1 year ago

Volume 27 Issue 5 | March 4 - April 15, 2022

"Hard to watch and impossible to ignore"--on the Russian invasion of Ukraine; Tafelmusik goes live again in a tribute to Jeanne Lamon; TSO MD reunion as Centennial Countdown kicks off; PASS=Performing Arts Sunday Series at the Hamilton Conservatory of the Arts ...; crosstown to the TRANZAC, Matthew Fava on the move; all this and more ....


CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Across the board, there’s a spring in the seasonal step! PAUL ENNIS Gustavo Gimeno and TSO cellist Emmanuelle Beaulieu Bergeron STUART LOWE HOWARD J DAVIS In what promises to be an unforgettable night, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is bringing all five of their living music directors to the Roy Thomson Hall stage on April 9 at 7:30 for a unique historical event. The five conductors’ tenures span the last 47 years, as the TSO eases into its hundredth year. Former TSO music directors Sir Andrew Davis (1975-1988; 2018-2020), Günther Herbig (1989-1994), Jukka-Pekka Saraste (1994-2001) and Peter Oundjian (2004-2018) will join current music director Gustavo Gimeno and host Marion Newman for this special Centennial Season event – a program of orchestral showpieces highlighting key moments in TSO history. Marion Newman Davis starts the evening off by taking the podium for Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture which has been conducted by seven of the TSO’s music directors, notably by Davis as part of the TSO’s Canadian Odyssey tour of the North in 1987. Davis also leads the orchestra in Delius’ The Walk to the Paradise Garden, paying tribute to Davis’ British roots. (British-trained Canadian, Sir Ernest MacMillan, is the only other TSO music director to have performed it.) In a nod to his German origins, Herbig (who recently turned 90) will conduct Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser, a work that has been conducted by eight of the ten TSO ten music directors since the orchestra’s founding in April 1923. It is a piece that the TSO has programmed 51 times since 1924, when it was conducted by TSO founder Luigi von Kunits. Next, Finnish-born Saraste conducts Sibelius’ “Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island” from Lemminkäinen Suite. First performed by the TSO in 1998 under Saraste’s baton, the Sibelius suite was part of the orchestra’s tour to Carnegie Hall later that year and was subsequently recorded (with Saraste) in 2000. Toronto-born Oundijian conducts Alexina Louie’s The Ringing Earth as a tribute to his championship of contemporary and particularly Canadian contemporary music. Louie’s piece was also part of the Oundjian 2005 Northern tour. Oundjian and the TSO performed “Sárka” from Smetana’s Má vlast on a 2014 residency at the Prague Spring Festival. Programming Smetana on April 9 is a tribute to the TSO’s Czech-born music directors, Karel Ančerl and Walter Susskind. Gimeno brings the event to a close with Ravel’s dazzling Rapsodie espagnole, acknowledging his own Spanish roots. (Five of the ten TSO music directors have performed it.) Performing Arts Sundays in Hamilton Hamilton’s Performing Arts Sunday Series (PASS) – now in its first season – was put together by HCA Dance Theatre and the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. It stems from the Conservatory’s long-standing Concert Series, growing to include a wider range of performing arts. This season so far they have welcomed a flamenco performance featuring Compañia Carmen Romero and an opera recital with soprano Adrianne Pieczonka (who also led a masterclass for emerging opera singers). This spring they will host three pianists: Valerie Tryon, André Laplante and Janina Fialkowska. Tryon’s bountiful Valerie Tryon 10 | February 2022

New Album Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts recital at 2pm on March 20 begins with two Scarlatti sonatas, two Schubert impromptus (D899), three pieces from Brahms’ Op.118 and two from Brahms’ Op.76. Debussy’s Suite: Pour le Piano and Rachmaninoff’s transcriptions of Kreisler’s Liebesleid and Liebesfreud complete the afternoon program. I reached out to Vitek Wincza, artistic director of the Hamilton Conservatory, for some historical context. “The Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts has a history of chamber music performances that predates its modern history.” he explained. “When it operated as the Royal College of Music in the early 1900s, the building was erected with the express intent to host musicians in the Recital Hall. Knowing this rich history, Zdenek Konicek of Trio Canada approached me with the interest of rebuilding the concert series, and we worked tirelessly to continue the Conservatory’s tradition of live music.” Working closely with Jan Narveson at the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society (no strangers to this column), they cultivated shared programming and the HCA Concert Series was born. Then, just before the pandemic, they received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that allowed them to reinvigorate their Recital Hall. “New technical equipment, cosmetic upgrades, and a name refresh have allowed us to emerge from lockdowns with a beautiful new space: The Black Box Theatre. These technical improvements allow us to explore new methods of performance, including livestreaming.” The reinvigoration of the space was the inspiration for the Performing Arts Sunday Series, or PASS. “Along with a long-term goal to host events every Sunday throughout the year, we are thrilled to begin to expand our programming to include our historic chamber music concerts, as well as opera, theatre and dance. In addition, we look to offer masterclasses with our esteemed artists so that young people studying to develop an artistic career can find inspiration and mentorship.” As mentioned, for this, their inaugural season, they have invited pianists Valerie Tryon [March 20], André Laplante [April 10] and Janina Fialkowska [May 8] to return to the Conservatory. “These artists Available now at March 4 - April 15, 2022 | 11

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