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Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Listings
  • August
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Concerts
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • Quartet
  • Orchestra
PLANTING NOT PAVING! In this JUNE / JULY /AUGUST combined issue: Farewell interviews with TSO's Peter Oundjian and Stratford Summer Music's John Miller, along with "going places" chats with Luminato's Josephine Ridge, TD Jazz's Josh Grossman and Charm of Finches' Terry Lim. ) Plus a summer's worth of fruitful festival inquiry, in the city and on the road, in a feast of stories and our annual GREEN PAGES summer Directory.

Ottawa Chamberfest

Ottawa Chamberfest Ottawa Chamberfest celebrates its 25th season July 26 to August 9 with a star-studded roster. Highlights include Marc-André Hamelin (July 27) extending his exploration of the piano music of Samuel Feinberg (and Chopin) as well as teaming up with the exceptional Danel Quatuor for Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet Op.57. Israel’s Ariel Quartet and Banff winners, the Rolston String Quartet, combine for Mendelssohn’s great Octet (July 30); Quatuor Danel (July 29) and the Rolstons (July 31) each give additional concerts. OSM concertmaster Andrew Wan and rising-star pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin play Beethoven sonatas (August 5); the Gryphon Trio celebrates their own 25th anniversary with an evening of greatest hits and favourite stories (August 5); the masterful Pražák Quartet delves into their Czech heritage (August 7); and Angela Hewitt brightens her visit to her hometown with programs featuring Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book One (August 4) and Goldberg Variations (August 6). TERRY LIM PHOTOGRAPHY Summer Music in the Garden An oasis of calm downtown by the lake, Harbourfront’s Music Garden is one of Toronto’s best kept secrets. And it’s free! Now is the time to spread the word. Here are some highlights. The Venuti String Quartet (violinists Rebekah Wolkstein and Drew Jurecka, violist Shannon Knights and cellist Lydia Munchinsky) performs Ravel’s breathtaking String Quartet June 28; The New Zealand String Quartet illuminates Beethoven’s String Quartet No.7, Op.59 No.1 as well as Cathedral Bluffs SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Norman Reintamm Artistic Director/Principal Conductor 2018-2019 Season NEW SEASON OF GREAT CONCERTS 1. Saturday november 10 8 pm Verdi Overture to Luisa Miller Dvořák Slavonic Dance, Op. 46 4. Saturday March 9 8 pm Debussy Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun Arvo Pärt Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten Schumann Symphony No. 3 (Rhenish) 2. Saturday December 15 8 pm nighT aT The opera Favorites from Johann Strauss Jr., including Overture to Die Fledermaus Auf Der Jagd Polka | A Night in Venice Overture | Overture to The Gypsy Baron Unter Donner und Blitz Polka | Tritsch-Tratsch Polka | The Blue Danube Waltz Lehár Overture to The Merry Widow 3. Saturday February 2 8 pm Tango! a collaboration featuring PAYADORA TANGO ENSEMBLE Robert Horvath Tangos for Orchestra Piazzolla The Four Seasons (arr. Carlos Franzetti) Stravinsky The Rite of Spring Erik Kreem Tone Poem for Symphony Orchestra 5. Saturday May 25 8 pm SeaSon Finale We welcome the YOU dance Apprentices of the National Ballet of Canada for our season finale, presenting favourites from ballets such as Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and other well-known masterpieces. Subscribe Today & Save! | 416.879.5566 Blythwood Winds Stravinsky’s little-heard Concertino for String Quartet July 19; Blythwood Winds, a classic wind quintet, present a program spanning the last century, including Elliott Carter’s Wind Quintet, Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s nature-inspired Emerge and music from the score to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, July 20. Famous for their marimba-duo version of Ann Southam’s Glass Houses, Taktus (Greg Harrison and Jonny Smith) brings it all back home to Toronto on July 22. Playing violin, mandolin and the nine-string hardanger fiddle, Rebekah Wolkstein and Drew Jurecka perform music by Brahms, Bartók, Mozart and Grieg, along with folk music of Norway, August 16. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. The Long Goodbye In what amounts to its own mini-festival, Peter Oundjian’s 14-year tenure as TSO conductor and music director comes to a celebratory conclusion with a rousing series of concerts in June. !! June 13 and 14: In addition to Brahms Symphony 1, one of the grandest of all symphonies, the program includes three dances from Bernstein’s jaunty, jazzy ballet, Fancy Free, and Gershwin’s bluesy Piano Concerto in F, featuring the highly regarded Jean-Yves Thibaudet. !! June 16: Russian piano sensation Daniil Trifonov joins the festivities – for one night only – to perform Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 3. The monumental work, one of the most challenging piano concertos in the classical repertoire (and the bane of many an aspiring pianist) is framed by Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila and Ravel’s magical transformation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. !! June 20 and 23: In an evening titled Ax Plays Mozart, pianist Emanuel Ax (one of Oundjian’s favourite collaborators) captures the magic of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.17. Oundjian also leads the orchestra in one of the most achingly Romantic of all symphonies – Mahler’s Symphony 9. The composer’s last completed work bids farewell to everything he held dear: love, the dances of the central European countryside, the bustle of the big city, and finally life itself. And underlines how crucial Mahler’s place in Oundjian’s time with the TSO has been. !! June 22 at 12:30pm: The TSO – in partnership with Roy Thomson Hall – presents Thank You, Toronto! In this free one-hour concert, Oundjian and the orchestra show their gratitude to the people of Toronto by delivering a program of audience favourites (and a few surprises) that is sure to evoke some emotions. !! June 26: In Christopher Plummer’s Symphonic Shakespeare, the Academy and Tony Award-winning actor narrates a blend of Shakespeare’s immortal words from Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, The Tempest and more, with music by many of the great composers who were inspired by their magic, such as Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams, Prokofiev and Beethoven. !! June 28, 29 and 30:Beethoven Symphony 9 is one of the enduring icons of music. Peter Oundjian concludes his 14-year term as music director with this stirring testament to joy and brotherhood. These three performances will bring to 14 the number of times Oundjian has conducted Beethoven’s Ninth with the TSO. An all-Canadian cast comprising soprano Kirsten MacKinnon, mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal, tenor Andrew Haji and baritone Tyler Duncan comes together with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Orchestra. Get out your handkerchiefs. – PE 20 | June | July | August 2018

BO HUANG Beat by Beat | In with the New Made in Canada. New Sounds at the Sound WENDALYN BARTLEY With the arrival of warmer weather, it’s time to dive into the world of summer music festivals. One that caught my attention this year is Festival of the Sound, located in the heart of vacation country, the town of Parry Sound. This year’s festival, which runs from July 20 to August 11, is offering two unique contemporary music events, both of which focus on themes related to cultural identity, history and place. I’ll be concluding the column with a summary of a few new music events happening this summer within the city of Toronto. The piano quartet Ensemble Made in Canada will be premiering their unique and ambitious Mosaïque Project at Festival of the Sound on July 26. The ensemble got their start in 2006 at the Banff Centre for the Arts, when Angela Park (piano) and Sharon Wei (viola) were inspired to begin a chamber music ensemble that would enable the two of them to play together – thus a piano quartet was formed rather than the usual choice for chamber ensembles, the string quartet. Additional members of the current quartet include Elissa Lee (violin) and Rachel Mercer (cello), and it was Lee who I had a conversation with about Mosaïque. A few years ago, the quartet began brainstorming about future projects, and had the vision of travelling across the country by train. Not able to physically manage it – since until recently taking a cello on VIA Rail was not allowed – they came up with the idea of commissioning a piece of music that would do it for them. The original idea was to commission 13 composers (one for each province and territory), but later this increased to 14 composers, who were then selected based on the quartet’s attraction to their individual compositional styles rather than on where they lived. After the composers were on board, the quartet then came up with a strategy to allocate a specific province/territory to each composer to serve as the initial starting point for their compositions. As things turned out, even though each composer was given free reign to find their own inspiration related to the assigned province/territory, a majority of them chose the theme of water as their point of departure. In our conversation, Lee remarked how nature is “so close to our hearts as Canadians,” so it’s no surprise that this would emerge as a common thread amongst the creators. Each of the pieces is four minutes in length, and in the premiere performance in Parry Sound, all 14 of these miniatures will be woven together. An extensive tour is planned across the country after the premiere, with dates and locations scheduled into the fall of 2019 and a changing set list of Mosaïque selections for each show. Audiences in Toronto will be able to hear the complete set of 14 works on November 15, as part of Music Toronto’s concert season and their full touring schedule is available on their website. One of the distinctive features of this project is a visually based Ensemble Made in Canada (from left) Elissa Lee, Angela Park, Sharon Wei and Rachel Mercer component that will engage the audience. During the concert, audience members will have the opportunity to doodle or draw while listening. Lee explained that many audience members only want to experience familiar music and are more skeptical of contemporary pieces. Based on Lee’s own practice of doodling while talking on the phone, she had the inspiration that if people were doing something more unconscious like doodling, “they could abstract the music and be less apt to judge it. By engaging in a drawing experience, people are able to tap into their own creativity and draw something based on what they’re hearing to inspire them. It opens up a different approach to how you digest the music and is much more friendly. People may find themselves hearing something in the music they would otherwise miss,” Lee said. The other goal of the visual element is to concretely capture how the music is inspiring the audiences. “Canada is inspiring the composers, the composers are inspiring the ensemble, and since the concert is travelling throughout the country, the music is inspiring a nation-wide audience. We can capture what is being created and put it on our website, creating a visual mosaic as another layer to how we celebrate and represent our country.” Through the Mosaïque Project, Canada’s diversity and richness are celebrated not only through the music, but also through the eyes and ears of its people. Sounding Thunder The second contemporary music event at the Festival of the Sound is the world premiere of Sounding MUSIC, SOUND AND ART FROM EVERY DIRECTION AUGUST 31 – SEPTEMBER 3, 2018 SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 IN YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE Stay tuned for other dates and venues at June | July | August 2018 | 21

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