He was a finalist in the 1968 Montreal International Music Competition for piano and won second prize in the 1970 Olivier Messiaen Competition in Royan.

Sosa began to teach at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal in 1967, and he made a recital tour the same year for the Jeunesses Musicales of Belgium. He played for the Ladies' Morning Musical Club in 1971 and toured western Canada and Quebec for the Jeunesses musicales of Canada (Youth and Music Canada) 1973-4. His recital 18 Mar 1977 at the Salle Claude-Champagne in Montreal was greeted enthusiastically by the critics: Claude Gingras described the pianist as an "altogether exceptional musician" (La Presse) and Gilles Potvin thought him "a first-rate artist" (Le Devoir). Sosa appeared in another recital at the Place des arts in February 1978.

Sosa has played on occasion with the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec Ensemble (Berg's Chamber Concerto 1972), and has performed as soloist with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO), the Toronto Symphony, and the Orchestre Lamoureux in Paris, in concertos by Brahms, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky. He has appeared on the CBC TV series "Les Grands Concerts" and "Les Beaux Dimanches," and a 1978 broadcast for the CBC radio series "Récital" earned him the Canadian Music Council award for the year's best radio program by a Canadian soloist. He also has performed in such major centres as Paris, London, Madrid, and Washington, DC.

In 1980, after injuring his right hand, Sosa took up conducting and focused his piano career on the interpretation of works for the left hand. Following studies with Sergiu Celibidache, he was the founding conductor 1986-9 of the St-Léonard Symphony Orchestra of Montreal. In 1990 and 1991 he toured China and Japan as pianist, conductor, and teacher. Sosa also taught 1970-3 at the Orford Art Centre, was an adjudicator for the 1977 CBC Talent Festival and at the 1987 MSO Concours, and has served accredited music-training institutions as an examiner. He has composed works for piano, including three sonatas for the left hand, a string quartet, and a piece for viola and percussion. His recording of piano music of Schubert for the Select label (1977, CC-15.127) contains the Wanderer Fantasy, Opus 15; the Sonata in A Minor, Opus 143; the Impromptu in A Flat, Opus 90 no. 4; and four Ländler. See also Discography for Bruno Laplante (RCI 393).

Raoul Sosa is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2009.


Further Reading

  • McLean, Eric. "Raoul Sosa," Montreal Star, 4 Feb 1978

    - "St. Léonard joins orchestra parade," Montreal Gazette, 5 Dec 1987

    Laurier, Marie. "Le Pianiste Raoul Sosa rentre de tournée en Chine," Montreal Le Devoir, 3 Dec 1990