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Volume 20 Issue 5 - February 2015

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Volume 20 Issue 5


LISA MARIE MAZZUCCO approach. “He was a musical eyes-opener for me,” he said. “There is no one quality that would make anybody good at anything,” he said in answer to my question as to what makes a great violinist great. “It’s always a combination of many things, but dedication is probably one thing that is true of every profession.” “It’s the life of a musician to play live; communication with the public is the ultimate,” he responded when I asked about the lure of the stage. “There’s so much work involved in learning new pieces and the goal is always live performance. No two performances are the same and there are never two emotional states the same.” Repin has cut back on in his touring in the last three years, spending more time with his family. He and his wife Svetlana Zakharova, the principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, have a three-year-old daughter. I heard her voice in the background and he told me that he has been doing a lot of reading to her in the last few days. They were going to a play the following week and he was preparing her for the experience. Remarkably, she was memorizing some of the play’s poetry. How many of us concertgoers would take such time to make our own live-event experiences richer? RBC Piano Extravaganza: I love a piano, I love a piano/I love to hear somebody play Upon a piano, a grand piano/It simply carries me away I know a fine way to treat a Steinway I love to run my fingers o’er the keys, the ivories And with the pedal I love to meddle/When Paderewski comes this way I’m so delighted if I’m invited/To hear that long-haired genius play -- Irving Berlin The TSO’s RBC Piano Extravaganza has been curated by the renowned soloist, chamber musician and teacher Emanuel Ax, perhaps best-known for his 40 years of collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma. The extravaganza’s 11 days and nights are fully packed with all manner of novel treats designed to showcase the versatility and expressiveness of the piano. The free opening event, “Pianos in the City,” takes place from 11am to 2pm on February 4. Steinway pianos will be interactively available in the Underground PATH below the RBC Plaza building at 200 Bay Street; the Main Hall of Union Station; on the stage of the CBC Atrium at 250 Front Street West; and in the main street hallway of the Hospital for Sick Children at 170 Elizabeth Street. Each venue will be hosted by a special guest artist who will perform short works Sunday March 1 3pm Anastasia Rizikov piano 1st prize: Canadian Chopin Competition V. Horowitz International Young Pianists Comp. Canadian Music Competition Heliconian Hall 35 Hazelton Ave 416.654.0877 Emanuel Ax and encourage members of the pubic to play on the Steinways. The personable Ax will drop in at each location, to meet, greet and perform. Later that night, Ax and 2012 Honens Prize Laureate Pavel Kolesnikov join Peter Oundjian and the TSO in performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.14 K449 bookended by solo piano pieces and followed by piano titan Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Two days later, Ax is the soloist and Beethoven’s radical, lyrical Fourth Piano Concerto is the focus of the latest installment of Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes It Great?” The next day, February 5, in a free noonhour concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Ax introduces Kolesnikov and his own former student Orion Weiss in a program of operatic transcriptions by Granados and Wagner-Liszt. Saturday afternoon, February 7, “Pianorama,” two concerts built around Saint-Saëns’ inimitable The Carnival of the Animals, promises a musical riot of tone colour and clusters at RTH with the likes of pianists Ax, Kolesnikov, Patricia Krueger, Richard Chao Gao, Amadeusz Kazubowski- Houston, Kyoko Kohno, Coco Ma, Artun Miskciyan, Marko Pejanovic, Anastasia Rizikov, Anna Vertypolokh, Sunny Zhai, Annie Zhou and organist David Briggs. That evening Pinchas Zukerman makes his final Toronto appearance as music director of the NAC Orchestra joining cellist Amanda Forsyth in Brahms’ rousing Double Concerto while the versatile Yefim Bronfman is the piano soloist in Brahms’ über-romantic Piano Concerto No.2. Sunday February 8 at Koerner Hall, looms as one of the most adventurous and entertaining components of the RBC Extravaganza. A plethora of pianists join Ax for four free hours of short performances beginning at 1pm. The audience is free to come and go throughout the afternoon! The first hour features Emanuel Ax; James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton and jazzer Robi Botos. Alex Seredenko and Annie Zhou fill hour two while the third is taken up by Pavel Kolesnikov, students from the the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at The Glenn Gould School, Victoria Wong, Coco Ma and Thomas Torok. Bernie Senensky, Emanuel Ax and James Anagnoson & Leslie Kinton with Rossina Grieco & Jingquan Xie perform in hour four. Feburary 11 at RTH, Ax and rising star Jan Lisiecki play Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos K316a/365 and the ubiquitous Carnival of the Animals. The next day’s intriguing program “The Orchestral Piano” will showcase three orchestral favourites preceded by the piano works that inspired them. Ax is joined by Stewart Goodyear and the piano duo Anagnoson & Kinton. February 13, Ax finds the time for a masterclass at the Royal Conservatory, time and hall still to be determined. The festival concludes Saturday morning February 14 with the TSO’s valentine to the community. Pianists from the GTA, including students from the Royal Conservatory of Music and Regent Park School of Music, will get the opportunity to play the TSO’s new New York Steinway grand on the RTH stage! The public is invited to watch these youngsters perform and be mentored by the Grammy Awardwinning Ax. What Ax wrote when he curated “Keys to the City” a three-week piano festival in Chicago in the spring of 2012 is just as apt today: “Whether played in the comfort of your home, in collaboration with friends, or on stage with a full orchestra, the piano is a versatile and accessible instrument that opens unlimited avenues of expression and creativity to the performer. As artists, we want to explore these possibilities, and examine how the piano speaks to us today in its 12 | February 1 - March 7, 2015

various forms.” Dopplegänger Time: On March 1 at 3pm in Mazzoleni Hall, Amici Chamber Ensemble presents star violist Kim Kashkashian “In Remembrance,” a wide-ranging program of music by Bartók, Golijov, Kradjian, Komitas, Mansurian and Mozart to honour the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and to “explore music inspired by friendship, grief, rebirth, and remembrance.” At the same time in Koerner Hall in the same building, the astonishing pianist Marc-André Hamelin performs his own Chaconne following what is believed to have been John Field’s last composition, Andante inédit. Israeliborn Ronn Yedidia’s Sonata No.3 “Outcries” will showcase Hamelin’s legendary technique while Schubert’s final sonata and Debussy’s Images: Book II will undoubtedly confirm the positive impression his latest Hyperion CD has made [see Dr. Réa Beaumont’s review in this issue’s DISCoveries]. In it, Hamelin has harnessed his technical facility in the service of Debussy’s own impressionistic essence. I can’t wait to see what he will do with Schubert’s masterwork. Quick Picks: Feb 1 Amici and the New Orford String Quartet team up with Teng Li for what promises to be a particularly rich musical evening of Schulhoff, Brahms, Liszt and Janáček. Feb 4 at Koerner Hall solo performers of the Glenn Gould School compete for the opportunity to perform a concerto with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra and it’s free to observe from 10am. Feb 5 York University Department of Music shines its free “Faculty Spotlight Series” on violinist Jacques Israelievitch and WholeNote CD reviewer, pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, as they continue their exploration of Mozart violin and piano sonatas. On Feb 27 the former TSO concertmaster is joined by pianist Shoshana Telner for a recital at McMaster University’s School of the Arts. Feb 8 Chamber Music Hamilton presents the American String Quartet, now in its 39th year. The former Juilliard students’ program includes works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms. Feb 8 finds the Windermere Quartet performing Haydn’s “Lark” quartet and Mozart’s late string quintet, K516. Acclaimed string players, violinists Erika Raum and Scott St. John, violist Sharon Wei and cellist Tom Wiebe, join forces Feb 8 for a fully packed Mooredale afternoon of chamber music consisting of Schubert’s String Trio in B-flat Major D471, Ysaÿe’s Sonata for Two Violins and Bach’s Goldberg Variations for string trio. Feb 8 the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society (KWCMS) presents pianist Shoshana Telner in an unusually demanding program ranging from Bach to Alkan to Bartók. On Feb 11 KWCMS facilitates the pairing of trumpeter/pianist Guy Few and pianist Stephanie Mara in an uncommon mix of four-hand piano and trumpet-piano duets. Following close behind on Feb 15 is Leopoldo Erice’s evening with Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Then on Feb 24 KWCMS presents an allstar gathering of superb string players -- Scott St. John and Solomiya Ivakhiv, violins; Sharon Wei and Doug McNabney, violas; and Tom Wiebe, cello – playing Brahms and Dvořák string quintets. Feb 12 Cecilia Quartet violinist and recent DMA recital competition winner Min-Jeong Koh performs Schumann and Ysaÿe in a free noonhour concert at Walter Hall. Feb 12 Music Toronto presents two Ottawa-based musicians, pianist Mauro Bertoli and cellist Paul Marleyn, as part of their Discovery Series. The program includes Beethoven’s sparkling Sonata Op.69. Feb 17 Music Toronto presents the Toronto debut of Hungarian pianist Dénes Varjon whose “commanding virtuosity” (The Guardian) will be on display in a demanding program of Beethoven, Schumann, Ravel and Bartók. Feb 20 former child prodigy, violinist Sarah Chang, displays her painless transition to mature artist in a recital at Koerner Hall with pianist Julio Elizalde that features Brahms’ supreme Sonata No.3 Op.108. Feb 26 finds the Gryphon Trio making their annual Music Toronto appearance in a program that includes Schubert’s divine Trio No.1 in B-flat Major D898. Paul Ennis is managing editor of The WholeNote. He can be reached at Dave Liebman in Concert The John and Claudine Bailey Distinguished Visitor in Jazz Jan 30-FEB 8 FEB 6 New Music Festival Featuring Chinese artists Hu Xiaoou , Wendy Lee and Lan WeiWei. Russell Braun Monica Whicher Featuring Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch, assisted by pianists Carolyn Maule and Steven Philcox Paul Griffiths The Wilma and Clifford Smith Visitor in Music delivers a lecture entitled “Contemporary Music: A Plurality of Worlds?” 2014-15 presenting sponsors FEB 9 FEB 12 FEB 26 mar 2 Nocturnes The U of T Symphony Orchestra and Women’s Chamber Choir join forces in Debussy’s Nocturnes. Other works include Petrouchka, and Finlandia. Atar Arad Viola Recital The Lorand Fenyves Resident Artist performs a recital of music for solo viola by Bach and Arad. Barbara Hannigan The U of T voice alum and international opera star hosts a workshop for singers, composers and librettists with Hans Abrahamsen and Paul Griffiths. mar 3 mar 12-15 U of T Opera Leslie Dala conducts four performances of Dominick Argento’s masterpiece. Directed by Michael Cavanagh, with set design by Fred Perruzza. February 1 - March 7, 2015 | 13

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