This Week in Toronto (May 28 – June 3)

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Cellist Yo Yo Ma (Photo: Stephen Danelian)

The good news this week is that one of the most spectacularly gifted and beloved of classical musicians, cellist Yo Yo Ma, is once again returning to Toronto.  He is soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Elgar’s Cello Concerto, an exquisitely poignant and autumnal work. Ma has had a very long association with this piece, and his interpretation, while wonderful from even his earliest days, has deepened with the passage of time. I find myself tremendously moved by his playing of this masterwork. Other pieces on the program are Voices in the Leaves for cello and orchestra by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, a composer from Uzbekistan; as well as Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts. Performances on Wednesday May 30 and Thursday May 31 7:30 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall.   http://tso.ca/Home.aspx

Another orchestral concert of interest is Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra on Thursday May 31 8 p.m. at Weston Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York. Czech pianist Boris Krajny, who has family in the Toronto area, is making a welcome return to play the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16. Also on the program is Murray Schafer’s Cortege, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. Toronto Philharmonia’s Music Director Uri Mayer conducts. http://www.torontophilharmonia.com/

Now that the COC spring season is history, there are still reasons to go the the Four Seasons Centre, as the Free Noon Hour Concert Series is still going on.  No singing, but a very interesting event is the 2012 preview of the Toronto Summer Music Festival at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at noon on Thursday, May 31.  There are many wonderful artists visiting this year. Of particular interest to opera fans is the appearance of the great Canadian baritone Gerald Finley. He will give a recital and masterclass. Pianist Andre Laplante is the headliner of the opening night, and the Borodin String Quartet is coming to play a program of Russian music. And there are many other gems in this year’s Festival program, which you’ll hear about from Artistic Director Douglas McNabney.  The centerpiece of this one-hour preview is a performance of Ravel’s Piano Trio by Geistrio, a young Canadian chamber group.  And it’s free! Be sure to line up an hour ahead to ensure a seat. http://coc.ca/Home.aspx

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About Author

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.

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