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Toronto Montreal

THE SCOOP | Royal Conservatory Announces Super Season For The Fully Vaxxed

By Michael Vincent on August 31, 2021

Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Photo courtesy of RCM)
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Photo courtesy of RCM)

The Royal Conservatory of Music has announced their full 2021-22 season line up, launching October 16, 2021.

The season amounts to a mix of nearly 100 new and rescheduled events.

A New Start

As in-person events have been shut down since early 2020 in Ontario (longer than in any other region in North America), this announcement marks a new optimistic attitude for concert venues across the province.

The 2020-21 season upended with a pandemic, allowing the RCM to reschedule the best of both years jammed into one.

From a tribute to Glenn Gould with singers clinging to The Royal Conservatory’s Atrium wall to the Toronto debut of classical super-star Sheku Kanneh-Mason, RCM’s 2021-22 season also makes Koerner Hall one of Toronto’s busiest concerts venues this year.

“As a community, we have managed to navigate through some extraordinary times, but I am proud to say that our beautiful Conservatory will be, once again, a hive of artistic activity,” said Dr. Peter Simon. “And as you might expect, Mervon Mehta and James Anagnoson have curated an exquisite line-up of talent that will, no doubt, be an inspiration to all.”

Fully Vaxxed

Coming off a pandemic, that says a lot, but RCM wants to be responsible about it. They require all patrons to provide proof of full vaccination and a photo ID (medical exceptions excluded).

For those still feeling uneasy about returning to the concert hall, RCM will continue to offer the option to enjoy many of their concerts online. Considering that the much-feared COVID variants have yet to play their full hand this fall, it is a smart idea.

Canada On Stage

RCM’s hybrid virtual events will be made part of Canada On Stage — a web series taking place between April 2021 and March 2022, including access to livestreams. Innovating further, they have also developed a new Ticket+ feature that allows patrons to add a range of food and beverage ‘extras’ provided by partner restaurants/catering and businesses/brewery/winery products and services.

“This special concert season is infused with a restoring and revitalizing energy, and we are overjoyed to welcome audiences back in our venues to share the vitality of live music together in person again,” said Mervon Mehta.


  • RCM Season Gala — October 16 and 17, 2021

Follies (In honour of Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday) starring Cynthia Dale, Ma-Anne Dionisio, Eric McCormack, and Marcus Nance with Jenni Burke, Mary Lou Fallis, Denise Fergusson, Lorraine Foreman, Ben Heppner, Jackie Richardson, and Avery Saltzman and featuring Gabriel Antonacci, Jahlen Barnes, Tess Benger, Katelyn Bird, and Kimberely-Ann Truong.

Heavy Hitters

  • Sir Bryn Terfel
  • Bobby McFerrin
  • Joyce DiDonato with Il Pomo d’Oro
  • Jerusalem String Quartet with Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth
  • Gautier Capuçon with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
  • Joshua Bell
  • Jordi Savall
  • Danish String Quartet
  • Stewart Goodyear With the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
  • Gerald Finley with Julius Drake
  • Anne Sofie Von Otter
  • The King’s Singers
  • ARC Ensemble
  • Jeremy Denk With Les Violons Du Roy
  • Galilee Chamber Orchestra with Jon Kimura Parker and Saleem Abboud Ashkar
  • Dover Quartet with baritone Davóne Tines
  • Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica: From Bach To Piazzola
  • Asitha Tennekoon
  • Handel’s Rinaldo

Jazz and Popular Music

  • Punch Brothers
  • Daniel Lanois
  • Ashley MacIsaac with Jully Black
  • Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade
  • A tribute to Dave Brubeck
  • Marcus Roberts
  • Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival
  • Artemis
  • Nella and Daymé Arocena
  • Dianne Reeves
  • Rosanne Cash
  • A gospel tribute to Aretha Franklin with Karen Clark Sheard and Damien Sneed
  • Mariza
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • Las Cafeteras and Patricia Cano

Koerner Hall Debuts

  • Sheku Kanneh-Mason with Isata Kanneh-Mason
  • Víkingur Ólafsson
  • Ivo Pogorelić
  • Davóne Tines
  • Jean-Yves Thibaudet


  • Mark Anthony Turnage, Bent Sørensen, Brian Current
  • Stewart Goodyear
  • Steve Reich, Dan Becker, Antonio Haskell, Stacy Garrop, Dur-Dur Band
  • Fatimah Al-Zaelaeyah, Zachary James Watkins
  • Eve Egoyan, Morgan-Paige Melbourne, and Marc Neikrug

21C Music Festival

As pretty much the only international contemporary music game in town, RCM is revving up a temporarily stalled 21C Music Festival this January and February 2022.

Taking a page out of PT Barnum, the Festival launches with one of the most bizarre ideas we’ve heard since Shostakovich’s The Nose.

Presented in collaboration with Tapestry Opera and Maniac Star, Gould’s Wall sees singers scale the internal wall of The Royal Conservatory’s Atrium, reenacting the life of Canadian icon and classical pianist Glenn Gould. This innovative new opera recalls Gould’s never-ending quest for artistic excellence and the artist’s inevitable ups and downs. This production will be directed by Dora Award winner Philip Akin, with music and lyrics by Brian Current.

Other notables include:

  • Canadian baritone Gerald Finley joins English pianist Julius Drake for the world premiere of Without Ceremony by super-star composer Mark Anthony Turnage.
  • The Danish String Quartet will also be in town to perform a new piece by Bent Sørensen inspired by the Schubert Quartet.
  • A spotlight on San Francisco’s Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet via multi-media event Kronos Quartet on Film: A Thousand Thoughts.
  • The Canadian premiere of Marc Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler + Eve Egoyan performing the premiere of Seven Studies for Augmented Piano.
  • Canadian violinists Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà in works by Craig Armstrong, Abel Korzeniowski, Ludovico Einaudi, Peter Gregson, Jean-Michel Blais, Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter, and more.

See here for a complete list of artists for RCM 2021-22 season. Tickets are on sale now.


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Michael Vincent
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