Corey Gemmell and Benjamin Smith, Violin and Piano

Live!@WestPlains presents……in the warm acoustics of the West Plains Church Sanctuary

Sunday, May 5, 2024, 3-5 pm | Also on Livestream

TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY: Music of Mozart, Schumann, Ysaÿe, and Poulenc

The encore recital by this exquisite duo following last season’s critically acclaimed debut!    Experience the Triumph Over Tragedy in the virtuosic violin sonatas of Mozart, Schumann, Ysaÿe, and Poulenc. Be moved by the music and be touched by their inspiring stories!

Duration: 2 hours including intermission

Mozart ~ Sonata for Violin and Piano in B Flat Major K.378
Schumann ~ Sonata for Violin and Piano No.2 in D minor Opus 121
Ysaÿe ~ Sonata for Solo Violin No.2 in A minor Opus 27
Poulenc ~ Sonata for Violin and Piano FP 119

Support chamber music artists in live performances!

With gratitude for their support : Burlington Symphony Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, National Music Camp, and Esprit Orchestra.


“Both gentlemen are incredible musicians who perform with virtuosic technique and emotional depth, but together, their chemistry makes the duo exceptional in its ability to engage the audience and hold them close to the music.  In the intimate space of West Plains’ warm and resonant acoustic, audiences love being able to sit up close to the performers to witness every note played, and to be enveloped by the rich sounds created by the beautiful instruments and musicians.”

PROGRAMME INSIGHTS ~ Prepare To Be Transported by Learning More

TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE! : Buy your tickets by April 21st and pay “Last Year’s Price”!  We wish to make this concert accessible to everyone with the Pay-As-You-Are-Able and Livestream ticket options.  Student and Child tickets also available.  All ticket-holders will have access to the concert video for 60 days following the concert.  Advance ticket purchasers will receive ballots for the draws on concert day, to win tickets to the Burlington Symphony Orchestra and Mississauga Symphony Orchestra concerts.  Buy by April 21st and you will receive TWO or more ballots for the draws! Buy between April 22nd-May 3rd and you will receive one ballot for the draws!

STUDENTS!  Attend this concert and fill in a ballot to win a $200 Scholarship to attend the 2024 summer session of National Music Camp in Orillia, ON.  Eligibility: students currently in Grades 3-12 who are new to National Music Camp.

Information for in-person audience:  Doors open 2:20 pm.  Concert begins at 3 pm.  There will be an intermission.  Homemade cookies and water will be available for a donation to the West Plains Roof Fund.  The West Plains Honey products and Used Book Sale will also be open.  Bring coins and loose change and small bills to support these fundraisers for the new roof at West Plains!  If the parking lot is full, please park across the street.

About the Musicians…


A Hamilton native, Corey Lyle Gemmell began violin lessons with local Hamilton teacher Jackie Sutherland and later continued lessons with Mark Fujino before studying with David Zafer and Mark Skazinetsky at the University of Toronto. While studying in Hamilton he joined the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (HPYO) where he played concertmaster under the direction of the legendary Glenn Mallory.  

 Mr. Gemmell currently makes his home in Markham, Ontario. He has distinguished himself as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Canada, Germany, the United States and China. At present, he is concertmaster for the Burlington Symphony Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, and the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra.  He has also served in this capacity with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Brott Music Festival/National Academy Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, the Elora Festival Orchestra, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Orchestra, the Ontario Philharmonic, and the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. Very active in Toronto’s thriving musical theatre scene, Mr. Gemmell has been concertmaster in such musicals as Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, The Sound of Music, the Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to name but a few. One of his personal favourites was performing as concertmaster in the Hugh Jackman Show. 

 As a soloist Mr. Gemmell has performed much of the standard repertoire for violin and orchestra. In recent seasons, he performed solos and concertos by Brahms, Sarasate, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Sibelius, Prokofiev, and Vivaldi. 

 Mr. Gemmell has been a member of Ensemble Vivant, the Elgin String Quartet, and the National Piano Trio.  He has been a frequent guest artist with New Music Concerts, with whom he performed and led workshops at the National Conservatory of Beijing in 2016. He has been a guest on such series as Live!@WestPlains in Burlington, the Chamber Music Society of Mississauga, Array Music, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society. 

 Mr. Gemmell is a member of the faculty for the National Music Camp of Canada as well as a member of the Royal College of Examiners. He has also been on faculty at the Great Lakes International Summer Music Institute at Algoma University, the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the University of Western Ontario.  

 In 2022, Mr. Gemmell recorded several new works of solo and chamber music by Canadian composers Ronald Royer, Daniel Mehdizadeh, Brandon Walker, and Elizabeth Raum in association with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, which were released in 2023. He can be heard in recordings of the Mozart Effect, having recorded several of Mozart’s Violin Sonatas and many of Mozart’s String Quartets for the series. With Ensemble Vivant he completed three albums, including a 2022 release, “iFugue”, to critical acclaim. He was one of the contributing artists to record the Royal Conservatory of Music’s complete violin syllabus in 2013.  He has also recorded other works by Mozart, Brahms, Ravel, Robert A. Baker as well as numerous movie and commercial recordings. 

Mr. Gemmell plays on a violin made in Milan in 1907 by Cipriano Briani and a violin made for him in 2005 by renowned Toronto luthier, Hratch Armenious, as well as bows by Lamy, Martin and Voirin. 


Described as having “scintillating technique” (Barrie Examiner), pianist Benjamin Smith has performed both as soloist and chamber musician across Canada and the United States. He has been a laureate of numerous competitions, including the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition and the CMC Stepping Stone Competition. Guest appearances include the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Las Vegas Young Artists Orchestra, the Ontario Philharmonic, Orchestra London, the Burlington Symphony, the Windsor Symphony, and the University of Toronto’s Hart House Orchestra. As soloist, he has performed under esteemed conductors Rossen Milanov, Marco Parisotto, and Yunior Lopez, with concertos including rarities such as the Schoenberg Piano Concerto. Festival performances include repeat appearances at Toronto, Banff, Stratford, Niagara, Port Milford, and New Park (Ithaca, NY). American performances include recitals for the Texas Chopin Society and Chicago’s Landowska Harpsichord Society. Recent seasons have seen two concerts in Carnegie Hall: once as soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue with the Hart House Orchestra, and previously in recital with Canadian cellist Dongkyun An. A disc with Mr. An of Saint-Saens, Schumann, and Beethoven was released in December 2016. Other commercial recordings include a disc of Canadian chamber music (Aboriginal Inspirations, 2017) and extensive solo recordings for the 2022 Royal Conservatory Celebration piano series. 

Devoting considerable time to chamber music, Ben has been heard nationally across Canada on CBC Music, as well as radio broadcasts in the UK. He has partnered in recital with a myriad of renowned artists including Martin Beaver, Timothy Chooi, Colin Carr, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Jacques Israelievitch, Jinjoo Cho, Stanislav Pronin, Gábor Tarkövi, Øystein Baadsvik, and William VerMeulen, as well as with ensembles such as the Penderecki, Cecilia, Annex, and Tokai string quartets. For two seasons he performed as one-third of the Israelievitch-Smith-Ahn piano trio. Involved with music of our time as well, he is regularly found playing keyboards with the Esprit Orchestra in Toronto. 

Increasingly in demand as a teacher, Ben often serves as a juror for music festivals and competitions, and has adjudicated many of the largest music festivals in Canada. His students have had success in this realm as well, including the CFMTA National festival. He has also served on panels for competitions internationally, most recently for the OPUS competition in the US. 

Dr. Smith currently resides in Toronto, maintaining a concert schedule and serving on the faculties of both the Glenn Gould School (GGS) and the Taylor Young Artist Academy at the Royal Conservatory. Previously, he held a position on the piano faculty at Western University. His principal teachers included Andrea Battista, James Anagnoson, Julian Martin, and Christina Dahl. Along with a DMA from Stony Brook University, he holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto, an Artist Diploma from the GGS, and a Masters from Juilliard. 


All welcome! Enjoy first-class chamber music in an intimate space with warm acoustics!

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