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.

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

Summer music festivals: Highlights for the week of July 30

The Cecilia String Quartet presents a Toronto Summer Music recital on Wednesday.

The final week of this year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival continues its pan-European chamber music journey. Three concerts in particular promise some exceptional musicmaking. Continue reading

Concert review: Zukerman Chamber Players’ energy palpable in piano quintet recital

The Zukerman Chamber Players at Koerner Hall on Tuesday (Liz Parker photo).

Thanks to artful interpretations by the Zukerman Chamber Players, the Toronto Summer Music Festival audience at Koerner Hall on Tuesday night experienced the full range of expression that chamber music is capable of.

The piano quintet can convey an incredible range of musical ideas, and violinists Pinchas Zukerman and Jessica Linnebach, Jethro Marks on viola, Amanda Forsyth on cello, and pianist Angela Cheng were outstanding in their ability to bring those ideas to life. Continue reading

Summer music festivals: Highlights for the week of July 23

Violinist Scott St. John is is a busy guest at this week’s instalment of the Toronto Summer Music Festival (Peter Checchia photo).


So far this year, artistic director Douglas McNabney has shown impeccable judgment in his choice of performers for the seventh Toronto Summer Music Festival.

This week, the focus is on great works from the chamber music canon, in various permutations of instruments. There isn’t a dodgy choice in the lot. Continue reading