8 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 8 - May 2014

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Concerts
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Festival
Includes the 2014 Canary Pages directory of choirs.

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is a legend of salsa percussion.” They’re both making repeat visits toLula and will lead workshops and share stage time with our city’s AllStars. You’re encouraged to come for the tropical fusion dinner, takea beginner salsa lesson and stay afterward to dance salsa, merengue,bachata and top 40 to the post-show DJs.Mateca Arts Festival: In contrast to Lulaworld’s well-seasonedoperation, this is the first edition of the Mateca Arts Festival. This“Community Multi-Arts Celebration,” notes its press release, is“inspired by the riches of Latin American culture … honouring thediversity of the city of Toronto. Approximately 15 countries will berepresented: Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru,Venezuela, Spain, USA and Brazil amongst others.”The festival takes place in Burwash Quad, Victoria College,University of Toronto on June 7 and 8. This an all-inclusive type ofcultural gathering, the kind that Harbourfront Centre has popularizedover the years, replete with musicians, dancers, visual artists, artsand crafts, food vendors, karaoke, workshops and yoga. Even “motivationalspeeches” are listed.For world music fans however perhaps the outstanding event is thetrio concert led by the Argentinean singer Beatriz Pichi Malen. With athriving international concert and recording career, Malen draws onher deep-rooted native Mapuche (indigenous people of south-centralChile and southwestern Argentina) heritage. Her trio performs songs,some inter-generationally passed on, dominated by themes from thenatural world and by the Mapuche worldview centred on its intimateand harmonious relationship with Mother Earth. Among theindigenous instruments the group plays to accompany their songsare the kashkawilla (bell rattles), kultrung (drum), trompe (jewsharp), and truutruka (valveless horn). The native Quechua dancerLucho Cruz adds to the concert’s Andean flavour with her choreographyillustrating what the press release poetically calls “passagesof sacred moments in an open and arid geography, splashed by thesouthern wind.”21C Music Festival: The venerable Royal Conservatory, with itsKoerner and other halls, is certainly no newcomer to presenting asweeping variety of music, though admittedly until the 21st century itwas mostly of the Euro-American classical variety. The RC’s five-yearoldKoerner world music series offerings on the other hand have oftenbeen mentioned in this column.The 21C Music Festival, running from May 21 through 25 is a brandnew RC project hosting seven ensembles and numerous soloists,most of them Canadian. The media kit reflects one artistic inspirationfor the event. Philanthropist Michael Koerner first quotes composerCharles Ives and then remarks that “21C Music Festival is … about earstretching.” One of the ear stretching elements evidently is musicoutside the Euro-American classical mainstream. Let’s call it worldmusic for the lack of a better term.Of all the individual works and non-orchestral instruments in thefestival which could claim world music provenance I’d like to focus onthe concert on May 23. Titled “After Hours #1,” the event begins late,approximately at 10pm, at the Conservatory Theatre. It features thecompositions and performances of two drummer-composers, TrichySankaran and Gurpreet Chana, respectively representatives of theSouth Asian “classical” Carnatic and Hindustani musical traditions.The internationally renowned Indian-Canadian percussion virtuosoand York University music professor Sankaran has been a prominentperformer on the Toronto scene since the early 1970s. He has beencommissioned by the RC to compose a new work for this occasion.His Hamsa (2014) for the 21C Ensemble consisting of violin, viola,cello, flute, clarinet and Sankaran on the mrdangam (Carnatic barrelshapeddrum) will receive its world premiere at the concert. Newmusic by Sankaran is in itself cause for celebration.Gurpreet Chana grew up in Canada and studied Indian tabla(double drum) in the Punjab gharana (school/style). He also presentsa world premiere, TABLIX, for solo tabla and electronics. In his notes,Chana states that TABLIX is the “product of four years of meticulousresearch and development … explor[ing] technology’s impact on theuntapped melodic potential of the tabla.” Chana’s early experiencesas a second-generation South Asian immigrant in Canada echo manyother musicians’ experiences, “characterized by interactions withevery type of musician.” It is an environment that instils an opennessthat echoes clearly throughout TABLIX which invites the listenerto experience and communicate with contemporary music culturethrough the eyes of the tabla player.Sound in the Land 2014 Festival: As illustrated in my last column,world music concerts have also taken root in Waterloo, Ontario.Presented by Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo,the Sound in the Land 2014: Music and the Environment Festival,June 5 to 8, consists of a series of concerts plus a conference. Severalof the Mennonite-centred, musical and ecologically themed concertshave world music threads as well as mainstream Euro-American ones.On the June 5 “Mennofolk Concert” the Buffleheads, a trio, performwhat is intriguingly described as “Afro-grass” repertoire, a new (sub)genre to me. June 6 at the University of Waterloo’s Humanities Theatrein the concert titled “Sonic Convergences: Orchestra and Multimedia,”the Korean composer and media artist Cecilia Heejeong Kim stagesher engaging multimedia piece Earth Songs (2009), for Korean instrumentsand Korean vocals.Then at the Saturday matinee on June 7 the Grebel Gamelan directedby Maisie Sum plays Balinese instrumental music on the GrebelChapel’s patio (in keeping with the open-air presentation typical ofperformances in the music’s tropical homeland).Weaving together Lulaworld’s Latin and Luso core with Mateca ArtsFestival’s South and Central American community multi-arts celebration,then adding the 21C Music Festival’s embrace of performercomposersoutside the received classical composer matrix and finallythe multi-hued threads of Conrad Grebel’s Afro-grass, Korean ecologicaltheatre, Balinese gamelan and choral kecak, it becomes clear thatthese and other such presenters are key actors defining the practiceand transmission of world music in our time.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer. He can becontacted at | May 1, 2014 – June 7, 2014

Beat by Beat | Classical & BeyondShow OneTurns TenPAUL ENNISSometimes it’s not only what you know but who you know.Show One Productions’ founder Svetlana Dvoretsky came toCanada from St. Petersburg in 1998. Culture was a huge part ofher upbringing – her mother, after a brief career as a concert pianist,taught piano – and Dvoretsky wanted to be an arts administratorhere, having studied management in show business. So she lookedfor a job in the arts when she arrived but only volunteer positionswere available. Instead she worked in retail – “the immigrant schoolof learning” – then in the corporate world before scratching her “itch”and launching Show One.It had taken five years, but she was ready. When violinist-conductorVladimir Spivakov came to Toronto for a concert she sought him out –he and her mother had been students together – and fortune smiled.She buttonholed him on an elevator from floors one to three, justenough time to garner an invitation to meet his management in NewYork City. She flew south and returned with Spivakov’s endorsementthat she bring him to Toronto for his next concert here. “It was a lot oftrust on his part,” she admitted. Show One piggybacked onto Spivakovand the Moscow Virtuosi’s 25th Anniversary World Tour with theirconcert October 30, 2004 at George Weston Recital Hall.Working with Spivakov’s charitable education foundation, shelaunched “Young Stars of the Young Century,” a showcase for thecrème de la crème of talent from the vast reaches of the countries ofthe former Soviet Union, alongside a dollop of young Canadians. Fivemore concerts followed, ending in September of 2009. Dvoretsky wasclearly doing something right.In between the first two “Young Stars” events, she got her feet wetwith two popular vocal concerts, Mikhail Turetsky’s Men’s Choir anda second featuring Svetlana Portnyansky and Yevgeny Shapovalovfronting O. Burman’s jazz quartet. The Moscow Chamber Orchestrawith soprano Galina Gorchakova and a memorable performance bythe legendary Borodin String Quartet firmly established her presence.Not even 13 months had passed since Show One’s debut.Dvoretsky broadened her reach by linking into Gidon Kremer andKremerata Baltica’s Tenth Anniversary Tour in the spring of 2007and then conquering Roy Thomson Hall with Russian superstar baritoneDmitri Hvorostovsky backed by the Moscow Chamber Orchestrathat fall. When Spivakov returned with the Moscow Virtuosi andpianist Olga Kern on their 30th Anniversary Tour, Dvoretsky bookedthem into RTH. She did the same for premier violist-conductor YuriBashmet and the Moscow Soloists the following winter. Two monthslater, Spivakov was back at RTH, this time with his other regular gig,the National Philharmonic of Russia, featuring Siberian-born pianophenom Denis Matsuev (who would return twice under the Show Onebanner in solo recitals at Koerner Hall).Less than a year later she paired Dmitri Hvorostovsky with thefast-rising young soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in RTH. Meanwhileshe branched out to Montreal, presenting Valery Gergiev and theMariinsky Orchestra with Matsuev, and then native son YannickNézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic with violinist VictoriaMullova as soloist. She would bring Gergiev back twice more andwiden her terrain to include Ottawa, Hamilton and Vancouver.Over the last ten years she’s presented 30 classical Toronto concerts,32 pop and dance events and 15 theatrical engagements, the latterexclusively in the Russian language.She brought Michel Legrand, John Malkovich and Placido Domingoto us as well as cellist Mischa Maisky for the first time since 1976 (withYuri Bashmet in a superb program commemorating the 20th anniversaryof the Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra, then last fall in arecital at Koerner Hall).Cutline: Svetlana Dvoretsky (left) with nine-year-old Anastasia Rizikovand Vladimir Spivakov in May, 2008 at the time Rizikov was performingin the fourth “Young Stars of the Young Century” gala concertorganized by Spivakov’s charity foundation and Show One. That sameyear, Rizikov performed in the Kremlin at the international festival“Moscow Meets Friends,” organized by the Vladimir InternationalCharity Foundation. On May 16 Rizikov can be heard performing in theHigh Notes Gala for Mental Health at the Flato Markham Theatre.Dvoretsky will celebrate Show One’s tenth anniversary with twoworld-class concerts: Spivakov, clearly her backbone, returns forthe sixth time, May 9 at RTH with the Moscow Virtuosi ChamberOrchestra’s 35th Anniversary Tour; Hvorostovsky is back for the thirdtime, June 1, in recital at Koerner Hall with pianist Ivari Ilja. May 9everyone is invited to a post-concert lobby performance and receptionat RTH featuring Canadian-Italian Daniela Nardi’s jazz worldproject Espresso Manifesto. It’s been quite a first decade. What will thesecond bring?Recent EventsThe unpredictability of events is certainly a boon to the OntarioLottery Corporation (among others) but when it smiles unexpectedly(as it did on me a few weeks ago) and reveals its serendipitous side it’scapable of bestowing a big gift.Richard Goode, in Toronto for appearances with the TSO, wasscheduled to give three masterclasses at RCM. Circumstances dictatedthat I was able to attend only one, Friday afternoon, April 4. Thefirst thing that struck me as I picked up the information sheet at theentrance to Mazzoleni Hall was that there was only one piece on theagenda, Mozart’s Piano Concert No.22 in E-flat Major, K482. Thename of Goode’s student for the masterclass, Jan Lisiecki, May 1, 2014 – June 7, 2014 | 15

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