This March, 101 handpicked musicians from around the globe will convene in Sydney, Australia to rehearse and perform together for the very first time. It's the second edition of the Youtube Symphony Orchestra, a phenomenon which launched December 1, 2010 when musicians of all backgrounds were invited to 'audition by youtube.' Contestants posted a video of their performance of Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. 1 'Eroica' and another preset audition piece. Finalists were chosen by judges and then voted on by the public.
This year's orchestra auditions followed a similar process, with hopeful musicians performing Mothership, a piece composed especially for the Youtube Symphony Orchestra by American composer Mason Bates. There were over 300 finalists, and the lucky 101 includes a vuvuzela player.
The ensemble's March 20, 2011 performance from the Syndney Opera House will be led by Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas. The concert will be broadcast live.
This year, musicians represent 30 countries and their ages range from 14 to 49. They form a mix of professional and amateur musicians. The piece features four soloists; their instruments are: electric guitar (Brazil), violin (USA), the guzheng (China), and electric double bass (Australia). Canadian members include violist Sarah Tradewell (Victoria), flutist Paul Hung (Vancouver), violinist Allene Chomyn (Langley), double bassist Richard Carnegie (Burlington, Ont), and percussionist Michelle Hwu (Toronto). All five are music professionals or music students.
Conductor and Trombonist Alain Trudel (photo credit: Pierre Racine)
Given the symphony and the opera are still in hiatus, there are fewer concerts than usual. But there are a few intriguing events well worth attending. Top on my list is the Mooredale Concerts presenting conductor Alain Trudel who is also a noted trombonist. In fact, Le Monde de la Musique from Paris called him the "Jascha Heifetz of the trombone." He is joining forces with organist Patrick Wedd for an eclectic program of original works for trombone and organ by Holst and Guilmant, as well as organ pieces by Bach and Messiaen. This is taking place at the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church at 1585 Yonge Street in Toronto on Sunday, Jan. 16 3:15 pm. At 1:15 is Music and Truffles, a special program given by the artists for children. For details and tickets, go to http://www.mooredaleconcerts.com/
Tenor Michael Ciufo < http://www.michaelciufo.com/index.html > is giving a concert at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. Ciufo is a classically trained singer, having studied at the Glenn Gould School - I heard him as a fine Prince Charming in the RCM Cendrillon last March. He is also a very successful crossover singer, with a large following and several CDs to his credit. Ciufo will give a concert at the RBC Theatre at the Living Arts Centre on Saturday Jan. 11, 8 pm. For information and tickets, go to http://www.livingartscentre.ca/homepage/
Music Toronto is presenting the Tokyo Quartet on Thursday Jan. 13 8 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre. This is the fifth of a six-concert Beethoven Cycle which will conclude on April 14. A regular guest quartet of Music Toronto, this will be its 41st concert, having played here almost every season since 1974. On the program is Beethoven's Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 127 and the Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130. More information at http://www.music-toronto.com/
Baritone Geoffrey Sirett has been awarded the second Jim and Charlotte Norcop Prize in Song at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music Voice Studies Department. Sirett will give a noon hour recital at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 12 pm, accompanied by renowned collaborative pianist Martin Katz. On the program are works by Ravel, Duparc, Finzi, Vaughan Williams, Holman, Quilter and others. Admission is free. On the same day, Katzwill be giving a masterclass at Walter Hall 3:30 to 5:30 pm. Details at http://www.music.utoronto.ca/site5.aspx
La Scena Musicale is a monthly Canadian classical, opera, jazz and world music magazine published in English and French by La Scène musicale/The Music Scene, a non-profit charity dedicated to the promotion of music and the arts. La Scena Musicale's award-winning website SCENA.org has been a world leader of classical music and arts news since 1996. The LSM Blog is the place for commentary and news on music and the arts in Canada and around the world. Publisher: Wah Keung Chan; ISSN 1925-9700