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Volume 20 Issue 8 - May 2015

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eviews, is Berlioz’s

eviews, is Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust.And the first of his three upcoming Torontoprograms is the Verdi Requiem. I’ve seenhim quoted as calling the Requiem “Verdi’sgreatest opera” I say. “Yes, well I supposethat’s one of those things that get said,”he replies.There seem to be parallels, I suggest –Damnation which is pretty near unstageable,and the Verdi which is in some profoundway operatic. “I suppose that’s true. I likedoing those big [single work] things whichare always kind of tough but they are fun todo.” Both, he says, fall into a category that helikes to call “theatre of the mind” although,he points out, at Lyric Opera of Chicago theydid successfully stage the Berlioz a few yearsback.As for the Verdi Requiem, his operatic takeon the work is further revealed when hedescribes the soloists he has assembled forthe performance here. All of them (AmberWagner, soprano, Jamie Barton, mezzosoprano,Frank Lopardo, tenor, and EricOwens, bass) are regulars at Lyric Opera.Owens for example, recently did Porgy forhim at Lyric, and will return as Wotan in thenew Ring Cycle Lyric will mount in 2020/21– no doubt part of the reason for the six-yearcontract extension mentioned at the outset ofthis piece.By the standards of the Melbourne engagementDavis is just coming off, the Torontoconcerts this time round (the Verdi aside)Glionna Mansell CorporationPresentswww.organixconcerts.caFebruary 13 – October 23, 201515A Music Series unlike any otherORGANIX 15 is Toronto's tenth annual organ festival presenting a series of concertsperformed by some of the world's finest organists.Don’t Miss Our May and June Events!Wednesday May 20,Roman Peruckiand Maria Perucka (Violin)3:30 pm St. Clement’s Anglican,70 St. Clements AvenueWednesday May 20,Roman Peruckiand Maria Perucka (Violin)7:30 pm St. Clement’s Anglican,70 St. Clements AvenueConsulate Generalof the Republic of Polandin Torontoperhaps offer slightly lighter fare (MahlerThree vs Holst’s The Planets for example.)But what they may lack in toughness theywill certainly compensate for in other ways.Who can look at the photograph of the18-year old Louis Lortie and the 34-year oldDavis, preparing the Liszt: Piano ConcertoNo. 1 for the TSO’s historic 1978 voyage tovisit to China and not want to find out whatchanges in artistry the years have brought toboth men?For each of the other pieces chosen forthe three concerts there is some lovinglychosen historical referent. For example,the Toronto Children’s Chorus will join theTSO in the third of the concerts. The TSOwas the first, Davis explains, to use a children’schorus for the Holst and they willalso perform the world premiere of a workby Ed Frazier Davis titled The Stolen Childfor children’s chorus and orchestra a work,specially commissioned by the TSO forthe occasion.Frazier Davis is his son, Andrew Davisexplains. And there’s a story too aboutDavis’ role in the formation of the TorontoChildren’s Chorus. (As he explains it, theywere recording The Nutcracker and neededa children’s chorus; he knew Jean AshworthBartle, and “that was that.”)Forty years later, or forty two, Davis’commitment to Toronto (and Toronto’scommitment to him) remain.“I am very proud of my record here” heFriday June 5,Aaron Tan7:30 pmSt. Cuthbert’s Anglican,1541 Oakhill Drive,OakvilleOrder tickets today or (416) 769-3893says. “There’s not one that I have missed.There was one that I was afraid I was going tomiss because I was due I was going to miss,I can’t remember what year it was. I wasdue to do two weeks in the fall and that waswhen they went on strike. But as it happenedI was also scheduled to come to conductMessiah at Christmas and they had settledby then so I was delighted that my recordremained unbroken.Andrew Davisand the COCAndrew Davis’ first season as musicdirector of the Toronto Symphony Orchestrawas also the last season in which the TSOserved as the orchestra for the CanadianOpera Company. It was an interesting timeas players had to decide where their loyaltieslay. “There were conflicts of time,” Davissays, “so basically from the word go theopera orchestra was a self-contained andseparate entity.”It’s hard to guage from chatting with Daviswhat the reasons were, but the fact remainsthat he was not invited to conduct at the COCuntil Ariadne in 2011, followed by a returnvisit the next year for what he describes as a“wonderful kinky double bill of A FlorentineTragedy and Gianni Schicchi.”“And you know, at the time they said, youknow, gosh here you are finally making yourdebut with the COC and I had to say, wellyou know, it’s not in fact my debut with theCOC, it’s my debut as a conductor. Becausethere was one time back in the day when Lotfi[Mansouri] was in charge, they did a productionof Fledermaus and they did this thing inAct Two of having guests come in an performsome extra song - I think Maureen [Forrester]came in and sang some sort of cabaret song.... Well, I sang ‘I Am the Very Model of aModern Major General’ ... in Fledermaus.”12 | May 1 - June 7, 2015

Honouring Glass2015 GGF Glenn Gould Prize Laureate announcedThe April 14 announcement of Philip Glassfrom the Koerner Hall stage as the 2015winner of the 0,000 Glenn GouldPrize was perhaps more imbued withhistory for one of the jurors, pipa player WuMan, than anyone else on the stage. Granted,she was just one of a distinguished internationaljury of ten (including jury chair Bob Ezrin).They convened in Toronto for a 48-hour period,charged with the near-impossible task in thatshort time of whittling down to one winner abriefing book of 80 nominees.Where Wu Man stood out on the jury is thatin her previous brush with the Glenn Gould Foundation, she was a winner herself – not ofthe Glenn Gould Prize, but as 1999 Gould laureate Yo-Yo Ma’s choice for the accompanyingCity of Toronto protégé prize, whom the laureate himself (yes so far the laureates have all beenmen) chooses.Being chosen as Ma’s 1999 protégé was immensely significant for Wu Man. “When I receivedthe protégé prize in 1999 I can say it changed my musical life,” she told me backstage atKoerner, after the announcement, “because in 1999 I was just landed in North America fromChina and the prize actually inspired me to think of larger musicianship and encouraged meto explore new ways to communicate with people through music. So this year I am back butsince 1999 I have been working differently in music. It’s a great honour to be back and sittingin the jury side by side with all those highly respected individuals.”As have most of the Glenn Gould Prize laureates, Ma embraced the term protégé in itsfullest sense, drawing Wu Man into his closest circle of trusted collaborators. “Yes. He tookit seriously. I am a founding member of the Silk Road Project and still working together verystrongly after 15 years. Definitely as a protégé I experienced a protection, growth as a musician.And it opened my mind. And that is because of this prize and the opportunity it gave.”Interestingly, Wu Man’s connections with this year’s prizewinner are also direct and personal: “I had no idea when I wasin China who Philip Glass was. So as I came gradually to learnabout American musical styles, minimalism, working withPhilip Glass has been a highlight in my musical life experience.”“I will tell you this” she continued. “He is not only thePhilip Glass of so many music achievements, a great composerof our time, but he is also a really nice human being – reallyvery nice. I remember I went to his apartment in New YorkCity to improvise. He said ‘play something’; I said how abouta Buddhist tune? And just improvised and he just graduallyput hands on the piano and started to play and then I said‘Philip, that wasn’t the key! It’s wrong!’ and he said ‘oh, ohoh, okay sorry ... just carry on, I will catch up with you later.’Our cover, February 2014Wu ManSo that gives me my sense of him: very human, as a musicianand a person; very comfortable to work with.”Bob Ezrin, chair of the jury, had this to say about Glass.“Philip Glass is one of the towering figures of modern music. With an iconic career that hasspanned 50 years, his body of work is unrivalled in its breadth and depth. He not only helpedto reclaim tonality as a vital force in serious music, he took minimalism and brought it fromthe fringes of the avant-garde to the mainstream.”For Brian Levine, director of the GGF, the 11th laureate brings “the Prize” closer to to theelusive goal of “Nobel Prize for the Arts,” a universal “touchstone for excellence in the arts asa testament to the human creative spirit, as Glenn Gould himself was.” And of Glass he says:“In his work and life, he reveals himself to be a man of deep spirituality and conscience asreflected in the themes of his operatic creations and film scores. We are honoured to presentthe Prize to an artist of such originality, conviction and vision.”The other jury members were: Petula Clark (UK); Adrienne Clarkson (Canada); Jay HunterMorris (United States); HRH Julie of Luxembourg (Switzerland), Martin Katz (Canada); MichaelOndaatje (Canada); Sarah Polley (Canada); and Deborah Voigt (United States).And lest in focusing on this year’s laureate we lose sight of the human dynamo whose namethe award bears, broadcaster and writer David Jaeger, elsewhere in this issue (page 76), offersup some of his own memories of Glenn Gould, the man.SAVEup to40%12 WORLD KNOWNMAKESDavid May 1 - June 7, 2015 | 13

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