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Volume 27 Issue 7 | May 20 - July 12, 2022

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Schafer at Soundstreams; "Dixon Road" at High Park, Skydancers at Harbourfront; Music and art at the Wychwood Barns; PODIUM in town; festival season at hand; Listening Room at your fingertips; and listings galore.

dawn. One of the works

dawn. One of the works from this production, Two Sisters: Isis & Nephthys, for two sopranos, harp and two percussionists, will be performed June 5, as will Epitaph for Moonlight, one of his mostoften-performed choral works, which is written as a graphic score and allows performers who may not be skilled at reading notated scores the opportunity to participate. Here it will be performed by the Soundstreams’ Choir 21, conducted by David Fallis, who will also present Schafer’s Fire for choir and sticks. The concert will conclude with a 2005 recorded performance of another Soundstreams commission, The Death of Shalana composed for four choirs. The text, written by Schafer, tells the story of Shalana, a human who goes to live in the forest with the animals. After his death, his voice lives on and can be heard in the soundscape of nature. So, too, does Schafer’s voice live on, both in his compositions of course, but also as an inspirational force whispering to our mythic imagination. CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Inspired by Inspiration QUICK PICKS MAY 24 to JUNE 5: Tapestry Opera and OCAD University collaborate in OCAD’s Great Hall to perform R.U.R. A Torrent of Light. What is the future of our entanglement with A.I.? This new opera, with music composed by Nicole Lizée and libretto by Nicolas Billon, offers one vision of what happens when a creative duo’s visions lead to unexpected breakthroughs and ensuing conflict. The project combines dance, multimedia design, wearable technology and an orchestra of 100 instruments. MAY 26, 8PM: Estonian Music Week. Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. A performance of Estonian composer Veljo Tormis’ Forgotten People by Collegium Musicale, an ensemble who combine performances of early music and contemporary music. The piece is based on indigenous Balto-Finnic song, a repertoire that has almost been lost. In the face of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, protecting this heritage has become increasingly difficult and problematic. There will be a repeat performance in Hamilton on June 1 at the Cotton Factory. MAY 27, 8:30PM: Black Fish Project, Aga Khan Museum. Featuring the Ton Beau String Quartet and a team of multi-genre Toronto musicians in a performance of a project written by Persian-Canadian composer Keyan Emami. The score calls for the diverse performers to engage in improvisatory responses to each other, an activity that was challenging to rehearse during Covid. This performance will be the culmination of all their labours and collaboration. JUNE 9, 8PM: Esprit Orchestra, Koerner Hall. “Esprit Live 2022!” The concert repertoire features pieces by Russian Sophia Gubaidulina, UK composer Thomas Adès and Canada’s Alison Yun-Fei Jiang, whose Esprit-commissioned work – Sanctuary – composed in 2020, will be given its world premiere. From 2020 to 2022, Jiang has been composer-in-residence with the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada; she combines multiple sources such as Chinese traditional music, Buddhism, film music and Canadian landscapes in her compositional language. JUNE 11, 8 PM: Westben presents an online concert titled The Pencil Salesman. Created by Brian Finley, this opera tells the story of Boris Ball, an inventor who becomes increasingly disenchanted with technological advancements. The work is directed by Michael Mori, the director of R.U.R. A Torrent of Light, another opera devoted to the theme of technology gone awry. Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto-based composer and electro-vocal sound artist. COURTESY JOANNA YU A robot costume drawing, for R.U.R. A Torrent of Light. at TSM PAUL ENNIS Toronto Summer Music (TSM) is back, bigger than ever – July 7 to July 30 – with “Inspirations” as its theme. Toronto’s go-to summer classical music event will present an ambitious program of 26 mainstage concerts. Eight of them will showcase the TSM Academy Fellows and Mentors, highlighting one crucial aspect of the festival’s mandate – to offer high-level training to emerging musicians. The details of those eight ReGENERATION concerts will be announced in June; the contents of the other 18 were made public in late April. I took the opportunity in early May to discuss the “Inspirations” theme with TSO concertmaster Jonathan Crow, now in his sixth year as TSM’s artistic director. (This interview has been edited for length.) WN: In the festival release, you describe inspiration as “deeply motivating moments that connect us to one another.” Given that the backbone of Toronto Summer Music is the TSM Academy with its Mentors and Fellows, there is clearly a wealth of inspiration to be had, in any TSM season, in terms of teachable/performing moments. But how did you make the leap from that to basing the whole festival on that theme? JC: I don’t think the leap came about because of one specific moment, but rather from thinking about how we’ve put together themes these last five years at TSM. There are so many things that come into play when tying music together – the specific reasons for the composition, the actual inspiration of the composer, the meaning of music to the artists… I thought it might be interesting to explore more explicitly the reasons behind how we program great music. Can you give some examples of how these inspirational catalysts manifest themselves in the programming, maybe starting with how you decided what works to include in the New Orford program on July 26? The New Orford String Quartet program (“The Americas”) explores different inspirations that composers found in areas that may or may not have been their homes – from birdsong in Dvořák’s “American” Quartet, to American folk music in Jessie Montgomery’s Strum, and the flight paths of ravens in Carmen Braden’s The Raven Conspiracy. This program came about when Sharon Wei joined our quartet last year; we were looking for a standard work we had not played together as a group, and surprisingly we hadn’t yet done Dvořák’’s “American” – even though it is probably the most played of all string 14 | May 20 - July 12, 2022

SIMON FRYER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR 2022 2023 CELEBRATING OUR 125 TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON! New Orford String Quartet, left to right: Brian Manker, Sharon Wei, Andrew Wan and Jonathan Crow quartets! I had heard Carmen Braden’s The Raven Conspiracy last year online when the Rosebud Quartet performed it as part of their Echo Chamber performance for TSM 2021, and loved the work. With those two pieces decided on, a theme of the New World became possible. And other examples? This summer we have programs based on many different concepts. Folk music, for example: our opening night concert [July 7] looks at how composers incorporated different kinds of folk music into their classical works – Dvořák using Czech dumka forms and Ravel using Transylvanian Roma ideas among others. Some of the programs had influences that I had no idea about until I started researching – in the Mendelssohn Octet, for example [July 29], there is a connection to Goethe’s Faust, which I had no idea about even after performing it dozens of times over the last years! Perhaps my personal favourite though, is the program [July 22] with the two Brahms Quintets; Brahms, of course, was constantly doubting his own abilities, and thought he had nothing left to say after his Op.111 Quintet. Lucky for us, he heard the inspiring clarinet of Richard Mühlfeld, and came up with several amazing late works including the Clarinet Quintet. And, of course, several pieces with no clarinet: I guess he wasn’t finished quite yet! “The Von Meck Letters” on July 15 jumped out at me for the way it connects Debussy and Tchaikovsky. Debussy was actually a tutor to Nadezhda von Meck’s children, and wanted to marry one of them – she refused though. Von Meck was a financial supporter of many musicians throughout her life, and later was a benefactor to Tchaikovsky, giving him financial support with the stipulation that they could never meet. Was this a reaction to her closer personal relationship with Debussy? Did that affect the way she thought about their music? Does any of this come across in their music? I suppose audiences will have to decide! Franz Hasenöhrl’s arrangement for violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon and horn of Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, July 29, also strikes me as an inspired choice. This is one of my favourite pieces; I love Strauss and I love chamber music, but we don’t get to combine those two things very often, outside of the great Strauss Violin Sonata (stay tuned for next summer!) and a few smaller chamber works. I suppose when I think of Strauss I think of epic large-scale orchestral works, not quintets. But of all of the tone poems, Till is perhaps the lightest and most transparent, and works great in a reduction for chamber ensemble! What about the Dover Quartet’s Haydn/Mozart/Ravel program? It's always nice to have an old-school quartet concert at the festival. The Dovers are performing a fantastic program [on July 14] with three of the all-time great compositions for quartet. Haydn was perhaps the DAHLIA KATZ OCTOBER 6, 2022 | 1.30 PM MICHAEL BRIDGE Michael Bridge, accordion Ladom Ensemble Joseph Macerollo, accordion WINNER OF THE WMCT’S 2021 CAREER DEVELOPMENT AWARD NOVEMBER 17, 2022 | 1.30 PM QUATUOR DESPAX Cendrine Despax, violin; Jean Despax, violin Maxime Despax, viola; Valérie Despax, cello Brian Manker of New Orford String Quartet, cello FEBRUARY 23, 2023 | 1.30 PM FJÓLA EVANS Fjóla Evans, composer Aizuri Quartet; VC2 Cello Duo Talisa Blackman, piano An Icelandic-Canadian creative journey Premiere of WMCT commissioned work by Fjóla Evans APRIL 6, 2023 | 1.30 PM MARION NEWMAN Marion Newman, mezzo-soprano Melody Courage, soprano; Evan Korbut, baritone; Gordon Gerrard, piano MAY 4, 2023 | 1.30 PM MARK FEWER Mark Fewer, violin Thalea String Quartet; Chris Whitley, violin Jeanie Chung, piano Ticket Orders By phone: 416-923-7052 x.1 Online: Subscriptions: 0 416-923-7052 May 20 - July 12, 2022 | 15

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