Gustavo Dudamel climbs a Mahler Everest while Toronto Symphony tinkers with Mozart

Since Peter Oundjian became music director, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has launched itself into each new year with a Mozart festival. This year’s edition, Mozart@256 — three programmes spead over seven concerts — kicks off with a piano extravaganza headlined by Leon Fleisher on Wednesday at Roy Thomson Hall.

Meanwhile, across the continent, Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel is about to occupy Disney Hall with a Mahler Festival. As the LA Phil’s website proclaims in bold capitals: “9 symphonies; 3 weeks; 2 orchestras; 1 conductor.”

(The second orchestra is Venezuela’s Simón Bolivár Symphony Orchestra, which gets a reciprocal visit from the LA Phil next month.)

The two festivals represent the extremes of classical stuntcasting. Continue reading