La Scena Musicale

Monday, 28 March 2011

This Week in Toronto (Mar. 28 - Apr. 3)

Pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin (Photo credit: Fran Kaufmann)

This is a particularly felicitous week for piano fans. One of the greatest Canadian virtuoso pianists Marc-Andre Hamelin is making a welcome return to the intimate Jane Mallett Theatre at the St. Lawrence Scentre in downtown Toronto, courtesy of Music Toronto. According to the MT website, this is his 6th visit! In recent years, Hamelin has been moving away from the extreme virtuoso repertory of "finger-breakers" that he was (and still is) famous for to the more classical repertoire. Who would have thought a few years ago that instead of programming Medtner or Godowsky he would be playing Haydn! His program this time includes works by Haydn, Schumann, Wolpe, Faure, and Liszt. I understand the recital is almost sold out, so act fast! Details at

Another high profile pianist in town this week is Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The French pianist will be performing Liszt's fiendish - and fiendishly difficult - Totentanz. The other piece featuring Thibaudet is The Shining One by Guillaume Connesson, who dedicated the piece to the pianist. Stephane Deneve, Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducts the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Dukas' La Peri and Florent Schmitt's La tragedie de Salome round up the evening. I just returned from Montreal Opera's sensational Richard Strauss' Salome, so it'll be interesting for me to hear this piece! Performances on Wednesday and Thursday at 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

And one mustn't forget the great Leon Fleisher, who needs no introduction to Toronto piano fans. He will be giving a recital of Bach, Brahms, Dvorak and Jeno Takacs. Also on the program is a piano four hands piece, Schubert's Fantasia in F Minor D. 940 with Fleisher and Katherine Jacobson Fleisher. RCM's Koerner Hall on April 3 at 3 pm.

If you prefer a more irreverent approach to classical music, I can recommend the duo Igudesman and Joo. These two classically trained violinist and pianist have been breaking up their audiences like no other. Currently on tour in N.A. and Europe, they will be in town for two performances of A Little Nightmare Music at the St. Lawrence Centre on April 2. If you want to see how funny these guys can be, go do a search of them on Youtube. They are presented by Svetlana Dvoretskaia of Show One Productions here in Toronto. For details, go to

Voice/orchestral fans need not feel deprived this week. Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor is still in town, for his third performance of Bach and Vivaldi, with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra under the direction Jeanne Lamon, to take place at George Weston Recital Hall in North York on Tuesday March 29 at 8 pm.

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir under the direction of Noel Edison, will present Brahms Requiem at the intimate Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on Wednesday March 30 at 8 pm. I've gone to this theatre many times and can say the acoustics and sightlines are excellent. It is easily accessible by public transit. Also on the program is the Anagnoson & Kinton Piano Duo. Information and tickets at



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