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Volume 28 Issue 5 | April & May 2023

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April and May is Canary Time in the world of WholeNote -- the time when choirs in larger than usual numbers refresh the info in our online "Who's Who" to inform prospective choristers and audiences what they have to offer. Also inside: There's a new New Wave to catch at Esprit; Toronto Bach Festival no 6 includes a Kafeehaus; another new small venue on the "Soft Seat Beat" (we assume the seats are soft!); an ever-so Musically Theatrical spring. And more.


SIMON FRYER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OCTOBER 5, 2023 | 1.30 PM FAURÉ QUARTETT Dirk Mommertz, piano; Erika Geldsetzer, violin; Sascha Frömbling, viola Konstantin Heidrich, cello NOVEMBER 16, 2023 | 1.30 PM TESLA QUARTET Ross Snyder, violin; Michelle Lie, violin Edwin Kaplan, viola; Austin Fisher, cello MARCH 7, 2024 | 1.30 PM DOMINIC DESAUTELS AND JEAN-PHILIPPE SYLVESTRE Dominic Desautels, clarinet Jean-Philippe Sylvestre, piano with Zsófia Stefán, bassoon APRIL 4, 2024 | 1.30 PM FRANCINE KAY Francine Kay, piano INITIAL WINNER OF THE WMCT’S CAREER DEVELOPMENT AWARD MAY 2, 2024 | 1.30 PM JOYCE EL-KHOURY AND SEROUJ KRADJIAN Joyce El-Khoury, soprano Serouj Kradjian, piano Ticket Orders By phone: 416-923-7052 x.1 Online: Subscriptions: 0 | Single tickets: Students Free with ID Walter Hall, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music 80 Queen's Park (Museum Subway) 2023 2024 Dominic Desautels Joyce El-Khoury CLASSICAL & BEYOND | QUICKPICKS APR 18, 8PM: The Royal Conservatory presents the remarkable 30-year-old Beatrice Rana in a solo piano recital. It’s been almost nine years since the acclaimed, Italian-born pianist made her GTA debut during Toronto Summer Music’s 2014 season – the pandemic postponed a couple of bookings – but her upcoming Koerner Hall appearance promises to make the wait worthwhile. Bach’s elegant French Beatrice Rana Suite No.2 in C Minor, BWV 813 and Debussy’s challenging Pour le piano make a delightful pairing leading to Beethoven’s postintermission colossus, his Piano Sonata No.29 in B-flat Major, Op.106 (“Hammerklavier”). MAY 7, 3PM: The Royal Conservatory presents Bruce (Xiaoly) Liu in his Koerner Hall debut. In 2021, Liu became the first Canadian to win the Chopin Piano Competition and interest is high for his first Toronto solo appearance. Only a handful of stage seats remain unsold at this writing for Liu’s recital of five works by Chopin and one by Liszt. He turns 26 the next day. APR 20, 7:30PM: Beethoven’s Op.59 String Quartets were dedicated to Count Andrey Razumovsky and, like most of the composer’s quartets, were first performed by the Ignaz Schuppanzigh quartet. Franz Weiss was the violist in the ensemble that for more than 20 years acted as Beethoven’s house band and he was also a composer; curiously enough, Weiss dedicated his two quartets, written in 1813, to the music-loving Razumovsky, in whose sumptuous palace the quartet worked. Weiss’ astonishingly fresh and inventive Eybler Quartet Op.8 Nos.1&2 Quartets are by turns hilarious, heartbreaking, profound, and, for their time, quite daring and experimental. The Gallery Players of Niagara present the period instrument Eybler Quartet playing these Weiss quartets – at Heliconian Hall. APR 22, 3PM: Hammer Baroque presents the Eyblers, who specialize in chamber music written up to the time of Beethoven’s death, playing these “other Razumovsky quartets” in St. John the Evangelist Church, Hamilton. APR 21, 8PM: The Chamber Music Society of Mississauga presents a sparkling program, all inspired by dance and topped by Stravinsky’s dance with the devil, L’Histoire du Soldat. Commissioned in 1938 by clarinetist Benny Goodman and violinist Joseph Szigeti, Bartók’s Contrasts exploited the full range of possibilities for both the clarinet and violin. Up to this point, Bartók had James Campbell never composed chamber music that included a wind instrument, so instead of blending the diverse sounds of the three instruments, he focused on their differences. Works by Ravel and Piazzola will also showcase the talented musicians: James Campbell, clarinet; Sarah Fraser Raff, violin; and Angela Park, piano; in the Erin Mills United Church, Mississauga. WARNER CLASSICS DAHLIA KATZ 416-923-7052 MAY 4, 8PM & MAY 5, 7:30: Highlights of a packed Toronto Symphony Orchestra lineup as the TSO’s 100th anniversary year nears its end. Messiaen’s massive Turangalila Symphony is the 18 | April & May, 2023

Everything Everywhere All at Once of the orchestral repertoire: love song, hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life and death. With Marc-André Hamelin (piano); Nathalie Forget (ondes Martenot); and Gustavo Gimeno (conductor). MAY 24, 25 & 27, 8PM: Jader Bignamini, now in his third season as Detroit Symphony Orchestra Nicola Benedetti music director, crosses the border to lead the TSO in Ravel’s irrepressible arrangement of Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and accompany James Ehnes in Tchaikovsky’s singular Violin Concerto. MAY 31, JUN 1 & 3, 8PM: Two months after violinist Nicola Benedetti and her trio performed in Koerner Hall, she returns to Toronto to perform Wynton Marsalis’ Concerto in D, a piece on which Benedetti and Marsalis collaborated for two years. The two worked together, often across transatlantic phone lines, for months on end, she told NPR. Benedetti would pick up her violin and put her phone on speaker – and across the Atlantic in the U.S., Marsalis would do the same at the piano. The work, she says, was painstakingly slow. Conductor-on-the-rise Elim Chan also takes up the TSO baton for Brahms’ lyrical Symphony No.2. MAY 13, 7:30PM: Former Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra music director James Sommerville returns to conduct the HPO in Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No.5 in C Minor, Op.67. Earlier in the evening Nikki Chooi, formerly concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and currently concertmaster of the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, brings his transcendent playing to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.4 in D Major K218. MAY 28, 3PM: Trio Arkel’s celebration of the tenth season of their concert series continues at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Violinist Marie Bérard told me during my conversation with her and RYAN BUCHANAN cellist Winona Zelenka in the February-March WholeNote that “the meat of the program, Strauss’ Metamorphosen, is this great reduction for seven players.” JUN 4, 3PM: TSO concertmaster Jonathan Crow is the soloist in Bruch’s tuneful Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor. Conductor Michael Newnham also leads Orchestra Toronto in Rachmaninoff’s lush, immensely popular Symphony No.2 in E Minor and a new work by the winner of the Orchestra Toronto Prize in Composition. FACTOID: In our recent December-January issue, we noted the ray of hope a perusal of our Listings gave us as live music by seven large ensembles reasserted its presence after being completely uprooted by the pandemic. Just a few months later, a similar look at the Listings finds 17 (count them if you must and enjoy their concertizing if you can). Trio Arkel Michael Newnham CHUNG LING LO BO HUANG Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. April & May, 2023 | 19

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