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Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019

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  • November
On the slim chance you might not have already heard the news, Estonian Canadian composing giant Udo Kasemets was born the same year that Leo Thermin invented the theremin --1919. Which means this is the centenary year for both of them, and both are being celebrated in style, as Andrew Timar and MJ Buell respectively explain. And that's just a taste of a bustling November, with enough coverage of music of both the delectably substantial and delightfully silly on hand to satisfy one and all.

Beat by Beat | Classical

Beat by Beat | Classical & Beyond November’s Panoply of Future Stars PAUL ENNIS This month there is a panoply of young talent on display in various stages of development with many opportunities to see and hear potential musical stars, some of them in more intimate surroundings than the future may bring. Nicholas Namoradze: One such artist is Nicolas Namoradze, who came to international attention when he was 26 years old after winning the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary. Honens is proud of their reputation for discovering and nurturing talent for the 21st century and Namoradze is now in the second year of Honens’ three-year development program that includes management and mentorship opportunities. He will do well if he is able to follow in the footsteps of 2012 laureate Pavel Kolesnikov, now reaping the rewards of his Hyperion Records exposure, and indications are that he may well do so. Namoradze’s performances to date have been hailed by critics as “sparkling… sensitive and coloristic” (New York Times) and “simply gorgeous” (Wall Street Journal). One of his former teachers, the widely respected Emanuel Ax, said that Namoradze is set to become one of the truly important artists of his generation. Born in Georgia and raised in Budapest, he grew up on a diet of great Hungarian composers like Bartók, Ligeti and Kurtág, as well as Liszt. But as he told Pamela Kuhn on her radio program Center Stage: “Everyone plays Liszt.” As an infant he would “get stuck” listening to Verdi and Wagner. “You could not drag me away,” he said. He began instrumental studies at seven with the piano, but before that he was obsessed with The Beatles and for a short period, AC/DC. Once he began to play, he lived strictly within the classical world. And apart from an interest in jazz, he still does. Georgian is his mother tongue but if pressed he considers himself a European New Yorker who feels Georgian. Ax invited him to study at Juilliard when they met, when Namoradze was a teenager in Budapest. He accepted once he was ready to study for a master’s degree. He’s now pursuing a PhD at the CUNY Center. His daily regimen includes no more than four hours of physical piano practice, plus a lot of practice mentally. He does yoga, qi gong and tai chi; he’s big on meditation as well. “It helps with competitions and flying into same-day concerts,” he said. “It takes me and the audience to somewhere else.” He’s also a composer who studied with John Corigliano. Namoradze spoke with Kuhn about Georgian folk music, which he called “one of the wonders of the musical world,” and which has influenced his composing. “It’s a musical tradition that came to tonal harmony from a completely different route,” he said. “And by the tenth and eleventh century; earlier than tonal harmony became established in Western music.” “Georgian folk music was almost entirely vocal and that means that the tuning system had very little to do with what we call equal temperament,” he explained. “In Georgian folk music there is no octave -- the most stable interval is the third. You stack two thirds on top of each other and you get a triad!” He spoke of its great diversity and complex polyphony and how certain aspects of the way it treats polyphony and counterpoint influenced his composing approach. Highlights of the current season include a critically acclaimed, soldout Carnegie debut recital at Zankel Hall, about which ConcertoNet wrote: “[Namoradze] is a pianist who proved that, once in a while, the distinguished members of the jury make a good choice and select a Nicolas Namoradze winner who plays like a true artist; who impresses not with pyrotechnics but rather with keen intelligence, a rich tonal palette and refinement … It was a most auspicious debut by an artist representing that rare breed, a thinking virtuoso.” Two other highlights await this rising star: a recital at London’s Wigmore Hall and a recording on Hyperion -- the label of Hamelin, Hough and Hewitt. Meanwhile, his COC free noon-hour recital on November 19 includes his own Etudes I-VI in addition to Scriabin’s Etudes Op.42. Two More COC Noon-Hour Concerts of Interest Born in 1991, pianist and composer Philippe Prud’homme began his piano studies at 12 with professor Gilles Manny. At 16, Prud’homme was accepted, under special circumstances, to the Université de Montréal without even finishing his secondary school education and with only four years of piano under his belt. He earned his master’s with highest distinctions in the class of Dang Thai Son before beginning another graduate degree at the Conservatoire de Montréal in 2015 with Louise Bessette. Well-known in Quebec, Prud’homme has won first prize at the Canadian Music Competition several times, in the solo piano category, as well as in chamber music. He is particularly interested in the works of Frederic Rzewski and François Morel. In 2016, Prud’homme took home the grand prize at the CMC in the 19-30-year-old category by Cathedral Bluffs SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Norman Reintamm Artistic Director/Principal Conductor Rafael Luz Guest Conductor Saturday Dec. 14, 2019 8 pm BEETHOVEN & MORE Mozart: Overture to The Magic Flute Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor concert also features the finals of the 2019 CBSO Clifford Poole Vocal Competition Village Voices Community Choir of Markham TICKETS: from ( student/senior; children under 12 are free) ORDER ONLINE BY PHONE 416.879.5566 P.C. Ho Theatre 5183 Sheppard Ave East subscription (1 block east of Markham Rd), Scarborough | 416.879.5566 concert 3 24 | November 2019 ANDREA FELVEGI

performing Prokofiev. A few weeks later, he was part of CBC Music’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30. Soon after, he began his doctorate with Dang Thai Song at the Université de Montréal. His COC concert, November 14, features Liszt’s La Vallée d’Obermann and Prokofiev’s Sonata No.4, bracketted by Chopin and Hamelin. In addition, a week earlier, November 6, Artists of the Royal Academy of Music in London join with Artists of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto to perform Weinberg’s Piano Trio Op.24 and Hartmann’s String Quartet No.1. It’s a rare opportunity to hear students from two venerable musical institutions on the same stage. Ray Chen Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, 30-year-old Ray Chen was accepted by the Curtis Institute of Music at 15 where he studied with Aaron Rosand. He won the Menuhin Competition in 2007 and the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition in 2008, two prestigious prizes that raised his profile and established his professional career. He’s known for his vital social media presence where he interacts with his audience. He once performed in front of 800,000 people on Bastille Day in Paris and he has appeared on the Amazon series, Mozart in the Jungle. And he produced the lush sound that came out of Clive Owen’s character’s violin, jumping off the screen in François Girard’s new film, The Song of Names. He plays the Stradivarius violin once owned by the legendary Joseph Joachim, on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation, with a luxuriant sound reminiscent of David Oistrakh. The program for his Koerner Hall recital with American pianist Ray Chen Julio Elizalde, on November 8, begins with Grieg’s Violin Sonata No.2 in G Major, Op.13, “written in the euphoria of my honeymoon” and brimming with Norwegian folk music references. Saint-Saëns’ finely SOPHIE ZHAI THE ASSOCIATES OF THE TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 2020 SEASON January 20, 2020, 7:30 p.m. Song Before the Storm Johannes Brahms, Dmitri Shostakovich February 10, 2020, 7:30 p.m. Beethoven: Kreutzer and the Archduke Ludwig van Beethoven March 30, 2020, 7:30 p.m. Folk Tunes Made Classic Carl Czerny, Frank Martin, Antonín Dvořák, Fernandez Arbos April 27, 2020, 7:30 p.m. Clash and Calm: A Folkloric Journey Joseph Haydn, Béla Bartók, Antonín Dvořák May 25, 2020, 7:30 p.m. Augmented 6ix/5 Francis Poulenc, Claude-Paul Taffanel, Ludwig Thuille TICKETS NOW ON SALE! Tickets $25, Seniors and Students Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. Box Office 416-221-8342 November 2019 | 25 web box

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