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Music Toronto 2013-14 season includes local début of British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor

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Young pianist Benjamin grosvenor makes his Toronto début next February (London Evening Standard photo).
Young pianist Benjamin Grosvenor makes his Toronto début next February (London Evening Standard photo).

There are several happy surprises among the 16 concerts being presented at the Jane Mallett Theatre by Music Toronto for the 2013-14 season, including the Toronto premiere of 20-year-old British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor on Feb. 11, 2014.

Although the Tokyo String Quartet is calling it quits this summer — a bittersweet occasion that includes a special benefit concert for Music Toronto in April — violinist Kikuei Ikeda, who played with the Tokyo for 39 years, makes a cameo guest visit as a violist with the American Parker Quartet on April 10, 2014.

Music Toronto is best loved for its chamber music recitals, which make up half of the organisation’s programming. The season opens on Oct. 3 with the Jerusalem Quartet and ends with the Parkers. Returning, as they do every year, are Toronto’s wonderful Gryphon Trio (Dec. 5) and the expat St Lawrence String Quartet (Jan. 9).

One of the notable chamber music visits is by the Academy Ensemble of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields on Oct. 31, with a rich programme of string octets.

The list of visiting pianists mixes local and international, including a return by Marc-André Hamelin (Jan. 21) and Arnaldo Cohen (Oct. 8). Particularly noteworthy is Ottawa-based David Jalbert, who will perform the Goldberg Variations on Mar. 11, 2014. Locally significant are a welcome recital by Eve Egoyan, and a rare solo performance by one of the city’s immensely capable collaborative pianists, Stephanie Chua (Feb. 27).

The four-decade-old music presenter also hosts a three-concert, inexpensive Discovery series which, besides Chua, includes baritone Phillip Addis on Dec. 19, presenting a fine programme that honours the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth. Young Québecois violin star Alexandre DaCosta rounds out the series on Apr. 3, with a recital in the company of the fine pianist Hélène Mercier.

Music Toronto officially announces the season on Feb. 28, and all the details will be available on its website here.

Just in case you haven’t heard Grosvenor’s wonderful combination of élan and good taste, here he is with a magical interpretation of J.S. Bach’s keyboard Partita No. 4, followed by Georges Cziffra’s transcription of Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 5. If you click on his picture, above, you’ll be taken to a nice, recent profile on Grosvenor in the Evening Standard (not famous for its feature writing).

John Terauds


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