1 year ago

Volume 27 Issue 1 - September / October 2021

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  • Thewholenotecom
  • Pianist
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  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • September
  • October
Blue pages and orange shirts; R. Murray Schafer's complex legacy, stirrings of life on the live concert scene; and the Bookshelf is back. This and much more. Print to follow. Welcome back from endless summer, one and all.

Tomoko Inui The

Tomoko Inui The Sweetwater Music Festival – September 16 to 19 in Owen Sound – features artists from the Rosebud String Quartet to Tamar Ilana & Ventanas; Tom Allen and Patricia O’Callaghan to the sublime violinist Edwin Huizinga (the Festival’s artistic director) and pianist Philip Chiu. Available in-person or livestream. The Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society (KWCMS) has its fingers crossed for their new season which begins October 2 and 3 with the fifth installment of the Penderecki String Quartet’s traversal of Beethoven’s complete string quartets – Opp.132 and 130 (including the Grosse Fuge). Current COVID protocols prevent KWCMS from using their usual venue, the Music Room, so they have moved the concerts to First United Church in Waterloo. Montrealbased pianist Tomoko Inui leads a quartet of musical friends in piano quintets by Dvořák (ever popular) and Bartók (a rarely performed curiosity) on October 16. Eminent Canadian pianist Robert Silverman delves into Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One on November 7. Sinfonia Toronto Sinfonia Toronto will kick off its 23rd season with a free Ontario Culture Days concert for both in-person and virtual audiences on October 2 at 3pm in the main lobby of Meridian Hall, 1 Front Street East. “This will be an hour of popular gems, favourite melodies from Mozart to Shostakovich,” says music director Nurhan Arman. “It will be an occasion for audiences around the world to access our free livestream … in a casual concert in the spectacular lobby of Meridian Hall.” Free registration for the livestream is now available through Eventbrite. The regular season, featuring guest soloist Igor Pikayzen, begins at the George Weston Recital Hall on October 23. The program opens with Toronto composer Alice Ping Yee Ho’s tribute to health workers, Resurrected Angel II, continuing with Bach’s Violin Concerto No.2 in E Major, Wieniawski’s Faust Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra and concluding with Tchaikovsky’s breathtaking Souvenir de Florence. Community Orchestras A handful of community orchestras are looking forward to getting back on stage after their concertizing was sharply curtailed by COVID- 19. Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, a volunteer community orchestra which has been based in Scarborough since 1986, returns to the P.C. Ho Theatre October 2. Pratik Ghandhi conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No.6 “Pastorale” and Schumann’s Cello Concerto with guest soloist Samantha Yang. Christine Fong picks up the baton on November 6 for Brahms’ unjustly underrated Symphony No.3 and Dvořák’s In Nature’s Realm. Fong and Yang are among the finalists auditioning for the currently vacant conductor’s post. Season Update We are busy planning 3 exciting concerts for the 2021/2022 season: • Late January • Late March • Early June Specific dates and more information will be available on our website in early October. Kristian Alexander and artists of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra The Kindred Spirits Orchestra is a critically acclaimed, auditionedbased civic orchestra whose new season begins on October 30 in the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts with music director Kristian Alexander leading the orchestra in Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, Dukas’ Fanfare pour précéder La Péri and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.4 for the left hand performed by pianist Dong Xu. Active since 1972, and under the direction of Denis Mastromonaco since 2013, the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra – with a combination of 90+ community musicians and professional section leads – has earned a reputation as the best hybrid orchestra in Canada. They are looking forward to a triumphant return to Hammerson Hall on November 30; complete repertoire will be announced shortly. Orchestra Toronto, a community orchestra under the musical direction of Michael Newnham, is looking forward to welcoming audiences back to their home stage at the George Weston Recital Hall on October 24 for a program of works by Rossini, Respighi and Mendelssohn (Symphony No.5 “Reformation”). Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. 20 | September and October 2021

JAZZ IN THE CLUBS For the clubs it’s not a moment too soon COLIN STORY ORI DAGAN Ah, September. Across the country – as books are cracked open, backpacks are zipped up, and “”back to school” carries a whole different set of connotations: a pervasive sense of COVID-related anxiety weighing heavy on the collective national consciousness. It still doesn’t quite feel as though things are getting back to normal. It does, however, feel as though we’re gradually heading in the right direction, further potential lockdowns notwithstanding. Let’s hope so: for the venues I cover here, it’s a knife-edge situation still. As I have documented in multiple pieces over the last year, the pandemic has been exceptionally difficult for Toronto’s club scene, not least, as I outlined in a recent article, the exorbitant insurance premiums that venues have been asked to pay this year. For many venues, this development intensified existing financial hardship, introducing yet another element of precariousness to the Sisyphean task of hosting live music. The changing season, however, brings with it a kernel of hope. Though jazz venues don’t follow the same seasonal cycle as classical institutions, the relatively recent date – July 16 – of the return of live music means that this fall represents a potential turning point for clubs. Having had the summer to hire/re-hire staff, implement new safety protocols, make changes in payment policies, and attend to the myriad other demands of the reopening process, clubs are as ready as they’ll ever be to get back to business, whatever that may look like as the fall progresses into winter. Makeover for The Rex In the immediate future, however, things are looking good, at least where live shows are concerned. At The Rex – which has implemented a new stage-centred layout (with an accompanying tieredseating/pricing system, in which seats at the rear of the venue have a lower cover charge than those adjacent to the stage – a new series has emerged. The Rex JUNO Artist Appreciation Series, as it’s called, is funded by FACTOR Canada, and entails a new kind of booking for The Rex: a four-night engagement, from Wednesday to Saturday at 8:30pm every week. This format, of course, has a rich history, and a multi-night booking was once the standard for many clubs. (It still is, in a few notable venues, including the Blue Note, in Manhattan.) In Toronto, there are a number of clubs that have had the occasional multi-night booking, but these have typically been limited to three consecutive evenings, usually reserved for high-profile visiting artists; and it will likely be some time until we see regular visits from international artists. For The Rex, the JUNO Series is a smart move, for multiple reasons. The first: the JUNO name is a great way to apply a bit of brand recognition to their bookings, providing audiences new and old with an easy entry point (though, of course, it is not hard to hear JUNO WELCOME TO THE FAMILY & We are delighted to welcome the world’s most recognised and respected piano makers back home to Remenyi House of Music September and October 2021 | 21

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