La Scena Musicale

Monday, 2 December 2013

This Week in Toronto (Dec. 2 - 8)

This Week in Toronto (Dec. 2 - 8)

- Joseph So

December is Messiah month - or should I say 'religious programming month.'  From now until after Christmas, there will be a surfeit of many Christmas-related concerts big and small.  If that's your thing, great. But if not, there are still enough non-religious programming to whet your appetite. Let's first look at what else is going on in our fair city. Russian virtuoso Kirill Gerstein is making a welcome return to Toronto, in a recital that is part of the Invesco Piano Concerts series, on Sunday 3 pm at Koerner Hall. He is playing a very challenging yet exhilarating program - for the pianist and the audience!  He opens classically, with Haydn, following by the centerpiece of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.  Then it's fun times with a very eclectic combination of Mehldau (composed for Gerstein in 2011), Ligeti, and (surprise!) Gershwin.  If you admire flamboyant and bravura pianism, do attend this.

Pianist Kirill Gerstein (Photo: Marco Borggreve)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is offering an All Tchaikovsky program conducted by Brazilian conductor Marcelo Lehninger, a young, up-and-coming conductor, currently associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a protege of James Levine. The program includes the Suite from Sleeping Beauty (Friday Dec. 6 only), Variations on a Rococo Theme, and Symphony No. 5. Soloist is cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan. Dec. 6 and 7 7:30 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. The show on Dec. 7 is a little shorter, but there'll be post-performance party in the lobby. On Sunday Dec. 8 at 3pm, the TSO is presenting A Christmas Carol designed for the young concert goer. There's a reading with music and dance of the Dickens classic.

BSO Associate Conductor Marcelo Lehninger at the TSO (Photo courtesy of BSO)

Music Toronto, one of the premiere chamber groups, is presenting the Gryphon Trio in two beloved pieces, the Beethoven Trio in D Op. 70 and the Mendelssohn Trio No. 2 in C Minor Op. 66. There's also going to be a world premiere of a Gryphon Trio 20th anniversary commission from Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. Thursday Dec. 5 8 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre

Gryphon Trio

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is presenting Mozart's Piano, with guest soloist Kristian Bezuidenhout on the fortepiano. He will be playing two Mozart piano concertos, K413 and K271. Performances on Dec. 5, 6,7 and 8th 8 pm at the Trinity St. Paul Centre.

Kristian Bezuidenhout at Tafelmusik (Photo: Marco Borggreve)

My Messiah of choice this week is given by the St. James Cathedral on 65 Church Street downtown, on Tuesday Dec. 3 7:30 pm. Vicki St. Pierre is leading the Talisker Players, the St. James Cathedral Choir, and a fine quartet of soloists - soprano Lesley Bouza, mezzo Christina Stelmacovich, tenor Aaron Ferguson and baritone James Westman.

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