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Tonight: Composer Peter Eötvös says goodbye to Toronto with wind-centric programme for New Music Concerts

By John Terauds on March 10, 2012

(Jean-François Leclerc photo)

Although I only made it to the first concert, everything I’ve heard since suggests Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös continued to charm both audiences and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with his conducting skills over the course of this year’s New Creations festival.

Chances are good he is going to get invited back as a guest conductor in a future season.

Before he departs from his maiden visit to Toronto, there’s one last chance tonight to see Eötvös in action and hear his abstract, modernist music, thanks to a New Music Concerts presentation tonight at the Glenn Gould Studio — with an introductory chat at 7:15 p.m. and the concert at 8 p.m.

Because New Music Concerts founder and artistic director Robert Aitken is a virtuoso flute player and keen advocate of anything that stretches a performer’s skills and the audience’s sensibilities, Eötvös has curated a programme to suit.

(For all the details and notes, click here.)

First up is Heraclitian Fragments, a piece by Zoltán Jeney, a Hungarian flautist and composer who spent a lot of time early in his career indulging in all sorts of electroacoustic experiments, many involving his favourite instrument.

The bulk of the programme features Eötvös’ own work, including a four-year-old Octet for winds and brass, a 1987 revision of Windsequenzen, and Psy, a 1996 piece for flute, cimbalom (Hungarian hammer dulcimer) and cello:

The oldest piece on the programme is Igor Stravinsky’s jaunty Octet for wind instruments, which dates from 1923. Here’s a gorgeously transparent interpretation by conductor Riccardo Chailly and the London Sinfonietta:

John Terauds

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