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Volume 11 Issue 7 - April 2006

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Nexus at St. Paul's;

Nexus at St. Paul's; Good Friday Early in the month With the coming of spring, the music-making continues at full tilt. Looking merely at numbers, on Saturday, April 1 there are 24 concerts listed in Toronto and 11 "further afield." On Sunday, April 2 there are 13 "further afield" and 19 in Toronto. Monday, traditionally a "dark" night in concert and recital halls is anything but on April 3, with six events in Toronto. ship, inspiration, and a timeless message." By composers as diverse as Byrd, Purcell, Lotti, Bruckner, Stainer, Casals, Stravinsky, Durufle and Rami nsh , the anthems range from as early as the 16th century to just a few years ago. Also part of the beautifully constructed program will be two improvisations by Toronto's NEXUS percussion ensemble. "Regardless of their vintage," Robertson told me, "these Lenten anthems exemplify what is best in our rich musical heritage - they are works written with skill and inspiration and are dedicated to the glory of God." Organix 06 Benefits Two prominent Toronto organists, I want to draw attention to three William O ' Meara and Gordon benefit concerts as different from Mansell, have undertaken the ameach other as their causes are. On bitious project of putting together April 9 at Roy Thomson Hall there a two week celebration of the pipe will be a concert featuring some of organ. While most of the events our best musicians to raise funds take place in May, the Festival to purchase medical equipment to begins on April 28 with a performhelp the victims of the nuclear dis- ance by Dame Gillian Weir at St. aster in Chornobyl, Ukraine. On Paul's Anglican Church. April 23 more of our musical best This is a concert not to miss. are donating their services in a fund Dame Gillian Weir has been called raiser for the Canada Africa Part- "one of the 100 greatest players of nership on AIDS. On April 28 the the century" and "one of the 1000 Bach Consort, consisting primari- Music-Makers of the Millennium." ly but not entirely of Toronto Sym- "On the King of Instruments, Gilphony musicians will perform J.S. lian Weir is the undisputed queen," Bach's Easter Oratorio and other Keyboard Review proclaimed. works to raise funds for Parkdale's By birth a New Zealander, she Pia Baumann School of Dance, is based in London, England which for years has been making where she is the Prince Consort ballet instruction available to eve- Professor of Organ at the Royal ryone, regardless of their ability to College of Music. Much more pay. than a music professor, however, she has defined an entirely new role Anthems at St Paul's as an ambassador for organ music On April 14, Good Friday, there through performances with leading will be numerous musical occasions in recognition of this most tours throughout Europe, North orchestras and conductors, recital sacred day in the Christian calendar. One of these will be at St. public television programs, inter­ America, Australasia, and Japan, Paul's Church on Bloor Street East, views, recordings and master classes. Dame Gillian has transformed a church gradually coming out of almost three years of renovations. the image of organist from esoteric musician to beloved celebrity. Eric Robertson, music director at the church says of this concert, Performer, scholar and teacher, "Each of the anthems being sung she has opened the eyes of the world .. . possesses qualities found in all to the music of the organ with her enduring sacred music: craftsman- extensive travels and tours. Her prize-winning performance of a work by Messiaen, at the 1964 St. Albans International Organ Competition, at a time when his music was little known outside France, stunned both the audience and jury, and she became particularly associated with the composer. She has several times performed the complete works of Messiaen in series, and her recording of his complete works has been released on CD. She is currently Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University. Kerry Stratton on Tour in Ontario with the Vienna Concert­ Verein Kerry Stratton spoke to me from his hotel room in Vienna, at the end of a day of rehearsals in the Brahms Hall of the Vienna Musik­ Verein with the Vienna Concert­ Verein, the chamber orchestra of the Vienna Symphony. Besides being the artistic director of the Toronto Philharmonia he is principal guest conductor of the Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra in the Czech Republic, the orchestra chosen by Dvorak for the European premiere of the New World Symphony. "My audition for this orchestra," he told me "was last year and I was invited to conduct Smetana's Ma Vlast, all ofit. When you stand on the podium there are two busts: on the left side is Smetana and on the right side is Dvorak." Stratton is getting quite a lot of work in Europe these days from the efforts of his agent in Prague. "He has been almost too successful. I was away from my family for five weeks in January and February, which is just too long. I did, however, work with some wonderful orchestras." In early April Stratton is taking the Vienna Concert-Verein on tour in Southern Ontario. I asked how this tour came about. "A couple of years ago at the end of a tour of Korea with the Georg Sol ti Chamber Orchestra of Budapest, I said that I would like to bring it to Ontario, which I succeeded in doing. " Subsequently he decided to ask his contacts in Vienna about bringing the Vienna Concert-Verein. The biggest obstacle was scheduling, but as luck would have it, the orchestra had ten days free right after the concert he was conducting in Vienna, which is what made the Canadian tour possible. He is very excited about this Kerry Stratton tour, because when he was growing up in Belleville a now defunct organization called Community Concerts brought in amazing performers, including the Prague Chamber Orchestra. These concerts meant a great deal to him. On the tour he knows there are young people on whom the performances will make a similar impression. "I'm really doing it for them, and that's why I'm so thrilled about it." In general, he told me, the audiences in the smaller Ontario centres are great to play for, and remind you of why you are doing this. Happily, one of the concerts on the tour will be Stratton' s home town of Belleville. "Further Afield" The Vienna Concert-Verein's seven concerts are a significant contribution in terms of quality, but a small one in terms of numbers, to the burgeoning live music scene in the area we refer to as "Further Afield" in our Listings. A look at those listings reveals not only a large number of events but also a high degree of artistic maturity, with many if not most events produced by local talent. We at WholeNote are aware of the limitations of our cheerfully Toronto-centric "Further Afield" designation. After all, it lumps together, under the one heading, communities that are as far to the west of Toronto as others are to the east -- twice as far from each other as Toronto is to either. On the other hand it gets us in central Toronto gallivanting as cheerfully off to Cobourg as to Guelph. So we all benefit. Seriously, though, we are interested in the geographic groupings of listings which make best sense for concert-goers and readers in various of the places we cover. See page 57 for details. 18 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2006

CHAMBER MUS~( AWAlRD GALA CONClElRl ut};TI~T@ .~ ~ ~f:.')' ~lli1 ~ J~~~iffl · ~\'tC!Qu-,f.lliff© 1-;\C:LJ I TY ,,,, ,\ I l !SIC. VIZ~ ~ l ' :sl\' ! l! , I T\ P l" ll)l~()\.'.'J() Tuesday, April 25, 2006 7:30 pm, Walter Hall Tickets at the door· Pay-what-you-can· Additional donation welcome. Proceeds will benefit the Felix Galimir Chamber Music Fund . Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building,80 Queen's Park Information: 416.978.3744 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

Volume 26 (2020- )

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