An all-Bach weekend in Stratford for Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Canada’s Daniel Taylor sings with Tafelmusik in Stratford on Sunday afternoon.

This year’s expanded Stratford Summer Music festival includes the local début of Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra on Saturday and Sunday at St Andrew’s Church. Continue reading

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Interview: The consummate pianist is like a consummate actor, says Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet plays Haydn and Debussy at Stratford Summer Music on Wednesday afternoon (J Henry-Fair photo).

Never write off an artist because they are a late bloomer.

French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet won his first competition in 1986, and quickly gained the respect of anyone who heard him play, but it took nearly two decades for the wider classical music world to fully catch on to this performer’s prodigious talents, which will be on solo display at Stratford Summer Music on Wednesday afternoon. 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 23

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

IN TORONTO

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

Concert review: Pianist Jan Lisiecki shows Stratford he still has a little growing up to do

Jan Lisiecki played his first of three recitals for Stratford Summer Music on Thursday morning (Mathias Bothor photo).

At what point does a critic move from gentle encouragement to serious criticism?

That is the dilemma with 17-year-old Cargary-born pianist Jan Lisiecki, who gave the first of three consecutive recitals for Stratford Summer Music on Thursday morning. Continue reading

Interview: Pianist Jan Lisiecki in tune with spirit of spontaneiety in performance

Jan Lisiecki, seen here at Glenn Gould’s Steinway at the National Arts Centre, performs three recitals for Stratford Summer Music this week.

The spirit of Glenn Gould looms large at this year’s Stratford Summer Music Festival, especially in the five pianists who have been invited to give matinee recitals at St Andrew’s Church. 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