La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 14 June 2015

This Week in Toronto (June 15 - 28)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Period of June 15 to 28

~ Joseph So

This is the last Weekly Preview of the 2014-15 concert season.  Given there's comparatively little concert activities going on right now, I'm combining two weeks into a single preview.  This column will resume in mid-September. In the mean time, I'll journey to the Munich Opera Festival to catch several Canadians performing there, and return in time for the Toronto Summer Music featuring my favourite soprano, Soile Isokoski in a masterclass, plus the great Garrick Ohlsson in recital.  I wish all my readers a wonderful and musical summer.

English composer Gustav Holst

As part of the Luminato Festival (June 19 - 28), the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with conductor Peter Oundjian is presenting Gustav Holst's The Planets on Friday June 26 at 10 pm, a TSO Late Night event. This work was just performed a couple of weeks ago under the baton of Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis. It's a real festive work and perfect for Luminato. There's not a whole lot of traditional classical music programming at Luminato, but for those interested in the eclectic, cutting edge and unconventional programming, Luminato will prove very interesting. 

Poster for Apocalypsis 

A centerpiece of Luminato 2015 is Apocalypsis, a visual and aural extravaganza, the brainchild of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer.  Performed in full for the first time since its premiere in 1980, this huge work blends professional and amateurs in a cast of 1,000 local singers, musicians, conductors, actors, and dancers. David Fallis of Opera Atelier fame is the leader of 20 conductors and their ensembles, with solo performances by Nina Arsenault, Brent Carver, Denise Fujiwara, Tanya Tagaq, Kawiti Waetford, and Laurie Anderson. Three performances at the Sony Centre, on Friday June 26th and Saturday June 27th 8 to 10 pm, and Sunday June 28th 2 to 4 pm.

On Sunday June 28th 4 pm in David Pecaut Square adjacent to Roy Thomson Hall, you can catch a TSO performance for free as part of the wrap up of Luminato. Billed as A Symphonic Zoo, it's a popular program of snippets from Swan Lake, Flight of the Bumble Bee, Peter and the Wolf etc.

Conductor Steven Reineke

There's also a popular program of the music by American songwriter and Broadway Musicals composer Stephen Schwartz on June 16th 8 pm and July 17th at 2 and 8 pm. It features songs and music from hit shows by Schwartz the likes of Pippin, Godspell and Wicked. TSO Pops conductor Steven Reineke is at the helm. 

Jazz fans are in for a treat with the TD Toronto Jazz Festival (June 18 to 29.) For complete details, go to

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