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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Feb. 6: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

By John Terauds on February 6, 2012

Seven excellent picks for seven excellent days of live music:

MONDAY

  • Tokai String Quartet at Gallery 345, 8 p.m.
John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

It’s been 10 years since the Tokai String Quartet was born at the University of Toronto. It went on to do well at the Banff International String Quartet Competition five years later. They are the resident chamber ensemble at Queen’s University in Kingston.

Violinists Amanda Goodburn and Csaba Koczo, violist Yosef Tamir-Smirnoff and cellist Emmanuelle Beaulieu Bergeron make the trek from Kingston to an intimate space in the big city tonight for a meaty programme featuring quartets by Mozart (the “Prussian,” K. 590), Mendelssohn (F minor Op 80) and Shostakovich (No. 7, in F-sharp minor, Op. 80).

At $20, this great music comes cheap.

Full concert and ticket details here.

In case you don’t know the Shostakovich quartet, here is an excellent rendition by the New Zealand String Quartet. Note the stand-up performance:

TUESDAY

  • Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and Atelier Lyrique of the Opéra de Montréal at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon. Free.

The vocal apprentices at the Canadian Opera Company and Opéra de Montréal’s young ensembles celebrate their annual jamboree with a selection of opera arias and ensemble pieces in a free lunchtime concert.

It should be a lot of fun.

WEDNESDAY

  • Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra unveils its new multimedia project, House of Dreams, at Trinity-St. Paul’s Church, 7 p.m. (repeats to Feb. 12)

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is back from last week’s workshops and first public performance at the Banff Centre to present the Toronto premiere of Alison Mackay’s latest multimedia brainchild, House of Dreams.

It’s a journey to five Baroque-era houses and palaces that feature stunning collections of period art. Images from those rooms accompany period- and country-specific music.

As with the Galileo Project, orchestra members will perform the music from memory, and have been choreographed by Opera Atelier co-artistic director Marshall Pynkoski. If it is anywhere near as good as the Galileo Project, this should be one of the highlights of the city’s musical season.

Full ticket and concert details here.

Here’s Mackay with more on House of Dreams:

WED. & THURSDAY

  • New Orford String Quartet

The New Orford String Quartet is Canada’s answer to the all-star power quartet, featuring the concertmasters of the Toronto Symphony (Jonathan Crow) and Montreal Symphony Orchestras (Andrew Wan), TSO associate principal viola Eric Nowlin and MSO principal cello, Brian Manker.

Their new CD, of quartets by Beethoven (No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135) and Schubert (No. 15 in G Major, D. 887, Op. 161) brims with passion, and is remarkably balanced for a group that has only been playing together occasionally for two-and-a-half years.

For disc details, click here.

  • On Wednesday, the quartet performs a benefit concert for Toronto Summer Music, in a concert featuring the Op. 135 Beethoven String Quartet, as well as Schubert’s Op. 163 String Quintet with cellist Shauna Rolston. Walter Hall, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $78 at www.rcmusic.ca (416-408-0208). There’s a meet-the-artists reception afterward.
  • On Thursday, the four stars perform the Schubert quartet from the CD for free at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, at noon. Warning: Get there early to get a place to sit.

THURSDAY

  • The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould Professional School Concerto Competition at Koerner Hall, 10 a.m. Free.

There’s no better way to be inspired by the skills and talents of young performers than to sit through a long competition round. The winner gets to play with the RCM Orchestra next season.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY

  • The Art of Time Ensemble at the Enwave Theatre, 8 p.m.

Andrew Burashko and his Art of Time Ensemble turn their attentions to Italian song, from verismo opera to songs by Paolo Conte. Guests include singers Michael Ciufo and Dominic Mancuso.

For full ticket and concert details, click here.

Here is Conte himself, singing “Hemingway” in 1988, followed by a promo video of Ciufo’s latest project:

  • The Cold War Songbook at the Music Gallery, 8 p.m.

Mid-20th century home décor is huge; the art music of the time, less so. Gregory Oh, the new artistic director at the Music Gallery, is trying to change that by presenting two nights and three concerts of pianistic highlights from the time students were made to read the novel, On the Beach, and had to go through nuclear-attack drills by hiding under their desks.

It goes without saying that this is not music of peaceful contemplation, but there is a lot of gripping listening, and much virtuosity.

The invited pianists are Vicky Chow, on Friday, followed by Stephen Clarke and Simon Docking on Saturday.

Get details of all three concerts here.

In a show of spectacular keyboard style, here is Docking executing Matthew Hindson’s AK-47, live at the Music Gallery two years ago:

SUNDAY

  • Continuum Contemporary Music at the Music Gallery, 8 p.m.

The premieres of new pieces from Toronto composer Brian Current and composer-performer Richard Marsella are part of an intriguing concert built around the theme of mechanical instruments.

A special guest is a mechanical organ engineered and built by Torontonian Henk de Graauw (who will speak on mechanical instruments at 4 p.m., if you can make it earlier in the day).

For full concert and ticket details, click here.

Continuum’s Jennifer waring and Ryan Scott visited de Graauw at home last month:

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
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