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Critic's picks: Toronto concerts and opera for April 15 to 21

By John Terauds on April 15, 2013

Montreal-based percussionist Ben Duinker joins Toronto Dan Morphy at Gallery 345 on Tuesday.
Montreal-based percussionist Ben Duinker joins Toronto’s Dan Morphy at Gallery 345 on Tuesday.


  • New Music 101 with the Music Gallery and New Adventures in Sound Art at the Toronto Reference Library, 7 p.m.

I am hosting this second installment in a four-Monday sampler of the city’s new music concerts. Tonight’s edition features a look at how video games are inspiring composers and musicians as well as an introduction to how geography and the environment can be the source of organised sound. There will be opportunities to ask questions of the guests. It should make for a fascinating hour.

  • Début of new orchestra Euphonia at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St W., 7 p.m.

As soon as I am done at Yonge & Bloor, I’m going to dash to Dundas St W. to catch the tail end of this first concert by Toronto’s newest orchestra, led by conductor Simon Capet. I wrote about them here. You’ll find additional details here. And, in case you don’t want to worry about dinner, you can arrive early and eat at Lula Lounge while Euphonia plays.


  • Shannon Mercer, Lawrence Wiliford and Peter McGillivray at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon. Free admission.

Three of our finest singers showcase current affairs at the 1-year-old Canadian Art Song Project with the premiere of two new song cycles by Norbert Palej and Andrew Ager (who will somehow attempt to also play a 1 p.m. organ recital at St James’ Cathedral). More details here.

  • Percussionists Dan Morphy and Ben Duinker at Gallery 345, 8 p.m.

Brilliant Toronto percussionist Dan Morphy (usually seen and heard in the company of the TorQ Percussion Quartet) joins mallets and other striking objects with brilliant Montreal percussionist Ben Duinker for some musical fun in this intimate, friendly setting. Details here.


  • Opening night of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di  Lammermoor at the Four Seasons Centre, 7:30 p.m.

David Alden directs this production of a favourite bel canto opera that originated at English National Opera. The imported cast, led by soprano Anna Christy in the title role, should be spectacular. This production is conducted by Stephen Lord. The nine-performance run continues to May 24. Details here. Ticket sales have been so slow that not even opening night was sold out by the start of this week.


Violinist Gil Shaham joins the Toronto Symphony on Wednesday and Thursday.
Violinist Gil Shaham joins the Toronto Symphony on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Violinist Gil Shaham with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m. on Wed., 2 p.m. on Thu.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and music director Peter Oundjian’s other ensemble, the Scottish National Orchestra, co-commissioned visuals from artists James Westwater and Nicholas Bardonnay to go with a performance of Bedrich Smetana’s much-loved Má vlast (My Homeland). The main attraction is violin virtuoso Gil Shaham, who performs Mozart’s early “Turkish” Violin Concerto. Details here.


  • Sinfonia Toronto at the Glenn Gould Studio, 8 p.m.

This excellent string orchestra puts the spotlight on its principals in a programme that opens with one of the best-known classics, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. There’s much more, all led by music director Nurhan Arman. You’ll find all the details here, including a new audio-streaming feature called Sinfonia Toronto Radio.



  • Pianist Eve Egoyan at the Glenn Gould Studio, 8 p.m.

One of the city’s devoted champions of new music launches a new album of pieces by late Toronto composer Ann Southam with an ocean-spanning programme that includes not only works by Southam, but Claude Vivier, Michael Finnissy, Piers Hallawell and Taylan Susam. Details here.

  • Violinist Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott at Koerner Hall, 8 p.m.

The great German violinist graces us with a strong recital programme consisting of three pieces: Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel and violin sonatas by Sergei Prokofiev’s (No. 1) and César Franck. Her accompanist is wonderful New Yorke pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. Details here.


  • Show Choir Canada National Championships at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Glee may have driven off a cliff, but show choirs are flourishing across the continent. This weekend, the nationals for Canadian high school show choirs should bring a lot of energy and invention to the CNE grounds. Unfortunately, the tickets cost more money than for many fine professional classical music concerts in Toronto, but it might be a fine way to engage a child with a new horizon of musical possibilities. You can dig around the Show Choir Canada website here for well-hidden clues about specific performance times.

  • Pax Christi Chorale presents Handel’s Solomon at Grace Church-on-the-Hill, Sat. at 7:30 p.m., Sun, at 3 p.m.

Music director Stephanie Martin has rounded up an impressive cast of soloists to join this excellent community choir in a lightly dramatized version of Handel’s great oratorio Solomon. I’ll have more about this later in the week, but you can check out details here. (Crazy coincidence: Masterworks of Oakville is also presenting two performances of Solomon at St Andrew Catholic Church with an excellent lineup of soloists. Details here.)


  • Opening performance of Richard Strauss’s Salome at the Four Seasons Centre, 2 p.m.

It’s been a bit more than 10 years since we last saw Atom Egoyan’s production of Richard Strauss’s riveting telling of the story of Salome and John the Baptist. This revival’s cast includes our own Richard Margison as Herod and hands over musical leadership to COC music director Johannes Debus. Details here. Ticket sales have been slow for this production, too.

Inon Barnatan and Alisa Weilerstein (New York Times photo).
Inon Barnatan and Alisa Weilerstein (New York Times photo).
  • Cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan at Koerner Hall, 3 p.m.

Israeli-American pianist Inon Barnatan, who is the soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s visit to Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday night, hikes up to Koerner Hall on Sunday to play with phenomenal young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein. They’re presenting a program that mixes solo and collaborative pieces by Beethoven, Britten, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. You’ll find all the details here.

John Terauds





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