6 years ago

Volume 15 Issue 7 - April 2010

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Anagnoson and

Anagnoson and KintonFeeling Grateful, Giving BackD i a n n e W e l l sUniversity SettlementHouse, Toronto’s firstcommunity-based socialservice centre, iscelebrating its 100thanniversary this year.And to mark the occasion, Toronto’spremier piano duo, James Anagnosonand Leslie Kinton, will play aspecial benefit concert at the GlennGould Studio on April 18.The concert is a fitting tributeto an institution that’s longheld music as one of its core values.But University Settlement ismuch more than a music school inthe conventional sense. And there’sa unique story behind every musicianwho passes through its doors.A shy teenage boy lives with his mother in Ontario Housing inthe Grange neighborhood. His mother recognizes his special gift formusical expression and takes him to University Settlement for lessons.He qualifies for a subsidy and excels in his studies. He latergoes on to study at a prestigious professional school at a renownedconservatory of music.A neighbour donates a piano to the USH Music & Arts School.The director finds a good home for it with a young piano studentwho is a recent immigrant. Having a piano in her home makes theworld of difference to her studies. Other new immigrants improvetheir English skills and meet new friends by joining a choir at USH.A man in his 50s is injured on the job and finds himself unemployed.For him, music serves not only as his recreation but is highlytherapeutic as well. USH allows him the use of a piano studio, freeof charge.A single mother is enrolled at university to earn a degree and betterher employment prospects. A musician herself, she knows verywell the value of the arts in a child’s development. As lessons for herchildren at a mainstream conservatory are more than she can afford,she is advised by a friend to check out the Music School at UniversitySettlement House. The school director invites her to apply fora subsidy. For the next couple of years, the children receive lessonsat a reduced rate. Watching her own and many other children growthrough their studies at the school, she is inspired to volunteer onthe music committee, and once employed full time, starts to pay fullfees for her children’s lessons. Many years later, she still remembersUSH Music and Arts School in her annual giving.At its inner-city location near the Grange, halfway between Dundasand Queen St. W., University Settlement employs a staff of approximately150, who provide day care, settlement services, employmentcounseling, senior services, youth programming and Englishlanguage classes.USH established its Music and Arts School in 1921, and sincethat time has demonstrated its vision that the arts should be a right,not a privilege – and that lessons and classes should be available toeveryone, regardless of age, ethnicity, perceived talent, disability orability to pay. Despite providing affordable programmes, the schoolhires highly qualified, university-trained teachers (often at the graduatelevel) who are deeply committed to creating community andencouraging a welcoming, family atmosphere in the school. Theystrive to create a high level of self-esteem and confidence in theirPiano duo Anagnoson and Kinton play a benefitconcert for University Settlement.Photo Empire Studiostudents, encouraging excellenceand rewarding progress.According to Anne Yardley, thedirector of the music school, themajor day-to-day challenge shefaces is in meeting the needs of allthe people on low income who requesta subsidy. Though the regularrates for lessons are lower thanmost everywhere else in the city,there are many students who stillneed to be subsidized.As the agency approached its100th birthday, the staff and boardof directors decided that the fundraisingpriority for 2010 would beto raise money for its subsidy programme.Anagnoson and Kintongenerously offered to play a benefitconcert to support that goal. In addition to an active performanceschedule, Anagnoson serves as dean of the Glenn Gould School atthe Royal Conservatory of Music, and Kinton is a faculty member atboth the Glenn Gould School and the University of Western Ontario.James Anagnoson kindly took time out of his busy schedule tospeak with me.How did you come to choose Settlement House as the beneficiaryof this concert?I was already aware of University Settlement House because a coupleof my own students have taught there. We were approached by myfriend Aasta Levene who serves on the board and the Music AdvisoryCommittee at USH. She told me about the 100th-year celebrationand the need for a special event to kick off the celebrations.As musicians, you have the ability to inspire people and raiseawareness of those who support the community. Has there beenanyone in your life who has inspired you to want to give back inthis way?My teacher, Eugene List who I studied with in New York, was notonly a brilliant pianist and mentor, he also gave so much to his students– he even let me live in his house. You know, I never reallythink of this type of benefit as “giving back”: we just feel so privilegedin regards to where our careers have taken us and we are solucky to be able to do something like this.As a music educator yourself, do any remarkable examples cometo mind of how the study of music benefits a young person’s qualityof life?I have had the opportunity to teach a wide variety of students, fromvolunteering in a Boston School when I was 18 to teaching studentsat the professional level. I often receive letters from former studentswho are now settled in other professions, who write of how the studyof music has impacted their lives. I also see it firsthand with my 12-year old son. It uplifts your life.With touring, we’ve taken our two pianos into many remotenooks and crannies: Duncan, BC, even Saturna Island, and have performedfor people who would never otherwise get the chance to hearRachmaninoff played live. To witness the effect of that is astounding.continued on page 62...8 www.thewholenote.comApril 1 - May 7, 2010

GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC DOWNTOWNSOLD OUTTOKYOQUARTETTh. Apr. 8Don’t miss this chance to attendall your favourite concerts in the2010~2011 Season!SUBSCRIBE NOW8 QUARTET CONCERTS 3, 9St. Lawrence Quartet Th. Oct 14Prazak QuartetTh. Nov 4Gryphon TrioTh. Nov. 18Pacifica QuartetTh. Dec 9Tokyo QuartetTh. Jan. 13Philharmonia Quartett Berlin Th. Jan. 27Borealis QuartetTh. Mar. 3Tokyo QuartetTh. Apr. 145 PIANO CONCERTS 5, 0Alessandro Marangoni Tu. Oct. 19Duo TurgeonTu. Dec. 14Alexandre Tharaud Tu. Feb 22Andreas Haefliger withMarina Piccinini, flustist Tu. Mar. 15Marc-André Hamelin Tu. Mar 293 DISCOVERY CONCERTS *Laura Klassen, soprano withMegan Chang, pianist Th. Jan. 20Trio Voce with JonathanBerger, composer Tu. Feb 17Julie-Anne Derome, violinistwith Megan Chang, pianist Th. Mar. 24Full season of 16 concerts 6, 7Other combinations available (* Family)Subscription prices in effect only until April 30.ONTARIO ARTS COUNCILCONSEILDES ARTS DELONTARIO ’ 1-800-708-6754order online at www.stlc.comApril 1 - May 7, 2010 www.thewholenote.com9

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