3 years ago

Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020

  • Text
  • Composer
  • Performing
  • Arts
  • Faculty
  • Orchestra
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
FEATURED: Music & Health writer Vivien Fellegi explores music, blindness & the plasticity of perception; David Jaeger digs into Gustavo Gimeno's plans for new music in his upcoming first season as music director at TSO; pianist James Rhodes, here for an early March recital, speaks his mind in a Q&A with Paul Ennis; and Lydia Perovic talks music and more with rising Turkish-Canadian mezzo Beste Kalender. Also, among our columns, Peggy Baker Dance Projects headlines Wende Bartley's In with the New; Steve Wallace's Jazz Notes rushes in definitionally where many fear to tread; ... and more.


ART OF SONG JOSE GUTIÉRREZ recorded and lived with them for decades. I know them better than Beethoven.’ I think there’s something in that. Every time I play them I discover something new. A different stress on one beat, a hidden inner melody, a tiny inflection in half of a bar…. There is an infinite world inside them. Did you have any particular heroes who contributed to your understanding of Beethoven? Gould, obviously. Also Teodor Currentzis. [chief conductor of the SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart and artistic director of the ensemble musicAeterna and of the musicAeterna Chamber Choir] He’s the greatest living conductor (don’t even try to argue with me about that). Sokolov too – he makes the sonatas sound as if you’re hearing them for the first time. Talking to the audience and contextualizing the music you’re about to play, why you chose it and what it means to you, was very prescient when you began doing it more than a decade ago. Now it’s part of the zeitgeist. How did it come about? I don’t think it’s that common sadly. I wish more musicians would do it. Imagine hearing Zimerman discussing Schubert for a few minutes before playing D960! I’d die of joy. I would always choose to introduce a piece for a couple of minutes before playing it and then turn the lights off and let people disappear with the music, instead of having the audience reading program notes about sonata form in Beethoven’s Vienna while I’m playing the bloody thing. There are so many things in classical music that are considered a blasphemy. So many unspoken rules. Sometimes you feel like you’re going to church instead of a recital. This music is so immortal and has sadly been appropriated by a certain group of people for their enjoyment only. It’s desperate. Classical music is not high art. It’s not something you must understand in order to ‘appreciate it’ (whatever that means). It is simply a connection with a part of ourselves that is too easily lost in this age of always-on, super-fast distraction. BESTE KALENDER MEZZO RISING LYDIA PEROVIĆ The year 2020 is coming up roses for mezzo-soprano Beste Kalender, who grew up in Turkey and moved to Canada at the age of 22 to pursue two great interests – postgraduate research in the psychology of musical cognition, and professional singing. One of those is now clearly taking over, and the current year is marked by gigs that she finds particularly meaningful. “I hope I won’t be just a singer who sings pretty music and has no other interests,” she says when we meet in the RCM cafe, deserted for the long weekend. Our voices are ringing in the empty space but the security guy on duty doesn’t seem to mind us being there. “I’d like to be able to engage with larger issues and causes. And have my own distinct voice. This year feels like I do.” The Glenn Gould Foundation presents “In Conversation with James Rhodes” on Wednesday March 4 at 7:30pm, in the Isabel Bader Theatre. The Glenn Gould Foundation presents James Rhodes: “The Beethoven Revolution” on Thursday March 5 at 8pm, in Koerner Hall. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. 12 | March 2020

Beste Kalender, at Koerner Hall with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra (2014) LISA SAKULENSKY. Unlike most of the group, he survived, but he had a breakdown, was moved between military hospitals, and ended his life in a Paris asylum in 1935 a broken man. “This concert is about celebrating Komitas, and it’s about celebrating peace and always working to keep it”, says Kalender. “I’ve listened to a lot of Armenian music alongside my Armenian friends at the Conservatory in Istanbul, and loved it. Our musical traditions share so much.” Istanbul is a diverse city which easily breeds cosmopolitans, and the Turkish-Canadian mezzo is one of them. She grew up in a liberal family and, parallel to attending the Music Conservatory, also went to Boğaziçi University, founded as Robert’s College in 1863, the then only American-run university overseas. “I would go to the European side of Istanbul for the psychology classes in the morning and cross the Bosporus Strait to the Anatolian side of Istanbul for the classes at the Conservatory in the afternoon,” she says of her youthful, pre-Canada years. “It was busy and fun.” She came to Canada to work on a PhD, on an invitation from the University of Toronto. The research-heavy master’s degree she completed fast, but getting into the Glenn Gould School made her put a pause on the PhD, although she enjoyed the work. She would spend a lot of time in the soundproof booths of the U of T’s Mississauga campus, she explains, researching complex and simple meters and how people who speak different languages perceive metre and tonal structures differently. It was a mix of linguistics, music and psychology that she can see herself returning to later in life. But singing kept interfering. She got her first big break in 2015 at the Calgary Opera, where she was scheduled to sing Mercedes in Carmen. The mezzo who sung “I said to myself: if you enjoy this and if it works out, then you’re leaving academe.” One of those larger causes is cross-cultural collaboration. Last month, Kalender performed as a soloist with Sinfonia Toronto in Musical Bridges: Komitas@150, a program of Armenian, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Hungarian and Greek music conducted by an Armenian- Canadian, Nurhan Arman. Komitas – composer, Orthodox priest, ethnomusicologist, and the first Armenian national music systematizer – was born in the Ottoman Empire in 1869. April 24, 1915, Komitas was among more than 200 prominent Armenians rounded up by Ottoman/Turkish forces and deported from Istanbul to Ankara. Carmen fell ill with flu just as the run opened, and Kalender had to jump in on short notice. “I said to myself: if you enjoy this and if it works out, then you’re leaving academe. I had the best time ever on stage. So I thought, okay, let’s try this seriously, let’s go for it.” By that time, she was also married. She had met her Lebanese husband at U of T, where he was working on a master’s degree in Engineering. Between Arabic, Turkish and English, what language do they speak at home? She responds that the linguistic barrier probably made them work more on the relationship: “That’s how our marriage HANDEL’S NOTA BENE BAROQUE PLAYERS & SINGERS HOWARD DYCK, CONDUCTOR SUZIE LEBLANC SOPRANO DANIEL TAYLOR COUNTERTENOR COLIN AINSWORTH TENOR A Rare Easter-time Performance RUSSELL BRAUN BARITONE SATURDAY APRIL 4 / 7 PM / 73 SIMCOE ST. TORONTO ADVANCE TICKETS: OR AT DOOR March 2020 | 13

Copied successfully!

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)