Browsing: Piano

Yefim Bronfman (Photo: Dario Acosta)This being Easter Week, the music scene is heavy on sacred works, in venues large and small. A good choice is Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s Sacred Music for a Sacred Place, on Good Friday, April 2, 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s Basilica. Noel Edison conducts a program of more contemporary sacred pieces by Arvo Part, Eric Whitacre, Pavel Lukaszewski and Timothy Corliss. Rick Phillips presents a pre-concert chat at 6:50 pm. For ticket information, go to http://www.tmchoir.org/purchase/singleTix.cfm?ID=484If you aren’t into religious music, here’s the antithesis of Sacred Music – the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has TSO Goes Vegas:…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehThere was a bear on stage at Roy Thomson Hall Wednesday night, and he consumed the black Steinway concert grand like a toy piano.OK, the Siberian-born pianist Denis Matsuev isn’t a bear, but the 34-year-old with all his Russian roar was bear-like in his performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 — lovable and cuddly on the outside, powerful on the inside, and prone to be violent in extreme situations.Backed by conductor Valery Gergiev and the touring Mariinsky Orchestra (formerly the Kirov Orchestra), the Rach 3 was the centrepiece of an all-Russian program that marked the end…

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By Hannah Rahimi and Kali HalapuaThe 86 year-old Menahem Pressler appeared last night at Pollack Hall before a packed house of appreciative musicians and music lovers. A generous performer, Pressler smiled throughout the evening, possessed with a twinkling energy that fueled his playing and spread throughout the audience. Well-programmed, the concert consisted of Dvorak’s Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, performed with the Cecilia String Quartet, McGill’s graduate quartet in residence, followed by Schubert’s beloved “Trout” quintet, performed with McGill faculty members, Jonathan Crow (violin), Douglas McNabney (viola), Matt Haimovitz (cello) and Ali Yazdanfar (double bass).The young Cecilia Quartet presented…

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by Paul E. RobinsonLast week, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, Peter Bay and the Austin Symphony presented an all-Russian program: Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, followed by the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3, and closing with the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, the Russian composer’s most popular symphony.As always, Maestro Bay had prepared well and interpreted the music with assurance and without exaggeration of any kind. In the opening piece, Vocalise, Bay went for a nuanced, understated beauty that suited this slight work very well. Personally, I would like to hear more expansive phrasing in some sections, but then I may…

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Pianist Avan Yu gives a noon hour concert at The New Classical 96.3 FM on March 1, the 200th anniversary of Frederic Chopin’s birthday.Photo: Soula ZizidisOn Monday March 1st, the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Polish composer Frederic Chopin. Toronto’s classical radio station, The New Classical 96.3 FM, opened its doors by inviting music lovers for a free noon hour concert starring Chinese Canadian pianist Avan Yu, winner of the 2004 Canadian Chopin Competition. It was followed by a lunch reception, complete with birthday cake! Broadcast live over the airwaves as well as webcast…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehIt was hot at Markham Theatre on Wednesday night, when violinist Sarah Chang and pianist Andrew von Oeyen fed a full house of hungry audience with something temperamental, something serene, and something romantic.The instrumental duo’s evident chemistry was a powerhouse in Brahms’s Sonatensatz and Sonata No. 3 in D minor. Chang, at times aggressive but never forceful, was sensitive to the expressive details. Along with von Oeyen’s vibrant and solid playing, the pair produced urgency and drama through the stormy passages.Opening the second half of the program was American composer Christopher Theofanidis’ Fantasy for violin and piano.…

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by Paul E. RobinsonAnton Kuerti arrived in Canada in 1965, and Toronto has been his home base ever since. In that span of 45 years, this extraordinary artist has demonstrated time and again that he has no peer in the performance of the piano music of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. In Canada, Kuerti is a national treasure; in the United States, he has had an illustrious career, stemming from his student days in Cleveland and Philadelphia, to his now regular concertizing in America’s major cities. Those fortunate enough to be in McCullough Hall at the University of Texas (Austin) last…

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In 1984 young Japanese-Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker shot into the spotlight taking the top prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in Britain. As a laureate of the Leeds Competition he joined the impressive fraternity of past winners which includes Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia. I first heard Parker live about ten years ago in concert with the Edmonton Symphony at the Jubilee Auditorium. Parker has a virile stage presence that immediately commands attention. His performance of Prokofiev’s daunting Piano Concerto No 3 was unforgettable. With a rich, round piano tone he communicated both the lyricism and the sometimes…

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