Claude Debussy at 150: We take his musical revolution for granted

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy, one of Western music’s revolutionaries.

As with the varying styles of Impressionist paintings, the long view represents something defined, but the closer you get, the more his compositions start to fall apart into the individual components that our minds work imperceptibly to piece together into meaningful shapes.

The long view is so sleek and seductive that listeners long ago began taking Debussy’s art for granted.

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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

Interview: The recorder is anything but lowly at the hands of Vincent Lauzer

23-year-old recorder player Vincent Lauzer is a featured guest at the Canadian Music Competition gala concert on July 6 (Alex Tran photo).

Only two years after finishing his Masters degree at McGill University, 23-year-old recorder player Vincent Lauzer describes his life as a “tornado of things happening.” Continue reading

Meditation: Music is a means of enjoying the ephemeral

I sat on the balcony for a few minutes this morning as the rising sun began to illuminate passing grey clouds, turning them a peachy-orange from below and creamy yellow from above. Continue reading

May 28: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

The opening page of Franz Schubert’s Octet, the centrepiece of a chamber concert by Toronto Symphony musicians on Monday.


  • Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, 7:30 p.m.

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CD Reviews: Nash Ensemble and Angela Hewitt offer two different takes on Robert Schumann

Canadians get a two-month jump on Angela Hewitt’s new recording of Robert Schumann Piano Concerto (Luca d’Agostino photo).

Schumann Piano Concerto (Hyperion)

The Mayor of Ottawa has declared this to be Angela Hewitt Week, in honour of a native daughter who has become one of the world’s most respected pianists. Continue reading

May 7: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

Soprano Jane Archibald opens in the Canadian Opera Company’s Semele on Wednedsay night.

The typical week gathers steam slowly — but not this one.

The Glenn Gould Foundation honours Leonard Cohen at Massey Hall next Monday night with the Glenn Gould Prize. To mark the occasion, the Foundation hosts an art exhibit in the Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place, and has organized live music on downtown streetcorners for this Friday and Saturday, weather permitting. For all the details, click here. Continue reading