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THE SCOOP | 21C Music Festival Lineup Announced

By Anya Wassenberg on November 24, 2021

RCM-21C_Music_Festival-Tanya_Tagaq

With 18 premieres over 13 concerts, along with one multimedia film screening, the 21C Music Festival 2022 offers a wealth of new music.

Mervon Mehta, Executive Director of Performing Arts at The Royal Conservatory, comments in a media release. “We are so fortunate to be back this year with 14 performances, including the premieres of two chamber operas with theatrical flair, our friends the Kronos Quartet with Tanya Tagaq, and Canada’s beloved bass-baritone Gerald Finley. Support from Michael and Sonja Koerner allows us to bring you this festival each season and to commission work from some of the most exciting composers on the planet. We hope that audiences will come often and be ready to stretch their ears.”

The ninth edition of the 21C Music Festival will take place between January 12 and 23, with another single date to close the Festival on February 25, 2022.

18 premieres

  • 6 world premieres (all by Canadian composers: Brian Current, Eve Egoyan, Kathryn Knowles, Morgan-Paige Melbourne, Nauroz Tanya, and Tanya Tagaq),
  • 1 North American premiere (Mark-Anthony Turnage),
  • 5 Canadian (Stacy Garrop, Aruna Narayan, Marc Neikrug, Steve Reich, Zachary James Watkins),
  • 6 Ontario premieres (Alex Baranowski, Antonio Haskell, Katia Makdissi-Warren, Abel Meeropol, Bent Sørensen, and Julie Thériault).

21C kicks off with the world premiere of Gould’s Wall from January 12 to 16, presented in a partnership between the Festival, Tapestry Opera and Maniac Star production. The work reimagines Glenn Gould and his life, and will feature singers who climb along the wall of the RCM’s atrium. Gould’s Wall was composed by Brian Current, who also conducts, with a libretto by Dora Award-winning writer Liza Balkan. Multiple Dora Award-winning Philip Akin directs an all-Canadian cast, with tenor Roger Honeywell as Glenn Gould. The audience will be watching from the RCM’s café area.

The Festival spotlight this year will be the Kronos Quartet, and audiences will get the chance to see them in three different events.

  • A Thousand Thoughts; a live documentary with the Kronos Quartet, presented in partnership with the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema — a multimedia performance that combines live music by Kronos, archival footage, narration, and filmed interviews. (January 18)
  • Students from The Glenn Gould School will participate in a two-day mentorship with Kronos, culminating in a joint concert called Fifty Forward. (January 20)
  • Music for Change, featuring new works composed by and performed with special guests Tanya Tagaq (vocals) and Aruna Narayan (sarangi), and also highlights the social, political, and cultural upheavals of civil rights movements through a range of other works. (January 21)

Other highlights

  • The Canadian premiere of Marc Neikrug’s chamber opera A Song by Mahler. The RCMs ARC Ensemble will perform, with mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert as an opera singer, and baritone Kelly Markgraf as her pianist/husband in a story about confronting her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. (January 16)
  • A program of all-Canadian composers, performed by pianist and Royal Conservatory alumna, Morgan-Paige Melbourne — and Melbourne is also one of those composers. (January 16)
  • Eve Egoyan’s world premiere of her own Seven Studies for Augmented Piano. (January 22)
  • The return of the Danish String Quartet to Koerner Hall for a program that includes composition by quartet member Bent Sørensen. (January 22)
  • Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley and pianist Julius Drake perform the North American premiere of a song cycle by Mark-Anthony Turnage, co-commissioned by The Royal Conservatory, titled Without Ceremony, along with other works. (January 23)
  • The Festival closes with Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, the all-female string ensemble, on February 25 with a program titled Elle – 25th Anniversary Concert.

Tickets are now available here.

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