8 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 8 - May 2008

Includes the 2008 Canary Pages

Quoolibetby Allan

Quoolibetby Allan PulkerBlue BridgeThe Blue Bridge Festival, the brain child of cellist and Sutton residentBrenda Muller, takes its name from the historic bridge over the BlackRiver in Sutton, a charming small town on the south shore of LakeSimcoe about an hour north of Toronto. The bridge also provides thefestival's theme: a bridge of poetry over a river of song; between thearts, between community groups and professionals, between regionalperformers and performers with international reputations; betweenhuman habitation and the natural environment.A direction the theme takes this year is the exploration of connectionsbetween contemporary poets and composers. On Saturday, June7, three renowned Canadian writers (Barry Dempster, PatriciaKeeney and M. Travis Lane), will lead a workshop on the awakeningof the imagination through words and music . Then, in the afternoon, aconcert of operatic excerpts will actually float down the river on abarge, with the audience on the river banks and on the bridge - expecta traffic jam that afternoon at the bridge!You can head up to Sutton for just the evening on June 6 or for theday on Saturday or Sunday, or, better still, you can make it a weekendgetaway by booking a room at extra special low festival rates atthe Briars or the Whispering Pines or pitch a tent in Sibbald PointProvincial Park, just down the road from the bridge. The Blue BridgeFestival website is at www taking place north of the city, in Sharon, but on four Sundays inJune, is the Music at Sharon Concert Series. The series begins onSunday, June 1 with a recital by the incomparable Suzie LeBlanc.Accompanied by pianist Robert Kortgaard, she will perform music byMozart, Poulenc, Faure, Debussy, Messiaen and Weill, a significantdeparture from the baroque repertoire for which she has become sowell known. The June 8 concert will honour composer Olivier Messiaen,whose IOOth birthday is this year, with a performance of hisQuartet for the End of Time. The pianist for this concert is LouiseBessette, who studied with Yvonne Loriod, Messiaen's widow and theleading performer of her late husband's work.MontrealWhile considerably further away than Sharon or Sutton, Montreal isstill only six hours away and is so different from Toronto that youpractically feel you're on a different planet, and come home feelingtotally energized and refreshed. The big attraction there in May is theMontreal Chamber Music Festival, which gets under way on Thursday,May 1, a little too soon for most readers of this column to organizean excursion. It continues, however, until Saturday, May 24, withperformances clustered for the most part towards the end of eachweek, although in the last week there are concerts every night fromTuesday to Saturday. Looking beyond the first weekend, some highlightsare pianist Garry Graffman playing repertoire for the left handon May 7, a Messiaen tribute concert on May 15, jazz diva RaneeLee on May 16 and a 6-hour all-Beethoven finale May 24.Divas of the KeyboardCanadian pianist Christina Petrowska will launch her 20th CD with amini-concert followed by a party at the Heliconian Hall on May 14.The CD-actually two discs-is of live performances recorded andbroadcast by CBC Radio over the past few years. The music is bymany composers-Ann Southam, Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen,Bill Westcott, Masamitsu Takahashi, Toru Takemitsu, Alexina Louie,David Jaeger, Gavin Bryars and Henry Cowell, the composer of"lngs" which has given the recording its name. It is not surprisingthat contemporary music is such a specialty of Petrowska's: amongher teachers were Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gyorgy Ligeti; and in2002 Pierre Boulez coached her in preparation for the performance ofhis Premiere Sonate on the occasion of his being awarded the GlennGould Prize .Russian pianist and Tchaikowsky Competition laureate Olga Kernwill be performing Haydn's Piano Concerto No . 11 and Shostakovi-Orchestra Toronto'sprogramming thisseason includes musicfrom the dance capitalsof the world. The nextdance/music concertcelebrates the dancetradition of St. Petersburgon May's Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Trumpet , with the Moscow Virtuosiunder the direction of Vladimir Spivakov. Since winning the goldmedal for her performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No . 3at the 11 th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001 , thefirst woman in thirty years to do this , Ms . Kern has been touring theworld performing to critical acclaim, including a 35-city NorthAmerican tour last season. She has performed only once so far inCanada, last summer with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, sothis will be our first opportunity to hear her in Toronto.Would you like to dance?Orchestra Toronto selected as its programming theme this seasonmusic from the dance capitals of the world, featuring a differentprofessional dance company on each program. The orchestra and itsleadership have been learning that there is much more that meets theeye to such a programming venture. For starters, the dancers need arecording of each work to which they are going to dance . Of course,not just any recording will do-it has to be precisely what the orchestrawill be performing, something musical director Erroll Gaylearned is sometimes not so easy to find. In fact, the orchestra had torecord several of the works being choreographed themselves, becausethere were no recordings of the particular versions they wereusing.Then, of course, there's the question of where the dancers aregoing to dance, since usually the entire orchestra fills the stage of theWeston Recital Hall, the orchestra's usual venue. When they-ofnecessity-have to dance on the front edge of the stage freed up bycompressing the orchestra (so what else is new?), how are the dancersgoing to avoid falling off the edge of the smaller-than-ideal performancearea or crashing into the concert-master's priceless instrument?Find out the answers to all these questions and experience firsthand Orchestra Toronto's innovative programming initiative in itscelebration of the dance tradition of St. Petersburg on May 25 withthe ProArte Danza ensemble and violin soloist Amanda Goodburn,who will perform Glazunov's Violin Concerto .Much more musicAnother orchestra that performs in the Weston Recital Hall is theToronto Philharmonia, which on May 29 is doing a program therecalled "Opera de Paris". Among the soloists in this performance issoprano Zorana Sadiq, who just a few months ago gave a brilliantrecital for Music Toronto at the Jane Mallett Theatre. If you heardher then, you may just want to hear her again. If you missed her then,now's your opportunity to hear this outstanding young singer.And finally, May is the month of the Organix Festival which celebratesthe many splendours of the pipe organ, giving us all a goldenopportunity to reacquaint ourselves with this magnificent instrument.These concerts are all in our listings along with many, many moregreat performances .26 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM M AY 1 - ) UN E 7 2008

Band Standby Jack MacQuarrieAs I hobble to the keyboard to talk banding once again, I am remindedthat it is time for some changes in the routines for many bands.The Choral Canary Pages tucked into this issue usually heralds thearrival of spring, but mother nature now seems to be atoning for thebrutal winter inflicted on us for so many months and has launched usheadlong straight into summer weather. We all hoped that it wouldcome, but now we have to face what this transition time means forour bands. The season of formal scheduled concerts is drawing to aclose with a few left scheduled for the month of May, and then weare being propelled headlong into a very different mix of rehearsalsand performances. While a few bands cease operations for the summermonths, most find themselves performing somewhat differentrepertoire in the great outdoors. . .It had been my intention to talk about planmng for the many differencesbetween a band's summer activities and those during the balanceof the year - the challenges of outdoor venues, the vagaries ofthe weather, travel to remote concert locations, dealing with parades,probably a change in repertoire for summer concerts, and so o.n.However, those matters will have to wait for another day, so 1fyouhave any thoughts on the matter .. ...For many bands, the summer months see the return from uni~ersityand college of many young former members who had played with theband while attending high school. I thought this to be the normalsituation until a few months ago when I met a young man who hadjust graduated from university and returned to a job in h(s He had grown up in that community, had played m his highschool band, but only learned of the community band in his hometown some years later after completing his university studies.So, this is a good time for community bands to reach out to studentswho are about to leave their high school bands behind as theyhead on to a higher education or a slot in the working wor.Id: What.has your band been doing to invite these young people to Jom you mthe joy of making music? For all too many young people there 1s asense that high school graduation heralds a time when they must saygoodbye to the pleasure of music making. Make it known to themthat they will be welcome on their return.I was happily reminded of two very different, but notable, exceptionsto the situation mentioned above while attending a recent concert.One is the summertime-only Uxbridge Community Concert Bandfounded and directed by Steffan Brunette which provides studentswith an opportunity to continue playing during the summer whenschool is closed. The other is the excellent group of Hannaford sponsoredbands under the leadership of Anita McAlister and Darryl Eaton.Three or four years ago I met a young high school student playingin the Uxbridge Band. He had fallen in love with the tuba andwanted to keep playing during the summer months . Subsequently, healso became involved in the Harmaford Band's youth program.At the most recent Harmaford Street Silver Band's Festival ofBrass, no fewer than three principals from the Toronto SymphonyOrchestra were featured as soloists. However, the highlight of thatprogram for me was another soloist. He was the winner ~f. the HannafordYouth Band's Annual Young Artists Solo Compet1t10n. ThatBrass - Woodwind ·String Instruments · GuitarBuy direct from the DistributorAUTHORIZED DEALER FOR:Armstrong. Artley. Besson. Buffet.Conn. Getzen, Holton, Jupiter,Keilworth, King, Noblet,Selmer, Vito, Yanagisawaj/~~HARKNET'f.Musical Services Ltd.MUSIC BOOKSBEST SELECTIONOF POPULAR&EDUCATIONAL MUSICPiano - Guitar - Instrumental905-477-11412650 John Street, Unit 15Uust North of Steeles)www.har knettm usic. co mLOOK CLOS EL Vh THREE nH:-rubl!I S M C'100 t still p1,, yino w it h tJ!, !!Par/ of /he evidence: Fergus 's claim lo "oldest-band" fameyoung student whom I had met in Uxbridge a few years ago wasEric Probst. Now a second year music student at U of T, he was apoised and relaxed performer on stage with the Harmaford Band. _Hispolished performance of a difficult concerto for tuba was an amazmgleap from what I heard from the youth I knew a few years ago whowas determined to play during the summers when his school bandwas not available.On another subject dear to my heart, in recent weeks I have exchangeda few messages with Dr. Bob English from th~ Fergus .Brass Band. This exchange has rekindled our quest for mformat10non the history of community banding in Ontario. Dr. English haspresented us with some quite compelling evidence to b~ck up that .band's claim to be Ontario's oldest continuously operatmg commumtyband. This thread all started when Bob found a link on a websiteregarding our quest to locate the oldest established band. He tells usvcasino>'5 tnUSICFine quality instruments & accessories to suit any budget- Woodwinds, Brass, Strings & PercussionExpert Instrument Repairs in one of North America'slargest and best-equipped facilitiesComprehensive Band & Orchestra Rental Programwith over 9,000 instruments in inventoryYork Region's Largest Music Schoolserving over 1 ,200 studentsSALES • RENTALS • REPAIRS • LESSONS • PRINT MUSICMAY 1 - JUNE 7 2008WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM

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