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Volume 29 Issue 2 | October & November 2023

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  • Thewholenotecom
  • Musical
  • Violin
  • Performing
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  • October
  • November
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With this issue we start a new rhythm of publication -- bimonthly, October, December, February April, June, and August. October/November is a chock-a-block two months for live music, new recordings, and news (not all of it bad). Inside: Christina Petrowska Quilico, collaborative artist honoured; Kate Hennig as Mama Rose; Global Toronto 2023 reviewed; Musical weavings from TaPIR to Xenakis at Esprit; Fidelio headlines an operatic fall; and our 24th annual Blue Pages directory of presenters. This and more.


CLASSICAL AND BEYOND PASSING THE TORCH Mooredale’s Wonny Song PAUL ENNIS BO HUANG With an upcoming season featuring, among others, Eric Lu (the most recent winner of the Leeds Piano Competition) and the Viano String Quartet (the most recent winner of the Banff String Quartet Competition) The WholeNote had an email conversation with pianist Wonny Song, about his role as Mooredale Concerts’ Artistic Director. WholeNote: What is your favourite thing about being Mooredale’s artistic director? Wonny Song: One of the aspects I cherish most is the opportunity to continue the incredible work of one of my greatest mentors, Anton Kuerti. Anton was not just an extraordinary musician; he was a giant in the musical world who saw the untapped potential in young musicians and the underrepresented talent in elite musicians from around the globe. In a way, serving in this role allows me to carry the torch he once held, illuminating paths for the next generation. Another layer of fulfilment is the power to curate transformative musical experiences. Every season, I get the chance to craft a narrative that exposes audiences to both classic and cutting-edge compositions, highlighting the richness and diversity of the musical tapestry. More than an exercise in selection, this is a thoughtful process that considers how each piece and performer can speak to one another and the audience. I relish the challenge of introducing Canadian audiences to elite global musicians and of discovering hidden gems. Sharing that with an appreciative audience is unparalleled. And let’s not forget the community of passionate musicians, dedicated staff and discerning audiences that Mooredale Concerts has built over the years [at Walter Hall]. It’s like being a part of a dynamic ecosystem where each element not only contributes to but enriches the whole. It’s both a privilege and an exhilarating challenge, and I couldn’t ask for a more fulfilling role. Were there particular challenges in programming the 2023/24 season? One of the greatest challenges has been navigating the logistical maze that the post-COVID era has created. The question is no longer just “Can this artist bring something unique to Mooredale?” but also, “Can this artist even get to Mooredale?” Many of the top-tier musicians are often booked years in advance, making scheduling a formidable challenge. There’s also the financial aspect. The artists we’re targeting are not just performing at Mooredale; they’re global talents. For many, coming to Mooredale becomes feasible only if they can secure multiple engagements on a North American tour. A single concert at Mooredale might not justify the trip from Europe or Asia, particularly when international travel is so unpredictable. And there are repertoire considerations. With a star-studded lineup, you’re dealing with artists with established signature performances. Balancing those crowd-pleasers with works that push the envelope – keeping both the artists and audiences engaged – becomes a sort of artistic tightrope walk. And the biggest rewards? The satisfaction of a wonderful season fuels us for the next one. It is like piecing together a multifaceted puzzle. Each concert that goes marvellously feels like a triumph for us organizers. There is also the joy of discovery and doing our part in launching amazing careers. COURTESY WONNY SONG Circa 1992-93 after masterclasses at Orford Music where Anton Kuerti (top, right) was a perennial returning faculty member, and where he met Wonny Song (far left, wearing a tux) a few times before working on his training/development. Who were your musical heroes in your formative years? My musical heroes weren’t figures I admired from afar; they were mentors who entered my life at pivotal moments, leaving an indelible impact. Anton Kuerti is one such hero, and his influence extends far beyond his virtuosity at the piano. He presented me with a blueprint not just for how to play, but for how to think about music. His musicmaking philosophy is holistic, encompassing technique, emotion and intellectual rigour. He didn’t just teach me notes; he taught me narratives, the stories that live within each composition. Then there’s Marie-Françoise Bucquet and Jorge Chaminé, who became more than just mentors when I was studying in France; they 18 | October & November 2023

ecame family. Their teachings extended beyond the practice room and the classroom. With them, I learned how to navigate the world as a musician, discovering that artistry doesn’t end when the music stops. They imparted lessons of resilience, humility and humanity, showing me that music isn’t just a profession – it’s a way of life. What strikes me most about these mentors is their genuine altruism. They had established careers, but what mattered most to them was passing the torch, ensuring the next generation of musicians had the tools and guidance to make their own mark. It’s a selfless love and a deep-seated belief in the power of mentorship that binds all three. For more information on the 2023/24 Mooredale Concerts season, go to And elsewhere Koerner Hall: Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich and acclaimed pianist Orion Weiss make their Koerner Hall debuts on October 13 with a program anchored by Beethoven’s tenth and last sonata for violin and piano and Prokofiev’s No.1. Hadelich made two appearances with the TSO in the 2023/24 season – violin concertos by Sibelius and Beethoven – finding beautiful notes everywhere. Hadelich is also an accomplished pianist; his relationship to his two instruments is explored in a fascinating interview in Piano Street magazine from June 2022. He cites Julia Fischer as the only other violin and piano performer he’s aware of. The Danish String Quartet (three Danes and one Norwegian) is back at Koerner Hall for the second time, on November 3. The Danish has established its pre-eminence among the world’s finest string quartets Danish String Quartet Join us at Western University for a stellar concert season! CAROLINE KOREN RAFFNSØE 519-661-3767 Fritz Kreisler and his Epoch December 3 rd , 2023 at 3:00 p.m. FEATURING: Sheila Jaffe, violin; Andrea Ludwig, mezzo soprano; Inna Perkis, piano; Ernesto Ramirez, tenor; Giles Tomkins, bass-baritone; Kathryn Tremills, piano; Boris Zarankin, piano; Ilana Zarankin, soprano. Artistic Directors: Boris Zarankin & Inna Perkis For more details and to purchase tickets October & November 2023 | 19

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