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Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Arts
  • Performing
  • Choir
  • Theatre
  • Orchestra
In this issue: we talk with jazz pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo about growing up in Toronto, building a musical career, and being adaptive to change; pianist Eve Egoyan prepares for her upcoming Luminato project and for the next stage in her long-term collaborative relationship with Spanish-German composer Maria de Alvear; jazz violinist Aline Homzy, halfway through preparing for a concert featuring standout women bandleaders, talks about social equity in the world of improvised music; and the local choral community celebrates the life and work of choral conductor Elmer Iseler, 20 years after his passing.

Beat by Beat | Classical

Beat by Beat | Classical & Beyond Beatrice Rana at Koerner Perlman and Barber on Screen PAUL ENNIS Gramophone’s 2017 Young Artist of the Year, 25-year-old Italianborn pianist Beatrice Rana, makes her Koerner Hall debut April 8. I remember fondly her Toronto Summer Music concert in 2014, where she brought the Walter Hall audience instantly to its feet with a heartfelt, technically gripping performance of Prokofiev’s Sonata No.6. Her career was clearly on the rise then; it continues on its upward path. I recently had an email Q&A exchange with her. WN: What are your first memories of playing the piano? BR: I began studying piano when I was four, Beatrice Rana but before that I have some little memories of me trying to repeat the melodies of cartoons four hands with my father. I also remember my parents taking me out for concerts on Friday nights; it was always a very special feeling. Your parents are professional pianists and your younger sister plays the cello. Please describe the musical atmosphere in your home growing up. I would say that music is really part of our daily life, as much as drinking water or eating lunch. The house could be pretty noisy at times (!), but it was absolutely wonderful to grow up in a family that really understood and supported our musical choice. Who was the first composer you fell in love with as a child? The first musical challenges when I was a child were some pieces by Mozart and Schumann, but the composer that was giving me the biggest sense of accomplishment was Bach, and I ended up playing a lot of his music. I still have a very special relationship with Bach’s music, even though I constantly fall in love with so many other composers. Who were the first musicians you fell in love with? Martha Argerich and Glenn Gould. Do you have any piano idols? I wish I could have listened live to Horowitz and [Arturo] Benedetti Michelangeli. How life-changing was winning the Silver Medal and Audience Award at the Cliburn piano competition in 2013? It was absolutely a shock – a good shock of course! The first big change in my musical career came with [winning] the Montreal competition in 2011, but after the Cliburn I really reached what I was looking for, which was having the chance to be a concert pianist. The thing is that you don’t know what it really means to be a concert pianist until you become one: it’s an amazing life, full of travel, people, different cultures, but sometimes it can be tiring. I’d like to focus on your upcoming Koerner Hall recital on April 8. What is it about Schumann’s music that speaks to you in general? And what about Blumenstück and the Symphonic Etudes in particular? I always loved Schumann, probably also because of my close relationship to Bach with whom there are many connections. Blumenstück and Symphonic Etudes really reflect Schumann’s aesthetic with his two opposite personalities: on one hand there is Blumenstück, which represents Eusebius with his poetic, intimate and dubitative approach to life; on the other, the Symphonic Etudes are Florestan, incredibly extroverted and brilliant, inspired also by the bigger sonorities of an orchestra. What fascinates you about Ravel’s Miroirs? The choice of Miroirs is connected to the choice of the piano as a symphonic instrument. Ravel was an incredible orchestrator and two pieces of the Miroirs were in fact orchestrated. What strikes me the most in this music is the imagination and plasticity of sound, which is able to recreate vividly either the hysteric movement of a butterfly in the night or a ship moving on the ocean and struggling with the storms. What are some of the challenges of Stravinsky’s The Firebird? Again, the piano is imitating an orchestra but this time the process is the opposite: The Firebird was originally written for the orchestra, and [Guido] Agosti – an incredible pianist of the last century – wrote this amazing transcription. The main challenge is of course to recreate the different sounds that such a big orchestra can reach, but on the other side, the advantage is the freedom with the interpretive choices that it’s impossible to have with an orchestra. What do you find most rewarding and most challenging in your professional life? It is very fascinating to travel so much and get to know so many audiences: every country is completely different, because of its culture and its musical traditions. Still, being able to communicate with all of them through music is a real privilege, and sharing moments of such authenticity on so many different stages is just incredible. Alison Chernick’s Itzhak “When you finally get the sound [of the violin], you are really getting something out of yourself,” the young Itzhak Perlman says in black and white footage from Israeli television in 1974, during Alison Chernick’s new documentary Itzhak. “The more you have in your heart, the more you have to give,” he explains, having noted that to get a sound out of a piano you merely have to strike a key. The Israeliborn Perlman has given an enormous amount over his long professional career; and he’s been in the public eye since his appearance MARIE STAGGAT 22 | April 2018 thewholenote.com

SIMON FRYER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR 2018 2019 FILMS WE LIKE Itzhak Perlman in Itzhak OCTOBER 4, 2018 | 1.30 PM POULENC TRIO James Austin Smith, oboe; Bryan Young, bassoon; Irina Kaplan Lande, piano TORONTO DEBUT in 1958 as a 13-year-old on The Ed Sullivan Show playing an excerpt from Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Itzhak is a congenial portrait of the living legend, from the child crippled by polio to the 70-yearold musical icon travelling out to the CitiField pitcher’s mound in his motorized wheelchair to play The Star-Spangled Banner in the home of the New York Mets. With the aid of old video, photographs and home movies we get a sense of what drove the young violinist to succeed. More recent footage records the love and devotion of his wife Toby and the importance to him of their family and Jewish heritage. His physical challenges are constant, his triumph over them as a performer, teacher, husband and father implicit throughout. But it’s the singularity of his musical life and the joy he brings to it that is the raison d’être of Chernick’s film. Where does she lead us from the baseball diamond? To a rehearsal of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio Op.50 with cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Evgeny Kissin. Then the star-spangled musical trio takes a break in Perlman’s New York City kitchen where the host animates the eating of takeout Chinese food with a hoary old Russian-Jewish joke. Richard Strauss’ Violin Sonata, Bruch and Wieniawski Violin Concertos, Brahms, Respighi and Ravel, Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart and Schubert all resonate on the soundtrack. Marian Anderson’s singing of the spiritual Crucifixion has a special place in Perlman’s iconography. As his playing of klezmer music with The Klezmatics does in ours. And what is the most requested piece of music in his repertoire? The theme from Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List by John Williams. You can watch how Perlman evokes the beauty of a phrase and marvel at the way he brings out the colour of a melody when Itzhak plays at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema April 6 to 12, followed by a run at the Mt. Pleasant Theatre beginning April 13. Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall presents Itzhak Perlman and pianist Rohan De Silva in recital at Roy Thomson Hall April 22, performing works by Schubert, Beethoven and Dvořák. H. Paul Moon’s Absolute Beauty Recently I celebrated what would have been the 108th birthday of American composer Samuel Barber by watching Absolute Beauty, a comprehensive portrait of a man who wrote some of the most beautiful music of the 20th century. H. Paul Moon’s documentary has just now become available via internet streaming or purchase, having made the rounds of film festivals over the last several months. I found Moon’s assemblage of Barber scholars, musicians, personal reminiscences, film footage and photographs so touching that I immediately put on two of my personal Barber favourites: his Violin Concerto with its lovely first two movements; and his evocative Knoxville: Summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra, the setting of James Agee’s clear-eyed nostalgic picture of family life from the point of view of a five-year-old boy. I had just learned that Agee and Barber were the same age and that Agee’s text spoke directly to Barber’s own NOVEMBER 8, 2018 | 1.30 PM THOMAS OLIEMANS Thomas Oliemans, baritone Malcolm Martineau, piano FEBRUARY 28, 2019 | 1.30 PM JOEL QUARRINGTON & FRIENDS Joel Quarrington, double bass David Jalbert, piano; Yehonatan Berick, violin Jethro Marks, viola; Carole Sirois, cello WMCT commissioned work by Bramwell Tovey APRIL 4, 2019 | 1.30 PM MARIAM BATSASHVILI piano MAY 2, 2019 | 1.30 PM ROLSTON STRING QUARTET Luri Lee, violin; Jeffrey Dyrda, violin Hezekiah Leung, viola; Jonathan Lo, cello TORONTO DEBUT 121 st Season Subscribe to Five Thursday Afternoon Concerts for 5 (special price until May 31) Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, 80 Queen’s Park (Museum Subway) wmct@wmct.on.ca www.wmct.on.ca 416-923-7052 thewholenote.com April 2018 | 23

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020
Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019
Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

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