La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 20 September 2015

This Week in Toronto (Sept. 21 - 27)

My Toronto concert picks for the week of September 21 to 27

Joseph So

Now that we are in the third week of September, I am starting my weekly Toronto concert preview once again.  Top on my list this week the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's season opener, with the great violinist Itzhak Perlman playing the Bruch violin concerto, under the baton of the TSO music director Peter Oundjian. Also on the program are Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 and The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas. This is a very popular program, plus Perlman is a perennial favourite in Toronto. I've heard that opening night is close to - if not already - sold out but there are always returns. Check with the box office. Thursday Sept. 24 7 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

This just in:  Itzhak Perlman has cancelled his appearance in the opening night of the TSO due to emergency gall bladder surgery. Replacing him is violinist and TSO frequent guest violinist Pinchas Zukerman. The program remains unchanged. 

Violinist Pinchas Zukerman 

Violinist Itzhak Perlman (Photo: Lisa Marie Mazzucco)

Following the opening night gala, the TSO is presenting three performances of its "Three Bs" program of Beethoven Symphony No. 5, Brahms Double Concerto featuring TSO concertmaster Jonathan Crow and Principal Cello Joseph Johnson, and Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. This is a truly "heart of the repertoire" type of program that every music lover should not miss. Friday Sept. 25 and Saturday Sept. 26 at Roy Thomson Hall, followed by a matinee on Sunday Sept. 27 at George Weston Recital hall in North York.  Once again, Peter Oundjian is at the helm.

TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow (Photo: Sian Richards)

The Canadian Opera Company is currently in rehearsal for its fall season of La traviata and Pyramus and Thisbe, but its free noon hour series starts this Tuesday Sept. 22 at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with a recital given by the COC Ensemble Studio artists. Members this year are sopranos Aviva Fortunata and Karine Boucher, tenors Andrew Haji, Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, Aaron Sheppard and Charles Sy, bass baritones Iain MacNeil and Gordon Bintner, and pianists/coach Jennifer Szeto and HyeJin Kwon. I have not done any research, but I'm willing to bet this is a first for the Ensemble to have four tenors in one year!  Perhaps it might have happened way back in the 1980's when the Ensemble was larger, up to something like 18 artists.  But to have four tenors out of eight singers is very unusual! They will be on hand to sing an aria each. Here's the program   This is an extremely popular event, so be sure to show up an hour ahead to ensure a spot.

The Arc Ensemble

The "Arc" in the Arc Ensemble stands for "Artists of the Royal Conservatory." It is made up of eight wonderful musicians and they will be giving a concert at Koerner Hall on Saturday Sept. 26th 3 pm. On the program are works by Mozart, Shostakovich and Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Details at   The concert is free - part of the Culture Days events in Toronto, but you do need a ticket to get in.  Here is the link to reserve a ticket online -

Soprano Nathalie Paulin

The Off Centre Music Salon has been a staple of Sunday afternoon concert-going under  the stewardship of pianists Inna Perkis and Boris Zarankin for the last 20 years. It opens its 21st season in a new venue, the Trinity St. Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto. This is the same venue for Tafelmusik. The program is called Russia Cast Adrift, with a quartet of very fine singers, soprano Nathalie Paulin, mezzo Emilia Boteva, tenor Ernesto Ramirez and baritone Geoffrey Sirett. They sing the song cycle Russia Cast Adrift by Sviridov. I recall hearing part of this song cycle sung by the great Dmitri Hvorostovsky many years ago in Toronto.  Also on the program are works by Rachmaninoff, Gavrillin and Scriabin.

Pianist Stewart Goodyear

Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear is playing a recital under the auspices of Mooredale Concerts. He plays Bach's Goldberg Variations and Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. The recital is on Sunday September 27th 3 pm at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto. You can purchase tickets in advance at

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