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


Interview: Simone Dinnerstein has more in common with Glenn Gould than we might think

New York pianist Simone Dinnerstein performs an all-Bach recital at Stratford Summer Music on the afternoon of Aug. 1 (Lisa-Marie Mazzucco photo).

Last weekend, following a recital in Leipzig, Germany, pianist Simone Dinnerstein was taking a walk around the Thomaskirche, the church forever associated with Johann Sebastian Bach.

“I was standing outside at night, thinking about Bach and being around this square full of modern buildings,” Dinnerstein recalls. “There were a lot of drunken tourists, this kind of nightlife. In the middle, here is Bach’s church and I was thinking about how there’s something extremely funny about the fact that people nowadays obsess about how Bach would have played his own music when you just need to stand in this place and see that absolutely everything has changed. 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

Summer music festivals: Highlights for the week of July 16

André Laplante opens the Toronto Summer Music Festival at Koerner Hall on Tuesday (Samira Bouaou photo).

Toronto Summer Music Festival artistic director Douglas McNabney has come up with such a strong list of performers for this year’s edition that there isn’t a single concert that isn’t worth attending.

There is something worthwhile every day, including events related to the academy side of the three-week event, such as a masterclass on Thursday morning by baritone Gerald Finley. 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

March 5: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days


Trumpeters Ted Clark and Michael Fedyshyn, trombonist Megan Hodge, French horn Olivia Brayley and tuba player Jennifer Stephen are busy, top-level freelancers (Hodge, for example, regularly works with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) that don’t get out nearly enough as the Toronto Brass Quintet. Continue reading