The Canadian Opera Company unveils its 2012-13 season of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

COC Ensemble Studio member Adrian Kramer sang his farewell concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with accompanist Christopher Mokrzewski last May.

The most significant concert presenter in this city outside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is Nina Draganic, the unheralded doyenne of the Canadian Opera Company’s annual 10-months of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

The new season kicks off at lunchtime on Sept. 18, with a concert by the COC’s Ensemble Studio and will run its combination of classical, jazz, world and new music, dance and lecture concerts through to the end of June. Continue reading

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CD Review: Martha Argerich pours out life force in 2011 summer festival album

For 11 straight years, pianist Martha Argerich has assembled her personal dream team of musicians for a festival in Switzerland — captured in an album of highlights.

MARTHA ARGERICH AND FRIENDS
Live from Lugano 201 (EMI Classics)

A half-century of musicmaking seems only to have been a warmup for Argentinean pianist Martha Argerich, who continues to wow with the immediacy and love she pours into every note she plays. There is life force in everything she touches. Continue reading

Introducing: Piano Quintet, Op. 84, by Edward Elgar

This is the first in a weekly look at an indisputably great piece of music not frequently heard in concert. We’re starting with the Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84, completed by Edward Elgar in January 1919.

The Nash Ensemble performed this work on Thursday night at Koerner Hall. Following the performance, I heard several people say how much they enjoyed this piece, which they’d never heard before. Continue reading

Concert review: Nash Ensemble and Colin Ainsworth ace all-English Toronto Summer Music programme

Tenor Colin Ainsworth joined the Nash Ensemble at Koerner Hall on Thursday night (Liz Parker photo).

There are great performances and then there are magnificent ones like the first of two recitals the Nash Ensemble presented for Toronto Summer Music on Thursday night. Continue reading

Concert review: Emotional fervour from Cecilia String Quartet and Georgy Tchaidze at Toronto Summer Music

The Cecilia String Quartet performed for Toronto Summer Music at Walter Hall on Wednesday night (Liz Parker photo).

Chamber music concerts are so often seen as staid, serious events. But Wednesday night’s Toronto Summer Music performance by Canada’s Cecilia String Quartet and pianist Georgy Tchaidze at Walter Hall was pure excitement. Continue reading

Tomorrow: The art song is about conveying the text, says tenor Colin Ainsworth

Tenor Colin Ainsworth sings with the Nash Ensemble at Koerner Hall on Thursday.

Colin Ainsworth, whose lyric tenor is one of the golden voices among the younger generation of great Toronto singers, is slipping away from Opera Atelier’s summer production of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Armide, which runs until Aug. 23 at Glimmerglass Opera in upstate New York, to perform with England’s Nash Ensemble at Koerner Hall on Thursday night. Continue reading

CD Reviews: Colin Eatock’s compelling atmospheres; a Finn’s accordionized Bach

MISCELLANEOUS PERFORMERS
Colin Eatock, Chamber Music (Centrediscs)

Composers like Toronto’s Colin Eatock remind us that Western culture had not exhausted the possibilities of traditional art music forms a century ago, but merely needed to take a scenic detour through sonic abstraction for awhile. Continue reading