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CRITIC’S PICKS | Classical Music Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: February 19 – February 25

By Hye Won Cecilia Lee on February 20, 2024

L-R (clockwise): Nadine Anyan (Photo courtesy of the artist); Aislinn Nosky (Photo courtesy of the artists); The Ying Quartet (Photo courtesy of the artists)
L-R (clockwise): Nadine Anyan (Photo courtesy of the artist); Aislinn Nosky (Photo courtesy of the artists); The Ying Quartet (Photo courtesy of the artists)

This is a list of concerts we are attending, wishing we could attend, or thinking about attending between Feb. 19 and Feb. 25, 2024. For more of what’s happening around Toronto, visit our calendar here.

Canadian Opera Company: Showcase Series: Black History Month: Unyielding Roots

Thursday Feb. 22 at 12:00 p.m.,
Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Free with pre-show registration.

Rashaan Allwood, Katheryn Patricia Cobbler, and Nadine Anyan present original Caribbean and African-rooted compositions in celebration of the Black History Month. Flexing their own rich experiences of navigating the ebb and flow of immigration and diaspora in Canada, the project will explore what it means to grow up with diversity, and the continuing effort to define beauty against the residual of the North American colonial landscape. Info here.

Music Toronto: Ying Quartet

Thursday Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.
Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. $47.50+, $10 student tickets available.

The Ying quartet returns to Jane Mallett Theatre for their third concert. Drawing from 36 years of experience and their dedication to expand the string quartet repertoire, the quartet presents a mix of the old and new. Dvořák’s string quartet no. 13 and selections from Cypresses (Cypřiše), for string quartet, will be contrasted with Carter Pann’s Love Letters (2000: a LifeMusic commission by the Ying Quartet), and Paul Moravec’s Anniversary Dances (2007). Info here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra: Stravinsky’s Pulcinella

Friday Feb 23 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.
Roy Thomson Hall. $38+

Stravinsky, perhaps the greatest influence on the evolution of Western Ballet Music, was a true chameleon. TSO and Gimeno present a slice of romance with Le Baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss), and a nod to the past, Pulcinella, a celebration of the Baroque period. A favoured Canadian composer, Kelly-Marie Murphy’s TSO commission work: Curiosity, Genius, and the Search for Petula Clark, a commemoration of Glenn Gould, opens this program. Info here.

Tafelmusik: Passions Revealed

Friday Feb.23 at 8 p.m.,Saturday Feb. 24 at 8 p.m., Sunday Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. $47+

Aisslinn Nosky returns to Toronto to lead the Tafelmusik in a tempestuous Baroque ensemble music of Locatelli, Telemann, Fasch, Marais, and two concertos. Vivaldi’s 39 bassoon concertos are rarely played live sadly, as they require the highest virtuosity and flexibility on the instrument — however, we are in luck this weekend — Dominic Teresi will present La Notte. Aisslinn Nosky and Johanna Novom round the program with one of the best double concertos of the canon: Bach’s Concerto for 2 violins. Read our Preview here. Info here.

Arts of Time Ensemble: Dance to the Abyss

Friday Feb. 23 at 8 p.m., Saturday Feb. 24 at 8 p.m., Sunday Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.
Harbourfront Centre Theatre. $39+

Art of Time Ensemble presents an intriguing collage of music from the Weimar Republic. Many works were lost into the abyss during the time of the Third Reich by the designation as degenerate art, and the program evokes the time of fusion and synthesis of clashing cultures and artistic styles, and the cumulation of creative energy against oppression that took place just before the start of WW1. Excerpts from The Threepenny Opera suite by Kurt Weill, and music of Mischa Spoliansky, Erwin Schulhoff, along with others, graces this intense program. Info here.

Amici Chamber Ensemble: Transylvanian Express

Sunday Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
Mazzoleni Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto. $30+

The raw power of Transylvanian folk music, contrasted with the incredible lyricism drawing heavily from the gypsy virtuosity, fills out this Sunday afternoon. Guest violinist Nikki Chooi joins the Amici, in presenting the extremes of sweet to bitterness in music of Liszt, Monti, Kodály, Bruch and Bartók. Read our Preview here. Info here.

Orchestra Toronto: Symphony of the Sea

Sunday Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
George Weston Recital Hall, Meridian Arts Centre. $14+

Orchestra Toronto brings an ambitious program of Sibelius, Mychael Danna (“Life of Pi” Suite), Rautavaara, and Debussy to North York. Rautavaara brings the ambience of Nordic Arctic, a major influence in his Finnish heritage, in a wide landscape of the Arctic Ocean, accentuated with the fierce, vibrant life of birds thriving against the northern hardness in Cantus Arcticus. Danna’s score invites an eclectic mix of soloists to the stage: Divyalakshmi Lyer (Voice), Joseph Macerollo (Accordion), Shawn Mativetsky (Tabla), and SUndar Viswanathan (Bansuri Flute). Info here.


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