There are few things that get us more excited than following the ebbs and flows of a master season programmer. It’s an art in itself, and Lawrence Cherney, Artistic Director of Toronto’s Soundstreams, has become a kind musical soothsayer, who comes down from the proverbial mountain around this time every year with the promise of cutting edge music.
Soundstreams are all about new works and premieres, but what makes Soundstreams 2019–20 season unique, is the themes of ritual and memory.
Opening the season at Trinity St-Paul’s on Oct. 3 is a brass forward concert with works ranging from the baroque to world premieres with Anna Pidgorna and Brian Current. Other works include R. Murray Schafer’s Trumpet Aubade, Toru Takemitsu’s Paths, Teleman’s Concerto for Three Trumpets, and Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre.
Nov. 13–16 brings a music theatre double bill: Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit. Sung and narrated in Cree and Sami, the pair of works will reimagine ancient Indigenous legends from Canada and the Nordic countries. Composers are Melissa Hui, Britta Byström, with artistic direction by Michael Greyeyes and David Fallis.
Electric Messiah is now a Soundstreams tradition and will return Dec 10–12.
Late January brings Montreal-based composer Nicole Lizée back to Toronto for the premiere of The Lost Karaoke Tapes — a work based on videotapes she found tossed away in a dumpster. The concert follows Lizée’s artistic exploration of kitsch culture inspired by 80’s karaoke. We’re promised “Whip It” and “Endless Love”, as only Lizée can re-live them.
Another rather curious concert aptly titled, Secrets (April 23-24) incorporates anonymous secrets of local Torontonians collected especially for the concert. Performed by an eclectic ensemble of vocals, tuba, euphonium, trombone, accordion, and cello, this one promises to light up April with some juicy confessions.
Local composer Nick Storring as teamed up with Soundstreams to curate a fresh take on the old and new with a concert on March 6 for harpsichord, organetto, baroque violin, viola da gamba, and hurdy-gurdy. It’s a partially improvised set at the Drake, so there’s no telling what will happen, but we like the sound of it.
The season highlight an encore production of legendary Québécois composer Claude Vivier’s Musik für das Ende (May 6–9). “The Music of the End is where all is forever erased, where all becomes infinite silence,” is how the ever-dramatic Vivier described it on its premiere in 1971. Soundstreams was first to present the first fully staged production of it back in 2017, so this will offer a second chance for those who missed it the first time around.
For the musically curious alike, this just might be Soundstreams best season yet.
Subscriptions will go on sale this Friday, March 8. More details, here.
[Update: March 6, 2019. A previous version stated Nick Storring’s curated concert with Soundstreams was March 8, when it is March 6.]