5 months ago

Volume 26 Issue 8 - July and August 2021

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Last print issue for Volume 26. Back mid-September with Vol 27 no 1. And what a sixteen-month year it's been. Thanks for sticking around. Inside: looking back at what we are hoping is behind us, and ahead to what the summer has to offer; also inside, DISCoveries: 100 reviews to read, and a bunch of new tracks uploaded to the listening room. On stands, commencing Wednesday June 30.

From the 2019 TSM

From the 2019 TSM Academy: left to right: Alessia Disimino, violin; Jialiang Zhu, piano; Andrew Ascenzo, cello; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola (Dover Quartet). finish with Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello. It’s the kind of unusual programming that is second nature for TSM. Leong, Tétreault and Schwartzkopf then join Boris Brott and his National Academy Orchestra for a concert livestreamed from Koerner Hall on July 29 that showcases two Azrieli Music Prize winners – Kelly-Marie Murphy’s En El Escuro Es Todo Uno: a Double Concerto for Cello and Harp and Avner Dorman’s Violin Concerto – Bruch’s moving Kol Nidrei and Mendelssohn’s indelible Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op.64. Welcome Academy news The festival will also feature the return of the TSM Academy for Emerging Artists after a one-year hiatus. The TSM Academy offers exceptionally gifted young chamber musicians and singers (“Fellows”), on the cusp of professional careers, a full scholarship to study and perform with guest artists (“Mentors”) during the TSM Festival in a series of reGENERATION concerts on July 17, 24 and 31. Fittingly, it’s where more unusual works may often be found. There are six Art of Song Fellows (four singers and two pianists); the Art of Song Mentors are soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, baritone Russell Braun and pianists Michael McMahon and Steven Philcox. (Pieczonka and Philcox will appear in recital on July 20, livestreamed from Walter Hall.) Among the 12 Chamber Music Institute Fellows are six violinists, three violists and three cellists. Chamber Music Institute Mentors include violinists Andrew Wan, Annalee Patipatanakoon, Jonathan Crow and Mayumi Seiler, violists Barry Shiffman, Juan- Miguel Hernandez, Rémi Pelletier and Sharon Wei, cellists Brian Manker, Rachel Mercer and Roman Borys and pianists Jamie Parker and Philip Chiu. A highlight: TSM Academy Fellows will celebrate the music of Bach alongside mainstage TSM Festival artists in a concert livestreamed from Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre on July 21. Included in this eclectic selection from Bach’s works for strings and voices are the Cello Suite No.3 in C Major (performed by Rachel Mercer), the Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor and the Brandenburg Concerto No.3. Any life on the horizon right now would be a welcome sight. New Horizons promises much more than that. TSO Mid-June brought welcome news on another front. The longawaited reunion between the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and its patrons is at hand, with a date on November 10, 2021, the first of 30 varied programs running through June of 2022, and overlapping with the start of a year-long celebration of the TSO’s 100th season, which will start in the spring of 2022 and extend into the 2022/23 season. It will be a gradual re-engagement. The first four months of the new season will feature hour-long concerts without intermission, and with musicians performing works that accommodate smaller ensembles on stage in order to maintain physical distancing. Among these, two mid- November programs, conducted by music director Gustavo Gimeno, stand out. The first showcases the orchestra’s strings performing works by three leading contemporary composers – Caroline Shaw, Dinuk Wijeratne and Kelly-Marie Murphy – along with immensely popular pieces by Mahler and Schoenberg. Later in the week, the spotlight shines on the TSO’s winds, brass and percussion. Symphonic works with a greater number of musicians and longer concerts will commence in the spring, beginning in late March with Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducting Sibelius Symphonies 7 & 5. Visiting Canadian and international soloists that caught my eye include Timothy Chooi (Tchaikovsky violin concerto), Kerson Leong (Samy Moussa violin concerto), Angela Hewitt (playing and conducting Bach’s second keyboard concerto and Mozart’s 12th), James Ehnes (Beethoven violin concerto), Jan Lisiecki (Prokofiev’s second piano concerto), Barbara Hannigan (the world premiere of Zosha Di Castri’s new work for soprano and orchestra) and Daniil Trifonov (Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto). Conductor emeritus Peter Oundjian and conductor laureate Sir Andrew Davis add their batons to the celebratory season. Gimeno is also harnessing the individual forces of the orchestra. In January, concertmaster Jonathan Crow will lead Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and More, featuring principal oboe Sarah Jeffrey, principal trumpet Andrew McCandless, principal bassoon Michael Sweeney, principal cello Joseph Johnson, flutist Leonie Wall and principal flute Kelly Zimba. TSO musicians also performing as soloists in the season include associate principal clarinet Eric Abramovitz and clarinetist Miles Jaques (Mendelssohn Concert Piece No.2), Crow (Beethoven Romance No.2), principal double bass Jeffrey Beecher (Missy Mazzoli Dark with Excessive Bright), principal trombone Gordon Wolfe (Jordan Pal Scylla: Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra) and Zimba (Nielsen Flute Concerto). Welcome back. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. 14 | July and August 2021

IN WITH THE NEW VALORIZING NATURE Sound Ecology and the Climate Emergency WENDALYN BARTLEY Although there is a lot of focus these days on the pandemic, we are all at some level aware that lurking in the background is a much bigger issue for which there is no vaccine – the climate crisis with the threat of rising seas, worsening storms, runaway fires and more. These issues are increasingly becoming the focus for many artists of all disciplines, myself included. How do we continue working as creative people with all the impending disasters just around the corner? What relevance does the next orchestral composition or sound improvisation have in light of the issues we’re collectively facing? I recently approached one of my composer colleagues, Claude Schryer, whom I originally met when we were both graduate students in composition at McGill University in the 1980s, for his thoughts on all this. Schryer has been involved for years in issues related to the relationship between sound, listening, musical composition and the environment, an area that has become known as “acoustic ecology”. This particular Claude Schryer Hildegard Westerkamp, Banff 1992 field of ecological awareness, encompassing both artistic practice and academic scholarship, was originally born on Canadian soil out of the work of composer R. Murray Schafer and his colleagues in the World Soundscape Project (WSP) during the 1970s. Later, in 1993, a conference was held at the Banff Centre for the Arts called The Tuning of the World, the title of Schafer’s influential book published originally in 1977. Schryer was instrumental PETER GRANT. SABRINA MATTHEWS July and August 2021 | 15

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