8 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 3 - November 2013

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  • November
  • Toronto
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y taking piano lessons,

y taking piano lessons, singing in choirs, going to concerts with mymom, learning to play other instruments ...You’ve certainly fostered a marvellous musical culture overthe last four decades; what is the animus behind the KWCMS?Jean: The spirit behind the KWCMS is to bring high quality chambermusic to whoever wants to hear it. Jan has always programmed amixture of international and Canadian musicians of great accomplishment,as well as emerging artists and local professional musicians (andmusic students and accomplished amateurs from the community). TheKWCMS has always had the “vibe” of a grassroots organization: 85 percent of the budget goes directly to musicians, and nobody who hasanything to do with the running of the KWCMS gets a salary.It is a ‘chamber’ in the oldsense of the term – the kindof room where chambermusic might originally havebeen performedA standing ovation for the Lafayette andMolinari Quartets after their Second VienneseQuartet cycle concert in the Music Room.It’s an extraordinary thing to have people come into your home andperform. What prompted you to start having concerts in your home?Jean: You could probably sum up the answer in three words: money,piano, atmosphere (in no particular order). Our first few years were fullof concerts in various venues — schools, libraries, churches — and therewas usually a rental fee to pay; in the case of anything like a theatre, wealso had to pay for ushers and stagehands (whether we needed themor not!). Then there’s the fact that very few places had a decent piano.Finally we bought a piano — a lovely old Heintzman six-footgrand — and once it was installed in the room now known as the MusicRoom, it was pretty obvious what would be installed there next: theentire series! Pianos since then: a Wagner, a Young Chang, and finallyour gorgeous seven-foot Steinway.(Jan has a fairly massive collection of LPs, and when he decided toadd a room to the back of the house, he had in mind a room suitable forlistening to music. The room has been called “the Music Room” since itwas finished in early 1970, but it acquired its public personality later.)Jan: As Jean notes, the Music Room was actually built before westarted doing concerts, but early in our venture we realized that it wasa very good place for chamber music — big enough to have some acousticand to hold enough people to fund many professional musicians. (Veryfew are priced out of our market, we have found. Mind you, many ofthem play for less because they like what we do and we like them!)Jean: One day — way back in the early 70s — someone in town phonedto say that the Orford Quartet was in town and their rehearsal spacewasn’t available: could they rehearse at our house? They did. We listened.The seed was sown.The next bit of live music had a larger private audience, viz., theToronto Consort. In those days, a tenor in the group was also a geographyprof at UW (Prof. Walker), and he asked Jan if they could have arun-through of concert material for us and however many friends we’dwant to invite. (This was before the TC became famous!) As I recall, wehad two of those mini-concerts, and everybody loved them.It was clear by then that if Jan could ever get live chamber music intothe room, he would.How big is the room (since it seats 85 people)?What is the unique charm of the space?Jean: The house is a 1917 brick house with two floors plus an attic andJean and Jan Narvesonin the Music Room.basement. It became a lot bigger after the addition (which included alarge garage under the Music Room).Jan: The Music Room has interior dimensions of 22.5 feet wide; 32feet long (average; the end is split); and 13 feet to the peak of the “cathedral”ceiling. It has a dark wood cathedral ceiling, wooden flooring,mostly brick walls, a fireplace (that we don’t use during concerts, butit looks nice) and a lot of comfortable red chairs — and other chairs thatare also comfortable, including one couch. It is a “chamber” in the oldsense of the term — it’s easy to imagine it as the kind of room wherechamber music might originally have been performed. The atmosphereis casual (students come in their jeans etc.) and the regular audiencemembers are friendly to newcomers. In such an intimate venue, everybodycan hear perfectlyand people enjoy sittingclose enough to musiciansto be able to seethem. People often staybehind for a little whileafter a concert to have achat with the musicians.Jean: Performers keepcoming back, and keeptelling their friendsabout the Music Room.On the 30th anniversaryof the KWCMS, violinistMoshe Hammer wrote ofhis “fond memories of allthe wonderful evenings at your house ... And always scores of great musiclovers to share masterpieces with.” Andrew Wedman, tonmeister forDGG, writing from Germany: “... I know of nowhere else that the samecontinued unpaid dedication continues. I have frequently met musicianswho have spoken warmly of having played in concerts for you...”You’ve presented some remarkable complete cycle concertsin the past but nothing as extensive as “The 68.”Jan: The most nearly comparable thing was our nine-concert series ofall of Haydn’s trios; we’ve also done three complete Beethoven Sonatacycles (at seven or eight concerts each). But, yes: Haydn 68 dwarfs everythingelse!My interest in Haydn began when I started really listening to him, wayback in about 1960 while I was in graduate school. Since then, my recordcollection has grown to include two complete sets of Haydn symphonies(plus many spares) and four sets of the quartets.The idea of doing all the quartets had kicked around way in the backof my mind for years. In 2012 we had a concert by the Attacca Quartet.I had previously discovered that they were doing the whole set in NewYork and raised the topic with them at their concert here. They saidthey’d just love to do it! So, here we are. They are doing it on a shoestringfor us, which makes it possible at all. Now the question is whetherthere’ll be enough local support to sustain it. We’ll see! (All we need isfor 0.1 per cent of the population of this region to attend at least one ofthe roughly 22 concerts.)Yet presenting 70+ concerts in the current season strikesme as even more remarkable. How do you manage?Jean: I’m not sure whether you mean how do we manage living in ahouse with that many concerts, or how does Jan manage to put on so manyyear after year. Starting with the second interpretation: Tons of work onJan’s part. There’s hearing from musicians and managers, listening to10 | Novemberr 1 – December 7, 2013

2013-14 Concert SeasonKOERNER HALL’SFIFTH ANNIVERSARY“Fantasia on Themesby Rush” with theKitchener-WaterlooSymphonySATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013 8PMKOERNER HALLThree skillful and creative composersdefy every rock/classical music cliché.Hear Nicole Lizée’s 2012: Triple Concertofor Power Trio and Orchestra (Fantasiaon Themes by Rush), and new pieces byDan Deacon and Bryce Dessner.HarpFestSUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2013 2PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLIn conjunction with the TorontoHarp Society, esteemed harpistJudy Loman performs solo worksby Glenn Buhr, R. Murray Schafer,Kevin Lau, and the two prize-winningselections from the Society’s 2012composition competition, withAngela Schwarzkopf and other harpists.Korngold’sThe Silent SerenadeFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 7:30PMSATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2013 7:30PMCONSERVATORY THEATREStudents from The Glenn Gould School’svocal program present the Canadianpremiere of Korngold’s only operetta.The musical comedy focuses on thelove of a famous fashion designer forhis famous actress client and the manyunlikely events that lead to them beingable to share their love. Peter Tiefenbachserves as Music Director.Musiciansfrom MarlboroMONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2013 7:30PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLAn extension of Vermont’s acclaimedMarlboro Music Festival, this year’sMusicians from Marlboro tour featuresScott St. John on violin, joined byMichelle Ross (violin), Emily Deans(viola), Matthew Zalkind (cello), andGabriele Carcano (piano) to performworks by Beethoven, Adès, Fauré,and Mendelssohn.Royal ConservatoryOrchestra conductedby Lior ShambadalFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2013 8PMKOERNER HALLIsraeli conductor Lior Shambadal leadsthe RCO in a program that includesLudwig van Beethoven: LeonoreOverture No. 2; Hindemith: SymphonicMetamorphosis; and Beethoven:Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.”Menahem Pressler 90thBirthday Celebrationwith the New OrfordString QuartetSUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2013 3PMKOERNER HALLLegendary pianist Menahem Pressler“a national treasure” (Los Angeles Times)and the New Orford String Quartetperform works by Beethoven,R. Murray Schafer, and Brahms.TICKETS START AT ONLY ! 416.408.0208 www.performance.rcmusic.ca273 BLOOR STREET WEST (BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO

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