7 years ago

Volume 15 Issue 8 - May 2010

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,practices, and so, from

,practices, and so, from the avant-garde perspective, had nothing to-tiveor derivative. erthe history of 20th-century music would be rewritten to includemany formerly forgotten composers. He commented: “The more intriguingquestion is whether we are gradually moving away frombroader and younger audience who do not have an inbuilt allegianceto the pillars of repertory, but are curious to explore the vast rangeof music that is now so readily and instantly available.” The WholeNote’s monthly listings from this angle itappeared to me that this development is well under way. On May2, for example, Amici’s “Silenced Voices” concert reads almostformedmusic by forgotten or ignored composers such as Schulhoff,8 Brahms’ for mezzo or contralto, viola andpiano, which because of the unusual voice/instrument combinationwill never quite be “core repertoire,” will be performed in two com-grammeby the Birthday Series at Heliconian Hall, followed by aThe trend extends beyond chamber music to symphonic music,as many orchestras combine “core repertoire” with repertoire that isalongside Beethoven’s Chamber Orchestrahas programmedPurcell’s and MacMillan’s withVivaldi’s sonsoughPhilharmonichas compositionsby contemporaryCanadian compos-Canadian composers Ronald Royer andMichael Conway Baker are performed by theScarborough Philharmonic.- and Piazzolla’s . There are lots of other examples of programming thateven a few years ago would have been considered “adventurous,”but which evidently is now occurring frequently. encedby those fortunate to be exiled to the United States was due tothe absence there of “the European sensibility that considered musicand culture not just central but indispensable to life.” The situationin Canada is no different. While so much of our art-music hereis European, it seems clear that if a strong cultural tradition is tosomething that has grown out of life in this part of the world. Welive in an interesting time, when performers and performing organ--developing the cultural sensibilities of our place and time.12 THEWHOLENOTE.COMMay 1 - June 7, 2010

Beat by Beat / Choral SceneTeachers Make aDifferenceBENJAMIN STEINAtruism: technology shapes culture. One could argue that weare less the children of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Bessie Smithand the Beatles than we are of Thomas Edison, Scott de Martinvilleand Charles Cros, and their progeny, the anonymous technicianswho developed digital sound in the 1970s. unchanged. No recording matches the excitement of a masterfullive performance. No online musical forum or resource replaces theone-on-one human connection between teacher and student throughwhich musical ideas are most essentially conveyed.We envy, admire and emulatemusicians of renown. Butwe retain a special love for ourteachers and mentors, whohave touched us in way thata concert or recording nevercan. Agrade school musicteacher, a private instructor, aconservatory lecturer; sometimesstronger as teachers thanperformers; sometimes wellknown, often not. It is they Choral conductor Deral Johnson.that give each of us the tools to add our unique voice to the music.By all accounts, Deral Johnson was one such teacher. He taughtchoral music for 20 years at the University of Western Ontario, andafter his death, March 24 this year, tributes from the musicians hetouched poured in to The WholeNote and other forums. An expatriateAmerican, Johnson taught in Texas and Colorado before movingto London in 1969. He threw himself into the Canadian music scenewith a zeal and enthusiasm for which he became renowned, championingthe music of Schafer, Cabena and Telfer, and training manydistinguished Canadian musicians, including conductor and producerRobert Cooper, and University of Toronto voice professor DarrylEdwards.Choral conductors who studied with Johnson include MichaelBloss, Lynn Janes, Jenny Crober, Ken Fleet and Carol Ratzlaff, allof whom direct choirs in and around Southern Ontario. Many ofhis former students speak glowingly of his combination of humour,rigour, kindness and passion. Margaret Thibideau, a former choralconductor, writes, “There was nothing quite like singing Gospelwith Deral – it was fun, uplifting, and all I can say is that I havehis high standards of musicianship or excellence.” Johnson will bemissed both by those who knew him personally and those who feltMeanwhile, the choral scene that Johnson helped develop andfoster is in good form this spring. For instance, Robert Cooper’sOrpheus Choir performs the rarely heard Handel Oratorio Athaliaon May 8, in a concert that showcases their Sedgwick Scholars (upand-comingvocal talents who both sing in the choir and handle thesolos). It is a mentoring programme now in its 20th year.And Carol Ratzlaff’s Annex-based Viva! Youth Singers havea 10th anniversary celebration concert, May 16. The concert featurescommissioned new works by composers James Rolfe and JulietPalmer, as well as a musical by Leslie Arden. With singers from4 to 25 and a wide range of choirs to choose from (including one forparents!), the choir’s proud lineage is clear.The number of choral concerts at this time of the year isastounding, and sorting through them a fascinating task.For one, thing, this appears to be the spring of the “crossover”2010.11CONCERTSEASONClassical, Jazz, Pop, Dance, andWorld Music in the Magnificent Koerner HallMore than 70 Concerts ON SALE NOWSeason highlights include:Yo-Yo Mawith Kathryn ScottTHURS. OCT. 14/10, 7pmTickets and packages ON SALE 416.408.0208MediaSponsorsJohn WilliamsSUN. MAR. 27/11, 3pmThe Royal Conservatory Orchestra Guest ConductorProgram is generously supported byHélèneGrimaudSUN. JAN. 23/11, 3pmPeter Oundjianconducts The RoyalConservatory OrchestraFRI. JAN. 21/11, 8pmLeonFleisherSUN. APR. 3/11, 3pm273 Bloor Street West(Bloor & Avenue Road) TorontoMay 1 - June 7, 2010 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 13

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