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Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony gets British piano star Benjamin Grosvenor ahead of Toronto

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Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor makes his Ontario début in Kitchener-Waterloo next season (Laurie Lewis photo).
Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor makes his Ontario début in Kitchener-Waterloo next season (Laurie Lewis photo).

The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, which has been enjoying a new life under music director Edwin Outwater, has announced its 2013-14 season, which includes the debut of British piano sensation Benjamin Grosvenor on Feb. 14 and 15, 2014.

The 20-year-old pianist who has captured the hearts of audiences and critics elsewhere still doesn’t have a Toronto concert booked, as far as I know.

Grosvenor will perform Camille Saint-Saëns’ sparkly Piano Concerto No. 2, which is also rarely heard in Toronto.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony presents about 70 concerts every season compared to slightly more than 100 for the Toronto Symphony.

Although the orchestra programs the same slate of standard Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky concerts, leavened by forays into pops and family repertoire, it has also had good success with a series it calls Intersections, which is more adventurous.

According to the 2013-14, one of these Intersections concerts, a best-of- compilation of the last five years, will travel to Toronto’s Koerner Hall next season.

Toronto conductor Eric Paetkau returns as a guest in Kitchener-Waterloo next season, as well, to direct a baroque-classical programme on Oct. 9, 11 and 12.

I love the fact that the Kitchener-Waterloo orchestra proudly presents baroque music on its modern instruments.

One of the highlights of this series of concerts is an April, 2014, anniversary programme that very cleverly pairs Jean-Philippe Rameau’s suite from Dardanus with Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonietta, a symphony by C.P.E Bach, a violin concerto by Leclair and the Suite Française by Francis Poulenc.

This kind of programming is wild by Toronto standards, and promises a lot of musical fun.

Another Kitchener-only concert that might make a Torontonian envious is a presentation of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and countertenor Scott Belluz on May 4, 2014.

I’ve heard people say that Toronto is close to Kitchener-Waterloo but Kitchener-Waterloo is far from Toronto. This kind of season does a lot to relieve the inequality.

You can find the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s website here.

John Terauds

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