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

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Concert review: Young singers of High Park Choirs inspire with their talent

The Allegria senior division, led by High Park Choirs artistic director Zimfira Poloz, perform at the Glenn Gould Studio on June 1 (John Terauds iPhone photo).

I wonder if Torontonians always appreciate the talents being nurtured by the city’s children’s choirs.

Tonight’s treat was brought to a modest Glenn Gould Studio audience by Allegria, the most advanced tween and teen division of the High Park Choirs of Toronto and their artistic director Zimfira Poloz. 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

Tonight: Composer Peter Eötvös says goodbye to Toronto with wind-centric programme for New Music Concerts

(Jean-François Leclerc photo)

Although I only made it to the first concert, everything I’ve heard since suggests Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös continued to charm both audiences and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with his conducting skills over the course of this year’s New Creations festival.

Chances are good he is going to get invited back as a guest conductor in a future season. Continue reading

CD Review: Toronto pianist Boris Zarankin surprises and delights with recording of two Schubert Sonatas

It’s appropriate that Toronto pianist Boris Zarankin should launch a new recording of two landmark sonatas by Franz Schubert on the composer’s birthday.

I wish I could provide audio samples here, because the interpretations are startlingly different from anything we’re used to. Continue reading