7 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 6 - March 2004

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • April
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Classical
  • Orchestra
  • Faculty

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' ~-.. ',. , , • L , ~ > ( ' COVER STORY: IN THEIR OWN WORDS compiled and edited by David Perlman "In Their Own Words" was suggested to me this month as an alternative title for this ongoing series, up to now called "Snap Shots." "It's more like home video than a snapshot" the person in question grumbled. So "In Their Own Words" it henceforth is. It's only the title that has changed. The method remains the same: contacting people active in musical life by e-mail and asking each of them, for three responses. Say who you are ; say something about what you're working on right now, and say something about what you're doing in the longer term. Follow-up, thereafter, still by e-mail, derives from that individual's initial response. The, admittedly slight, unifying theme for this month's three self portraits is the keyboard. Walter Hamburger's extraordinary sixty years of service to Canadian music arguably started out listening to someone else play one; harpsichord is the "continua" in Charlotte Nediger's professional life; and Eve Egoyan's creative life revolves, in her own words, around "music of my own time, connecting to its freshness, its direct invention at the modern piano. " #1 :WALTER HOMBURGER I CREATED THE International Artists Concert Agency in 1947 presenting concerts and recitals by international and Canadian Artists in Massey Hall. Among the many great were Artur Rubinstein, Fritz Kreisler, Vladimir Horowitz, Slava Rostropovich, Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Leontyne Price, Glenn Gould, etc. In 1987 I made a co-presentation arrangement with the TSO. In 1945 I discovered Glenn Gould at a Kiwanis Festival and managed his concert career for 20 years until his retirement from active concertizing. Among the other artists I managed were Victor Braun, Jan Rubes, Louis Lortie, Donald Bell, Rohan de Saram, Alfred Brendel on his first two North American tours. I became the Manager of the National Ballet from 1951 (its inception) to 1955. In 1962 I became the Managing Director of the Toronto Symphony and managed that organization for 25 years until my retirement in 1987. Since 1993 I have managed the career of violinist James Ehnes worldwide who had won the Women's Musical Club of Toronto Career Development Competition. My next project is the presentation of an All Beethoven Recital on April 13, 2004 at the George Weston Recital Hall with James Ehnes and Louis Lortie playing the " Spring" and "Kreutzer" Sonatas for Violin and Piano as well as the "Les Adieux" Sonata for solo piano. FOLLOW-UP There are three areas I want to ask further about. --~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ First, regarding spotting Glenn Gould in 1945 at a Kiwanis festival, that would have made him 13 and you, at twenty-one, not that much older! I read another account somewhere which said you "spotted" him peiforming the Beethoven 4th with the Toronto Symphony orchestra LesViolons ~ Chapelle de Quebec Bernard Labadie conductor Sat. April 3, 2004 8:00 p.m. Massey Hall Benjamin Butterfield, Tenor David Daniels, Countertenor Rosemary Joshua, Soprano Stephen Varcoe, Baritone Curtis Streetman, Bass TICKETS: .00 - .00 . ' ~~IM';l'f'(~~~l'1"Jil;"'''l':~~~~;~ • ' f,. - - - • - r • \ 1 I I --··--~ r /,' - -~;--,;---. '! ~ , . - . , ., - , v ,./ ., ~ • ' j Sponoored by ~,· What .,. ,ou dofnc ,ft., WOik? • • • < ~--(1~-'\;:~:r-··.···,._~.,,,, ,,._,~,,.-,'!"'\";...';' "'~t-i;... ~A;,->:'l!:I! • F~ RTICl(FTS U\l L 416. 872. 4255 . . www.masseyhall .com 6 WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2004

at age 14. My question is whether you played a part in getting him from Kiwanis to TSO in such short order. I'm also a bit in awe, in part that you recognized his artistry, but more that, young as you were, you could see clearly your own role in nurturing it. Was piano your own instrument? And were music and the business of music already your milieu? Second, 1 want to ask about your association with the TSO. You managed it for twentyjive years, up to 1987, and then came forward, along with Bob Rae, to provide helmsmanship during the sticky transition of the past couple of years. In what ways are the challenges ahead of them most different from those during your time at the helm? Third, the year you decided to "come out of retirement" and take on management of James Ehnes, 1993, was also the year that you were involved, as an interviewee, in the documentary "32 short films about Glenn Gould." Does the coincidence have any particular significance or was it just one of those things? I DON'T RECALL WHETHER I was responsible for the 1946 TSO engagement for Glenn. However I presented him in a recital at the Eaton Auditorium - I believe in the fall of 1947. I have no musical training -but in my early teens I did get some piano lessons and was exposed to classical recordings, concerts, and opera on radio - such as from La Scala in Milan. Like everyone I react favourably or otherwise to music or musicians whom I hear - so when I first heard Glenn it affected me deeply. At that time I was thinking of establishing a company to present concerts in Toronto and it occurred to me that if I wanted to present an artist in Toronto who was managed not by a New York Agency - which was the norm in those days - I would have to trace the management. By the same token I assumed that if Glenn was as wonderful as I thought, potential presentors throughout the world would soon find out where he was managed and contact me. Fortunately this happened. For as long as I can remember it was always a balancing act to keep the TSO in financial shape every year. Perhaps it is more difficult today because the percentage of support from Governments has not kept pace with the ever increasing costs of operating a non-for-profit arts institution. It was just a coincidence that the Glenn Gould film and the beginning of my management of James Ehnes happened around the same time. You are the first one who pointed it out to me! A couple more questions: 1 saw a list of photos autographed to you, now at the National Archives: along with the classical greats Karel Ancerl, Marian Anderson, Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, Kathleen Ferrier, Tito Gobbi, Marilyn Horne, Vladimir Horowitz, Birgit Nilsson, Itzhak Perlman, Leontyne Price, Arthur Rubinstein and Herbert van Karajan are also names like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Mahalia Jackson. Was jazz a particular love of yours along with classical? My philosophy was and is to present the best artists of the day whose performances would be enjoyed by a large audience - they could be classical or jazz as you can see. I just brought anyone who was considered tops You said earlier that "like everyone" you react favourably or otherwise to music or musicians" but not everyone can spot a winner. What is it that you hear in James Ehnes and Louis Lortie, for instance-the two artists you are presenting here in April-that made you say "yes, they are worth MY commitment. " As far as Ehnes and Lortie are concerned they are simply two of the finest classical artists this country has produced and it is a unique opportunity to hear both of them play solo and combine their talents in this upcoming Beethoven recital - April 13th at the George Weston Recital Hall. NEXT PACE, CHARLOTTE NEDICER GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC DOWNTOWN SIMON TRPCESKI Toronto debut of 23-yearold pianist, winner of both Debut Disk and Editor's Choice from Gramophone Magazine. Tues., March 2 at 8 p.m. BERENIKA ZAKRZEWSKI Brilliant pianist, just 21, tackles a programme of Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann. Thurs., March 11 at 8 p.m. Berlin's VOGLER QUARTET with pianist ANGEIA CHENG Mendelssohn, Bartok, and The Schumann piano quintet Thurs., March 18 at 8 p.m. tororilc1rh:ouni:il GRYPHON TRIO plays CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS Ross, Hatzis, Current, Palmer, Rapoport Tues., March 23 at 8 p.m. PETERSEN QUARTET Berlin's best plays first, last and only quartets: Milhaud, Mozart, Grieg Thurs., April 1 at 8 p.m. ............... ~ --- "' ···- •.• = =. .... 416-366-7723 • 1-800-708-6754 order online at MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2004 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 7

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