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CRITIC'S PICKS | 10 Concerts You Absolutely Need To See In Toronto This Week (Jan. 13 - 19)

By Joseph So on January 13, 2020

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of January 13 to 19.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of January 13 to 19.

Critic’s Picks (January 13 – 19)

Ludwig van Toronto’s weekly Critic’s Picks are a curated list of some of the best concerts happening now through the end of the week. For a look at the full breadth of what’s available in and around Toronto, check out our curated concert listings here.

Note: With the start of the new year, we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to new music. Just a stone’s throw away on Bloor Street is the 21C Music Festival at the Royal Conservatory, featuring 8 concerts and 21 premieres. For details about the many events at the RCM, see here.

U of T’s 10-day New Music Festival features Brazilian pianist, composer and arranger André Mehmari as the Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor in Composition. He’s joined by a stellar list of guest artists including Emmanuele Baldini, Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa and the Penderecki String Quartet.

Tuesday 14

University of Toronto Faculty of Music | New Music Festival: Karen Kieser Prize Concert. 7:30 p.m. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. Free.

Vancouver pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa performs Hildegard Westerkamp’s Klavierklang, plus a performance of Francis Ubertelli’s Quartetto 2 for string quartet. | Details

Wednesday 15

University of Toronto Faculty of Music | New Music Festival: From Bach to Latin America. 7:30 p.m. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. Free.

With André Mehmari (Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor in Composition) on the piano and violinist Emmanuele Baldini. | Details

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Mozart Requiem. 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $41-$154. Repeats Jan. 16, 17, 18. Check listings for show times.

Sir Andrew Davis leads the TSO in Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, and the unfinished Mozart Requiem. The quartet of soloists are members of Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium Young Artists Initiative — soprano Jenavieve Moore, mezzo Jillian Bonner, tenor Charles Sy, and bass Trevor Eliot Bowes, joined by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. | Details

Thursday 16

Tafelmusik | Gone with the Winds. 8 p.m. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. Pre-concert chat 7 p.m. $20-$99. Repeats Jan. 17, 18, 19. Check website for start times.

The Tafelmusik wind musicians (Marco Cera, John Abberger, Dominic Teresi, and Pippa MacMillan) perform a program of works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Rossini, plus the world premiere of Cecilia Livingston’s Gone With The Winds (2019). Read our concert preview here. | Details

Show One Productions | Lucas Debargue. 8 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $45-$90.

French pianist and composer Lucas Debargue, winner of the Fourth Prize and the Music Critic’s Prize in the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, returns to Toronto for his solo recital debut, in a program of Scarlatti, Ravel, Medtner and Liszt. | Details

Friday 17

Piano Lunaire | Composers’ Symposium 2020: The Shaw of the North. 7:30. Bunker Lane Press, 1001 Bloor St. W. Rear entrance & Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph Street. $20/$10(st)

The Composers’ Symposium centers around the experience of composing for solo piano. Participants are composers Paul Lessard, Chris McAteer, Michael Maevskiy, Dylann Miller, Tom Weeks, and Eunseon Yu. Each has created a new work for solo piano, in mentorship with Christopher Mayo. This weekend centres around two performances, a lecture and workshop for emerging composers. Gala show on Sunday Jan. 19 7:30 p.m. | Details

Royal Conservatory of Music | 21C Music Festival: Winterreise. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $21-$90 (plus $8 fee). Pre-concert talk at 7:00 p.m.

Schubert’s 193-years old Winterreise in a new music festival? That’s because this isn’t just any old Winterreise but staged and newly arranged for violin, clarinet, trombone, and accordion. I’m betting on the very last song, “Der Leiermann” to be accompanied by the accordion! In this joint presentation with Le Chimera Project, the songs are interpreted by Canadian baritone Philippe Sly, a former member of the COC Ensemble who has gone on to enjoy an international career. I am looking forward to the experience. Be sure to attend the pre-concert talk. | Details

Sinfonia Toronto | Beethoven Triple. 8 p.m. Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front St. W. $42/$35(sr)/$15(st)

Nurhan Arman conducts the Sinfonia Toronto in an All-Beethoven program of Triple Concerto (Chamber Version) and Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” (Chamber Version). Also appearing are pianist Zhengyu Chen, violinist Xiaohan Guo, and cellist Daniel Hass. | Details

Sunday 19

Canadian Opera Company | The Barber of Seville. 2 p.m. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. $45-$350. Eight performances to Feb. 7. Start times vary, check website for details.

The Canadian Opera Company’s winter season opens with the perennial favourite comic opera, Il barbiere di Siviglia. Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo, now an emerging international star, returns to sing Rosina. Italian baritone Vito Priante (Figaro) and Argentinean tenor Santiago Ballerini (Almaviva) make their respective COC debut. Italian conductor Speranza Scappucci makes her COC debut. The production is by celebrated Spanish director Joan Font. | Details

University of Toronto Faculty of Music | New Music Festival: Penderecki String Quartet. 7:30 p.m. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. Free.

The Waterloo, Ontario based Penderecki String Quartet plays a program with the centerpiece of the Toronto premiere of Christos Hatzis’s String Quartet No. 4 (The Suffering). No other program information available. | Details

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Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).

Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
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