In this post-Christmas/New Year week, the concert offerings are typically slim. If you are a Mozart fan, you are in luck. January is Mozart Month in Toronto, as classical music venues big and small are featuring the composer’s works. The Canadian Opera Company’s winter season begins with Cosi fan tutte in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting [email protected] This festival started in Mozart’s centennial year, and it has continued ever since. A marketing gimmick, you say? Maybe, but anything to bring the public to the glorious works of Mozart is fine with me! The TSO is presenting his Symphony 39, Piano Concerto No. 18, and the overture to his opera La clemenza di Tito. At the podium and the keyboard is pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn. Moscow-born American pianist Solzhenitsyn is of course the son of the famous father writer/political icon Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Two performances – Saturday Jan. 11 7:30 pm at Roy Thomson Hall, and Sunday Jan. 12 3 pm at the acoustically friendly confines of George Weston Recital Hall in North York. http://tso.ca/en-ca/Home.aspx
Pianist/Conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn (Photo: Arts Management Group)
Toronto’s premiere chamber music organization, Music Toronto, is once again presenting the St. Lawrence String Quartet in recital at the Jane Mallett Theatre on Thursday Jan. 9 8 pm. This is an annual event for the last 15 years. Now in its 25th season, the SLSQ has undergone some changes. This is the first Music Toronto concert where violinist Mark Fewer replaces Scott St. John who has left the ensemble. The program consists of quartets by Haydn, Dvorak and Martinu. http://music-toronto.com/quartets/Stlc.htm
While the COC is still in the process of gearing up to its winter season, the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre noon hour concert series are humming this week. As part of its Piano Virtuoso series, Algerian pianist Mehdi Ghazi is presenting The Colours of Passion, a recital of works by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Messiaen and Liszt on Tuesday Jan. 7. Detailed program is available at http://files.coc.ca/pdfs/concert140107.pdf Be sure to show up an hour ahead for a seat.
Joseph K. So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, but his first love is music, which he studied as an undergraduate student at the State University of New York. Since seeing his first live opera – La Gioconda with Renata Tebaldi at the Met in 1967, the singing voice became his lifelong favourite instrument. In addition to his longtime contributions to La Scena Musicale and The Music Scene, he is Associate Editor of Opera Canada and a frequent contributor to Musical Toronto.