6 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 5 - February 2011

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  • February
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BADER-BOUND… AND THEN? continued from page 9Quantum Leap – Honens Shows the WayQuite the coincidence, I’d say. This story is about a small, localmusic competition, and what it is doing to pave the way for tomorrow’smusical best. This very morning (Mon Jan 24), sitting herepondering how to conclude that story, I received a release from theCalgary-based Honens International Piano Competition to say theyare upping their top prize for the 2012 edition of their triennialinternational competition for emerging pianists,to a world-leading 0,000. It is anamount that will make a lot of people sit upand take notice. But just as noteworthy asthe cash (and in my view more interesting),are the “strategic enhancements,” also announcedtoday, to the rules of the Honenscompetition.In 1991 philanthropist Esther Honens establishedthe Competition with a -millionendowment. Her dream? “To create a stagein Calgary, and in Canada, for the world’s most promising pianists.”Since the beginning, the Honens has been a pioneer among competitionsin delivering a comprehensive artistic and career developmentprogram to its laureates. While the enhancements announced todayseem to deal with small nitty gritty issues in respect to “pianist eligibility,competition length, jury composition, pianists’ requirements,and the cash and artistic and career development awards,” cumulativelythey point the direction for the Honens to pursue its goal ofAs they explain it: “Competitions and conservatories now discoverand graduate an abundance of potential professionals. But withlimited performance opportunities posing challenges to emergingartists, some musicians are in danger of becoming ‘career competitors’who rarely have an opportunity to discover their own musicalpersonalities. With these enhancements, the Honens Competitionserves as a meaningful audition process that the world’s musiccommunity respects and on which it increasingly relies to delivermusicians who have great career potential.” one that may be hardest to implement, namely that “professionallymanaged pianists may no longer take part in the 2012 Competition.”The rationale is that “pianists with professional representation havealready made big steps in their careers by securing management andtherefore cannot take full advantage of Honens’ three-year Artistic& Career Development Program.” (And, believe me, it’s not anartistic and career development program to sneeze at – add to the0,000 cash prize, three years of major debuts, return concerts,So, this new rule states that a Honens Laureate will only betheir award (and would still be managed jointly for the remainingBader-bound... and then?two years). But it is frankly a bit hard to envision young artistseven making it through the rigours of a Honens application withoutsee further tinkering with this particular “enhancement” (and a fairbit of disingenuousness on the part of applicants and their “handlers”in the meanwhile).First, the number of competitors, and winners, is down. In thespring 2012, only 50 pianists will be invited(down from 90 in previous competitions) toperform in “important music cities” (likelyBerlin, London, Los Angeles and NewYork). Of these, ten pianists (it used to bewill perform a 60-minute solo recital and a65-minute chamber music recital (includingcello, violin and art song collaborations).concerto of their choice with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.half a million dollars (in cash and kind) closer to their professionaldreams coming true.Second, the overall timeframe for the event is shortened. Semi-26 2012, down to ten days, from 16. The shorter time frame ensuresperiod, and a heightened festival atmosphere for all concerned.Third, competitors will have to demonstrate a much more wellroundedgrasp of the complex demands of a performing career, fromselecting repertoire for their own recitals at each stage, to participatingin two interviews with a professional arts journalist, one onIn regard to the interviews, the release says “to establish a careerin music today, a pianist must have his/her unique and distinctivevoice, be a versatile musician and an effective communicator... awillingness to learn English is critical for the development of aninternational career.”And in regard to competitors selecting their own repertoire,Honens makes the challenge plain: “Applicants are advised to considereach performance a concert and to design programs with thesame care and on the same principles as for a public recital… Juriesare instructed to look for intelligent and imaginative programming.”For the young musicians on our cover, it’s a long road fromthe Toronto Sinfonietta’s February 26 Concerto Competition atthe Bader, to something like the seventh (or even eighth) triennialHonen’s Competition. But in terms of ideals and aspirations, formusicians and organizers alike, the impulses that drive the twoevents are more alike than not.And it all happens step by step.—David PerlmanPHOTO AIR’LETH AODHFINMARTINE CÔTÉJANINE MESSADIÉ9 h – 12 h / 9:00 AM – NOON12 h – 15 h / NOON – 3:00 DIRECT D’ICI, MAINTENANT. LIVE, HERE AND NOW.70thewholenote.comFebruary 1 - March 7, 2011

What’s Onat the TSOBeethovenEmperor Concertowith the National ArtsCentre OrchestraFebruary 5 at 7:30pmPinchas Zukerman, conductorJonathan Biss, pianoPeter Paul Koprowski:In Memoriam Karol SzymanowskiBeethoven: Symphony No. 2Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5“Emperor”Beethoven &TchaikovskyFebruary 10 & 12 at 8pmAndrey Boreyko, conductorGarrick Ohlsson, pianoIbert: Hommage à MozartBeethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4Tchaikovsky: Manfred SymphonyBrahms & DvořákFebruary 16 & 19 at 8pmEri Klas, conductorVadim Gluzman, violinArvo Pärt: Collage sur B-A-C-HBrahms: Violin ConcertoDvořák: Symphony No. 8The Rite of SpringFebruary 23 & 24 at 8pmVasily Petrenko, conductorAndré Laplante, pianoElgar: In the SouthLiszt: Piano Concerto No. 1Stravinsky: The Rite of SpringExposed – Beyond the Score ®Stravinsky’s Rite of SpringFebruary 26 at 7:30pmVasily Petrenko, conductorDiscover the inspiration behind one ofthe most celebrated ballet scores everwritten, complete with video illustrations,followed by a full performance ofStravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.Beyond the Score® is produced by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.Gerard McBurney, Creative Director, Beyond the Score®.Martha Gilmer, Executive Producer, Beyond the Score®TIPPET-RICHARDSONCONCERT SEASONConductors’ Podium SponsorFeb. 16 Performance SponsorFeb. 24 Performance Sponsor416.593.4828 tso.caCONCERTS AT ROY THOMSON HALL

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