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Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015

Vol 21 No 2 is now available for your viewing pleasure, and it's a bumper crop, right at the harvest moon. First ever Canadian opera on the Four Seasons Centre main stage gets double coverage with Wende Bartley interviewing Pyramus and Thisbe composer Barbara Monk Feldman and Chris Hoile connecting with director Christopher Alden; Paul Ennis digs into the musical mind of pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, and pianist Eve Egoyan is "On the Record" in conversation with publisher David Perlman ahead of the Oct release concert for her tenth recording. And at the heart of it all the 16th edition of our annual BLUE PAGES directory of presenters profile the season now well and truly under way.

lapping water and

lapping water and sparkling rivulets (and perhaps towards the end, birdsong) in the canals of Venice. The Canzone, based on a melody by Rossini, has a sense of deep foreboding, with throaty melodic lines and an underlying tremolo in the left hand. The Tarantella is perhaps the most famous of the set and is a wonderful example of the colours, textures and moods that can be created on the piano. WN: Why are you so drawn to those pianists of the first half of the last century? How has listening to them informed the way you play? Are there contemporary pianists you admire? Do you have any musical heroes who have inspired you? Grosvenor: I do have an interest in pianists of the past, both for the absolute merits of their performances and because one is potentially exposed to expressive and pianistic tools that may have disappeared from the modern lexicon. There are a great many contemporary musicians I also admire, but I’d rather not mention names for fear of leaving out others...! WN: You’ve been in the public eye for more than half your life, since your first appearance on the BBC. How do you reconcile your public and private life? Grosvenor: I don’t think I’ve ever really found it difficult to reconcile “public” and private life. Life as a classical musician is not quite like that of people who have high profiles in other fields, and it is easy to descend into the background. It is a demanding profession though, and involves a lot of work. The challenge is to reconcile private life and professional life. Good planning and time management is key! The vital middle: According to Taylor, Music Toronto occupies “the vital middle” in the city’s classical music life. It’s hard to imagine a better concert or more exciting artist than Grosvenor to open their 44th season. Season highlights include two noteworthy string quartet debuts – Cuarteto Casals and the Artemis Quartet – the return of favourites Marc-André Hamelin, the St. Lawrence Quartet and the Gryphon Trio, as well as appearances by the superb JACK Quartet and Quatuor Ébène, the welcome return of pianist Steven Osborne, and debuts by Peter Jablonski and the young-Polish-quartet-on-the-rise, the Apollon Musagète Quartett. Taylor books 12 to 18 months in advance after a varied process that ranges from surfing the Internet and gleaning concert programs from around the world to listening to advice from other presenters and audience members. A recommendation from an audience member of a Schubert recording by the Cuarteto Casals two years ago led to their upcoming October 22 recital (with a program including Mozart, Kurtag and Ravel). The Berlin Philharmonic Quartet recommended the Artemis Quartet to Taylor several years ago; she finally booked their April 14, 2016 concert after trying since 2012. An amateur pianist and old friend of Taylor’s recommended Jablonski five years ago. Two years ago, something related to the Apollon Musagète Quartett came in the mail. Intrigued by the name, Taylor investigated and closed the deal for their November 26 recital. “It’s always guesswork,” she said about the process. “But at the end of the first movement you know. Sometimes it’s extraordinary.” COC Rehearsal. At the end of week one of rehearsal for the COC’s world premiere of Barbara Monk Feldman’s Pyramus and Thisbe, a small group of invited media witnessed a fascinating process unfold in the company’s headquarters on Front St. Baritone Phillip Addis and mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó sat in front of a tall, massive, bright yellow cinder block wall, three metres from conductor Johannes Debus, separated only by their music stands amidst the vastness of the rehearsal room. Addis, his eyes wide open this early in the rehearsal process tells Debus that when he first learned his part as Pyramus, his approach was very rigid; now that he’s more familiar with the piece he feels it can be more jazzy. Debus replies that when the score calls for only one note (and a long one, at that) there’s nowhere to hide. “It’s necessary to discover the Frank Sinatra (or the Ella Fitzgerald) in all of us,” he said. There really are three characters in this new work, Debus told us, but paradoxically Pyramus, Thisbe and the chorus (plus the orchestra) also merge into one (quite slowly). “Maybe we lose the sense of time,” he pointed out. Another one of Monk Feldman’s qualities is that very difficult-to-perform sustaining of notes. Ultimately, Debus finds the Music director and conductor Johannes Debus, with director Christopher Alden (in foreground), at a music rehearsal of Pyramus and Thisbe opera to be a piece in suspended time. Performing it properly is a lot about breathing. “Ninety percent of the time we’re like curators in a museum. [Working on a new opera] puts certain things for us as interpreters into perspective. The exchange between creative minds is absolutely … an adventure as none else. A Canadian-composed-opera premiere is something quite remarkable. “Monk Feldman’s writing is basically orchestral. It works a lot with the natural decay of orchestral music … It’s kind of a meditation on this old Pyramus and Thisbe myth, kind of fragmented.” It’s hard not to overstate Debus’ versatility and engagement in the process. In addition to much back and forth banter with director Christopher Alden, his involvement with the singers was direct and supportive. He sang the chorus cues in Pyramus and played impeccable harpsichord in Il combiattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, one of two Monteverdi works that complete what should be a memorable CHRIS HUTCHESON 14 | Oct 1 - Nov 7, 2015

program with the Monk Feldman. The TSO Decades Project begins October 21 and 24 with Debussy’s enduring masterpiece La Mer and the rare treat of hearing Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony live. Peter Oundjian conducts and Erin Wall and Russell Braun are the vocal soloists in the Vaughan Williams. The first two decades of the 20th century shaped what we are today and the orchestra will be showcasing them in a series of six concerts and cross-disciplinary programming this season. In partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Decades Project will explore the similarities and differences of the two art forms in the space where music and visual art meet. The concerts are enhanced by pre- and post- concert talks guided by AGO curators and performances by The TSO Chamber Soloists. The project continues October 28 and 29 with Sibelius’ joyous, richly romantic Symphony No.2 and Bartók’s youthful Violin Concerto No.1. Finnish-born John Storgårds, recently named principal guest conductor of the NAC, conducts; the versatile Benjamin Schmid is the soloist in the Bartók. Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society highlights this month include: cellist Matt Haimovitz performing two newly commissioned works on the same program as two Bach suites for solo cello, October 4; four concerts by the Attacca String Quartet, October 29, 31 and November 1, as they continue their traversal of Haydn’s complete string quartets; and the star-studded Trio Arkel in works by Haydn, Osterle, Rosza, Dvořák and Beethoven, November 6. QUICK PICKS Oct 11 Angela Hewitt performs works by Scarlatti, Bach, Beethoven, Albeniz and De Falla at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Kingston. Oct 15 The versatile Afiara String Quartet is joined by harpist Caroline Léonardelli and bassist Joseph Phillips in the first concert of the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto’s 118th season. Oct 15 The world-class Takács Quartet performs Haydn, Shostakovich and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden at the Perimeter Institute, Waterloo. What Sweeter Music — Celebrating Eleanor Daleyy October 18 @ 2:30 pm Church of the Redeemer The MacMillan Singers and Women’s Chamber Choir present a variety of compositions by Eleanor Daley, celebrating her 60 th birthday. The Muse’s Garden: Dame Emma Kirkby Lute Song Recital October 18 @ 7:30 pm Trinity College Chapel Graduate voice students join the legendary Emma Kirkby and lutenist Jakob Linberg for an evening of lute songs. The Faculty of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our presenting sponsors TICKETS: or 416-408-0208 The Music of Gibbons, Purcell, Mendelssohn and Saint-Saëns October 21 @ 7:30 pm Church of the Redeemer Presented by the Oratorio Class and the Schola Cantorum. Menotti: The Medium and The Telephone November 5-8 @ 7:30, 2:30 pm MacMillan Theatre Fall Major Opera Production, double bill. Madame Flora, a fraudulent medium, falls prey to the very superstition she has inclulcated in her séance clients. the 15th Season of NOCTURNES IN THE CITY 2015-2016 Sunday, October 4, 5pm KRIPA NAGESHWAR, soprano WILLIAM SHOOKHOFF, piano Dvorák, Kaprálová St. Wenceslaus Church Wednesday, November 11, 7:30 pm ZEMLINSKY QUARTET from Prague Dvorák, Janácek, Suk, Schostakovic St. Wenceslaus Church (*note time) Sunday, December 6, 5pm ELISKA LATAWIEC, soprano, (pianist TBA ) Dvorák St. Wenceslaus Church Sunday, January 17, 2016, 5pm GEORGE GROSMAN AND BOHEMIAN JAZZ QUARTET **Prague Restaurant at Masaryktown, Scarborough (note location) Sunday, March 13, 5pm ADAM ZUKIEWICZ, piano Chopin, Liszt, Dvorák St. Wenceslaus Church Sunday, April 3, 5pm JAN NOVOTNY, piano Smetana, Schumann St. Wenceslaus Church Sunday, May 1, 5pm DREW JURECKA JAZZ TRIO **Prague Restaurant at Masaryktown, Scarborough (note location) Sunday, May 29, 5pm KAROLINA ´KUBA´ LEK, piano Rachmaninov, Mozart, Chopin St. Wenceslaus Church All concerts are at St. Wenceslaus Church, 496 Gladstone Avenue, Toronto, with the exception of **January 17 and **May 1 subscriptions ~ 0 | single tickets ~ / (st) tickets | information 416-481-7294 Oct 1 - Nov 7, 2015 | 15

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