La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 14 September 2014

This Week in Toronto (September 15 - 21)

While we in Toronto lament the end of an all too brief (and cool!) summer, we can look forward to a real silver lining - the start of the 2014-15 musical season!  It's a pleasure to report that this morning (Sunday Sept. 14 as I write) it was announced that Canadian tenor Andrew Haji won the Grand Prize at the 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition in the Netherlands, and with it 5,000 Euros and a Trophy. Haji is also the winner of the Press Prize (1,250 Euros) and the Jury Prize (500 Euros).  The IVC (as this competition is known) may not be the richest in monetary value among the many competitions around the world, but it's extremely prestigious and this win really bodes well for Andrew Haji in his future career.
Andrew Haji about to receive his Grand Prize at Awards Ceremony (Photo courtesy of 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition)

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of this august competition, and many of the winners of the past have gone on to significant careers. All eleven finalists have beautiful voices and abundant musicality, so it's a real feather in the Canadian's cap to be awarded the Grand Prize.  It was a very high powered jury, headed by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, as well as the great Heldentenor Siegfried Jerusalem, contralto Anne Gjevang, conductor Kenneth Montgomery, and former Vienna State Opera Intendant Ioan Hollaender. My warmest congratulations to Andrew Haji.  We can all look forward to his appearances this coming season as a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.
Canadian tenor Andrew Haji with Chair of the Jury Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Photo courtesy of 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition)

After a successful European tour - first in 14 years- the Toronto Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 2014-15 season on Thursday September 18th with the ever popular violinist Joshua Bell in Lalo's Symphonie espagnole.
Violinist Joshua Bell (Photo: Eric Kabik)

Also on the program are Capriccio espagnole by Rimsky Korsakov and Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts. Curtain is 7 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. On Saturday  8 pm at RTH and Sunday 3 pm at George Weston Hall, TSO's own brilliant violinist-concertmaster Jonathan Crowe is soloist in a mixed program called Arabian Nights, featuring the Firebird Suite (Stravinsky), Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov), and the exciting Bolero (Ravel).

TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crowe (

 The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra's new season begins with four performances of Handel Fireworks with violinist Rodolfo Richter as Guest Director. The concert features works by Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Heinichen, and Telemann. Concerts at 8 pm on Sept. 18, 19, 20, 21 - this last a matinee at 3:30 pm, all at Koerner Hall.
Violinist Rodolfo Richter gives masterclass (

Maestro Richter will be giving a masterclass on September 20, from 1 to 3 pm at Room 330 Edward Johnson Building at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $10.

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