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Volume 20 Issue 7 - April 2015

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  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
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  • Musical
  • Bloor
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  • Orchestra


LISA SAKULENSKYWE ARE ALL MUSIC’S CHILDRENApril’s Child Mervon MehtaMJ BUELLMervon Mehta is the Executive Director of Performing Arts for TheRoyal Conservatory, where he oversaw the September 2009 launchof Koerner Hall’s inaugural season. Today Mehta is responsible forprogramming Koerner Hall’s own classical, jazz, world music and popconcerts, and oversees all performances at the RCM TELUS Centre.Comfortable and engaging on stage, Mehta was an actor before hewas an administrator, and appears on stage frequently as a narrator oforchestral works with a wide range of orchestras internationally.Born in Vienna, Austria, Mehta grew up in Montreal. He is theson of conductor Zubin Mehta and soprano Carmen Lasky, andhas a sister Zarina. The young family lived in Liverpool, Saskatoonand Philadelphia before Zubin Mehta became music director of theMontreal Symphony. Mervon Mehta’s parents divorced in 1964 andtwo years later Lasky married Zarin Mehta, Zubin Mehta’s brother.Mehta “survived” Lower Canada College and left Montreal toattend Colgate University in upstate New York, later studying at TheNeighbourhood Playhouse School in New York City. His work intheatre included two seasons at the Stratford Festival.A more detailed account of Mehta’s career can be found in an interviewwith Paula Citron (The WholeNote, October 2013), available someone asks what you do for a living? I tell them I am inthe concert business. They get all excited. I them tell them I presentclassical, jazz and world music… they usually leave me alone.Upcoming projects that excite you? The second edition of 21CMusic Festival begins on May 20. I am very excited about the line-upthat includes new music written for classical chamber ensembles byCanadian and international composers including some from the jazz,rock, hip-hop, flamenco and tango worlds.Earliest memory of music? My mother’s singing. She is still at it!Other musicians in your childhoodfamily? My grandfather, Mehli Mehta,was a violinist, conductor and teacherwho started the Bombay Symphony.My grandmother was an amateurpianist and music was their bond.Every member of my immediateand extended family and all of theirfriends seemed to be in the musicbusiness. They were all very accomplishedso I only heard the best musicall the time. In my 20s I rebelledagainst music and went into theatrebut, just like Michael Corleone, thefamily “pulled me back in.”Growing up in Montreal our housewas filled with musicians from theOSM, visiting soloists like Perlman,Zukerman, Barenboim, Vickers,Forester, Price and music businesslegends such as Pierre Beique andSam Gesser. I was surrounded by thefinest musicians and finest minds inthe field. Somehow I learned lessonsfrom them that I keep to this day.Foremost amongst these people wasmy uncle, Zarin Mehta, an accountantwho took a sabbatical to run theOrchestre symphonie de Montréalin 1976 and never looked back. Hismusic management skills, his taste,his fiscal acuity are tops in our field.He is my mentor and we still talk at least once a week aboutartists, programs, fees and agents.Other music, growingup? CHOM FM inMontreal; first album Ireceived was Sgt. Pepper;first album I bought wasJesus Christ Superstar. Istill know all of the wordsto both. I took piano andviolin lessons as a kid andwas equally inept at both.But I would buy recordsor hear tunes on the radioand try to play them onthe piano.A first music teacher? I doremember (and still keep in touchwith) my teacher from grade 6 or7, Jennifer Giles. She allowed me toplay Beatles tunes and showed methat lessons could actually be fun.At Koerner Hall, Toronto. Mervon Mehta lives in the Davisvilleneighbourhood of Toronto with his wife, Carey Suleiman,their son, Zed and a dog named Lucy. He’s a devoted fan of theMontreal Canadiens and enjoys travelling to music festivals, film,theatre and adding bacon to his wife’s vegetarian cooking,At Place Des Arts, Montreal,1964. Mervon Mehta, hissister Zarina Mehta andtheir father, Zubin Mehta.When did you first perform for an audience? My real performingstarted in University in an a cappella choir and in music theatre (TheBoyfriend, Brigadoon, Camelot etc).Your appetite for the stage? My parents took me to see a widevariety of theatre and music. They opened up my ears and mindto enormous possibilities. The soundtrack in our house was a mixof Wagner operas, Sinatra, Fischer-Dieskau, Beau Domage, CCR,Supertramp and Oscar Peterson. When I moved to the U.S. for collegeI was exposed to things I really hadn’theard in Montreal like Marvin Gayeand Stevie Wonder – they rockedmy world.Curating and programming? Ialways had a penchant for both sidesof the stage… while at Stratford Imanaged a weekly cabaret series anddirected some workshops here inToronto. When I moved to Chicagomy first job was as assistant directorof The Importance of Being Earnestat The Court Theatre; I learned afew things about lighting, unioncontracts etc.Did you ever think your life’swork would be in some entirelyother sphere? In university I wasan International Relations/Russianmajor. I was certain I would endup serving as a Canadian ambassadorsomeday.Music in your own day-to-dayhome and family life now? Musicis 24/7… my son shares my love ofAfrican and Latin music and also tellsme who the new pop stars are.You can read an expandedversion of this interview online | April 1 - May 7, 2015

NEW CONTEST!Who is May’s Child?~ ~ Conductor, composer, musiclibrarian, trombonist, organistpianist, music educator.~ ~ Has “a very important date” atHarbourfront in May.~ ~ Also seen in these rabbit holes:Canadian Opera Company,Toronto Symphony, NationalArts Centre Orchestra,Charlottetown Festival, HartHouse Orchestra, OrchestraToronto, High Park Choirs,Canadian Children’s OperaCompany (just to name a few).It goes in this hand,right?All set to swing andslide and in Mission,BC, 1943Know our Mystery Child’s name? WIN PRIZES! Sendyour best guess by April 24 TO OUR WINNERS! HERE’S WHATTHEY WONThe Royal Conservatory FamilyConcerts are approximately 75minutes long, and are as ideal for6- to13-year-olds as they are forparents, grandparents and grown-upfriends.Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express (April 25, 8pm,Koerner Hall) explores the connections between traditionalreggae and straight-ahead jazz, while also forging some newones. Pianist Monty Alexander, originally from Kingston,Jamaica, shot to fame when Sinatra first heard him in a tinyclubA pair of tickets for RICHARD SMITHNatalie Merchant (May 2, 2pm, KoernerHall) is a singer-songwriter and former leadsinger of 10,000 Maniacs. Merchant’s LeaveYour Sleep – a collection of classic children’spoetry adapted to original music in a rangeof styles – inspired the creation of ahardcover picture book illustrated byBarbara McClintock, which includes a19-track CD. Hear her band and a stringensemble bring them to life. This prizeincludes a pair of concert tickets and a signed copy of LeaveYour Sleep.The winner is LYNDA MOONThe Royal Conservatory’s 21C MusicFestival presentsOff the Score (May 20, 8pm Koerner Hall)with ex-Police drummer Stewart Copelandand Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker.They will join Met Opera violinist YoonKwon, bassist Marion Martinez andElectronic Valve Instrumentalist JuddMiller in a collaboration that concludes with the worldpremiere of Copeland’s Coincidence or Convergence?A pair of tickets for JENNIFER LIUMusic’s Children gratefully acknowledges Carmen, Zarin,Zubin, Barbora, Fia, Ann, George and BeverlyTSMCOMMUNITYACADEMYINTRODUCING 3 PROGRAMS FORADULT AMATEUR MUSICIANSAUGUST 2-9, 2015The TSM Community Academy invites you to play andsing for pleasure and push your abilities to a new level,while spending a week with artists of the TorontoSummer Music Festival.CHAMBER MUSIC WITH TSOPRINCIPALS AND GUESTS18-20 Participants (Strings, Wind Quintet, 2 pianists,open to individuals and pre-formed ensembles)Mentors: Shane Kim (violin, TSO), Aaron Schwebel(Associate Concertmaster, COC), Eric Nowlin (AssociatePrincipal viola TSO), Emmanuelle Beaulieu-Bergeron(cello, TSO), Sarah Jeffrey (Principal oboe, TSO)PIANO MASTERCLASSWITH JAMES ANAGNOSON12-15 Participants (Minimum suggested level, Grade 10RCM Piano)CHAMBER CHOIR WITH MATHIASMAUTE & LAURA PUDWELLRehearse and prepare the Mozart Coronation Mass andthe Bach Motet: Jesu, meine freude with renownedchoral conductor, virtuoso recorder player and composer,Mathias Maute. Afternoon activities include voicecoachingand individual lessons with renowned sopranoLaura Pudwell. The week will culminate with a performancein Walter Hall.APPLY NOW BY VISITINGTORONTOSUMMERMUSIC.COMThe Community Academy is made possible by the generous support of the Metcalf April 1 - May 7, 2015 | 63

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