1 year ago

Volume 28 Issue 1 | September 20 - November 8, 2022

  • Text
  • Thewholenotecom
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Violin
  • Composer
  • Orchestra
  • October
  • November
  • Symphony
  • September
  • Toronto
Our 28th season in print! “And Now, Back to Live Action”; a symphonic-sized listings section, compared to last season; clubs “On the move” ; FuturesStops Festival and Nuit Blanche; “Pianistic high-wire acts”; Season announcements include full-sized choral works like Mendelssohn’s Elijah; “Icons, innovators and renegades” pulling out all the stops.


MAINLY CLUBS Hugh’s and Poetry on the Move COLIN STORY Of the many experiences that point to our collective hunger for dependable post-lockdown life, none has hit quite so close to home for me as seeing post-secondary students get back to classes. Sure, it still feels like a novelty to watch maskless people thunking melons in the grocery store, restaurant patrons trying each other’s drinks, or a trumpet player mercilessly spraying the floor of a venue with spit-valve effluvia. But – as I experienced on an unexpectedly brisk morning in early September, walking across the University of Toronto campus for coffee with a friend – nothing quite says “we’re back” like overhearing two new roommates arguing about whether hanging a Quentin Tarantino poster would be “edgy and transgressive” or “you know, uh, maybe a bit much, like… politically?” During COVID, we witnessed seismic changes on the club scene: closures, pivots, renovations, and rebrandings. For some organizations, the enforced and recurring lockdowns meant the end: time ran out. For others the lockdowns bought time for necessary rethinking and new developments. Hugh’s Room Live is one such development. The original Hugh’s Room opened in Roncesvalles in 2001, and was one of Toronto’s premier destinations for folk music, as well as rock, jazz, world music, and a variety of other genres typical of Toronto’s club scene – in a comfortable, quiet setting with clear sightlines that allowed for the kind of engaged listening that performers relish. After a 19-year run, though, the venue closed in March of 2020, due to an unsustainably high increase in rent. Then, after a relatively short hiatus, the Hugh’s Room team undertook two initiatives. The first: fundraising, planning and developing a new permanent location: the Broadview Faith Temple, at 296 Broadview Avenue. Originally built in 1894, the Temple was designed by E.J. Lennox, architect for Toronto’s Old City Hall and Casa Loma. Through donations and loans, Hugh’s Room raised more than million for the purchase. A .2 million loan from the city sealed the deal. If all goes according to plan, the new east-end iteration of Hugh’s Room will reopen at some point in 2024. In the meantime, Hugh’s Room Live is operational as a concert presenter, with shows this fall mostly taking place at 3030 Dundas West, in the Junction. A multi-use venue that hosts musical performances, parties, weddings and more, 3030 Dundas is anchored by the restaurant Young Animal, which is owned and operated by the chef Adisa Glasgow. Glasgow – who grew up in South Oropouche, in Trinidad – brings the flavours of his childhood to Toronto, with modern and personal touches (think grilled pineapple chow, curry prawns, and oxtail risotto). The bar menu reflects the same heritage, with drinks like Island Old Fashioned, Tamarind Whiskey Sour, and Scarlet Ibis sharing the bill with a variety of wines and Ontario craft beers. On Thursday, October 20, Hugh’s Room Live presents Sammy Jackson at 3030 Dundas. Jackson – who took home a Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year for her 2021 album With You – is a young Jamaican-Canadian vocalist who is quickly establishing herself in Toronto and beyond. Joined by pianist Chris Pruden, bassist Mark Godfrey, guitarist Tom Fleming and drummer Ian Wright, Jackson sings modern jazz inflected with pop and R&B, mixing her originals with revamped arrangements of classics such as Every Time We Say Goodbye and All of You. Poetry Jazz Café Another organization on the move is Poetry Jazz Café, formerly in Kensington Market, and now located at 1078 Queen St. West. The original Poetry – a long, narrow room, decorated with books, empty bottles of high-end alcohol, and posters of musicians, both local and internationally famous – evoked New York in a way that few other Toronto venues do. It is no surprise, then, that Sean Pascalle, Poetry’s longtime owner/operator, refers to the new location as Poetry Lower Westside. I spoke to drummer Eric West, who has taken over programming duties at the new location. (Some late-September highlights: the incredible trumpet Kae Murphy, September 24, the group Moonbliss, September 28, and bassist/sound designer Caleb Klager, September 30.) West has a long history with Sean Pascalle: “He and I go back about a decade. I started playing at Poetry while I was doing my undergrad, working quite a bit as a side person in other people’s bands.” Later, West put together his own residency, which lasted for years, and his working relationship with Pascalle grew into a real friendship. The Kensington location featured a select number of acts playing regular residencies. For the Queen West location, West wanted to “branch out and cast a wider net.” Initial feedback from both staff and clientele started to inform certain decisions regarding weekdays vs. weekends. “The weekend crowd seems to favour more of an R&B/Soul style of music, whereas the weekdays lend themselves well to jazz and experimental music,” West explained, adding that these are divisions definitely not set in stone. Whatever the genre, West has “no doubt that if someone walks in on any day of the week, they’re going to witness a high-quality performance.” The new space is still undergoing an aesthetic transformation. “Sean works hard to create an atmosphere that both highlights the performers and is attractive to passers-by, who poke their heads in and decide to stay for a drink.” The Kensington location “had a speakeasy, dive-bar kind of vibe,” as West put it. The Queen location distills this spirit in an upgraded facility with better amenities, a kitchen, a back room “for local electronic dance music artists,and more.” It’s early days – the new Poetry is only four months old – but well worth a visit, both for fans of the original and first-timers wanting to show support for live music as it re-emerges. Our Mainly Clubs list of performance venues follows on page 44. Young Animal's chef Adisa Glasgow, outside 3030 Dundas West HECTOR VASQUEZ/BLOGTO Colin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto. He can be reached at, on Instagram and on Twitter. Poetry Lower Westside's Eric West ERIC WEST 30 | September 20 - November 8, 2022

BLUE PAGES 23rd annual directory of MUSIC MAKERS The arrival of Fall means the beginning of new concert seasons for many. As you begin to plan your musical adventures at a time when we hopefully leave the worst of the pandemic behind us, we invite you to have a look at our annual “Blue Pages” directory of presenters. The organizations listed below (with a bit of “teaser” info!) have opted in via their WholeNote membership - full profiles can be found online at - hover over our “Who’s Who” tab, then click on “2022-23 Presenter Profiles” to see the details of what’s coming up this season. Profiles will remain online for the year, and we’ll be adding more as they come in, so check back often. For information on WholeNote membership and how to join the Blue Pages, email Wishing you all a happy musical season! Aga Khan Museum “Experience the magic of performance at the Aga Khan Museum as local and global artists connect cultures through the power of the arts.” Alliance Française Toronto “Alliance Française Toronto is dedicated to the Greater Toronto Area Community and committed to promoting and presenting cultural events that highlight the diversity of Francophone Culture, such as concerts, exhibitions, lectures or cinema.” Amadeus Choir “Toronto’s 90-member Amadeus Choir is delighted to present a 2022/23 season of live choral performances with new commissions, classic favourites, outdoor and indoor performances, and a stellar roster of guest artists.” Amici Chamber Ensemble “Amici Chamber Ensemble celebrates 33 years as one of Canada’s most distinguished chamber music ensembles. Artistic Directors clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas, cellist David Hetherington and pianist Serouj Kradjian invite some of the finest musicians to join them in innovative and eclectic programming, celebrating friendship through music.” Annex Singers of Toronto “Now in its 43rd season, The Annex Singers is a spirited, auditioned, 65-voice choir with an eclectic repertoire spanning seven centuries.” Art of Time Ensemble “Exploring the relationship between classical music in its many forms and other genres such as jazz, pop, electronica, rock, folk, electroacoustic, gospel and others, Art of Time seeks to reveal the qualities that lie at the heart of all great music.” Azrieli Music Prizes “The Azrieli Music Prizes: Discovering, creating, performing and celebrating excellence in music composition.” Barrie Concert Band “Over the years, the Barrie Concert Band has participated in various city events, presenting regular winter and summer concerts, and providing music at local churches and seniors’ homes. The band performs an average of 8 concerts per year and is available for special functions.” Canadian Opera Company “The Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada.” Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra “Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra has been bringing to Greater Toronto audiences some of the greatest musical masterpieces, and new Canadian compositions, since 1986. Our 2022/23 season, under the baton of Maestro Martin MacDonald, promises six evenings of exceptional orchestral music.” Church of St. Mary Magdalene Gallery Choir “Every Sunday an award winning choir of volunteers sings music from the early Renaissance to the most recent Canadian composers.” Confluence Concerts “An act or process of merging”: “Confluence produces joyous, daring and thought-provoking events within a warm atmosphere of intimacy and discovery. Artistic Associates Larry Beckwith, Marion Newman, Andrew Downing, Patricia O’Callaghan and Suba Sankaran curate a wide variety of collaborative programs.” COSA Canada: The Centre for Opera Studies & Appreciation “We excite the music in everyone - the story-singers on stage, and the story-catchers in the audience! Join in our house concerts, premieres, productions, artist spotlights and opera pops!” Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University “In our 2022/23 season, we are proud to welcome you in person to experience the incredible diversity of musical styles and genres our students, faculty and guest artists have to offer.” Edison Singers “The Edison Singers is a fully professional chamber choir. This upcoming season is literally our second new beginning. We can’t wait to see you at a performance this season.” Elmer Iseler Singers “Elmer Iseler Singers is a 20-voice Toronto-based professional chamber choir directed by Lydia Adams. Founded by the late Dr. Elmer Iseler in 1979, EIS is known for tonal beauty and interpretive range.” Ensemble Vivant “Chamber music at its evocative best!” Esprit Orchestra “Founded in 1983 by Music Director and Conductor Alex Pauk, Esprit Orchestra’s commitment to commissioning and advancing contemporary music has set it apart as one of the few organizations of its kind on a global scale.” September 20 - November 8, 2022 | 31

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)