Browsing: Classical Music

The late Michael Kennedy, lifelong Telegraph critic, once told me he lost interest in new music in his late sixties. Michael had known Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten and reckoned their successors were not up to the mark. We argued about the merits of Birtwistle and Turnage but his ears were not for the turning and I respected the candour of his admission. Myself, around the same age, I am still bi-curious: eager to see what the old hands are doing and keen to hear new sounds coming through. Nothing thrills me more than finding a composer I can…

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June 21, 2018, Montreal, QC – The McGill Chamber Orchestra (MCO) and Artistic Director Boris Brott are pleased to welcome Marc Djokic as the orchestra’s new concertmaster. Praised by La Presse for his “rhythmic sense and natural phrasing,” Marc Djokic is winner of the prestigious 2017-2018 Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer. A native of Halifax, Djokic is known for his powerful and virtuosic performances, as well as an engaging and down-to-earth approach that has made him an audience favourite across the country and beyond. “I’ve long been an admirer of Marc Djokic’s solo career and his expertise in chamber music,” comments…

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Montreal, June 20, 2018 – In the tradition of the popular summer concerts that filled public parks with music in the early 20th century, wind and percussion ensembles Cambridge University Wind Orchestra and Harmonie Laval will present free performances at the foot of Mount Royal on two Thursday evenings in July. The concerts will take place rain or shine (unless there’s a thunderstorm) on July 5 and 12 at the Mordecai-Richler Gazebo on Park Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Sir George-Étienne-Cartier monument. No reservations are required; simply bring a lawn chair. A return to the evenings of yesteryear Montrealers…

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Averse as I am to teenage prodigies, I heard Daniel Lozakovich in a Berlin nightclub this week and had no doubt from the first touch of bow on string that he is the genuine article. Sixteen years old, raised in Stockholm by Kazak-Russian parents, he gives the impression of belonging nowhere but some deep place inside himself. Fresh from a sleepless night on a bench in Tokyo airport where his flight had been cancelled, he draws energy – as the great ones do – from an audience. No-one breathed on the dance-floor during his Bach Partita. His DG debut recording…

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The Cliburn is proud to announce that former First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush will serve as honorary chairman of the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, for 13- to 17-year old pianists, taking place May 31–June 8, 2019, in Dallas, Texas. “Mrs. Laura Bush’s lifetime commitment to education at the highest level continues in this association with the Cliburn Junior Competition, which is designed to encourage the artistic development of the greatest pianistic talent of tomorrow from around the globe,” said Cliburn President and CEO Jacques Marquis. “As the Cliburn hosts a major program in Dallas for the first time ever—the majority…

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TORONTO… Julius Drake, Christoph Prégardien, and Alexander Kerr are among the talented artists who will participate in the 2018 Toronto Summer Music Festival’s free programming (July 12 – August 4). The events are open to the general public and take place at Walter Hall and the Boyd Neel Room in the Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto (80 Queen’s Park). Masterclasses are open to the general public to observe and will be held in Walter Hall with pianist Julius Drake (July 13, 10 a.m. – Noon); Borodin Quartet (July 15,  2 – 3:30 p.m.); violinist Yehonatan Berick (July 16, 4…

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If I had to choose Elgar or VW for a desert island, I know which it would be. Elgar these days seems over-familiar, where Vaughan Williams loses none of his capacity to surprise. You would not automatically guess that from the opening item on this Toronto Symphony recording, the 1938 Serenade to Music, a flossy piece which is made up of bits of Shakespeare and broderie anglaise. Moving swiftly on, the 1944 oboe concerto is an exquisite wartime consolation, a promise of green fields and scones for tea when all the unpleasantness is over. Sarah Jeffrey’s reading is ideally serene,…

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War came to an end with the Treaty of Versailles. Music societies and festivals around the world are observing the centenary and paying their respects. Reflections of Wartime is the theme of this year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival, which runs from July 12 to Aug. 4. “I didn’t want it to be just World War I-inspired, but wartime-inspired in general,” artistic director Jonathan Crow explains. “An incredible wealth of music comes from wartime and not all of it dark.” Toronto Summer Music combines a festival with an academy program for pre-professional classical musicians. Most have completed their undergraduate degrees and…

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The National Academy Orchestra is celebrating its 30th year. This mentor-led training school founded by Boris Brott prepares emerging musicians by “bridging the gap between theoretical excellence and practical employment in professional careers.” That means following an innovative curriculum under the guidance of a highly accomplished and professional staff. Participants are chosen through auditions at universities, conservatories and academies across the country. The program, which has been recognized by all three levels of government, has played host to mentors like the violinist, violist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman; cellist Rachel Mercer; and Toronto Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Jonathan Crow. Other mentors include…

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Under interim artistic director Mark Vuorinen, the festival this year is dedicated to the memory of Michael Purves Smith, who founded the Three Centuries Festival in 1979, which later became the Elora Festival. The opening Opera Gala of July 13, given in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company, features soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian (who is also heard in recital the following afternoon), soprano Danika Loren, tenor Andrew Haji and baritone Samuel Chan. COC Ensemble Competition winner Simona Genga will be performing at St. John’s Church on July 20. On July, 14 the Shoestring Magic Flute, aimed at all ages, includes free…

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