8 years ago

Volume 6 Issue 9 - June 2001

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appreciation, and

appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music throughout North America. Since its founding in 1977, this is the first time that Chorus America has met outside of the· United States for its annual Conference. Over the course uf four days, delegates will enjoy lectures, performances, workshops and social events in the elegant surroundings of the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. The organizers have lined up a first-class selection of performers and clinicians. The I speakers focus on the everchallenging topic of fundraising, with sessions on "connecting with the corporate sector", making a 1 big impact with a small budget and how to make strong connections between choirs and granting agencies. Other sessions concentrate on the effective programming of new music, strengthening choral boards of directors find strengthening the relationship between professional choirs and the community. The most entertaining "round table" session is sure to be the one titled ."What I wish I could write", featuring local music reviewers finally "coming clean" on their likes and dislikes. Performances at the conference feature some of the finest choirs in Toronto, including .David Fallis' Toronto Chamber Choir, the Elmer Iseler .Singers, directed by Lydia Adams and John Tuttle's awardwinning Exultate Chamber Singers. Two afternoon "choral keynotes" highlight Brainerd :t;llyden-Taylor's sensational Nathaniel Dett Chorale and the Toronto Children's Chorus, directed by Jean Ashworth Bartle. There are also two special event evening concerts. The first · is a celebration of the music of Healey Willan and takes place at Willan's longtime place of work and worship, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. The following evening delegates travel uptown to the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts for a Canadian Choral Celebration", where Canada's best-known choral repertoire will be given · performances by Toronto's finest ch'oirs. The conference wraps up with a closing banquet at which ·the irreverent Primadonna, Mary Lou Fallis will entertain. All in all, the conference promises to be a wonderful showcase for Toronto-area choirs and a chance for the local choral conµnunity to mingle with the larger collllI\unity from acr~ss ' the United States. In many respects, it will be a great "dry run" for next June's International Choral Festival, again under the artistic direction of the inimitable Nicholas Goldschmidt. Later in the month, Jukka­ Pek:ka Saraste marI:cs his retirement from the Toronto Symphony with two performances of the magnificent Gurrelieder by Arnold Schoenberg. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is featured prominently, as are soloists Ben Heppner and Gary Relyea in the tale of ghostly resurrection as a punishment for denouncing God. Larry Beckwith can be reached at 4. HEAR & ,Now· New Music by Paul Steenhuisen CURATION As I write this month's column, I'm just about to head to Vancouver to attend the premiere of my new piece for the · Vancouver Symphony, . conducted by Bramwell Tovey. My piece will be first on the program, like almost every other new 9rchestral work heard in Canada, followed ·by a concerto, and a larger work rounding out the second half of the program. This formula (new-conch-big), seemingly fixed, does nothing to create a positive, intelligent context for contemporary work to be received; it simply places 3 · unrelated works consecutively on the programme. The integral missing factor . is t!Je selection and combination of music reflecting influence, aesthetic and linguistic pedigree, conciliation; and the specific intent to reveal or renew elements heard in the various pieces. "Curation", or artistic direction, used in .the same sense as in visual arts, is nothing new to music, yet despite its relative absence in the programming of new orchestral music, it seems to ·play an increasingly iffiportant role in the programming of new chamber music concerts. I Much to my pleasure, I'm witnessing a rise in curated programmes, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Recent examples of focussed and intelligent programming include New Music Concerts' portrait concerts , which provide the rare opportunity to experience an entire concert o( music from the same composer, Charles Wuorinen and Isabelle Panneton being recent examples. Arraymusic crafted a concert exploring the Toronto- · Amsterdam connections, since there are, many Toronto-based composers who have studied in Holland or are influenced by the-music of Andriessen, Loevendie, Wagenaar, van Bergeijk, and Raajmakers. Soundstreams moves one step beyond the portrait concert, involving t!Je work of two composers (e.g. Bouliane/ Dusapin), enabling us to hear tendencies, parallels and contrasts more clearly than on electic programmes. Another example occurs on • 14, 16, and 17 June at St. George the Martyr Church, when Queen of Puddings presents ECHOES, a choreographed ,concert of music for 2 voices; and I took this·opportunity to learn how · artistic director John Hess put together the collection of pieces we'll hear. Hess writes: "The first impulse for mir upcoming show was to revive a song cycle by Juhan Ptihm that I had cocommissioned in 1997. The subsequent performance left me with the desire to revisit the work and delve deeper into the technical and emotional world of The RoYAL CoN.SERVATORY of Music Le CONSERVATOIRE ROYAL de MUSIQUE ~ LIKE TO SING? ~ The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is holding auditions in June for the 2001/2002 season For Information Call ( 416) 598-0422 VOICE TEACHER - MISSISSAUGA - private lessons and classes at The RCM Community School at the Adamson Estate on . the lake in Mississauga. Qualifications: Master of Music degree or equivalent training/experience. Experience with popular repertoire and methods appropriate to the development of musicianship and preliminary technique for young students. PIANO TEACHER - TORONTO - SUZUKI PLUS PROGRAM - private lessons and Suzuki Plus classes at The RCM Community School in Toronto. Qualifications: Master of Music degree or equivalent training/experience, Suzuki training and experience. Please direct your resume by June 22 to: Human Resources, The Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S lW2, Fax: 416-408-3096. TheRCM thanks all applicants . for. their interest in this position; however, only those selectedJor an interview will be contacted. 14 wholenote JuNE 1, 2001 - JuLY 7, 2001

the piece. I was very interested in returning to Queen of Puddings' roots - exploring challenging and difficult contemporary music in a theatric context that allows audiences to become involved in the experience, without requiring 'accessible' music, so I began with the 25 minute work by Juhan Puhm for soprano and piano, and continued by searching for works that would frame it." "Puhm's work explores death through a series of nature and bird metaphors, and I decided that every work in this show would have a bird reference; also, I was looking for repertoire that was for two female voices with or without piano. What started revealing itself was a series of works that reversed chronologically by season. Through this we had our theme, the seasons - a metaphor for the cycle of life through death. In searching for music, I made the pleasant discovery of the German composer Manfred Trojahn, who amongst several works for voice, has written two very beautiful a cappella duets for two sopranos, one about spring and one about autumn, settings of poems by Apollinaire. Juhan Puhm introduced me to Estonian composer Veljo Tormis, and the rest of the programme consists of music I was already familiar with." "In shaping a program, I'm looking to combine music in such a way that the eµiotional journey can be much more extreme than one normally could create within the confines of a single work. We're very conscious of each work and its emotional impact, individually and collectively. Telling a story or creating an expectaiion through the combining of dispa,rate works allows us to be very bold .in our programming and yet, keep a meaningful connection with our audience." Israeli stamp of Schoenberg anticipated events make this another interesting month of . new music in Toronto. I suspect we'll hear outgoing Toronto Symphony Orchestra music director Jukka-Pekka Saraste at Specializ:iilg in custom reproductions of classic double bass Amati, Busan. Pete,r c·HANDLER Luthier; maker of fine double bass, cello, viola a11d violin. · Hi ill! Ivan Dr., R.R. I, Ildc1ton, ON. NOM 2AO On Hwy. 22, 25 Kilometres · N.W. of London his impassioned best when he tackles Schoenberg's epic Gurreleider (1900 - 1911) on the 14th of June at Roy Thomson Hall. Schoenberg's score calls for an enormous orchestra of 5 solo voices, 3 four-part male choruses, an eight-part mixed chorus, 4 piccolos, 4 flutes, 3 oboes, 2 English horns, 7 clarinets, 5 bassoons, 10 horns, 7 trumpets, 7 trombones, tuba, 6 timpani, celesta, xylophone, 4 harps, and a multitude of unpitched percussion, and was composed using texts by Jens Peter Jacobsen (translated from Danish into German by Robert Franz Arnold). A highly _ expressionistic work written JuNE 1, 2001 - JuLv 7, 2001 wholenote 15

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