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Volume 20 Issue 6 - March 2015

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Quick Picks:Mar 6

Quick Picks:Mar 6 Siberian-born violinist Vadim Repin, the interview subjectof my last month’s column, makes his eagerly awaited Toronto recitaldebut at Koerner Hall in a diverse program of Bartók, Debussy, Ravel,Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.Mar 8 at Koerner Hall KahaneSwensonBey, who re-formed in 2012after a 25-year hiatus, perform piano trios by Mozart, Schumann,Ravel and Schoenfield. In an unfortunate scheduling conflict theirafternoon concert occurs at the same time as the Vienna Piano Trio’sMooredale recital in Walter Hall just minutes away.On the evening of Mar 8 violinist Moshe Hammer and pianistAngela Park perform works by Brahms, Franck and Sarasate at theAurora Cultural Centre.Mar 11, 12 and 14 Gianandrea Noseda conducts the TSO in aprogram featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, which is all youneed to know to make plans to attend. The program also includesAdrianne Pieczonka performing Wagner’s Liebestod from Tristan undIsolde and Richard Strauss’ divine Four Last Songs, which furthercertifies it as a must-see. Rising star Krzysztof Urbanski and the TSOare joined Mar 27 and 28 by the captivating Sol Gabetta in Dvořák’smasterpiece, his Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, a work they haveplayed together many times. Then Urbanski leads the orchestra inStravinsky’s rhythmic revelry, The Rite of Spring. Another must-see.TSO associate principal clarinetist Yao Guang Zhai is joined bypianist Jeanie Chung for Luigi Bassi’s Concert Fantasy on themesfrom Verdi’s Rigoletto in a free COC concert also featuring Gershwin,Brahms and three solo pieces by Stravinsky at the Richard BradshawAmphitheatre Mar 12.Mar 14 is crystal ball gazing time when students from the Phil andEli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists give a free concertin Mazzoleni Hall. On Mar 31 another Mazzoleni Hall free concert(ticket required) features solo and chamber works performed byRebanks Fellows from the Glenn Gould School. Apr 2 three of theRebanks Fellows perform Brahms’ gorgeous Trio for horn, violin andpiano in a free noontime COC concert.Mar 15 Trio Arkel with guests, cellist Amanda Forsyth and violinistAaron Schwebel, perform Schubert’s sublime String Quintet in C inthe Church of the Holy Trinity.Mar 16 group of 27 presents Payadora Tango Ensemble and g27violinist Rebekah Wolkstein in a recital at Heliconian Hall.Don’t miss your chance Mar 19 to hear the Elias String Quartet,the “excellent” (New York Times), “exuberant” (The Guardian)young British ensemble making their local debut presented by MusicToronto, in works by Haydn, Mozart and Mendelssohn.Mar 22 Alliance Française presents Stravinsky’s tuneful fable TheSoldier’s Tale featuring Jacques Israelievich, violin, with Uri Mayerconducting.Mar 27 Violinist Lisa Batiashvili, Till Fellner’s trio partner (alongwith Alfred Brendel’s son Adrian) is joined by pianist Paul Lewisin his first Toronto appearance since his remarkable debut openingthe Women’s Musical Club’s 115th season in the fall of 2012. Theirprogram includes Schubert’s “Grand Duo” and “Rondeau brilliant,”Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No.10, Op.96, Telemann’s Fantasia No.4 forSolo Violin and Busoni’s arrangement of Bach’s Chorale Prelude “Nunkomm’ der Heiden Helland” for solo piano.Mar 27 and 28 the incomparable Kitchener-Waterloo ChamberMusic Society presents concerts 13, 14, 15 and 16 in the AttaccaQuartet’s ongoing series performing all 68 of Haydn’s quartets. Eachconcert features quartets drawn from the early, middle and laterperiod of the composer’s life.YouTube star Valentina Lisitsa’s piano playing has struck quite a fewchords based on upwards of 80 million views. Before her Royal AlbertHall recital in front of an audience of 8000 in June 2012 her fans hadthe chance to vote online for their preferred program – a form ofaudience participation that has become one of Lisitsa’s trademarks.Will the contents of her BravoNiagara! solo concert Apr 4 be similarlychosen?Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote.Beat by Beat | In With the NewMusicalEmergenceWENDALYN BARTLEYAs we sit here in lateRyan ScottFebruary waiting forspring to show itsface, you could say that we’rewaiting for a change to happen,a change that we know frompast experience will eventuallyoccur, although there arenot many signs of it currentlyvisible. Spring’s emergenceis of a particular kind – fromone known state to another,by a process of predictabletransformation. But sometimesthings that emerge comefrom an unknown place ofobscurity into an unpredictableprominence.In the world of contemporarymusic (as elsewhere inthe arts) the idea of emergenceis often bandied about – as inthe phrase “emerging composer” or “emerging artist.” As such it isoften used to help define funding structures and award guidelines. Thedistinction being drawn seems to be between those who are emergingand those who have been around for a while – the established ones.Often in our minds, the word becomes synonymous or interchangeablewith being young and just starting to make one’s way in life.Not necessarily so, according to two presenters/curators I spoke torecently: Ryan Scott, current artistic director of Continuum Music, andChristopher Willes, curator of the Music Gallery’s March concert inthe Emergents Series.Continuum: In the life of Continuum Music, this season is special;they are celebrating 30 years of existence, having formed in 1985.At the beginning, Continuum was a collective of composers andperformers with associations to the University of Toronto’s Faculty ofMusic. As emerging musicians they were frustrated with the lack ofopportunity to hear and present the new works they were composingor interested in performing. So, as an act of rebellion, they formedContinuum Music. The list of those initially involved in the first fewyears is an impressive one; many of them are still making waves in thenew music world.One of those early rebels was flutist Jennifer Waring, who wenton to become Continuum’s artistic director for the next 29 years.Under her guidance, Continuum has become a major presenter andperforming ensemble of new music, commissioning over 100 newworks, engaging in touring and recording opportunities and developinginterdisciplinary and educational projects. One of her signaturecontributions was establishing a strong connection with composersand performers in the Netherlands, resulting in a festival of Dutchand Canadian music, film, literature and visual arts in 2008/09 andan ongoing relationship with many Dutch composers. Another earlymember was Barbara Hannigan, who appeared on the cover of lastmonth’s WholeNote. It’s clear that Hannigan’s continual commitmentto being an ambassador for new and original repertoire was seeded inthose early heady days of her involvement with Continuum.Percussionist Ryan Scott has also had a long association with the16 | March 1 - April 7, 2015

organization – initially as a performer, and now taking over as artisticdirector. This year’s anniversary concert, “30 More!,” on March 8 is aprogram entirely curated by Scott and showcases the spirit that lies atthe heart of Continuum’s mandate. Combining the works of UK-basedseasoned composers Richard Ayres and Joe Cutler, the very young andunknown Turkish composer Mithatcan Öcal and two Torontonians,Anna Höstman and Jason Doell, Scott has created a program thatamplifies Continuum’s rebellious roots.When asked about what is important for him in selecting worksfor programming, Scott told me that “as artistic director, I search outcomposers who are experimentalists by nature, who are committedto pushing boundaries and are searching for something differentwith each new piece rather than relying on a seasoned bag of tricks.You can find these types of composers at any level – emerging orestablished.”Interestingly, Doell and Höstman are both recent recipients ofToronto’s Emerging Composer Award(2013 and 2014 respectively). Scottpoints out that although they are bothconsidered emerging, they are actuallypeople who are not so young in life butentered into composition after engagingwith other interests and commitments.That process results in a different kindof emergent creative voice, one alreadyinformed by life experience. Fittingly,the Toronto award is not defined byage, but open to anyone who takes upcomposing at whatever stage of life.Doell was commissioned to write anew work for this concert after Scottheard him perform on his percussioninstallation during last year’s EmergentsSeries at the Music Gallery; the selectionof Höstman’s piece was inspired by thebrilliant performance given last seasonby ensemble pianist Laurent Philippe inContinuum’s presentation of Höstman’sSinging the Earth.As for the other works on the March 8 program, Scott definesRichard Ayres’ music as zany, off the wall and creating unusualcombinations of sounds. Joe Cutler’s music is intriguing for itscontinual surprises, taking the listener onto an unanticipated path.And as a twist on the “emerging” theme, the music of the 22-year-oldÖcal has a maturity and hyper–complexity to it that Scott finds shockinglybrilliant.Another aspect of Continuum’s 30-year legacy is the commitmentto educating the younger generation. Following closely on the heelsof their anniversary celebration is a concert on March 31 that featuresthe compositions of students from across the GTA. This project is acollaboration between Continuum, Toronto District School Boardmusic education advocate Doug Friesen and composer ChristopherThornborrow. The student scores are initially created in a softwaredesigned for intuitive and creative decision-making. Thornborrowthen takes these pieces and arranges them for the instrumentation ofthe Continuum ensemble. These professionals then become the principalsin a larger ensemble made up of student performers whichperforms all the selected pieces at a public concert. This programhas received strong support at multiple levels, and is pioneering anew way of introducing the creative process of music-making to theyounger generation.Emergents at the Gallery: One of the major opportunities for theemerging creative voice has been the EmergentsSeries at the Music Gallery. Each concert in theseries is curated by someone whose own work waspresented during the previous Music Gallery season.The March 19 concert has been programmed byChristopher Willes whose own work explores ideasof the spatialization of sound. His choice of artists –Geoff Mullen and Jonathan Adjemian – indicates thathe too has a distinctive take on what constitutes anemerging artistic voice. Both Mullen and Adjemianare individuals who’ve actually been practisingartists for some time now, but have recently changeddirection and begun exploring new materials andapproaches to working with sound. For Willes, thisqualifies them as emergents.Mullen’s work expands the idea of site-specificwork while simultaneously challenging and re-evaluatingthe idea of composing to include new ways ofhearing and listening. A week prior to the concert,Mullen will begin work in the Music Gallery space,setting it up somewhat like an audio installationJohnathan Adjemianand using old recordings from the Music Gallerylabel as sound sources. It will be an experimentalprocess, placing sounds in the space and observing what happens toboth. The installation however will not be static; Mullen himself willbe animating the space through his own improvisations and interactionwith the recordings. When the audience arrives, Mullen will becontinuing his week-long process, with audience members witnessingwhat is occurring at that moment in time. Willes describes Mullen’sway of working as “site-responsive,” achieved in part by turning theOPERA MEETS DJ:A MULTIMEDIA EVENTVoiceCarla HuhtanenTAP:EXTABLES TURNEDMarch 20-21, 2015 | 8 pmErnest Balmer StudioTurntablesNicole LizéeTICKETS AND INFORMATION:TAPESTRYOPERA.COM OR March 1 - April 7, 2015 | 17

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