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Volume 28 Issue 3 | December 2022 - January 2023

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  • Thewholenotecom
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  • January
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Creative Collisions offer land-use hope for community and arts space; "Take Dec 10 for Example" -- Orchestral Explosion; Landmark novel finds music theatre form; Behind the scenes at Salute to Vienna; Collaborative serendipity on the joint-concert front; Amnesia and the alternative: QSYO's take on "Comfort and Joy". A bumber crop of record reviews (and not a Holiday compilation among them)! All this and more...


CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Celebrity Symphony Gemma Orchestra New ORCHESTRAL EXPLOSION Take December 10, for example PAUL ENNIS As the calendar crawls through November en route to the December holidays and the sun has not even begun its long trek back to seasonal dominance, it’s a ray of hope to peruse the listings and discover how, throughout the community, live music by large ensembles is reasserting its presence after being completely uprooted by the pandemic. Take, for example, the orchestral explosion on December 10, when seven orchestras brighten up the evening in concerts beginning between 7 and 8pm. Andrzej Rozbicki Andrzej Rozbicki was the bassoon player and conductor of the Bremen Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Westerstede Stadtorchester, in Germany from 1983 to 1985. In 1985, the Polish-born-andtrained Rozbicki moved to Canada and began teaching music with the TCDSB (Toronto Catholic District School Board). Along the way, he established the Brampton Symphony Orchestra and was their conductor for five years. He then founded the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra in 1994, becoming its artistic director and conductor. The Celebrity Symphony Orchestra returns to the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga with a joyous Christmas event on December 10, featuring Christmas melodies, arias, songs and dances. Topping the program is pianist Daniel Vnukowski as the soloist in Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto, which the world first heard in the anti-Nazi 1941 film, Dangerous Midnight, about the Polish struggle against the German invasion of Poland. For this concert, the orchestra welcomes singers from Covent Garden and Milan’s La Scala: tenor Krystian Krzeszowiak and soprano Natalia Rubiś; from Lublin, Poland’s Music Theatre, Dorota Szostak and Jakub Gąska; Canadian-Spanish renowned tenor Romulo Delgado, and Ukrainian sopranos Lesya Marchuk and Mira Solovianenko. Counterpoint Community Orchestra (CCO) has been operating as a community orchestra in downtown Toronto since 1984. According to their website, it was the first 2SLGBTQIA+ orchestra in Canada and in the world. Counterpoint is a full symphony orchestra with a repertoire drawn from the Baroque through to the contemporary period. At their Holiday Concert on December 10 in Rosedale United Church (159 Roxborough Drive), the CCO will perform with soloists, soprano Rebecca Gray and clarinettist Helen Li. The concert will include music by Humperdinck, Handel, Mozart, Britten and the premiere of Journeys, for Angela Swan, a piece composed by CCO member Andrew McClure. The Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO) has been an arts leader and cultural treasure in the Niagara Region for over 70 years. Established in 1948 as the St. Catharines Civic Orchestra, the organization has grown from a small community ensemble into a fully professional orchestra of over 50 musicians. A commitment to excellence and innovation has marked the tenure of current musical director, Bradley Thachuk, whose leadership since 2010 has increased 10 | December 2022 - January 2023

Sultans of String – Rebecca Campbell, Drew Birston, Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberté – join the Niagara Symphony’s Christmas Caravan on December 10 the orchestra’s regional profile. For their Christmas Caravan – a trip around the world in one December night – the NSO welcomes the Sultans of String to a festive holiday concert in St. Catharines’ Partridge Hall, with special guests, the Laura Secord Secondary School Chamber Choir, under the direction of Katryna Sacco. Playing a live soundtrack to a beloved movie has become de rigueur for most North American orchestras these days and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (celebrating their 100th year) is no exception. Full of Yuletide cheer, Elf (2003) follows Buddy (Will Ferrell) who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised among Santa’s elves. John Debney conducts his own score as Buddy travels to New York in search of his biological father – all on the big Roy Thomson Hall screen. The University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s December 10 concert in the MacMillan Theatre features winners of the UTSO Concerto Competition. Conductor Uri Mayer takes the podium in this talent showcase with winners Britton-René Collins, marimba (2020); Alex Hetherington, mezzo-soprano (2022); Kyle Orlando, trombone (2019); and Anastasia Kulikova, piano (2020). The program includes Golovko’s The Russian Marimba Concerto, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs, Grøndahl’s Concerto for Trombone and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18. Founded in 2008 and made up of professional, amateur, and university and high school student musicians, this year’s Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra’s A Magical Holiday features some special music to celebrate the festive season: The Polar Express, The Magic of Christmas, Twas the Night Before Christmas, Oy Hanukkah and Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s A Carol Symphony (1927). Under conductor/music director Jessica V. Kun, the audience will have the opportunity to sing along with the orchestra, in the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on December 10. Kristian Alexander founded Kindred Spirits Orchestra in 2009 and he remains its artistic director and principal conductor. On December 10 in the Flato Markham Theatre, KSO presents a concert of programmatic music beginning with Honegger’s Pacific 231; Jing Ye narrates (with her violin) the Chinese Romeoand-Juliet folk tale, The Butterfly Lovers, a story of broken hearts set to music composed by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang in 1958, merging Eastern melodies with Western instruments. Icing on the cake: a mischievous puppet comes to life in Stravinsky’s exhilarating score to the ballet Petrushka. KEVIN KELLY Thursday, February 2 at 8 pm Borealis Quartet —superb musicality and impressive technique— Music TORONTO plans a major announcement at this concert February 28 Janina Fialkowska —master pianist for Romantic music— March 30 Gryphon Trio & Friends —multi-media—Echoes: Memories of the World— May 6, 20, June 6 Small Ensembles Celebration Tickets: 416-366-7723 option 2 27 Front Street East, Toronto | December 2022 - January 2023 | 11

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