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Volume 2 Issue 2 - October 1996

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • October
  • Symphony
  • Yonge
  • Theatre
  • Orchestra
  • Festival
  • Arts
  • Organ
  • Ensemble

October

October '96 oncert ~tes ~ Made to last! The "Made in Canada Festival of Canadian Music" frotn October 4 to 12 had its beginnings in 1994 when Jukka-Pekka ... .. ........ . ~ ............... --~- --~- Saraste got together with members of the Toronto new music community over a .glass of wine to discuss how to develop a larg~r audience for new mUSIC. Ironically, earlier. that year Toronto composer, Gary Kulesha wrote in the now defunct publication, Sound Notes: "In our newmusic community ... no· one talks to anyone else ... . new-music organizations in Toronto are simply unaware of what each other are doing." His •4• conclusion? "The tragedy of the new-music scene in Toronto is that there really is no community." Now two short years later, the T.S.O. and the new music presenters have worked co-operatively to organize this new music festival. The Symphony put some of its personnel and other resources at the organizing committee's disposal. And all parties agreed to bill their season opening concerts as festival events. One interesting twist: David Parsons of the Canadian Music Centre, took on organizing a "buddy system", for the event--an idea pioneered by the New York New Music Ensemble. CMC will offer festival patrons the company of a real live composer at the concert(s) · of their choice. Just choose a concert, and phone David Parsons at 961-4057. But beware. Elsewhere in the SoundNotes article we referred to earlier Gary Kulesha refers to composers CONTINUED PAGE 6 PULSE SEEKING -PERFECT SouN-D 4: Old St Lawrence--a gem repolished BY FRANK LOCKWOOD The audience had high expectations for the evening: thtry had paid as much as , (an unprecedented amount!) but no-one was disappointed by the thrilling perjonnance of airs and ballads given by Mademoiselle jenny Lind on a Tuesday eVening in October, one hundred and fortyfive years ago. The location: St. Lawrence Hall at King and jarvis. The hall was built in 1849-50 to the design of William Thomas, whose other Toronto landmarks include the former Commercial Bank of Canada on Wellington, St. Michael's Cathedral and Oakham House on the corner of Church and Gould. At·its height, it was the cultural centre of the city, before a long period of decline and neglect brought it to partial collapse, only to be rescued by an extensive restoration in 1967. With its ornate cut stone facade, Corinthian pillars and the elegant cupola, the hall is one of Toronto's architectural treasures. The centrepiece is the Great Hall, with its salmon-pink walls, extensive plaster and gold-leaf ornamentation and the magnificent Gasolier. Many cultural events were staged here in the latter half of the 19th century including meetings, lectures -- even ' boxing matches! Musical ' guests included Adelina Patti, Henriette Sontag as well .as the Toronto Philharmonic Society, the Toronto Vocal Music Society, and the Metropolitan Choral Society. By the beginning of the 1870s, the golden era of the hall had passed: the commercial and social centre of the city had moved west, and the old heart of the city began its long decline. Repeated and ill-planned alterations to the commercial properties in the building, coupled with a leaking roof, compromised the structural integrity to such the extent that in 1967, a portion of the east wing collapsed onto Jarvis Street. At that point, a consortium of Architectural and Construction associations united to restore the hall to its former glory. Once refurbished, every effort was made to re-establish the hall as a , cultural centre, most notably by providing a home for the National Ballet of Canada from 1967 until this year. The Great Hall itself continues to provide a site for many happy occasions including weddings, graduations, family gatherings and church and ethnic functions. Seating up to 350 persons, the high ceiling and the elabourate plaster ornamentation provide a modestly reverberant environment which is entirely suitable for concerts of chamber music. Most recently, the Aradia Ensemble has adopted the Hall as a suitably historic environment for its concerts of baroque and classic music. You can take in this wonderful group in this magnificent setting at their next concert on Sunday October 13, and again on Sunday December 22. The Hall is easily accessed via the King line of the TTC streetcar system, just a few blocks east of the King subway station. Parking is available within one block of each corner of the building. Full access for the handicapped is provided. Part of this city's proud cultural heritage, St. Lawrence Hall is a resurrected jewel in our midst. Frank Lockwood is a Producer I Engineer specializing in recording classical and acoustic music. R ead~rs can find previous installments of this series at http: / /www.io.org/-fl/.

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