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WHO’S WHO | The Toronto Concert Orchestra Wants You To Fall In Love With Live Music Again

Toronto Concert Orchestra
After two years, the Toronto Concert Orchestra is returning to weekly in-person concerts from June 28- August 23, 2022, at Palais Royale.

UPDATE FROM THE TORONTO CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Toronto Concert Orchestra returns with Symphony in the City June 28- August 23. Enjoy a summer filled with weekly concerts by the lake at Palais Royale. A specially curated selection of classical+ music with special guest artists each week. Symphony in the City is more than a concert series, it is your ticket to a wonderful evening out with VIP Packages and pre-concert buffet options! Get a drink and relax outside on the beautiful, covered patio to savour the summer with lake views or eat a nice meal under the tent lakeside! Bring your family and friends.

After 2 summers of online concerts, TCO is proud to bring back a lively summer of in-person music for our beloved Toronto audiences! After 6 summers building our series at Casa Loma, TCO is no longer the orchestra in residence at the castle. TCO’s new home is the iconic Palais Royale on the lakeshore, with one concert taking place at the historic Eglinton Grand.

Our summer series is known to be genre-inclusive; this year, you’ll hear music such as cinematic classics, Mozart, Puccini, Dvorak, big band swing and yes – even the Rocket Man!

June 28: Maestro’s Movies

Kerry had a great soft spot for music from the stage and screen. Join us in welcoming Bradley Thachuk, a former student of Kerry’s and current Music Director of Niagara Symphony Orchestra to the podium for our concert full of Kerry’s favourite movie scores including Sound of Music, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Les Miserable.

July 5: Fall in Love Again

We invite you to join us as we welcome esteemed tenor Romulo Delgado back to the TCO stage, and soprano Natalya Gennadi makes her TCO debut. Sit back as your heart is melted with tunes like Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro and Neopolitan favourite O Sole Mio, as well as your most beloved duets from La Boheme and La Traviata. Exciting orchestral interludes round out the program.

July 12: Elton Rohn

Canadian Artist Ron Camilleri is Elton Rohn in this high-energy tribute show of fully live music. Elton Rohn and his band make a quick stop in Toronto with the Toronto Concert Orchestra during their busy summer of international touring for an unforgettable night of exploring a lifetime of music by the cultural icon Elton John.

July 19: Quartetto Gelato

TCO’s musicians are set to match the magnificent energy of Canada’s preeminent classical crossover ensemble Quartetto Gelato, who have been delighting audiences since 1994. The seasoned TCO audience may recognize Quartetto Gelato’s oboist Colin Maier from many of our orchestra concerts! We bring you a specially curated collaborative program created for our TCO audience.

July 27: Anonymous Lover

Featuring the overture to the opera “L’Amant Anonyme,” or “The Anonymous Lover,” by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Born in 1745, the mixed-race Bologne was praised as one of the most accomplished men of his day. Mozart, his contemporary, was reportedly jealous of Bologne’s success! We round out the program with Mozart’s Symphony No 29 and Co-Artistic Director Sharon Lee’s rendition of Mozart’s “Turkish” violin concerto No 5, and Bologne’s Symphonie Concertante Op. 13 for two solo violins and strings puts the spotlight on TCO violinist Adam Diderrich and Co-Artistic Director Marcus Scholtes.

August 2: La Vie en Rose

TCO’s longtime collaborator Pandora Topp brings her Edith Piaf magic! After two years of bringing us joy with smaller ensembles, Pandora sings with the full and lush Grand Salon Orchestra, TCO’s dance orchestra incarnation. Pandora has been praised all across the Pandora IS Piaf!

August 9: The Black Fish Project

Inspired by a well-known Persian children’s book, “The Little Black Fish,” the Black Fish Project retells the story of its protagonist, a little black fish who leaves his pond to explore the world beyond, through the lens of the composer, Keyan Emami. The music of The Black Fish Project reflects the diverse influences that have shaped Emami’s compositional language, including Persian folk, pop, ritual and military music, jazz, progressive rock, Arabic maqam, traditional Persian modal music, and contemporary classical music.

August 16: Gatsby

A nod to our venue, Palais Royale, which was the most important music venue to let loose and have fun in the glory days of big band! Come in your flapper best and let vocalist Alyssa Dimarco and TCO’s Grand Salon Orchestra show you we’ve got the world on a string.

August 23: From the New World

We present Dvorak’s celebrated 9th Symphony “From the New World” as tribute to our late founder Maestro Kerry Stratton. This idea of music from the new world lends itself well to our current situation of TCO being in a new world post-pandemic and with new leadership. Come hear the saturations of Americana that Dvorak worked into his final symphony! We couple this epic symphony with Risico, a bond-inspired composition by our Composer-in-Residence Samuel Bisson.

“We have poured our hearts into this season’s programming, pushed the envelope in every direction. We’re so excited to be in new iconic venues in the city! Both Eglinton Grand and Palais Royale have so much music seeped into their walls, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring live music back to these historic spaces. Our line-up of soloists and musicians are second to none, and the pairing with the full night out that is available is really an event that’s not to be missed!” — Sharon Lee (Co-Artistic Director)

Symphony in the City is dedicated to our dearly missed founder, Maestro Kerry Stratton. Kerry founded and served as artistic director for the Toronto Concert Orchestra until 2019 when he passed away due to complications from ALS. We hope he would have been proud of this wonderful season and the artists he fostered.

About Toronto Concert Orchestra: An itinerant professional orchestra, Toronto Concert Orchestra can be heard from spring through fall in some of downtown Toronto’s magnificent concert venues and churches, as well as in communities across Ontario, where it delivers diverse musical offerings.

To purchase tickets and get more info, visit www.tcomusic.ca

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WHO’S WHO | The Amadeus Choir Returns To In-Person Performance With ‘A Time to Heal’

The Amadeus Choir
The Amadeus Choir announces the launch of their first concert in two years, “A Time to Heal'” featuring works by Cecilia McDowall, Sherryl Sewepegaham and more. (Photo: Dahlia Katz)

UPDATE FROM THE AMADEUS CHOIR

“This is music we all need to hear right now”

The Amadeus Choir is back with a brand-new concert titled A Time to Heal, on May 28, 2022.

The event marks the Amadeus Choir’s first performance for a live audience since February 2020.

“We couldn’t be more excited to share live music with an audience again,” says Artistic Director Kathleen Allan. “While we’ve found a lot of joy in our virtual programming over the past two years, we’ve really missed the shared human experience that can only come from live choral performance!”

The choir will host two performances for limited-capacity audiences at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm on May 28.

The concerts will feature a pre-concert talk with Kathleen Allan and select guest artists. In accordance with COVID-19 safety measures, audience members will be required to wear masks at all times. Tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite.

What to expect

The 75-minute concert will weave together texts from many world traditions that seek or assure healing in some form.

The concert features the Canadian premiere of Cecilia McDowall’s A Time for All Seasons and other works by Sherryl Sewepegaham, Tracy Wong, Reena Esmail, Nathaniel Dett, and Hussein Janmohamed, Gabriel Fauré, Srul Irving Glick, and Leonard Cohen. Cellist Andrew Ascenzo will join the choir as a special guest.

Keeping busy

While the pandemic caused the Choir to reimagine their programming over the past two years, activities were constant, and membership remained strong. As part of its Pandemic Pivot initiative, the Choir offered audiences a wide range of digital content including virtual concerts, music videos, an original spoken-word and music podcast, an interactive online choral performance art installation, workshops and talks, and video interviews, many of which are available on YouTube.

Details

There will be two performances of A Time to Heal at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm on May 28, 2022, at Eglinton St. George’s United Church, located at 35 Lytton Blvd, Toronto.

Tickets are priced at $35 and are now on sale through Eventbrite. Student and senior tickets are also available at $20 and $30 respectively.

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WHO’S WHO | Amici Chamber Ensemble’s ‘Goulash Musik’ Underlines A Father And Son Musical Legacy

Amici-Goulash_Musik-feature

UPDATE FROM THE AMICI CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

Something incredibly special happened with the Amici Chamber Ensemble’s recording of Goulash Musik (premiering Sunday, December 13 at 3 p.m.). Joaquin Valdepeñas, considered one of the most distinguished clarinetists of his generation, shared the stage for the first time professionally with his son Alejandro Valdepeñas.

While at very different stages of their careers, these two have so much in common! A desire to be the best musicians they possibly can be and the work ethic and desire to make it happen.

Joaquin’s musical legacy is vast; he has been Principal Clarinet of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 41 years and Co-Artistic Director/ Founder of Amici Chamber Ensemble for 32 years. He teaches extensively at the Aspen Music Festival and School, The Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory of Music, and The University of Toronto Faculty of Music. He is a prolific recording artist with over three dozen recordings, two JUNO awards and three GRAMMY nominations. Joaquin has performed in festivals and concert halls all over the world.

Joaquin and his wife, violinist Mi-Hyon Kim, have two children: Josué Valdepeñas, the assistant principal cello at the Calgary Philharmonic and Alejandro Valdepeñas, a multi-talented young professional musician playing both the violin and the viola.

Today’s interview takes place with Joaquin and Alejandro and provides insight into their musical life together and growing up.

What was it like working together on the same stage?

Joaquin: “It was amazing being with my own kid and hearing him sound so good, sitting across from me. I have a great feeling of pride having him there. Seeing that he did so well, it made it even more special. Alejandro can be critical of himself, and it was a joy getting to watch as he listened back to the recording and realizing how good it sounded. A rewarding affirmation of how much practice and work he has done.”

Alejandro: “This was my first time playing in a setting with other musicians with this level of experience. Seeing how quickly things are put together showed me the level of preparation and musicianship expected at the highest level. It opened my eyes to their natural presence, how the music feels and how they just understood what is needed. I must admit, it was a weird feeling, playing with people again after playing alone for so long. As a violin player, growing up, Jonathan Crow has been an inspiration, now sitting beside him and playing for hours together as a colleague is something I am proud of.”

How does your father influence you? What is it like as a young musician now?

Alejandro: “Growing up, it is the norm having successful musical parents, but as you get older, things feel more real, and I realized how good he is and his status. I put a lot of pressure on myself to become as good and as successful as my parents, and that makes me aspire to that level of musicianship. In the summer when there were less restrictions, I was able to get together with friends as a quartet practising together in the park or at a friends’ home. It was a lot of fun. It was enough to simply rehearse together without expectations or do studio classes for each other. In this time, you have to be proactive and create goals for yourself. Friends are there to share and grow with.

The exposure over the years to Aspen and my father’s varied career has given me high-level goals of what this life can look like. This profession is so tough, and seeing my dad gives me hope that getting one good opportunity can change your life. The hope that that can happen is so motivating and inspiring. It is the feeling that I am working towards something that I really want.”

What is your advice for musicians getting their start?

Joaquin: “Stay true to your art, work hard and be a good person. You have to stay true to your own basic principles, true to yourself. I have always been a believer that you must go after what you love and give that a chance first. I hope my teaching is relevant to how people live their lives, not just how they play the instrument. I know it has for so many of my students, and it can also be a channel to other opportunities. One of the reasons I started Amici, is that I know working in the orchestra, while amazing, can box you in and performing chamber music was a way to work with guest artists, listening, growing, and learning from each other.

It is such a different time, before the internet you were in the dark, and it was a blessing to not know. We could work on our craft and make music, but nowadays, for example, Alejandro loves to listen to recordings, and that can be intimidating to constantly hear the best performing so readily.”

Can you share with us your story of learning the viola during the pandemic?

Alejandro: “As with many violin players, my instrument was chosen for me at the age of 3-4. I am happy my parents chose the violin because, with the violin, you have the most options for repertoire. There is just so much great music and more job opportunities as well. Although, I have worked hard all these years learning the violin, I always wanted to play viola as well. The pandemic has provided me with time, and there was nothing to lose — no audition to work towards or performance to rehearse. This summer, I was supposed to play with Santa Fe Opera, but it was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID. The Opera still paid their musicians, and I decided right away to use that money to buy my viola, and here I am playing alongside Toronto’s finest musicians in my first professional recording.”

Enjoy Goulash Musik, Amici’s free virtual concert experience on Sunday, December 13 at 3 p.m. on the Amici Chamber Ensemble YouTube Channel.

Program: Ernő Dohnányi, Sextet OP. 37 and Zdenek Fibich, Quintet OP. 42.

Featuring guest artists Jonathan Crow (violin), Neil Deland (horn), and Alejandro Valdepeñas (viola) performing with Co-Artistic Directors Joaquin Valdepeñas (clarinet), David Hetherington (cello) and Serouj Kradjian (piano).

Stay tuned following the concert for a special chat with the Goulash Musik artists.

www.amiciensemble.com

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WHO’S WHO | The Elora Singers Present A Reimagined Concert Season

The Elora Singers (Photo: Sophie Hogan)
The Elora Singers (Photo: Sophie Hogan)

UPDATE FROM THE ELORA SINGERS

Reimagined. That’s how The Elora Singers are approaching the 2020/21 Concert season. With in-person concerts for live audiences still a distant hope, we will bring The Elora Singers’ sound into your living rooms this winter with four pre-recorded programs.

Our first concert — Hope and Refuge — will launch on November 14 at 8:00 p.m. It will be a program full of inspirational and gorgeous choral music, chosen to instill hope and stir the soul in these difficult times. The program builds around a song cycle by American composer Jake Runestad, called The Hope of Loving, and will include works by Ola Gjeilo, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Jonathan Dove, Stephen Paulus, Dolly Parton and The Elora Singers’ own Jeff Enns.

The Elora Singers present A Nativity Festival of three concerts on December 5, 12, 19 at 8:00 p.m. Our first program, A Quiet Village, features Toronto-based harpist Julia Seager-Scott with The Elora Singers in Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. The following weekend will feature our traditional performance of A Village Messiah — Handel’s masterpiece performed with soloists from the ranks of the choir. We will conclude our online festival with a holiday favourite in the village — A Festival of Carols. Sumptuous choral music, new and beloved, for the season with whimsical, nostalgic and comforting stories delivered by celebrity readers.

Tickets go on sale October 26 through The Elora Singers’ website (www.elorasingers.ca). Ticketholders will be sent a unique link for each concert the week before it is launched. Hope and Refuge will be available to view from November 14 — December 4. The Nativity Festival concerts will be available to view from their launch dates until January 3. This will allow ticketholders to watch the concerts anytime and several times if they wish.

We will present variable ticket prices and ask ticket purchasers to consider how many people in their household will be watching the programs. As with all professional artists around the world, members of The Elora Singers and our organization have been profoundly affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are grateful for any and all donations to our organization. We look forward to presenting these concerts to audiences in the village of Elora, across Canada and around the world!

Note: All concerts have been recorded with the safety of our artists, staff and technicians in mind, and in accordance with provincial health and safety guidelines. We hope to share concert plans for the new year in due course, pending changes with the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

WHO’S WHO | Ontario Pops Orchestra Conductor Carlos Bastidas To Lead Cairo Symphony Orchestra In 2021

Ontario Pops Orchestra Conductor Carlos Bastidas
Ontario Pops Orchestra Conductor Carlos Bastidas (Photo courtesy of the artist)

UPDATE FROM ONTARIO POPS ORCHESTRA

Colombian-born Canadian Carlos Bastidas is Artistic Director, Founder and Conductor of the Ontario Pops Orchestra (OPO) in Etobicoke and has been invited to conduct the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Egypt in March 2021, and the Matanzas Symphony Orchestra in Cuba in June 2021. He has drafted “a COVID-proof program” to lead those professional ensembles. These gigs, like many other professional guest conducting engagements, have been put on standby pending improvement of the global pandemic situation and opening up of borders in 2021.

In 2015 during a radio interview in Toronto, maestro Bastidas was asked about his vision for the orchestra, to which he replied what was to become a prophetic vision: “I would like to make classical music popular and accessible to a diverse audience. My vision for the Ontario Pops Orchestra is to take the orchestra out of the concert hall and into public spaces, where we can reach a broader audience.” This makes sense during the present situation. Recently, elaborating on that comment, he said “Last year, I approached an Ontario Place official and our local MP with the idea of having a resident orchestra at Ontario Place performing free concerts every weekend along with multimedia presentations and multicultural food trucks. This would be a draw for Ontario families and tourists during the summer months when people are looking for activities to do, and it would generate employment for over 100 professional musicians and dancers. Now more than ever, if done correctly, Ontario Place can become an outdoor entertainment hub, with lots of room for the performers and the audiences to socially distance.”

Bastidas has led OPO from its inaugural concert in 2015 to its fifth sold-out season in 2019-20, and as Music Director of the Durham Chamber Orchestra since 2016 he has been such a contributor to their success that they had to change venues to accommodate their increased audiences (before the pandemic). Bastidas’ success with sold-out concerts is due to his orchestra’s unique mandate to perform only light classics and popular music. His concerts appeal to many who may not feel at home at a traditional masterworks concert, but would love to hear an orchestra performing their favourite classical melodies and movie themes. The concerts are themed, and feature music from TV and Broadway shows, movies, and even video games. Bastidas invites guest ballet, folk or contemporary dancers and choirs to collaborate, and even projects on-screen visuals of famous movie scenes, so there is something to suit every taste.

Bastidas has worked with many leading Canadian ensembles and his conducting appearances include Open Doors Toronto, Classical 96.3 FM, and the official opening of the “Canada 150” Celebrations at the Ajax City Hall. In 2017, he led the combined musicians of the Ontario Pops Orchestra and the Durham Chamber Orchestra to perform with special guest Canadian Juno-nominated vocalist Heather Bambrick.

“All the members of the Ontario Pops Orchestra including Carlos, have been so very warm and welcoming. The orchestra members have been a joy to collaborate with, providing an opportunity to connect with our audiences on a level that I have aspired to as a professional musician. I am grateful that Carlos entrusts me with lots of time on the podium as he recognized my talent and dedication to developing my knowledge base, technique and passion for music and performance. As a female conductor, it’s a phenomenal experience to get to engage with other musicians on challenging and enjoyable repertoire that pushes our limits, skills and ability to make music as a collective.” – Assistant Ontario Pops Conductor, Oboist and OPO Bursary recipient Zeena Zaiyouna

“Carlos is a leader on and off the podium. Not only does he program and conduct multiple orchestras, but creatively, he pushes the performance envelope with a vision of how to cultivate the next generation of classical music lovers.” — Leanne Wright, VP Communications, The New Classical FM/ZoomerMedia Limited

The Ontario Pops is on track to resume concerts in 2021, which may be scaled down and livestreamed depending on the pandemic situation. Concerts set to go include Holidays Special, Spanish Flair, and From Hollywood to Broadway. Since maestro Bastidas strongly supports up-and-coming LGBTQ Canadian composers as well as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of colour) composers, he is set to conduct the Canadian premiers of several works by composers from these groups.

Visit us at www.ontariopops.com for more information.

WHO’S WHO | It Took A Full-blown Pandemic To Silence Toronto Classical Singers

UPDATE FROM TORONTO CLASSICAL SINGERS

“In our 28 years, we’ve never cancelled a concert until this spring,” says Jurgen Petrenko, founding conductor of Toronto Classical Singers. “You’d imagine a blizzard, the illness of a soloist or a power failure would have stopped us at least once over all that time, but it took a microscopic virus to do it.”

Toronto born and educated, Jurgen’s career as a musician has been varied and expansive. He began as an organist, but is also a conductor, harpsichordist, administrator, artistic director, adjudicator, examiner and natural music communicator: some may remember his wit and insight over many years as host of Organ Thursdays on CBC.  He started TCS 29 years ago with a group of singers and a few musician friends who went on to become Talisker Players.

Over those years, the group has contributed over a million dollars to the local economy, provided opportunities for emerging soloists as well as established singers and musicians, and become essential to the overall fabric of music in our city. The group’s choral/ orchestral repertoire, largely underperformed, makes the most of the resources of a large choir with a professional orchestra.

“It’s the complex sonority of large choir and orchestra that sets us apart. It’s the amount of air that physically gets moved during one of our concerts that makes what we deliver so viscerally exciting to our audiences. Often an organ is part of the orchestra, moving even more air. It’s an experience that can’t be duplicated electronically or digitally.”

Which is why TCS is waiting the pandemic out. But optimism abounds that the choir will be able to pick up where rehearsals left off, with the Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony in May 2021.

“This was the first symphony Vaughan Williams wrote, and it is surprisingly mature. The orchestra is as vast as the ocean, but the voices don’t get drowned out. Even if they do get dunked, they bob back up. It will be the third time we’ve done it, so it is beginning to feel like a friend.”

Looking ahead, 2021-2022 will mark the choirs 30th season.  Jurgen is still deciding on this celebratory season, but it will include Handel’s Coronation Anthems. “We did those in year one. So for sure, we need to do them for our 30th.”

In the meantime, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to look back on so many glorious performances of the great choral masterpieces, to re-evaluate and to think deeply about everything.

“It’s thought that causes the big changes in our world, more than the politicians. The arts and culture shape the world and when philosophy catches up, society can move along.”

For more details on the Toronto Classical Singers, see here.

WHO’S WHO | Lake Field Music Expands With Online Courses

UPDATE FROM LAKE FIELD MUSIC

We did not realize it, but the world of Lake Field Music (LFM) was missing a Sky. Thanks, COVID-19. Ha! We don’t hear that often. Once it was clear that our annual summer camp for adult singers and instrumentalists would not be able to meet, thoughts turned to alternative activities. Like so many arts organizations, we wanted to keep our community (both faculty and participants) engaged and let them know how much we appreciate them.

Maybe a concert with pre-recorded material from previous camps would suffice. Nice, but the faculty’s enthusiasm inspired much more. After some information gathering and a couple of brain-storm meetings on Zoom, a framework to showcase their wonderful talents was built. And so, LFM Sky was created, an eclectic collection of online music workshops — from arranging to accompanying, baroque to boogie, vocals to violins and more — all designed for the Zoom environment.

Current technology will not support a camp with choirs and ensembles, but we still want participants to experience two-way communication and feel as though they are taking part in something bigger than a private lesson.

Intensive workshops with small groups of participants will run concurrently in break-out rooms to facilitate individual coaching and learning from each other. For the big community experience, all attendees will gather in the virtual commons for a gentle stretch, followed by a music appreciation course.

Many of the workshops will include hand-outs and exercises for further practice, so we think participants will have a good sense of accomplishment at the end of their week-long course. Hopefully, we can return to Lakefield next summer, but for now, we will look to the Sky (August 9 – 15, 2020) from the safety of our own homes.

WHO’S WHO | 5 Reasons To Watch Amici’s Virtual Concert – Celebrating Canada

UPDATE FROM THE AMICI CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

How can you tell the story of a country as vast as Canada? How can you capture through song the beauty of its landscapes or the diversity of its people?  This was our challenge.

Join the Amici Chamber Ensemble for Celebrating Canada a free virtual concert featuring some of their favourite Canadian repertoire from their most recent album, Inspired by Canada/ Notre Pays.

#1. Enjoy a performance of the highest quality…

Music in the time of COVID. Like most organizations, Amici was forced to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season. As a result, they have decided to record their first socially distanced concert for broadcast. Ensuring a concert of the highest quality was very important and therefore Amici recorded in studio with a professional sound engineer.

“What’s interesting in coming together again after such a long hiatus of not playing music is that it is so great to communicate with your fellow artists in the way you can only with chamber music. Everything feels fresh again, even though it is repertoire we have previously explored.” David Hetherington

Celebrating Canada features Mireille Asselin (soprano), Joaquin Valdepeñas (clarinet), David Hetherington (cello) and Serouj Kadjian (piano) performing an eclectic mix of musical gems which capture the spirit of our great country, including hits by the best ambassadors of Canadian song such as Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Claude Léveillée, in new arrangements by Serouj Kradjian.

#2. Its been a journey of discovery…

It all started in April of 2015, when Amici invited Mireille as featured guest artist in an eclectic program of chamber music with voice. They immediately noticed the versatility of her artistry. And a little more than a year later when she joined them for their fundraiser and sang an unforgettable version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.  

“I knew this would be the beginning of a beautiful musical partnership, and the idea for “Inspired by Canada / Notre Pays” was born that evening.”  Serouj Kradjian

The collaborators spent hours at the library digging through the stacks, listening to old recordings of chansonniers and folksingers, probing our own memories for important musical touchstones, and in the studio comparing notes and hashing out ideas. In the end, they distilled the list down to the material that spoke to them the most both musically and emotionally. The end result, Amici’s 2017 album Inspired by Canada/ Notre Pays, really was a labour of love!

Coming together again to perform this program now for our Canada Day program has provided the opportunity to revisit this wonderful music and everyone agrees that is feels different this time. A lot has happened in each of the performers lives and there is a different sense that accompanies the music now.

#3. Program features Serouj Krajian’s special arrangements…

Since that original Amici fundraiser, Mireille has become the inspiration for these new arrangements of old favorites and other undiscovered gems. 

“I admired her dedication and meticulousness in discovering and choosing the songs and the music which would represent our beloved country in the best possible way.”  Serouj Kradjian

Something that was especially rewarding about this whole development and recording process was re-discovering just how transformative a good arrangement of a piece of music can be!

“What Serouj has done with these songs is truly remarkable. My two favourite arrangements on the disc have to be his take of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” (with a sort of neo-classical/baroque twist which is so rhythmic and fun!) and his medley of Québec folksongs, he’s truly turned old standards into something brand new and exciting.” Mireille Asselin

#4. The program features Canadian Soprano, Mireille Asselin…

“It’s immensely cathartic to make music in a room with people again, it’s something I will never take for granted again.” Mireille Asselin

Longtime, Amici collaborator, Mireille Asselin is an accomplished opera, concert and recital singer and has appeared with many of North America’s major opera companies, orchestras and festivals as well as internationally. She is also an acknowledged champion of contemporary music and a respected interpreter of early music. She has been on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera since 2013 and is a graduate of The Royal Conservatory of Music and Yale University.

“Asselin is a treasure. She has the pure sound so prized by fans of baroque music, but she also has power, dramatic chops and good, old-fashioned charisma”. – The Toronto Star

#5 A virtual concert is the only way to currently enjoy Amici Chamber Ensemble…

This is a very challenging time in the arts, with no certainty of when artists will be able to present music to a live audience.  Amici is committed to bringing music to their patrons and are considering various options for the coming year such as socially distanced live concerts or continuing with virtual presentations. In the meantime, an online concert is the only way to enjoy a new Amici concert.

Amici is currently celebrating 33 years as one of Canada’s finest and most distinguished chamber music ensembles. Artistic Directors clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas, cellist David Hetherington and pianist Serouj Kradjian invite some of the finest musicians to join them in innovative and eclectic programming, celebrating friendship through music in a concert series presented in Mazzoleni Concert Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

— — — — —

Join Amici Sunday, June 28, 3 pm EST at www.amiciensemble.com to watch the free virtual concert.

WHO’S WHO | Toronto Concert Orchestra Announces All-Virtual 2020 Summer Season

UPDATE FROM THE TORONTO CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Join the Toronto Concert Orchestra for the launch of our 2020 virtual summer season. Although we cannot be together in a beautiful garden, we look forward to bringing music to your garden or home. Feel free to get dressed up, make yourself a nice drink/ meal and join us just as you would at Casa Loma in previous seasons!

We are so excited to kick off our 2020 Summer Virtual Season with this program. As we were reading through Maestro Kerry’s notes that he left for future program ideas, this one jumped out at us. The program, centred around bird-inspired pieces for luscious full orchestra, was a symphonic love letter for his wife, Elizabeth, an avid bird photographer.

Although we will have to save Kerry’s exact program for when we can assemble a full orchestra, we were inspired by the love Kerry showed for Elizabeth and called on couples from within our orchestra. Together with our lovebirds, we explore how love and birds are depicted through music.

Some repertoire highlights include:

  • Piazzolla’s Nightclub by Laura Chambers and Dan Morphy
  • A lively Rondo from Mozart’s G Major duo for violin and viola by Adam and Rebecca Diderrich
  • Sharon Lee and Marcus Scholtes chase each other through Telemann’s canon for two flutes, re-imagined for two violins

Join us every other Tuesday, starting on June 16.

June 16, 2020, 7:30 PM

Lovebirds in Song, Songbirds in Love

Love-themed duets, bird-inspired titles (This one borrows from Kerry’s programming for Elizabeth)

We explore love stories within the orchestra, and ways love is depicted in music by reliving some moments from last season as well as new content created by our musician couples.

June 30, 2020, 7:30 PM

Thank you, Canada!

TCO has had the incredible honour of performing our national anthem in many locations. Two of the most recent include atop the Skybridge, and for the Blue Jays’ Season Opener.

Join us in a celebration of beautiful Canadian music, including contributions from Odawa First Nations Composer Barbara Croall, and video footage of some of our most daring performances.

July 14, 2020, 7:30 PM

Stories of Piaf

On Bastille Day, Pandora Topp reprises her role of Edith Piaf through song and storytelling, and we relive some of TCO’s “Big Band” moments. Rob DiVito and Danny McErlain complement the program with instrumental interludes.

July 28, 2020, 7:30 PM

Around the World in 40 Minutes

During this time when travel has all but disappeared, we take you around the world through music. From Gershwin’s America to the heartstrings of South America, folk dances of Korea to lieders of Austria, we invite you to come along for the journey

Aug 11 , 2020, 7:30 PM

Songs Under the Stars

TCO guitarist Nathan Hiltz is joined by his wife, singer Melissa Lauren, for a delectable program of jazz standards. Their performance is augmented with archival performances of the Toronto Concert Orchestra.

Aug 25, 2020, 7:30 PM

Grand Finale: Tribute to Kerry

The highlight of our season! Our virtual tribute to our founder, Maestro Kerry Stratton, will feature pieces he commissioned from TCO’s new Composer in Residence Samuel Bisson, guest contributions from musicians around the world, and a special composition for the occasion with our orchestral musicians joining you from their homes.

ANNOUNCING TCO’S NEW INTERIM CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTORS SHARON LEE AND MARCUS SCHOLTES

Aptly pegged “a compact fireball” (La Scena Musicale), SHARON LEE gave her concerto debut at the age of ten.

Sharon has served as Concertmaster and Contractor of the TCO since 2014, and is Music Director of the Korean Canadian Symphony Orchestra. As an orchestral musician, Sharon won her first job as Principal Second Violin of the Thunder Bay Symphony at 26. Sharon is the recipient of the Fenyves String Scholarship, and the Ontario Arts Council’s Orford String Quartet Award.

“The Orchestra has tremendous meaning to us, both artistically and personally, and we are eager to serve it to the best of our abilities” — Sharon and Marcus

Multi-talented artist MARCUS SCHOLTES excels on both the violin and piano, frequently performing as a soloist on both instruments on the same concert program. He also serves as the Associate Concertmaster of Sinfonia Toronto. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where he graduated with a Doctor of Music degree, with Minors in Conducting and Music Education.

Marcus is a former Concertmaster of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Orchester in Germany and has toured much of Europe with this ensemble, and is an original member of Aldeburgh Strings based in the UK.

ANNOUNCING TCO’S NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR KAIJA CORLAZZOLI

An experienced, creative and strategic senior arts leader. Kaija thrives working with organizations to improve capacity, develop partnerships and create organizational depth. She brings over 20 years of experience in diverse administrative roles and across various artistic disciplines. Kaija is also the Executive Director of Amici Chamber Ensemble and previously worked with Business for the Arts (National Awards Gala Producer), Theatrefront (Producer/ General  Manager), Opera Atelier (Manager of Finance and Education), Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (Director of Marketing), Continuum Contemporary Music (Director of Marketing), Theatre Ontario (Strategic Planning and Fundraising Consultant), The Royal Ontario Museum Foundation, Young People’s Theatre and The Stratford Festival. She holds a degree in Arts Management from The University of Toronto.

WHO’S WHO | The Elora Singers Launchs New CD – ‘This Love Between Us’

The Elora Singers announce the launch of the choir’s new recording, This Love Between Us, featuring works by Barbara Croall and Reena Esmail.

UPDATE FROM THE ELORA SINGERS

“The lamps may be different, but the light is the same. All religions, all this singing, one song.”  — Rumi                                                                                                                                       

Elora, ONThe Elora Singers’ Artistic Director Mark Vuorinen is pleased to announce the launch of the choir’s new recording, entitled This Love Between Us.

Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us explores Eastern and Western musical soundscapes, even as it focusses our attention on a truth of many of the worlds’ religious traditions. Though it is not an easy path, there is still more that unites us than divides us.

Barbara Croall’s Giishkaapkag (Where the Rock is Cut Through) responds to a recurring tragedy befalling women and girls in Indigenous communities of this country, but also of those around the world.  Her powerful elegiac text and music hears their missing voices in the rocks, believed to be the oldest beings of the earth, and is transmitted through the haunting traditional cedar flute, the pipigwan, the voices of the choir and percussion.  This is an important piece for our time, and Mark Vuorinen and The Elora Singers are humbled to be part of it.

Excerpts from the recording will be presented for one week starting at 8:00 pm on Thursday, June 4 on The Elora Singers’ YouTube channel, where there are also interviews with Mark Vuorinen and the two featured composers. It is also available on Spotify and iTunes and may be purchased through The Elora Singers’ website starting on Friday, June 5.  As we continue to observe social distancing in Ontario, all CDs will be shipped free of charge for the month of June.

This is Mark Vuorinen’s first recording with The Elora Singers and it was important for him to tell these stories at this time: “The release of this new album comes at a time none of us could have predicted when we encountered these works for the first time almost a year ago.  One thing this global pandemic has illuminated is that we are all of this same earth.  Borders are erased by disease, even as our instinct is often to build them stronger and higher to try and contain the virus.“

Jordan Scholl, a member of The Elora Singers and soloist on this recording, shared his thoughts about the timeliness of these important works: “With all that is going on in the world right now, I think this is the music that needs to be heard — not just because it is beautiful, but because it’s time. It’s time to be reminded that love isn’t the easy way out. Love isn’t comfortable. But love sparks change. And that change is only possible when we set aside what we feel and know and embrace a perspective different from our own. Not just acknowledging it, but truly seeing it (the best we can).”

This recording has been supported by a generous donation from The Estate of Rick Durst. The Elora Singers are also grateful to anonymous donors for supporting the commissioning of Barbara Croall’s new work.

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