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Volume 28 Issue 4 | February - March 2023

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Volume 28 no.4, covering Feb, March and into early April '23! David Olds remembers composer John Beckwith; Andrew Timar reflects on the life and times of artistic polymath Michael Snow; Mezzo Emily Fons, in town for Figaro, on trouser roles, the life of a mezzo-soprano on the road and more; Colin Story on the Soft-Seat beat; tracks from 22 new recordings added to our Listening Room. All this and more.

teams of writers and

teams of writers and composers in-depth support and mentoring while they create new 30-minute musicals. For the first edition of Retold in 2019 the new musicals were inspired by articles published in The Globe and Mail, and performed in that newspaper’s headquarters. This new edition is inspired by three short stories by lauded Canadian writer Mavis Gallant (1922-2014) and Kaylee Harwood will be performed at the Toronto Reference Library. While much of her working life was spent abroad in Paris, Gallant is famous for her depiction of Acadian history and life in Quebec. One of the chosen stories, The Carrette Sisters, displays in particular what The New York Times called Gallant’s “Joycean evocations of a mundane haunting Montreal.” All three shows will be directed by Kaylee Harwood and will feature a cast of four talented actor/singers: Eric Craig, Emily Lukasik, Tracy Michailidis and Starr Domingue. Retold March 21-26. Tickets are free but need to be booked ahead of time. QUICK PICKS FEB 2-11, 7:30: The Magic of Assembly, Toronto Dance Theatre, Winchester Street Theatre. TDT Artistic Director Andrew Tay is making a strong imprint on the company, introducing new and raw influences to the repertoire, including this new creation by punk street dance artist Ashley “Colours” Perez and electronic music duo LAL who will play live. FEB 4-11, 7:30: Okay, you can stop now, Theatre Passe Muraille. In an immersive landscape filled with newspapers, Shakeil Rollock’s new physical theatre piece explores the tangible impact of history and the news on the lives of four people navigating their relationship to privilege and power. FEB 16-19, 7:30: Firewater Thunderbird Rising, Friday Creeations and Native Earth Performing Arts, Aki Sudio. A return engagement of Christine Friday’s Dora Award-nominated multi-disciplinary one-woman, contemporary dance show, deeply rooted in the spiritual beliefs and way of living of the Anishinabek. Christine Friday Toronto Dance Theatre FEB 24-25 7:30: Les corps avalés. Compagnie Virginie Brunelle, Fleck Theatre, Harbourfront “Torque” series, The celebrated Quebec-based company presents a stunning exploration of power relations, inequality and social upheaval, performed to live classical music from the Molinari Quartet. Jennifer Parr is a Toronto-based director, dramaturge, fight director and acting coach, brought up from a young age on a rich mix of musicals, Shakespeare and new Canadian plays. MARLOW PORTER JOHN LAUENER CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Instant Kinships TRIO ARKEL in Conversation PAUL ENNIS Trio Arkel – Marie Bérard (concertmaster of the COC Orchestra), Rémi Pelletier (associate principal violist of the TSO) and Winona Zelenka (assistant cello of the TSO) – are celebrating the tenth season of their concert series and we at The WholeNote were curious about how a string trio could thrive despite obstacles ranging from COVID-19 to the departure of founding member, violist Teng Li. The following email conversation with cellist Zelenka and violinist Bérard, took place in mid-January. WN: What was the origin of Trio Arkel? What brought you two together originally with violist Teng Li? Winona Zelenka: It was a kind of synergy that was surprising when we played our first concert back in 2008 at the same venue we play in now – Trinity-St. Paul’s – before Jeanne Lamon Hall was built. Our combination was an experiment, but we found that our three points of musical expression combined in an interesting way, and I think we were intrigued. Marie Bérard: Gradually we came to realize that we wanted to spend more time playing together but also collaborating with other musicians and the idea of having our own series was born. In 2013, ten years ago, we started out in the Church of the Holy Trinity next to the Eaton Centre, in the heart of the city, and we were there for a few years before switching to St. Paul’s Centre. When did Teng Li leave the group? Please describe the search for her replacement. MB: Teng won the extremely coveted position of principal viola in the Los Angeles Philharmonic and although she had such strong ties to the Toronto music community, she couldn’t pass on such an opportunity. WZ: Yes, it was in 2018, and it was a difficult thing for us, much as we were thrilled for her to win such an important post. The delicate balance and ease we had achieved was special, we felt. We played with many great musicians while we worried about finding that ease again. But then… MB: Rémi came to the Toronto Symphony from the New York Philharmonic; for him it was a return to his Canadian roots. We read trios with him soon after, feeling an instant kinship, and we haven’t looked back. Our rehearsals are filled with good cheer and mutual support and we are all aware of how special a gift that is. WZ: There is a unique warmth to our sound, we feel, and lots of joking around and talking about adventures, especially his. He has many interests – he’s a sushi chef and an enthusiastic traveller – he gives a lot as a person and as a musician. How did you cope during COVID? What was the experience of pivoting to an online video format for two years like for you? MB: The first casualty of COVID was the cancellation of our 18 | February & March, 2023

THURSDAY NOON AT MET WEEKLY FREE CONCERTS Jonathan Oldengarm, Minister of Music IN-PERSON & ONLINE Marie Bérard, Winona Zelenka and Rémi Pelletier of TRIO ARKEL May 2020 concert, which was such a disappointment. We quickly rallied and realized that since we had been recording all our concerts, streaming them on demand was a logical solution during the lockdown. At first, we found that playing with masks and without an audience was a strange experience but being able to play music at all was a blessing in those days so we just charged ahead and felt that recorded concerts were better than no concerts at all. WZ: We put on our bravest smiles; a concert I’ll never forget is the one in the spring of 2021 with Russell Braun, recorded with no audience and plexiglass shields separating him from us and us from Carolyn, his wife who is his pianist: but it was still amazing and I don’t really know how we all did it. Music is that powerful – but it was very strange. MB: The return to live concerts was very emotional and we all realized how much energy we get from an audience, something the pandemic taught us never to take for granted. How do you compensate for the fact that the string trio repertoire is less well known than the string quartet repertoire? WZ: Marie is the programming genius, and she’s discovered many unknown and lesser-known gems in the repertoire. MB: A lot of the trio repertoire has been wonderful to discover specifically because it is not as well known as the quartet repertoire. We found some lovely jewels, music that is very satisfying to explore and that our audiences seem to be excited to discover; some examples are Taneyev, Françaix, Gubaidulina, Schoenberg… Please describe the eclectic and collaborative nature of your programming. You often begin a concert with a string trio before pivoting to larger chamber music works. MB: There are a few different ways in which our programs come together. Sometimes it is our guests who propose a particular piece and we build around that, sometimes with a theme which could be music of a particular country or we find that sometimes a set of two very contrasting pieces can inform each other, providing a reflection for each other in a sense. On other occasions it is just a particular desire to play a much-loved piece that sends us looking for a guest CHUNGLING LO Feb. 9 Feb. 16 Feb. 23 Mar. 2 Mar. 9 Mar. 16 Mar. 23 Mar. 30 Jonathan Oldengarm, organ Joshua Duncan Lee, organ Silas Friesen, trumpet Jonelle Sills, soprano & Brahm Goldhamer, piano Peter Nikiforuk, organ Luis Medina & Daniel Turner, guitars Jonas Apeland Salomonsen, organ Stéphanie McKay-Turgeon, soprano & Dakota Scott-Digout, piano 56 Queen St. E. February & March, 2023 | 19

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