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Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019

  • Text
  • Theatre
  • Composer
  • Arts
  • Quartet
  • Festival
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  • Musical
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • September
Vol 1 of our 25th season is now here! And speaking of 25, that's how many films in the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival editor Paul Ennis, in our Eighth Annual TIFF TIPS, has chosen to highlight for their particular musical interest. Also inside: Rob Harris looks through the Rear View Mirror at past and present prognostications about the imminent death of classical music; Mysterious Barricades and Systemic Barriers are Lydia Perović's preoccupations in Art of Song; Andrew Timar reflects on the evolving priorities of the Polaris Prize; and elsewhere, it's chocks away as yet another season creaks or roars (depending on the beat) into motion. Welcome back.


CANADIAN MUSIC Neil Crory’s Legacy of Support DAVID JAEGER Much has already been penned in celebration of the remarkable career of the late Neil Crory (1950–2019). The tributes often focus on Crory’s enthusiasm for and support of classical singers in Canada. And indeed Crory’s influence in the musical community was far reaching. Surprisingly little has been mentioned thus far, though, about his strong support of Canadian composition. But in fact, Crory had a keen interest in the development of Canadian composers. Through his activities as a member of the national radio music department of CBC Radio, he initiated numerous commissions and creative projects for CBC Radio music programs. The program I created for CBC Radio Two, Two New Hours (1978–2007), was fortunate to be the place where many of Crory’s projects were aired, enabling our listeners to witness the exuberant programming that was the hallmark of his creativity. Some of our most ambitious Two New Hours productions, in the cause of original Canadian music, benefited from Crory’s participation. An example of this: Glenn Buhr’s large-scale work, Cathedral Songs, commissioned as an expression of musical community building, to celebrate the newly opened Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto and to be performed in-the-round in the Barbara Frum Atrium, by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Nexus, the Toronto Children’s Choir, and the Hannaford Street Silver Band. In March of 1995, these forces duly assembled for a concert titled “Cathedral Songs,” in which the eponymous composition by Glenn Buhr had its premiere. As the CBC Radio Music liason with the Toronto Symphony, Crory made sure that the TSO was at the centre of it all. The Atrium’s 700 seats were full, and the concert was broadcast live-to-air, serving an audience of thousands of listeners across Canada. The concert, the broadcast, Buhr’s new work and all the other pieces performed in that broadcast made a statement: Canadians creating together and aspiring Neil Crory 2015 for excellence can achieve greatness by harnessing the creative juices of a community. Alec Frame, vice president of CBC Radio at the time told me, “I wish that concert could have gone on forever!” Another example: Crory was involved with commissioning the late Harry Freedman’s (1922–2005) major composition, Borealis, in 1997, which combined the forces of the TSO, the Danish National Radio Choir, the Swedish Radio Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Toronto Childrens’ Chorus, all under the direction of conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste and deployed surrounding the audience, from the ground floor up into the various levels of balconies, ringing the ten-story Barbara Frum Atrium. The occasion in this case was our collaboration with the “Northern Encounters Circumpolar Festival of the Arts,” organized by Soundstreams Canada. The effect of the music was stunning. Freedman himself considered it one of his finest achievements in writing for large-scale musical forces, calling it “A summation.” Chris Paul Harman (b. 1970) was one of the Canadian composers that Crory commissioned several times. Harman was, at age 19, the youngest Grand Prize winner in the history of the CBC/Radio-Canada Council National Competition for Young Composers (1973–2003). Crory was a close follower of all the various CBC/Radio-Canada music competitions, and he was impressed by the promise of this talented emerging composer. “Neil’s commissions, especially those for the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) and for the CBC Radio National Competition for Young Performers would have lasting impact on my career,” Harman told me. The SLSQ went on to commission a second quartet from Harman, and played both works in Canada, the US and abroad. Later, Harman’s Globus Hystericus, commissioned for the Young Performers’ competition, was subsequently taken up by several pianists including Christina Petrowska Quilico, (who recorded it for Centrediscs), as well as Stephen Clarke and Simon Docking, among others. Hong Kong-born Chan Ka Nin (b.1949) was another Canadian composer for whom Crory had a special affinity, and he commissioned several of Chan’s works. Chan told me, “As I was starting out to teach LINDA LITWACK 16 | September 2019

KOERNER HALL 2019.20 Concert Season Tania Miller conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 8PM PRELUDE RECITAL AT 6:15PM PRE-CONCERT TALK AT 7:15PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only $25 Maestra Miller conducts with “a calm intensity ... expressive, colourful and full of life.” (Hartford Courant) Hear Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in B flat Major and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with pianist Godwin Friesen. Part of the Temerty Orchestral Program David Ramsden’s “There’s a Lady on Stage” SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Free tickets will be available starting Mon. Sept. 30. David Ramsden, pianist, vocalist, and presenter of the original Quiet Please There’s a Lady on Stage concerts at the Cameron House in the 1980s, accompanies a starry lineup of Lori Yates, Tabby Johnson and Theresa Tova. Generously supported by Dorothy Cohen Shoichet Komitas: A Canadian Tribute FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 8PM PRELUDE RECITAL 7PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only A multi-faceted celebration of the 150th birthday of the “soul of Armenian music,” Father Komitas Vartabed, featuring Amici Chamber Ensemble with Canadian baritone Russell Braun, Elmer Iseler Singers, and Canadian Children’s Opera Company. Co-presented with Amici Chamber Ensemble Generously supported by three Toronto Armenian cultural organizations Academy Chamber Orchestra SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 4:30PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Free tickets will be available starting Fri. Oct. 11. The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists presents this concert by the leading young classical musicians in Canada. Hear the stars of tomorrow! The Glenn Gould School Fall Opera: Jonathan Dove’s Siren Song FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 & SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 7:30PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Tickets start at only The gifted students from The Glenn Gould School’s vocal program present their annual fall opera. Peter Tiefenbach returns as Music Director for the production. Part of the Price Opera Program A Hungarian Trilogy SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Tickets: Violinist Erika Raum, known for her “individuality and warm, communicative tone” (Muzsika, Budapest), is joined by violist Barry Shiffman and cellist Tom Wiebe, to perform monumental works by three of Hungary’s most beloved composers: Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin, Zoltán Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello, and the Serenade of Ernö Dohnányi. TICKETS & SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! 416.408.0208 RCMUSIC.COM/PERFORMANCE 273 BLOOR STREET WEST 237 (BLOOR ST. STREET & AVENUE WEST RD.) (BLOOR TORONTO ST. & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO

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