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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Introducing: The Grande pièce symphonique by César Franck

Sainte-Clothilde basilica in Paris inspired César Franck.

The pipe organ has had several lives over its five-century history, the grandest as a symphony orchestra substitute, starting in the second half of the 19th century.

We have a chance to hear a live performance tomorrow of the French composition that heralded this great, golden chapter in the instrument’s history: the Grande pièce symphonique. The 30-minute work will be performed by Simon Walker, one of Toronto’s bright young organ virtuosos, at St James Cathedral, at 1 p.m. Continue reading

Il Divo puts Atlanta Symphony on stage but pipes pre-recorded music to audience

Those orchestra players lost in the crimson dusk behind Il Divo may look like they’re playing — but it’s highly likely they’re just part of the stage dressing.

Organisers of male popera quartet Il Divo’s current world tour hired the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for their concert at Encore Park last Sunday — then used pre-recorded tracks as the musicians played in the background. Continue reading

An all-Bach weekend in Stratford for Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Canada’s Daniel Taylor sings with Tafelmusik in Stratford on Sunday afternoon.

This year’s expanded Stratford Summer Music festival includes the local début of Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra on Saturday and Sunday at St Andrew’s Church. Continue reading

Interview: Pianist David Jalbert grasps for the unreachable in Bach’s Goldberg Variations

“Bringing out one voice is not enough. It doesn’t pay homage to everything there is in the music,” says David Jalbert of the Goldberg Variations (Chris Mukula photo for the Ottawa Citizen).

Ottawa-based pianist David Jalbert earlier this year released an impressive new album of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations album on the ATMA Classique label.

He performsthe masterpiece at at Stratford Summer Music recital tomorrow (Aug. 15) afternoon at St Andrew’s Church. Concert details here.

This performance promises to be well worth the drive. It is followed at 4 p.m. by the launch of Colin Eatock’s new book, Remembering Glenn Gould: Twenty Interviews With People Who Knew Him, at Stratford City Hall. Continue reading

Classical music clings to youthful saviours as Roy Thomson Hall announces 2012-13 season

Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez makes her solo Toronto début at the Glenn Gould Studio on Feb. 22 (Monica Trejo photo).

There isn’t much classical programming any more from Roy Thomson Hall with the demise of its mainstage concert series. But what may be missing in quantity is still there in youthful quality, according to today’s announcement of the 2012-13 season.

The best news is that Roy Thomson Hall continues its advocacy of rising vocal talents with a series of four recitals with piano at the Glenn Gould Studio collectively billed as Canadian Voices. Continue reading

A newspaper critic, not a blogger, is Canada’s potshot king

(Caroline de Léry photo.)

It’s best not to speak ill of other people, but…

On Sunday morning, Claude Gingras, Montreal’s last full-time classical music crtitic, on staff at French-language daily La Presse practically since the days of the Quiet Revolution, published a chronicle of his concert adventures during a one-day musical marathon organised by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra the day before. Continue reading