La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 4 January 2015

This Week in Toronto (Jan. 5 - 11)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of Jan. 5 to 11

Joseph So

The music scene is slowly coming back to life in the first full week of 2015. While the Toronto Symphony and Canadian Opera Company are still in hiatus, there are several other interesting offerings well worth checking out.  One of them is the return of mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter to Koerner Hall as part of its vocal series. It's hard to think of a classical artist more eclectic than von Otter in choice of repertoire. She is of course internationally renowned in concerts and opera, a celebrated Carmen and Octavian, among other roles. In 2011, von Otter appeared at Koerner jointly with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. Now she is returning with Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt, in a completely, and surprisingly traditional, classical program of works by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Chabrier, Faure, and Chaminade. < >  I think the mezzo has recorded all of these pieces over her long career.  This concert is top on my list this week. Friday Jan, 9th 8 pm at Koerner Hall.  

Pianist Angela Hewitt and Anne Sofie von Otter (Photo:

New Orford String Quartet 

This is an active week on the chamber music front. The New Orford String Quartet gives a recital on Tuesday Jan. 6th 7 pm at Walter Hall (Edward Johnson Building) on the campus of University of Toronto. This ensemble is made up of four brilliant Canadians - violinists Jonathan Crow and Andrew Wan, violist Eric Nowlin and cellist Brian Manker. On the program are works by Beethoven and Brahms, plus the premiere of a new piece by Canadian composer Gary Kulesha.

Juilliard String Quartet (Photo:

The internationally renowned Juilliard Quartet (violinists Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, violist Roger Tapping, and cellist Joel Krosnick) is coming to Toronto under the auspices of Music Toronto, on Jan. 8th 8 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre. They are playing a challenging program of Beethoven, Webern and a contemporary work by Shulamit Ran. 

Tenor Bud Roach in Talisker's Puttin' on the Ritz (Photo: )

Talisker Players

The members of the chamber ensemble, Talisker Players, are resident musicians of Massey College at the University of Toronto. This group specializes in collaborations with singers. To kick off the new year, they are presenting Puttin' on the Ritz, an exploration of the songs of Irvin Berlin. Soloists are soprano Whitney O'Hearn and tenor Bud Roach. Two performances - Sunday Jan. 11 3:30 pm and Tuesday Jan. 13 8 pm at the Trinity St. Paul Centre. There is a pre-concert chat before each show.

The brilliant young Canadian pianist and Steinway Artist Leonard Gilbert is giving a free recital on Sunday Jan. 11 3 pm at Steinway Music Hall at Euromusic Centre in Markham. Gilbert was a past winner of the Canadian Chopin Competition and represented Canada at the Warsaw Competition. Despite studying in law school at the University of Toronto, he maintains an active career as a pianist. He has given recitals at the Westben Festival, Hart House, George Weston Hall in North York, and the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the Four Seasons Centre. On the program are works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Ravel. To attend this free recital, call the phone number provided in the poster above.

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