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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Toronto classical concert and opera picks for December 2 to 8, 2013

By John Terauds on December 2, 2013

The Gryphon Trio celebrates their 20th anniversary as well as receiving the $30,000 Walter Carsen Prize with a recital for Music Toronto on Thursday (Kazuk Ishikura photo).
The Gryphon Trio celebrates their 20th anniversary as well as receiving the $30,000 Walter Carsen Prize with a recital for Music Toronto on Thursday (Kazuk Ishikura photo).

MONDAY

  • Mezzo-soprano Andrea Ludwig and the Togni Trio premiere Isis and Osiris at Heliconian Hall, 7:30 p.m.

New Canadian opera is alive and well and being premiered at this intimate Yorkville venue by some very talented people.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, Editor-Emeritus of Ludwig van Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at the 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

Isis and Osiris composer Peter Togni leads the Voicebox/Opera in Concert-sponsored concert presentation which is raising money for Ariaworks. The Egyptian-themed story’s libretto is by Toronto poet Sharon Singer. The event also marks the official release of a new album of creations by Togni.  Tickets are $35 in advance (416-461-0750) or $40 at the door.

TUESDAY

  • Pianist Mary Kenedi and friends at the Glenn Gould Studio, 7:30 p.m.

KenediMary1Toronto pianist Mary Kenedi is following up her excellent recent album of the chamber music of late Italian composer Nino Rota with a concert in the company of clarinetist Goran Gojevic and violist Theresa Rudolph in a programme of works by Rota and others, including Zoltan Kodály, Béla Bartók and our own Marjan Mozetich. Ticket details here.

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY

Singing the Earth at the Wychwood Theatre (Artscape Wychwood Barns), 7 p.m.

This looks like it could be a very special, multimedia experience centred on the Bella Coola Valley in British Columbia. The texts draw from the original Nuxalk language as well as the Norwegian, English and Japanese spoken there since colonial times. The music is by Torontonian Anna Höstman, performed by mezzo Marion Newman and the Continuum Ensemble conducted by Gregory Oh. There’s a film screening at 7 p.m., followed by a concert at 8 p.m. Details here.

This video introduces us to a fascinating project and the people involved:

THURSDAY

  • Ensemble Made in Canada at the Richard Bradshaw Amphotheatre, noon.

Although this is the official release of their wonderful début CD of piano quartets by Mozart and Brahms, this free lunchtime recital features the ensemble in string quartet formation performing Claude Debussy and Gabriel Fauré. Details here.

  • Gryphon Trio performs for Music Toronto at the Jane Mallett Theatre, 8 p.m.

This recital marks the 20th anniversary of Toronto’s Gryphon Trio — violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, cellist Roman Borys and pianist Jamie Parker. The programme perfectly reflects what they do, including two perennial favourite trios by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, the world premiere of a new work by R. Murray Schafer as well as one of the students the trio mentors at the Claude Watson School of the Arts. Also, this is the night the Gryphons will be honoured with the Canada Council’s $30,000 Walter Carsen Prize for excellence in the performing arts. Details here.

THURSDAY TO SUNDAY

  • Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout with Tafelmusik at Jeanne Lamon Hall, 8 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Sun.)

This remarkable South African-born soloist makes his Toronto début with a declaration that the predecessor to the modern grand piano does have a place on a mainstream concert stage in a Mozart-heavy programme. I’ll have more on this later in the week. Details here.

FRIDAY

  • Flutist Alison Melville and friends at Bloor St United Church, 8 p.m.

A very capable quartet of historically informed musicians — Melville, violinist Kathleen Kajioka, gambist Justin Haynes and harpsichordist Christopher Bagan — offers a largely French-themed programme of baroque music by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Georg Philipp Telemann and Louis-Ganriel Guillemain. Admission is $20 ($15 for students and seniors, $10 for children). For more information, call 416-835-9969.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

The concert calendar groans with Christmas concerts by groups large and small throughout the GTA. To find one that tickles your fancy, check out Wholenote magazine’s comprehensive listings here.

smcs

My recommendations? If you haven’t experienced one of these Toronto institutions, you should check out the wonderful boys of St Michael’s Choir School at Massey Hall (details here) or the 76th annual presentation of the Christmas Story pageant at my church, Holy Trinity, at the Eaton Centre (details here).

SUNDAY

  • Rezonance Baroque Ensemble at the Tranzac (292 Brunswick Ave.), 3 p.m.

Gamba player Justin Haynes and friends look at the casual and convivial side of baroque music — the kind that was popular in coffee houses back in the day, and fits nicely into the informal atmosphere at the Tranzac.

  • Pianist Kirill Gerstein at Koerner Hall, 3 p.m.

This younger pianist is one of the more interesting people to grace the solo-recital stage. For his first visit to Koerner Hall, Gerstein has chosen to mix his passion for both classical and jazz in a programme that ranges from Joseph Haydn to George Gershwin, with some interesting detours in between. You’ll find all the details here.

MESSIAH WATCH

Yes, one needs a separate heading for December performances of the English-speaking world’s favourite oratorio. There are two concerts by worthy professionals this week:

Tuesday @ 7:30 p.m.: By the musicians of St James Cathedral and the Talisker Players, conducted by Vicky St Pierre. Details here.

Friday @ 8 p.m.: Elmer Iseler Singers and friends, conducted by Lydia Adams at Metropolitan United. Details here.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, Editor-Emeritus of Ludwig van Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at the 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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