5 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 9 - June 2003

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11 t.@. !Jy Colin Eatock

11 t.@. !Jy Colin Eatock A stone's throw from Queen's Park and Bloor ... May 8, 2003: A curious crowd shows up at the Royal Conservatory of Music for the inaugural perfonnance of ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory). Before a note is played, Conservatory President Peter Simon offers some prophetic words. "This is the first step in what we believe will be a very successful ensemble," he announces. "We have the finest artists of any music faculty in the world." • . ARC, I soon learn, is an ensemble of variable.instrumentation, made up of teachers at the Conservatory and.organized around theme-based chamber concerts. This evening's concert is a mixed program dedicated to lesser-known works by Richard Strauss. Pianist Leslie Kinton and guest actor Colin Fox give a heartfelt perfonnance of Enoch Arden- a fascinating but fortunately unique work for piano and nqrrator . The .other major piece on the program, an eai;Jy pianQ q~et (op. 13) is1played with alacrity by Erica Raum, YosefTamirJ Bryan . Epperson and David Louie. Soprano Ann Monoyios' modest rendition of seven early songs, accompanied by pianist Dianne Werner, is sandwiched between the two larger works. , As I liste.n I am reminded of another chamber concert I attended, at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music back in March. On that occasion, violinist Scott St. John announced a new initiative to make the U ofT a major centre for chamber music, with prestigious ensembles in residence, high-quality instruction, and lots of perfonnances. Could this be the beginning of a "chamber music war" between these two institutions, located just a stone's throw from one another near Bloor and Queen's Park Crescent? At a reception following the ARC concert, I hear more about the Conservatory's new ensemble: already they've been engaged to play in New York City, with more concerts scheduled for Toronto in December. And I can't help noticing a detailed scale-model of the Conservatory's planned expansion discreetly tucked in the corner of the room. II May 14: I arrive at the offices of Kuwahara, Payne Mckenna, Blumberg . Architects for a press conference officially announcing the Conservatory's expansion. Now the balsa-wood model is front and centre, as architects explain exactly what they are proposing to build. Foremost in their plans is a 1,000-seat concert venue - much like woefully underused Geprge Weston Recital Hall up Yonge Street - to be constructed behind old McMaster Hall. As well, there will be 60 new studios and a multimedia centre. Peter Simon points out that the new facility is intended not j~st for the Conservatory, but also for the city's musical organizations: he mentions Tafelmusik and the CBC as possible users. He also explains tl\.at about 60 percent of the million required for the project has already been pledged, and that he hopes tO break ground in about a year. As the meeting comes to an end, I manage to ask Simon about other plans in the Conservatory's future. "We're going to try to get degreegranting status in the next two years," he says. Degrees? Isn't the U of T's Faculty of Music in the business of h;lhding out those pieces of paper? If the Conservatory can also award degrees, one of the main reasons for post-secondary music students to attend an institution like the U ofT - to obtain a degree, rather than a diploma - may simply evaporate. • 1 , , •. , , It's tempting to view the ongoing competition between the U ofT and the Conservatory for students, programs, facilities and ofcourse money as an example of poor cultural planning - maybe even a little un-Canadian. But even though these two institutions do sometimes seem to dance on each other's feet, we shouldn't forget that competition can be a good thing. If we let a hundred chamber musicians bloom and a hundred music schools contend, might we not all be better off for it in the long run? Time may tell. Colin Eatock is a composer and writer in Toronto who contributes to the Globe and Mail and other publications. His T. 0 . Musical Diary is a regular monthly feature ofThe WholeNote.

n~infqnia ioronLo · NURHAN ARMAN MUSIC DIRECTOR 2003-2004 5th Anniversaiy Season Glenn Gould Studio October 25, 2003, Bpm Very Violin Corey Cerovsek, Violinist HARMAN Fantasia SCHUBERT Rondo WIENIAWSKY Faust Fantasy ROSSINI . Sonata No. 4 MENDELSSOHN Sinfonia No. 7 November 22, 2003, 8 pm The Khachaturian Centenary Movses Pogossian, Violinist MIRZOYAN KHACHATURIAN ARUTUNIAN SHOSTAKOVICH KHACHATURIAN Poem: Epitaph 'Nocturne' from Masquerade Violin Concerto Sinfonia, Op. 118a Gayane Suite December 7, 2003, 3 pm A Baroque Christmas Jonathan Tortolano, Cellist Lawrence Park Community Church SCHIASSI TORELLI BOCCHERINI LOCATELLI A Christmas Symphony Christmas Concerto Cello Concerto in B-flat Christmas Concerto February 7, 2004, 8 pm Four Centuries of Melody David Jalbert, Pianist CORELLI Suite BACH Piano Concerto in d minor AGER Intermezzo ROSSINI Sonata No. 5 ELGAR Introduction and Allegro March 6, 2004, 8 pm A Breath of Fresh Air Leslie Newman, Flutist BENDA Sinfonia in C ~RUGE Forgotten Dreams MERCADANTE Flute Concerto ARUTUNIAN Sinfonietta BEETHOVEN Quartet op. 95, "Serioso" April 3, 2004, 8 pm ; .Sprf ng R(Jmance · ELGAR' Serenade ROSENBERG Swedish Folk Melodies BARTOK Rumanian Folk Dances RESPIGHI Ancient Airs aod Dances DVORAK Serenade May 8, 2004, 8 pm Mozart Forever Etsuko Kimura, Violinist Eric Paetkau, Violist MOZART Cassation No.1 MOZART Sinfonia Concertante MOZART Symphony No. 29 ' ~

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