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Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018

  • Text
  • October
  • Toronto
  • Arts
  • Choir
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Performing
  • Orchestra
  • Theatre
Presenters, start your engines! With TIFF and "back-to-work" out of the way, the regular concert season rumbles to life, and, if our Editor's Opener can be trusted, "Seeking Synergies" seems to be the name of the game. Denise Williams' constantly evolving "Walk Together Children" touching down at the Toronto Centre for the Arts; the second annual Festival of Arabic Music and Arts expanding its range; a lesson in Jazz Survival with Steve Wallace; the 150 presenter and performer profiles in our 19th annual Blue Pages directory... this is an issue that is definitely more than the sum of its parts.

Sinfonia Toronto

Sinfonia Toronto rehearsing in Buenos Aires April 2018 30 other works by Canadian composers, many more than once, including nine by Ontario composers and 13 by female composers. During our international tours, we also featured Canadian composers at every performance. We played Sir Ernest MacMillan in Germany, in Spain Ontario composer Kevork Andonian, and in South America works by Chan Ka Nin, Alexander Levkovich and Marjan Mozetich. How many works have you commissioned? By Canadian composers: Kevork Andonian, John Burge, Scott Good, Chan Ka Nin, Christos Hatzis, Marjan Mozetich, Norbert Palej, Ronald Royer, Heather Schmidt, Petros Shoujounian and Rob Teehan. In addition, as music director with my other Canadian orchestras I have commissioned and premièred another 20 works. I have also conducted several world premières abroad commissioned by orchestras that I guest conducted. I have premièred new works in Italy, Germany, Poland, the US and Armenia. You were born to Armenian parents in Istanbul, where you gave your first violin recital at 13. How old were you when you started playing? I started violin at age nine. Please describe the musical atmosphere in your home growing up? My mother was a concert violinist, but she gave up her solo career when I was born. When she began teaching me she resumed playing herself, but limited her performances to chamber music. My father had a good voice and was a choir member at Casa d’Italia. Besides lessons with my mother and then other wonderful teachers, the greatest influence in my development was attending concerts by the Istanbul Symphony Orchestra and many recitals and chamber music concerts. In addition, I loved going to live theatre performances, movies and reading great literature. In a typical week I attended at least four or five events and sometimes two a day... I admit, I don’t sleep much in general! This is one thing sorely missing in today’s music education – both students and parents are so busy with everyday life they can’t find time to attend concerts. To me this is a must, but how to implement it is the big question. Internet and social media also are time-consuming, but at least one plus for today’s music students is the convenience of being able to watch and hear great classical music with just a few clicks. Did you have any musical idols in your youth? Of course! Violinist David Oistrakh. And when did your passion for conducting take root? I began conducting as a side activity. Back in the 70s, I had an active career as concertmaster, soloist and chamber musician. In 1980, I was the concertmaster of the Florida Chamber Orchestra, based in South Florida. They sponsored the Florida Youth Symphony, an excellent orchestra, with membership from throughout the state. When their conductor departed in mid-contract, I was asked to take over. The management had seen me doing string sectionals and must have liked what they saw. After two seasons with the FYS, in 1982 I came to join my parents in Canada when they immigrated to Montreal. I thought I should look for a concertmaster position but the first opening within easy enough travel to be with them happened to be the music directorship of the North Bay Symphony. I auditioned and was offered a contract. Shortly after that I began guest conducting in Europe, and the more I conducted the more I fell in love with it. What led to the birth of Sinfonia Toronto? In 1998 I moved to Toronto. At the time I was guest conducting five weeks or more in Europe every year and serving as music director of Symphony New Brunswick. The Chamber Players of Toronto had folded not long before, and colleagues and friends who love this repertoire formed a board to support my try at building a new group to fill the gap. We began with a six-concert subscription season in 1999- 2000, and were able to move to seven the very next season. In 2002 I left Symphony New Brunswick to give all my attention to Sinfonia Toronto plus continuing guest conducting. Have you discerned any changes in your audience over the years? Definitely yes and happily so. When I first started doing some new compositions with Sinfonia Toronto there were a few subscribers who barely tolerated them. There were also a few presenters in other cities who were initially suspicious of unknown works and composers. It’s been truly rewarding to see how our audiences have come to trust our programming over the years. I see my role as music director not only as an orchestra builder but just as importantly in developing the audience and pushing the boundaries. Artistic organizations must lead their communities, not only produce what is safe and sells most easily. What do you find most rewarding and most challenging in your professional life? Performers love to experience the magical moments of complete communication and unity among themselves and with their listeners. I am always happy when we can achieve that a few times per concert. I have conducted more than 90 orchestras around the world. It is always challenging but also very intriguing and exciting to meet a new orchestra and from the first moment of the rehearsal start developing this very special relationship. Sinfonia Toronto’s first concert of their 20th-anniversary season takes place at the Toronto Centre for the Arts on October 20 at 8pm. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. Brevik Hall presents 2018 - 2019 GREAT ARTIST MUSIC SERIES NOVEMBER 9, 8PM Tristan Teo, piano Program includes Pictures at an Exhibition JANUARY 18, 8PM Charles Richard- Hamelin, piano “…his molten-gold sound all warmth, power, and miraculous” – The Ottawa Citizen UPCOMING IN SPRING 2019… APRIL 12 The AYR Trio MAY 3 The Rolston String Quartet, with special guest James Campbell Tickets: (HST included) Generously supported by donors Aurora Cultural Centre 22 Church Street, Aurora, ON L4G 1G4 Box Office: 905 713-1818 auroraculturalcentre.ca 20 | October 2018 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | Classical & Beyond TSO Decides! Gustavo Gimeno PAUL ENNIS The Toronto Symphony Orchestra announced mid-September that Gustavo Gimeno will be its next music director, having signed a five-year contract beginning with the 2020/21 season. Some of you may have heard the 42-year-old Valencia-born native of Spain make his début with the TSO last February, in a program that included the Dvořák Cello Concerto (with Johannes Moser), Ligeti’s Concert Românesc and Beethoven’s Symphony No.4. Reports from attendees were that his connection with the orchestra was palpable. Gimeno began his international conducting career while principal percussionist at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. As assistant to Mariss Jansons and protégé of the legendary Bernard Haitink and Claudio Abbado, he developed a musical foundation that led him to head the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and propelled his career onto the world stage. “Maestro Gimeno has an ability to connect with people, onstage and off,” said TSO concertmaster Jonathan Crow. “He has a musical charisma and technical ability that is remarkable – he pulls you into the musical moment. Gustavo is absolutely the right match for the TSO, and we are looking forward to a truly unique partnership that will blend his musicianship with the amazing flexibility of our orchestra. Together, we will create something very special for music lovers in Toronto.” Gimeno returns to conduct the TSO in the last pair of concerts of the current season, June 29 and 30, 2019. Mark your calendar. And Meanwhile… Thirty-year-old Uzbekistan-born conductor Aziz Shokhakimov’s breakthrough was winning second prize in the 2010 Mahler International Conducting Competition. He makes his TSO debut October 13 and 14 in a program anchored by two pillars of the repertoire, Dvořák’s Symphony No.9 “From the New World” and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. George Li, winner of the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, is the piano soloist. I was fortunate to hear Latvian-born violinist Baibe Skride’s electrifying performance of Brahms’ Violin Concerto with the TSO in February 2016 and eagerly anticipated her return. On October 18 and 20, she will play Britten’s Violin Concerto, a masterful work from the composer’s mid-20s that has been coming into its own in recent years. Thomas Søndergård conducts a program that also features Debussy’s iconic La mer. Russian-born, UK-based 33-year-old violinist Alina Ibragimova continues the TSO’s lineup of classical greatness on October 24, 25, 27 and 28 with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, a work that never fails to astound. Conductor Andrey Boreyko also leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Suite from The Sleeping Beauty. Nocturnes in the City Eighteen years ago, Nocturnes in the City started as a five-concert series at Prague Restaurant at Masaryktown in Scarborough. It was a great success from the beginning and five years later, the classical concerts were moved to downtown Toronto. Many Czech and Slovak artists have performed in last 17 years to mainly Czech-Canadian audiences: singers Eva Urbanová, Zdeněk Plech, Gustáv Beláček, Eva Blahová; pianists Antonín Kubálek, Karolina Kubálek, Jan Novotný, Boris Krajny and Martin Karlíček; violinists Ivan Ženatý and Bohuslav Matoušek; and famous quartets -- the Panocha, Zemlinsky, Pražák and Kocian. This season, Nocturnes in the City marks the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918 with a special concert on October 28 when the prize-winning Zemlinsky Quartet with pianist Slávka Vernerová- Pěchočová present two Dvořák string quartets and the ever-popular Piano Quintet No.2, Op.81. One week earlier on October 21, the same pianist will give a solo recital of works by three Czech composing giants – Dvořák, Smetana and Janáček. The Zemlinsky Quartet also take advantage of their presence in Ontario to perform all 14 of Dvořák’s string quartets, as well as his Cypresses and Op.81 Piano Quintet (with Vernerová-Pěchočová), under the auspices of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, October 18, 20, 22, 24, 25 and 27. Not to be missed. MARCO BORGGREVE NOCTURNES IN THE CITY 2018 – 2019 Our 18th Season Sunday, October 21, 5pm St. Wenceslaus Church Slávka Vernerová-Pěchočová, piano ~ Schuman, Dvořák, Smetana & Janáček Sunday, October 28, 5pm St. Wenceslaus Church CELEBRATION CONCERT, 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA IN 1918 Zemlinsky String Quartet and Slávka Vernerová-Pěchočová, piano ~ an all Dvořák program Sunday, November 25, 5pm Prague Restaurant at Masaryktown Miro Letko, Elizabeth Martin and Friends ~ pre-Christmas jazz Sunday, January 27, 5pm St. Wenceslaus Church Peter Stoll, clarinet & Adam Žuckiewicz, piano ~ Martinu, Fibich, Dvorak, Mozart Sunday, March 24, 5pm Prague Restaurant at Masaryktown Joe Musil, piano & Lenka Novakova, singer ~ a spring jazz at Masarytown Sunday, May 12, 5pm St. Wenceslaus Church Duo Ventapane: Mona Shiraishi, violin & Martin Karlíček, piano VENUES: St. Wenceslaus Church 496 Gladstone Ave., Toronto (Bloor and Dufferin subway) Prague Restaurant at Masaryktown 450 Scarborough Golf Club Road, Scarborough (south of Lawrence Ave, east of Markham Rd) Tickets & Information 416-481-7294 nocturnesinthecity.com thewholenote.com October 2018 | 21

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)