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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: July 26 – August 1

By Michael Vincent on July 26, 2021

Classical Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: July 26 – August 1
Classical music and opera events for the week of July 26 – August 1.

This is a list of amazing concerts we are attending, wishing we could attend, or thinking about attending in Toronto between July 26 – August 1, 2021. For more details on what’s happening from our trusted partners, visit our calendar here.

Toronto Summer Music | Philip Chiu In Recital

📅 Monday — July 26, 7:30 PM
📍 Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto, Ontario
💸 $50

Back today, after nearly two years, the Toronto Summer Music Festival (TSM) returns to live, in-person events. The week-long series will be held at Toronto’s Grace Church on-the-Hill, located in the Forest Hill neighbourhood. We can’t recommend Montreal-based pianist Philip Chiu enough. You’ll hear Ravel and Debussy, plus selections from audience requests. Philip’s bio reads, “Montreal-based classical pianist with a serious weakness for poutine.” This is our people, folks. There’s limited seating, so act fast. | Details

Toronto Summer Music | Beethoven Violin Sonatas: Part 4

📅 Monday — July 26, 7:30 PM
📍 ONLINE
💸 Free!

One of the highlights of the Toronto Summer Music Festival this year is Jonathan Crow and Philip Chiu series on Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano and Violin. They are working their way towards the complete cycle. Tonight you’ll hear two Ludwig Van approved favourites: Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Violin, No.6 and No. 8. A special treat is a premiere of for not all is lost by Alice Hong. Note: they are also performing this in person. Expect a review on LV for this one soon. | Details

Ottawa Chamberfest | Wonny Song and David Jalbert: West Side Story

📅 Tuesday — July 27, 2 PM (in-person) and 7 PM (online)
📍Carlton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
💸 $25-35

You really can’t go wrong with two piano dynamos pooling their talents in a program of works Mozart, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, and Bernstein. If you’re near Ottawa, see Wonny Song and David Jalbert live and in-person at 2 p.m. If you’re anywhere else, you can see them online the same day at 7 p.m. You had us at West Side Story… we’ll be there! | Details

Toronto Summer Music | New Horizons

📅 Tuesday — July 27, 7:30 PM
📍 Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto, Ontario
💸 $50

Join Toronto Summer Music at Toronto’s Grace Church on-the-Hill for some chamber music with Kerson Leong (violin), Stéphane Tétreault (cello) Angela Schwartzkopf (harp). On the bill are mainstays Ysaÿe, Saint-Saëns, Ravel. You’ll also hear a piece by local composer Monica Pearce. We recommend you try and sit close. This is a great chance to hear the next generation of top-shelf classical musicians and even talk to them afterwards. | Details

Toronto Summer Music | New Orford String Quartet: Homage

📅 Wednesday — July 28, 5 & 7:30 PM
📍 Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto, Ontario
💸 $50

If you’re going to see just one show this week, this would be our recommendation. The program is steller, with cutting edge works by Samy Moussa, Caroline Shaw, Dinuk Wijeratne, and Felix Mendelssohn. It wouldn’t be summer in Toronto without hearing New Orford String Quartet at least once. | Details

Yorkville Musical History Walking Tour

📅 Thursday — July 29, 10:00 AM
📍 Town Square, Toronto, Ontario
💸 $25

While this isn’t a classical event, it looked so neat we had to include it. Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood has played an important role in Canada’s music history, particularly in the 1960s. This walking tour is designed for music lovers who want to know the real story of how Yorkville became Canada’s 1960s music mecca. If you’re lucky, you might even see Gordon Lightfoot walking around. It covers about 2 km from Yonge and Yorkville to Avenue and Davenport, over 1.5-2 hours, so bring good shoes. Each tour is limited to 15 people. Tour guide Dr. Mike Daley asks that all attendees be fully vaccinated. | Details

Soundstreams/Arts Etobicoke | Town Hall: Indigenous Voices with Special Watch Party

📅 Thursday — July 29, 6:30 PM
📍 Online
💸 Free!

Join our good friends at Soundstreams and Arts Etobicoke are offering an online chat about the arts in relation to the Indigenous experience. Guests include composer Ian Cusson, mezzo-soprano Rebecca Cuddy, and artist, activist, Knowledge Keeper, and historian Philip Coté, and Soundstreams Founding Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney. Questions topics include: What role do the arts play in uncovering and highlighting Indigenous experience? Can they help in providing insight into shared history? Important questions for sure… come to listen, or join the live audience Q&A after. | Details

Ottawa Chamberfest | Isabel Bayrakdarian & Friends: Glorious and Free

📅 Thursday — July 29, 7 PM (online & in-person)
📍Carlton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
💸 $22-41

Ottawa Chamberfest want to fill your night with a spirited concert featuring soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, violinist Mark Fewer, the Gryphon Trio, and violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez. The program is packed with feisty personality: Brahms’ Zigeunerlieder, Dvořák’s Cigánské Melodie, as well as other varied works by Valverde, Iradier, Yvain. There are two options to see them both online and in-person. We recommend watching with an ice-cold sangria in hand. | Details

Ottawa Chamberfest | Lemon Bucket Orkestra

📅 Friday — July 30, 2 PM (in-person) and 7 PM (online)
📍Carlton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
💸 $25-35

Described as “Toronto’s original guerrilla-folk party-punk massive shares a genre-bending set that is equal parts exhilarating precision and reckless abandon,” this sounds like a lot of fun. If you need some proof, see for yourself here. You can see them in-person at 2 p.m., or online the same day at 7 p.m. | Details

Toronto Summer Music | Through Beethoven’s Lens

📅 Friday — July 30 7:30 PM
📍Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto, Ontario or Online
💸 $50 (in-person) / Free! (online)

As one of Canada’s leading composers, Kelly-Marie Murphy keeps things fresh with a new take on Beethoven with the premiere and Toronto Summer Music Commission Artifacts from the Auditory World. Performed by TSM Festival Artists, you’ll also hear Schubert’s virtuosic Octet in F Major, D 803. The piece was written at the request of renowned clarinetist Ferdinand Troyer, who asked him for a work similar to Beethoven’s Septet, Op. 20. Fun fact: Troyer and Schubert were both pallbearers at Beethoven’s funeral in 1827. | Details

Ottawa Chamberfest | An Evening of Opera and Art Song with Isaiah Bell, Jonelle Sills, and Carson Becke

📅 Sunday — August 1, 7 PM (online & in-person)
📍Carlton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
💸 $20-35

Matching the slower pace of a summer Sunday, Ottawa Chamberfest celebrate opera and art song, with tenor Isaiah Bell and soprano Jonelle Sills in her Chamberfest debut. Carson Becke accompanies on piano. This is a hybrid in-person or online concert. | Details

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Michael Vincent
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