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PREVIEW | Critic’s Pick: 2022 Toronto Summer Music Festival

By Joseph So on July 4, 2022

Clockwise fr left: Karina Gauvin (Photo courtesy of TSMF); Benjamin Appl (Photo courtesy of TSMF); Dover Quartet (Photo: Roy Cox)
Clockwise fr left: Karina Gauvin (Photo courtesy of TSMF); Benjamin Appl (Photo courtesy of TSMF); Dover Quartet (Photo: Roy Cox)

After a very challenging two years due to COVID-19, the Toronto Summer Music Festival (TSMF) is returning this month, with what promises to be a delectable lineup of great music. For Toronto music lovers who have been deprived of live, in-person concerts, the 2022 TSMF will go a long way to fill that need.

The Festival runs from July 7 to 30, 2022.

First founded in 2006 under the directorship of Agnes Grossmann, the TSMF torch was passed in 2010 to violist Douglas McNabney, who in turn was succeeded by violinist Jonathan Crow, who’s also the Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. TSMF is made up of two complementary parts, a Festival wing featuring top Canadian and international artists, and an Academy wing that offers high-level training and performance opportunities for aspiring musicians.

Due to COVID, the 2020 Festival was delivered online only, while the 2021 edition was a mixture of online and in-person events. The streamed concerts from last season can be accessed free of charge here.  Thankfully, the 2022 Festival events will be all in-person, under the theme of Inspirations.

This year’s Festival offers a mix of returning TSMF artists and ensembles the likes of the New Orford String Quartet, the Gryphon Trio, and the Dover Quartet, or artists appearing for the first time, like German baritone Benjamin Appl. Given the continuing challenges travellers are encountering, what a luxury to enjoy great music right at home!

This preview is a very personal take on the concerts that are of particular interest to me. As a classical music omnivore with a special interest in the singing voice, the 2022 lineup is perfect for me, and I intend to attend as many as possible. Here are ten that really caught my eye, all mainstage concerts. Don’t forget the many Regeneration Concerts featuring Academy Fellows and Mentors that are well worth attending. To be sure, taste is a very personal thing and I encourage you to explore the complete lineup.

L-R: Pianists Tony Yike Yang & Nicholas Namoradze (Photo courtesy of TSMF)
L-R: Pianists Tony Yike Yang & Nicholas Namoradze (Photo courtesy of TSMF)

1) The Folk Influence is this year’s opening night concert. It features chamber works and songs by Schumann, Ravel, Dvořák, Lysenko and Cecilia Livingston, performed by a stellar cast of artists, among them pianist Nicolas Namoradze, violinist Martin Beaver, soprano Mireille Asselin, and pianist Steven Philcox. July 7, Koerner Hall

2) Nicolas Namoradze The Georgian-born pianistburst onto the scene by winning the 2018 Honens Piano Competition in Calgary. He gives a wide-ranging program of Bach, Rachmaninoff, Alexina Louie, as well as his own compositions. July 8, Walter Hall.

3) Benjamin Appl & Wolfram Rieger. The German lyric baritone sings Schubert’s Die schone Mullerin in a Liederabend, with Rieger at the piano. July 11, Walter Hall. They are each giving a free public masterclass (Rieger July 8 / Appl July 15) at Walter Hall.

4) Dover Quartet (Joel Link, violin; Bryan Lee, violin; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola; Camden Shaw, cello) returns to TSMF to perform a program of Haydn, Mozart and Ravel. July 14, Koerner Hall.

5) Kleztory (Airat Ichmouratov, clarinet, bass clarinet and duclar; Elvira Misbakhova, violin and viola; Mark Peetsma, double-bass; Mélanie Bergeron, accordion; Raphaël D’Amour, guitar; David Ryshpan, piano) perform an evening of Klezmer music, a genre of the Ashkenazic Jews in Eastern Europe, full of lively tunes drawn from traditional dances and folk music, infused with virtuosic improvisations. July 18 Walter Hall.

6) Tony Yike Yang, the Chinese Canadian pianist won Fifth Prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw at the age of 16, the youngest laureate in that Competition ever. He plays a program of Mozart, Ravel, Prokofiev, Liszt and Chopin. July 19, Walter Hall.

7) Echo Chamber Toronto (Aaron Schwebel, violin; Sheila Jaffé, violin; Keith Hamm, viola; Rémi Pelletier, viola; Leana Rutt, cello; Julie Hereish, cello; Philip Chiu, piano; Anisa Tejpar, dancer; Jarrett Siddall, dancer; Christian Lavigne, dancer; William Yong, choreographer) combines chamber music with dance, in a program of works by Vaughan Williams, Debussy, Fauré, and Schönberg. July 21, Isabel Bader Theatre.

8) Two Canadians in Paris Violinist/TSMF Artistic Director Jonathan Crow and pianist Philip Chiu join forces in a program of French music, by Massenet, Faure, Milhaud, Debussy, and others. July 25, Walter Hall.

9) The Gryphon Trio (Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; Roman Borys, cello; Jamie Parker, piano) are joined by mezzo Marion Newman and the Nordic Voices, an a cappella ensemble, in a wide-ranging program from Mahler to Dvorak plus a world premiere. July 27, Walter Hall.

10) Inspirations Any performance of the Mahler Fourth is an occasion, and when it features the beautiful voice of Karina Gauvin as the soprano soloist, it’s not to be missed. The TSM Festival Orchestra performs this divine piece in a special arrangement for chamber ensemble by Klaus Simon. July 28, Koerner Hall.

There you have it, lots of great music to nourish our soul. For the full program schedule and ticket information, see here.

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Joseph So
Joseph So
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