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Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020

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  • February
Visions of 2020! Sampling from back to front for a change: in Rearview Mirror, Robert Harris on the Beethoven he loves (and loves to hate!); Errol Gay, a most musical life remembered; Luna Pearl Woolf in focus in recordings editor David Olds' "Editor's Corner" and in Jenny Parr's preview of "Jacqueline"; Speranza Scappucci explains how not to reinvent Rossini; The Indigo Project, where "each piece of cloth tells a story"; and, leading it all off, Jully Black makes a giant leap in "Caroline, or Change." And as always, much more. Now online in flip-through format here and on stands starting Thurs Jan 30.

Beecroft left NMC in

Beecroft left NMC in 1989 to pursue her many other creative interests, but those 17 years with the organization remain an important chapter in her own story, as well as the story of NMC. Hopefully, her unpublished memoirs will soon be revealed. ANDRE LEDUC international set are Elliott Carter’s Scrivo in vento, George Crumb’s An Idyll for the Misbegotten and Toru Takemitsu’s Bryce, this latter title having been borrowed from Bryce Engleman, the son of percussionist Robin Engleman, with whom Takemitsu formed a bond while visiting in Toronto. Among the major Canadian works NMC has commissioned are Amerika by Chris Paul Harman and Zwei Lieder nach Rilke by Omar Daniel, both of which subsequently won the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, as well as Princess of the Stars by Murray Schafer, Sanctuary by Alexina Louie, El Dorado by Marjan Mozetich, Triojubilus by Gilles Tremblay, Zipangu by Claude Vivier, and Chura-Churum by Harry Somers, to name only a few. Pieces for Bob: it is this aspect of the NMC legacy that will be celebrated in “Pieces for Bob”, a concert scheduled for Saturday, April 4 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre at 8pm. As the title indicates, the program is made up exclusively of works composed for Robert Aitken. The two aforementioned pieces by Carter and Crumb are in the lineup, as well as Cage’s Ryoanji, Henry Brant’s Ghosts and Gargoyles, the world premiere of Epigrams for Robert Aitken by Daniel Foley, and Tierra...tierra by Ecuadorian composer Diego Luzuriaga. The work on the program that gives the concert its title is one that I was personally involved in – Norma Beecroft’s Piece for Bob, dating from 1975. In it, the flute soloist is called upon to execute advanced performance techniques, such as multiphonics, vocal modulations, and brilliant technical writing, while simultaneously synchronizing with both analogue electronic tracks and digital audio effects, all created with the latest technology of the time. Beecroft had decided to create her electronic sounds with a digital sound synthesis system I had helped to install at the University of Toronto while I was a music graduate student there in the early 1970s. (My role was to guide Beecroft through the still new territory of synthesizing sounds with a mainframe computer.) Piece for Bob became one of Beecroft’s most performed works, and has been fittingly chosen to provide the theme for this concert in celebration of Aitken and NMC. Aitken and Current Committed to continuing: more changes are now in the works, as the distinguished NMC organization, with its long legacy of creation and innovation, approaches its 50th anniversary next year. Aitken will retire after 50 years as artistic director and will be succeeded by the renowned composer and conductor, Brian Current, now serving as NMC’s co-artistic director during the period of transition. “We are committed to continuing Robert Aitken’s legacy of excellence in programming and performance,” Current says, “and part of our exciting transition is to celebrate his R. Murray Schafer and Aitken 50 years of groundbreaking leadership with concerts featuring pieces written just for him.” Next year’s series will include works by Aitken as well. Meanwhile, the immediately upcoming NMC concert, February 13 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre at 8pm, will give us a glimpse of what’s next for NMC – Current’s first chance to design a program in its entirety for NMC. The concert, titled “Serious Smile”, includes recent compositions by three emerging young Canadian composers: Brandon Chow, Keiko Devaux and Corie Rose Soumah, and Toronto audiences will meet the extraordinary young German multimedia wizard, Alexander Schubert for the first time. And as a gesture to the earliest days of NMC, György Ligeti’s famous Chamber Concerto will be remounted for the first time since 1973. “Our job as artistic directors is to scour the globe for the greatest music out there,” Current told me, “and to bring it to our audiences through performances by the best musicians, in the context of our magnificent 21st-century Toronto.” The mandate continues. David Jaeger is a composer, producer and broadcaster based in Toronto DANIEL FOLEY 20 | February 2020

KOERNER HALL 2019.20 Concert Season The Glenn Gould School Vocal Showcase SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 7:30PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Tickets start at only A wonderful opportunity to see the GGS’s talented voice students present an evening of art songs and opera arias. Johannes Debus conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 8PM PRELUDE RECITAL AT 6:45PM PRE-CONCERT TALK AT 7:15PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only $25 Johannes Debus has been Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company since 2009. He will lead the RCO in a program that includes Strauss’s Don Juan, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Keiko Abe’s Prism Rhapsody with percussionist Zuri Wells. Part of the Temerty Orchestral Program Takács Quartet SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 3PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only The New York Times has lauded the ensemble for “revealing the familiar as unfamiliar, making the most traditional of works feel radical once more.” Works by Beethoven, Bartók, and Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel. Part of The Conservatory’s Beethoven 250 Festival. Alison Young SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 1PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Free tickets will be available starting Mon. Jan. 24. “One of the most versatile musicians in Canada!” (Jaymz Bee, JAZZ.FM91) Canadian saxophonist and composer Young plays with “endless creativity and flair. From Hank Crawford-esque to Dexter Gordon meets-Herschel Evans, to Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis and Sonny Stitt territory. Equally on point” (Downbeat). Generously supported by Dorothy Cohen Shoichet Raul Midón and Lionel Loueke SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 8PM / POSTLUDE PERFORMANCE KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only An evening of song and guitar wizardry. Raul Midón “turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus” (The New York Times) and Lionel Loueke moves effortlessly between West African roots and modern American jazz. Kyung Wha Chung with Kevin Kenner FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 8PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only “Simply, relentlessly, magnificent: a miracle of momentum and humanity,” is how The Sunday Times describes legendary violinist Kyung Wha Chung. She is joined by Kevin Kenner on piano to perform works by Brahms, Franck, and Beethoven. Part of The Conservatory’s Beethoven 250 Festival. TICKETS & SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! 416.408.0208 RCMUSIC.COM/PERFORMANCE 273 BLOOR STREET WEST 237 (BLOOR ST. STREET & AVENUE WEST RD.) (BLOOR TORONTO ST. & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO

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