Browsing: Strings

Flash version here. With over a hundred recordings, thousands of concerts in halls all over the world, lauded appearances in festivals, collaborations with legendary artists such as Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Yo-Yo Ma and Keith Jarrett and close ties to composers such as Philip Glass, Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, John Adams, Luigi Nono, Sofia Guibadulina, Valentin Silvestrov and Lera Auerback under his belt, Gidon Kremer’s career path is nothing short of astonishing. One could imagine that such a performer might be unapproachable, crisscrossing the globe, setting down his designer suitcases in the most luxurious of hotel suites, a man who…

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Flash version here. With over a hundred recordings, thousands of concerts in halls all over the world, lauded appearances in festivals, collaborations with legendary artists such as Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Yo-Yo Ma and Keith Jarrett and close ties to composers such as Philip Glass, Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, John Adams, Luigi Nono, Sofia Guibadulina, Valentin Silvestrov and Lera Auerback under his belt, Gidon Kremer’s career path is nothing short of astonishing. One could imagine that such a performer might be unapproachable, crisscrossing the globe, setting down his designer suitcases in the most luxurious of hotel suites, a man who…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehIn more ways than one, no other small chamber ensemble is doing more than Toronto’s Amici to promote Canadian music and musicians.Tishis was evident, once again, in the trio’s season-opening concert at Glenn Gould Studio Oct. 17.Titled Gravity & Grace, the program began with core members Joaquin Valdepeñas (clarinet), David Hetherington (cello) and Serouj Kradjian (piano) in Canadian composer Allan Gordon Bell’s Trails of Gravity & Grace, a piece the composer wrote for the Amici combo in 2002.Valdepeñas, Hetherington and Kradjian gave the meticulously structured five-movement piece — Ascent, Cascade, Virga, Ephemera and Flight — a sophisticated reading. They brought out each spine-chilling nuance and every tonal imagination…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehYo Yo Ma danced off the stage and back, played two encores, gave two thumbs up for Koerner Hall and at last made his mark in Toronto’s new one-year-old concert hall Oct. 14.The world-famous cellist drew a full house to Koerner Hall’s opening gala in a one-night only solo recital with longtime recital partner, the talented British pianist Kathryn Stott.On the duo’s hefty and gorgeous program were Franz Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata, Dmitri Shostakovich’s D-minor cello sonata, Astor Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango, Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti’s arrangement of Bodas de Prata and Quatro Cantos, and Cesar Franck’s A-major…

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by Paul E. Robinson Whatever else he may be as a man and a musician, Kent Nagano is insatiably curious. So far, his Montreal audiences have not only accepted, but embraced, his voyages of discovery.This week Maestro Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) gave Place des Arts concert-goers a feast of the familiar and the unfamiliar that was truly exceptional, and I think they liked it.The evening’s star attraction was the outstanding violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, now a fully mature artist after years of wonder as a young prodigy encouraged by the likes of Herbert von Karajan, Andre Previn…

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Left: Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian opens the TSO season in Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. Photo: Dario AcostaWhile it is sad that the memorably sizzling summer is all but a distant memory, Torontonians can console themselves with the start of an equally hot fall music season. Several major music presenters start their season this week, chief among them the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Thursday September 23 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall with Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”. Soloists are soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and mezzo Susan Platts, two of the brightest lights in the Canadian musical firmament. Supporting them is the Toronto Mendelssohn…

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By Crystal ChanFounding cellist Rebecca Wenham announced her resignation from the Cecilia String Quartet on September 10, 2010. Wenham cites her plan to move to California as the cause.She will be replaced by cellist Rachel Desoer. Desoer will make her first appearance with Cecilia at the group’s season opener: a performance as soloists with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra on Nuit Blanche (October 2, 8 p.m., Koerner Hall).Desoer attended The Juilliard School, McGill University, and received her Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College. Past awards include at the 5th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.Just days ago on September 5,…

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by Paul E. RobinsonSUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALS 2010Aspen Music Festival and School After a few days in Vail enjoying the music-making of Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Marita and I drove over to Aspen, about 100 miles away through the mountains. What we found there was a much older community and a festival and school operating on an equally high artistic plane but with a more varied range of goals and activities. True, Aspen has been in the news lately for its administrative infighting which saw music director and conductor David Zinman…

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Violinist James Ehnes at the Glenn Gould Studio(Photo: Benjamin Ealovega)Canadian violinist James Ehnes is giving a joint recital with pianist Jamie Parker at the Glenn Gould Studio on Tuesday, May 18th at 7 pm. This is a fund-raising event for Jeunesses Musicales Ontario. On the program are works by Beethoven, Bach, Schumann and Brahms. Any chance to hear these two fine Canadian artists individually is not to be missed, and this recital represents the first time for them making music together. The Flying Dutchman, the first of three productions that makes up the COC spring season, closes this week after…

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Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian as Ilia in COC’s Idomeneo(Photo: Michael Cooper)The vocal scene this week continues with all three COC productions appearing on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre. I have now seen all three, and can truthfully report that they are all hits. Yesterday I attended the opening of Idomeneo. One of my most memorable evenings at the opera was a production of this Mozart opera at the O’Keefe Centre back in 1987, with sets and costumes designed by Michael Levine. To me, that show marked a sea change of production values at the COC, from very traditional and…

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