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


Interview: Composer Erhei Liang opens a musical door to an intersection of Chinese and Western cultures

Harpist Andrew Chan is part of Sunday’s opening concert of the 2012 Chinese-Canadian Performing Arts Festival at the Glenn Gould Studio.

Whether we consciously admit it or not, Toronto is a cultural mosaic where most immigrants cling to their little squares rather than freely crossing the grout lines. It is only as children and grandchildren begin to mix freely that intersections begin to happen.

One person with a particularly broad view of this in Toronto’s substantial Chinese community is composer, conductor and teacher Erhei Liang, who has called the city home since 1991. He is head of the Chinese Artist Society of Toronto and the Toronto Chinese Piano and String Teachers Association. At the same time, he is also an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre.

To explore all possible musical intersections between Over There and Over Here, Liang has organized the 10-concert 2012 Chinese-Canadian Performing Arts Festival. The first event takes place at the Glenn Gould Studio on Sunday evening. Continue reading

Stratford Summer Music announces spectacular, piano and Glenn Gould-centric July and August

17-year-old piano sensation Jan Lisiecki will present three solo recitals at Stratford Summer Music this year.

Using the 80th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth as his excuse, Stratford Summer Music artistic producer John Miller today unveiled a spectactular summer season, featuring several notable pianists, as well as a long list of other classical and more popular concert guests — including Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra — for its 12th season, which kicks off on July 16, and runs almost to the end of August.

“This year we take a major leap to present the most renowned names and series we have ever offered,” said Miller, the music festival’s founder, in a press release.  “We’re adding a week and offering several special programs in tribute to Glenn Gould who would have celebrated his 80th birthday this year and who, in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, was a strong proponent of the place of music among the arts in our city.” Continue reading

Tonight: World musicians pull together for presenter Billy Bryans at Lula Lounge

Billy Bryans, known to some as a member of the onetime Parachute Club and to others as an all-the-time, tireless promoter of world music in Toronto, is in palliative care after a return of cancer that had been in remission since 2006.

Like so many artists, Bryans’ safety net is his friends, who are gethering at Lula Lounge for a big fundraising concert tonight — a concert for which Alex Cuba is flying across the country specially. Continue reading

Pianist Alessio Bax’s many collaborations include violinist Karen Gomyo at Koerner Hall on Sunday

Alessio Bax enjoys pre-concert jerky during his tour of the Canadian prairies (Lucille Chung photo). He joins Karen Gomyo at Koerner Hall on Sunday.

Violinist Karen Gomyo is the star of this week’s Sunday concert at Koerner Hall. But the occasion also happens to be the first time Torontonians have the opportunity to hear exciting young Italian pianist Alessio Bax live. It should make for a rewarding afternoon of musicmaking. Continue reading

Taiwan’s fascinating Sizhukong mixes jazz, Chinese tradition for Canadian Music Fest

Sizhukong plays jazz using traditional instruments at Lula Lounge Wednesday, the Courthouse on Friday and the Tranzac on Saturday, as part of 2012 Slacker Canadian Music Festival

A decade ago, Taiwanese pianist Yuwen Peng returned home from her second stint at Boston’s Berklee College of Music full of ideas about jazz, and a growing curiosity about her country’s traditional instruments. Within five years, she had a working, professional group that had managed to successfully straddle two very different musical worlds.

Peng’s five-member band, Sizhukong, makes its Toronto début on Wednesday at 9 p.m., at Lula Lounge, one of the 74 venues that are part of the five-day Slacker Canadian Music Fest, which kicks off spring in Toronto tomorrow. Continue reading