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May 28: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

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The opening page of Franz Schubert’s Octet, the centrepiece of a chamber concert by Toronto Symphony musicians on Monday.


  • Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, 7:30 p.m.

The last of this season’s five concerts featuring members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a chamber-music setting offers an enticing musical meal. The main course is Franz Schubert’s much-loved F Major Octet (D 803) that brings together a string quintet featuring principals Teng Li (viola) and Jeffrey Beecher (double-bass) with a woodwind trio featuring a relative newcomer, the TSO’s associate principal clarinet Yao Guang Zhai. The appetizer is a quintet by Franz Danzi (1763-1826), who neatly straddles Haydn and Schubert in style as well as sensibility. You’d never know it now, but, in his day, Danzi, was considered to be the master of German opera.

Tickets are $20 at the door.

Here’s the fourth movement Andante and variations of the Schubert Octet, led by violinist Janine Jansen:


  • Musicians of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon. Free.

Violinists Bethany Bergman and Aya Miyagawa, violist Joshua Greenlaw and cellist Jill Vitols explore two very different ways of expressing colour with strings in Claude Debussy’s Op. 10 String Quartet alongside Eight Colors for String Quartet, by Tan  Dun.

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale and director Brainerd Blyden-Taylor present a concert version of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, which dates from 1911. Although it’s called an opera, and touches on some very serious issues arising from the American Civil War, Joplin didn’t stray far from the popular music styles that made him famous. So think of this as a substantial musical that demands the best from its performers. (There’s no information on soloists or accompaniment, which is likely to be Joplin’s original solo-piano version. I can’t speak to the quality of the singing, so think of this as a chance to experience a little-appreciated slice of American musical history.)

For ticket information, click here.

Here are the beginning and end of Treemonisha from a 1975 recording by Houston Grand Opera, arranged fro orchestra and conducted by Gunther Schuller:


  • Organist Marek Kudlicki at St Paul’s Anglican Church, 227 Bloor St E., 6:30 p.m.

Poland’s apostle of organ music touches down in an early-evening concert as part of the Organix 12 festival. The pan-historial programme packs the pioneers (including Sweelinck, Buxtehude and Bach) in to the first half, and the more contemporary Polish contingent in the second.

For more information on the programme and tickets, click here.

The are some vintage Polish television clips of Kudlicki at work available here.


Yo Yo Ma
  • Yo Yo Ma with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall, 7:30 p.m.

The world’s most famous cellist makes one of his regular Toronto stops bearing the ever-popular Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar. The programme opens with a piece by Uzbek composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky written for Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in 2000. Music director Peter Oundjian completes the evening with Sergei Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.

Note that the original programming for Ma’s visit featured different programmes for each concert. Now, Thursday’s concert is a repeat of Wednesday’s.

For all the details, click here.


  • Preview sampler by the Toronto Summer Music Festival at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon. Free.

Toronto Summer Music Festival artistic director Douglas McNabney introduces the recently formed Geistrio. The Montrealers perform Maurice Ravel’s A minor Piano Trio.

Here are the three young musicians — Ewald Cheung on violin, cellist Dominic Painchaud and pianist Maria Fuller — performing the Pantoum movement from the Ravel trio in February:


  • Art of Time Ensemble presents Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre, 8 p.m.

Artistic director/pianist Andrew Burashko reimagines a full performance of the Beatles’ 45-year-old Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album with a large cast of jazz, pop and classical musicians — probably in much the same way he has already done with Abbey Road.

For more details and tickets, click here.


  • New Music Concerts at Gallery 345, 8 p.m.

This fundraiser features Toronto composers performing, including octogenarian John Beckwith, who still practices the piano every day. It’s a fundraser, but the $50 tickets are not expensive, given the musical fun everyone is likely to have at the Parkdale gallery.

You’ll find details here.

Organist Maxine Thévenot performs a colourful programme at Church of the Holy Trinity on Friday.
  • Organist Maxine Thévenot at Church of the Holy Trinity (Eaton Centre), 7:30 p.m.

Canada has lost Maxine Thévenot, one of its bright organ talents, to the United States, and Toronto lost hardworking and talented organist-composer Andrew Ager to Ottawa. The two are figuratively united in this city for one night as Thévenot performs a large-scale suite as well as a Prelude and Fugue by Ager as part of the Organix 12 festival.

Thévenot has assembled a colourful, engaging programme. You’ll find the details, as well as ticket information, here.

Here is Thévenot with “Sortie Joyeuse,” the sixth (and final) movement of Ager’s Première Suite, Op. 34, which is on the programme:


  • Baritone Daniel Lichti and Pentaèdre present Winterreise at the Sharon Temple, 2 p.m.

The historic Sharon Temple is exquisite enough without the thought of hearing wind ensemble Pentaèdre’s wonderful arrangement of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle, sung by Canadian baritone Daniel Lichti. This really is a must-attend concert, and the drive to the top of Hwy 404 is usually pretty quick on Sundays at midday.

This is the first of four excellent Sunday concerts in June at the temple. You’ll find all the details here.

Here is Christoph Prégardien singing Die Post, from Winterreise, with Pentaèdre in 2009:

John Terauds

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