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Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Performing
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Composer
In this issue: A prize that brings lustre to its laureates (and a laureate who brings lustre to the prize); Edwin Huizinga on the journey of Opera Atelier's "The Angel Speaks" from Versailles to the ROM; Danny Driver on playing piano in the moment; Remembering Neil Crory (a different kind of genius)' Year of the Boar, Indigeneity and Opera; all this and more in Volume 24 #5. Online in flip through, HERE and on the stands commencing Thursday Jan 31.

Beat by Beat | World

Beat by Beat | World View Music and Calendars Constructs in Time ANDREW TIMAR Welcome to the first WholeNote World View column of 2019. Calendar years are human constructs, as is time itself. Yet as we all learned in Music 101, and as Leonard Bernstein repeated in his 1955 Art of Conducting TV lecture, “music exists in the medium of time.” As we all know, the familiar Gregorian calendar, in use since 1582, and itself a correction of the earlier Julian calendar – both based on the Earth’s revolution around the Sun – pins January 1 as the very beginning of the year. The more ancient lunar calendar on the other hand is built on the monthly cycles of lunar phases. Chinese culture has observed both a lunar and a solar calendar for millennia, complex computations resulting in a blended lunisolar calendar which reckons years, months and days according to astronomical phenomena, in 12-yearly cycles. The Chinese lunisolar New Year falls this year on February 5, initiating the Year of the Pig, which in some related Asian zodiacs is represented by its wild cousin the boar. Widely called chunjie (Spring Festival), it technically lasts 15 days in mainland China. Participants mark the ritual start of a new year by planting crops, feasting, gifting, praying to the gods and the ancestors, and seeking to attract good fortune. Bright red auspicious decorations and lanterns are hung, negative forces are purged, fireworks fill the sky, and much more. Lunisolar New Years are celebrated not only in mainland China and Taiwan but also widely in East and Southeast Asia and by Chinese and other communities around the world. One estimate pegs the number of participants at a quarter of the world’s population. In modern China, workers travel home to enjoy reunion dinners and family visits at this time of year. Called chunyun, this roughly 40-day period has been tagged as the world’s largest annual migration. The numbers are truly mindboggling, like many things in China. Over 2.9 billion individual passenger journeys are projected during chunyun this year, well over twice the actual population of the country. Chinese New Year in the Greater Toronto Area The Chinese Spring Festival is undoubtedly the most significant community-wide celebration in China and the diaspora. In the GTA it already began in January. I discussed how the Spring Festival season impacts GTA Chinese musicians, their repertoire and community patronage, in a series of late January messages with Canadian Chinese Orchestra artistic director and conductor Amely Zhou. (She was too busy for a sit-down due to her intensive rehearsal schedule.) What is the New Year season like for Chinese musicians? Does it result in performing opportunities? “Very much yes… it’s a busy time for all Chinese musicians,” replied Zhou. “Private individuals, businesses and mass entertainment providers like TV stations want live Chinese music to demonstrate their allegiance to their culture of origin at this auspicious time of year.” It’s a significant form of community support for Chinese musicians in the diaspora, as well as for their Chinese instruments and repertoire. The patronage of Chinese music and affiliated performing arts such as dance and opera are closely tied to GTA and international commercial interests. “These are ultimately linked to the economic strength of today’s China,” added Zhou. It reflects a complex and ever-evolving economic, cultural – and even at times political – dynamic between Canada and China, one which has very recently become significantly more tense. Canadian Chinese Orchestra Fête Chinoise at the AGO A good example of this patronage at work was the Canadian Chinese Orchestra’s first Chinese New Year gig at an event organized by Fête Chinoise, the Markham, Ontario magazine and lifestyle event programming company. Held at the Art Gallery of Ontario on January 26, the event, also called Fête Chinoise, seeks to “empower individuals to deepen the connection between their [Chinese] identity and culture,” through a “curated lens and critical thinking.” CCO’s repertoire for this event included Festive Overture for Chinese orchestra by veteran Chinese composer Jiping Zhao and the pop instrumental Summer by Japanese film ccomposer Joe Hisaishi, arranged by Malaysian composer Junyi Chow. CCO’s set was, however, only one among many experiences that night. They included fashion, art and design as well as food, drink and stationery that reflected motifs of abundance, opulence, wealth and philanthropy, all significant themes in Chinese New Year celebrations. The sold-out event presented aspirational products and experiences which put a curated, NEW MUSIC CONCERTS | ROBERT AITKEN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR| WWW.NEWMUSICCONCERTS.COM | RESERVATIONS 416.961.9594 SUNDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2019 Gallery 345 | 345 Sorauren Moritz Ernst Benefit Piano Recital SPECIAL EVENT Tickets 0 (2 for 0) includes door prizes, gourmet delights and drinks. RSVP 416.961.9594 Doors Open @ 7 SUNDAY APRIL 28, 2019 Oliphant Theatre | 404 Jarvis Luminaries Pierre Boulez: Le marteau sans maître Gilles Tremblay: Envoi Louise Bessette | Patricia Green NMC Ensemble Robert Aitken | Brian Current Intro @ 7:15 | Concert @ 8 SUNDAY MAY 26, 2019 Oliphant Theatre | 404 Jarvis Iridescence concertos and a song cycle by Matthias McIntire Samuel Andreyev and Ana Sokolovic NMC Ensemble | Robert Aitken Intro @ 7:15 | Concert @ 8 24 | December 2018 / January 2019 thewholenote.com

Toronto Chinese Orchestra director Patty Chan. contemporary and urbane spin on ancient Chinese cultural customs. Chinese New Year Gala 2019 at the Sony Centre February 4, on the eve of the Year of the Pig, The 6th Chinese New Year Gala 2019 takes over the substantial stage of the Sony Centre, Toronto, produced by Canada National TV, a Chinese-Canadian television station. The Sony Centre event page describes the event as follows: “Chinese and Western artists will sing and dance, and we will drum the bell to welcome the arrival of 2019. It will be Canada’s largest Chinese Spring Festival Evening by far! … The largest overseas Chinese New Year celebration, [the show] connects millions of viewers at home and abroad… through live television.” A portion of the ticket sales will benefit a local hospital and the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. It’s part of a long Chinese tradition of giving back to the community and taking careful care of elders. The CCO performs a set at the New Year Gala 2019 including Dance of the Golden Snake (1934), a fast-paced orchestral composition by Nie Er, popular during New Year celebrations, drawing on Shanghai region folk melodies and featuring lively percussion. the CCO plays an arrangement of this work by Hong Kong composer and conductor Ng Chiu Shing. “We’ll also be playing my Chinese orchestra arrangement of Billie Jean, Michael Jackson’s hit 1982 song…just for fun,” added Zhou (with smile emoticon attached). Why choose to cover a 1982 American pop song on Chinese instruments? “I wanted to challenge old misconceptions of traditional Chinese Cathedral Bluffs SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Norman Reintamm Artistic Director/Principal Conductor Saturday March 9, 2019 8 pm THE RITE OF SPRING STRAVINSKY’S MASTERPIECE DEBUSSY Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun Estonian-Canadian composer ERIK KREEM Waltz (Premiere) music being sad and quiet.” And also, “because everyone [in China] knows Billie Jean … I made the arrangement for the CCO Youth Orchestra tour to China last summer and it was very well received, with audiences clapping and dancing. My drummer was particularly popular with the girls!” Toronto Chinese Orchestra City Hall, Pacific Mall The Toronto Chinese Orchestra (TCO) is the region’s oldest such orchestra. Under music director Patty Chan on the morning of February 4 – the eve of the Year of the Pig – it plays festive music at Toronto City Hall, our region’s civic hub and usually its political epicentre. Then at 10pm the same day the TCO reconvenes at the Pacific Mall playing a late-night set just before New Year. Located on the City of Markham side of Steeles Ave., the three-level Pacific Mall has reigned as the largest Chinese shopping mall in North America since opening its doors in 1997, a popular hub of an explicitly commercial kind. Both free concerts are open to the public. COC’s World Music Free Noon-Hour Series February 5 at 12 noon the TCO’s Chamber Players celebrate Chinese New Year in the Canadian Opera Company’s free World Music Series at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Led by its erhu player Patty Chan, the Chamber Players form the professional core of the TCO, including Kenny Kwan, percussion; Dora Wang, dizi and Wendy Zhou, pipa. Boosting the lower end of the sound spectrum is cellist Jaimie Chan who was TICKETS: from ( student/senior; children under 12 are free) ORDER ONLINE cathedralbluffs.com BY PHONE 416.879.5566 P.C. Ho Theatre 5183 Sheppard Ave East subscription (1 block east of Markham Rd), Scarborough cathedralbluffs.com | 416.879.5566 concert 4 thewholenote.com December 2018 / January 2019 | 25

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

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

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)