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THE SCOOP | Royal Conservatory Marches Ahead With 2020-21 Season

By Michael Vincent on June 10, 2020


Unveiled yesterday during a live-streamed event online, the Royal Conservatory of Music has announced its full 2020-21 season line-up curated by master programmer Mervon Mehta.

The path forward for RCM’s 12th annual season was described as cautiously optimistic, with a focus on ensuring the season is presented in a safe and responsible way.

“Over the course of our 12th season, we will present 110 concerts and events. Artists from 43 countries, including those from Indonesia, Iraq, Iceland, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe, will bring their music to us, and 83 Canadian artists or ensembles will headline concerts,” Mehta said in a press release statement.

The season brings some big events to Koerner Hall, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a gospel tribute to Aretha Franklin, 100th birthday tribute to Dave Brubeck, Rosanne Cash, a new work by Margaret Atwood and Jake Heggie, Bobby McFerrin, Daniel Lanois, Cameron Carpenter, the Kronos Quartet, Vikingur Ólafsson, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

They have also added 10 performances recovered from last season due to cancellations from COVID-19.

“Music has been uniting us through these unprecedented times and, should the government directives on social distancing be lifted, we eagerly anticipate when we can gather once again to enjoy music collectively,” says RCM President & CEO, Peter Simon.

Season Highlights:

RCM Season Gala —October 17, 2020

Follies (In honour of Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday) featuring Chilina Kennedy, Eric McCormack, Cynthia Dale, and Thom Allison with Mary Lou Fallis, Denise Fergusson, Lorraine Foreman, Ben Heppner, Sheila McCarthy, Louise Pitre, Jackie Richardson, and Avery Saltzman.

Beethoven 250 Festival

• James Ehnes
• Stewart Goodyear
• Adrianne Pieczonka
• Marcus Roberts
• Gryphon Trio
• Galilee Chamber Orchestra

21c Music Festival

• Kronos Quartet
• ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory)
• Angèle Dubeau
• La Pietà
• Morgan-Paige Melbourne and Eve Egoyan
• the Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble with FLIPBOOK: Music and Images program
Choral Splendour: The Music of Pärt and Frehner co-produced by Soundstreams

Jazz From Around the World (Series)

Miles from India – A Celebration of the Music of Miles Davis: India
• Richard Bona & Alfredo Rodríguez Band and Pedrito Martínez Group: Cameroon & Cuba
• Makoto Ozone Trio and Youn Sun Nah: Japan & South Korea
• Tigran Hamasyan and Guy Mintus Trio: Armenia & Israel
• Ivan Lins Quintet and Supergenerous featuring Cyro Baptista and Kevin Breit: Brazil
• Joey Alexander Quartet and Selcuk Suna Quartet: Indonesia & Turkey

Ludwig van Beethoven (Programs)

• James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong
• Anne-Marie McDermott with Rolston String Quartet
• Gryphon Trio with Jon Kimura Parker
• ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory) John O’Conor, Joaquin Valdepeñas Conducts
• Taylor Academy Showcase Concert

Johann Sebastian Bach (Programs)

• Angela Hewitt (Art of the Fugue)
• Cameron Carpenter (The Goldberg Variations)

World, Canadian, and Ontario premieres

• Eve Egoyan
• Paul Frehner
• Jake Heggie
• Stewart Goodyear
• Afarin Mansouri
• John Oswald
• Fatimah Al-Zaelaeyah
• Dan Becker
• Dur-Dur Band
• Stacy Garrop
• Marc Neikrug,
• Steve Reich
• Zachary James Watkins
• Antonio Haskell

Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage (Series)

• A Tribute to Aretha Franklin featuring Damien Sneed and Karen Clark Sheard
• the all-female all-star group Artemis
• Nella and Daymé Arocena
• Dianne Reeves with her latest project
Beleza Brazil
• Rosanne Cash


• Daniel Lanois and Heavy Sun
• Brubeck Brothers Quartet celebrating Dave Brubeck’s centennial
• Ashley MacIsaac with Jully Black and Madison Violet
• Skratch Bastid and DJ QBert
• Bobby McFerrin

World Music Concerts

• KUNÉ – Canada’s Global Orchestra and Moskitto Bar
• Mariza
• Ladysmith Black Mambazo
• Mokoomba & Wesli
• Las Cafeteras & Patricia Cano

String Concerts

• James Ehnes with Andrew Armstrong performing all 10 Beethoven violin sonatas
• Ehnes Quartet with the New Orford String Quartet
• Maisky Trio
• Beatrice Rana with Renaud Capuçon
• Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica
• Jordi Savall’s The Distant Voices

Chamber Music

• Dover Quartet with baritone Davóne Tines
• Stewart Goodyear and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
• Anne-Marie McDermott with Rolston String Quartet
• Galilee Chamber Orchestra with Jon Kimura Parker conducted by Saleem Abboud Ashkar
• Gryphon Trio with Jon Kimura Parker
• Jeremy Denk with Les Violons du Roy

Vocal Concerts

• Adrianne Pieczonka and Michael Schade with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra
• conducted by Johannes Debus
• Angelika Kirchschlager with Julius Drake
• The King’s Singers
• Anne Sofie von Otter with Kristian Bezuidenhout
• Joshua Hopkins with the world premiere of the piano version of Jake Heggie’s Songs for Murdered Sisters with text by Margaret Atwood

Piano Concerts

• Cameron Carpenter
• Marc-André Hamelin
• Nicholas Angelich
• Seong-Jin Cho
• Víkingur Ólafsson
• Jean-Yves Thibaudet

The Royal Conservatory Orchestra Concerts (Conductors)

• Trevor Pinnock
• Peter Oundjian
• Johannes Debus
• Gábor Takács-Nagy

Free Sunday Interlude (Series)

• Anwar Khurshid
• Ladom Ensemble
• Fern Lindzon
• Morgan-Paige Melbourne
• Glenn Gould School All Stars
• ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory)

See here for complete details on RCM’s 2020-21 season.

Subscriptions go on sale on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets on sale starting Friday, June 26, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.


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Michael Vincent
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