The Canadian Opera Company unveils its 2012-13 season of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

COC Ensemble Studio member Adrian Kramer sang his farewell concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with accompanist Christopher Mokrzewski last May.

The most significant concert presenter in this city outside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is Nina Draganic, the unheralded doyenne of the Canadian Opera Company’s annual 10-months of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

The new season kicks off at lunchtime on Sept. 18, with a concert by the COC’s Ensemble Studio and will run its combination of classical, jazz, world and new music, dance and lecture concerts through to the end of June. Continue reading

Introducing: The Grande pièce symphonique by César Franck

Sainte-Clothilde basilica in Paris inspired César Franck.

The pipe organ has had several lives over its five-century history, the grandest as a symphony orchestra substitute, starting in the second half of the 19th century.

We have a chance to hear a live performance tomorrow of the French composition that heralded this great, golden chapter in the instrument’s history: the Grande pièce symphonique. The 30-minute work will be performed by Simon Walker, one of Toronto’s bright young organ virtuosos, at St James Cathedral, at 1 p.m. Continue reading

American showman organist Carlo Curley dead at 59

Carlo Curley in Leeds a few years ago.

Carlo Curley, an enthusiastic concert organist and born showman, died yesterday at his home in Melton Mowbray, England, less than two weeks shy of his 60th birthday. No cause of death was given. Continue reading

Marvin Hamlisch, master of the movie and show tune was always ready with advice

Marvin Hamlisch’s close working connection with Garth Drabinsky last brought him to Toronto for last year’s ill-fated Black Creek Festival (AP photo).

Updated

Marvin Hamlisch, an incredibly talented composer and conductor and frequent life coach to seasoned performers and students alike, died yesterday, aged 68, in Los Angeles following what has been described as a brief illness. Continue reading

Simcoe Day a fine excuse to celebrate Toronto composer Godfrey Ridout

Godfrey Ridout (1918-1984) was a descendant of Thomas Ridout, the first Surveyor General of Upper Canada during the administration of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe.

So let’s take a moment to appreciate the work of someone who left a mark as a composer, conductor, and teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto.

He even reached the city’s wide classical music audience by writing witty programme notes for Toronto Symphony Orchestra concerts during the early years of Sir Andrew Davis’s tenure as music director. Continue reading

Toronto classical music caught between a boulder and a very hard place

Five members of England’s lauded Nash Ensemble and one of Canada’s finest lyric tenors performing lush and dramatically evocative tonal music by two composers with comfortable pews in the classical canon wasn’t enough to fill more than half of Koerner Hall last night. Continue reading

Comment: It’s time to line our arts patrons up on stage before the music starts

How much are we prepared to pay for art music?

It has cost the Philadelphia Orchestra $10 million (U.S.) to restructure itself over a period of 14 months. The musicians have taken a pay cut, and Kimmel Center managers traded reduced rent for the storied symphony for the virtual disappearance of classical programming from its music season. Continue reading