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WHO'S WHO | Pocket Concerts

By admin on October 15, 2014

Thanks to our growing network of hosts, Pocket Concerts presents some of Toronto’s best chamber musicians in living rooms throughout the GTA, providing a uniquely intimate and enjoyable concert experience. Each Pocket Concert consists of about 45 minutes of fantastic music, followed by a reception, during which music-lovers have a chance to meet the performers as well as each other...
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Q&A | 20 questions with composer Aaron Gervais

By Michael Vincent on October 15, 2014

Announced last week, Soundstreams has unleashed their second SoundMakers Composer in Residence. This year Edmonton-born, Aaron Gervais will be joining the Toronto-based contemporary music presenters and writing a new commission for four digitally prepared vocalists. No stranger to Toronto, Aaron has worked with Tapestry New Opera, G27 Orchestra and Toca Loca. He’s also a great blogger, and will be writing about his progress with Soundstreams...
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COFFEE BREAK | Leonard Bernstein conducting with only his face (Video)

By Michael Vincent on October 14, 2014

Call it a parlour trick. Call it a testament to the orchestra as the ultimate in human collaboration. During the finale of Haydn Symphony #88 with the Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein just stands there, emoting from only the muscles of his face. Arms at his side, the orchestra ebbs and flows with every eyebrow furl and minute muscle contraction. It’s an astonishing moment caught in film, and a reminder just how dynamic Bernstein was.
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CRITIC’S PICKS | 10 Musical Outings You Absolutely Must Do This Week

By Michael Vincent on October 14, 2014

Our weekly Critic’s Picks are a fully curated list of some of the best concerts happening now through the end of the week. Of course this is not to say we are the provocateurs of taste, but simply seek to provide a good weekly summary. For a look at the full breadth of what’s available in and around Toronto, check out the comprehensive concert listings from our friends at Wholenote Magazine...
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THE VOICE | The Proof in the Pudding is Puccini

By Neil Crory on October 14, 2014

If one wants proof that music has the power to seduce, one need only turn to the works of Giacomo Puccini to be totally moonstruck. His music has uncanny powers of persuasion, even manipulation. With melodies that linger long in one’s memory, harmonies that challenge convention, and orchestration that envelops one in its sensuality; one is powerless to resist. When combined, these qualities weave a spider’s web of emotional entrapment. Do I feel that my senses are being manipulated? Yes. Do I mind? Not in the least. Tears still moisten these cynical eyes each time Tosca leaps off the parapet of Castel Sant’Angelo; or Liù plunges a dagger into her heaving breast.
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DVD Review: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Takes Munich

By Paul E. Robinson on October 14, 2014

How many orchestras does a man need? Yannick Nézet-Séguin is music director of three of them at last count and has close connections as a guest conductor with several others. No wonder he recently cancelled several weeks of concerts to grab some rest. But then it is a whole new experience for a Canadian conductor to be in such demand. It has never happened before and 39-year Yannick Nézet-Séguin can be forgiven for finding it difficult to say no...
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FITS AND BURSTS | Slavoj Žižek answers: Stravinsky or Schoenberg?

By Michael Vincent on October 10, 2014

Slavoj Žižek fans, (I know you’re out there, in the bushes), flocked to the Guardian website, on Wednesday 8 October 2014, where he was stationed to answer questions far and wide. It was a Reddit style “webchat”, and despite the absolute danger of incomprehensibility, it turned out surprisingly cogent.
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THE MORNING AFTER | Excerpts from the Freya Grimhands Method of Piano Instruction

By Lev Bratishenko on October 9, 2014

  1. Hold Fluffy Woogums out the window. If mistakes are being made mention Fluffy Woogums has begun to wiggle.
  2. Child comes home and finds you already at the piano half-dressed, sweaty and banging out one note in exhausted panic. Yell that the bomb will go off if the piano isn’t played. Mime agony in limbs when child heroically takes your place. Go to bar.
  3. Hire old lady to impersonate lost grandmother and spend hours forming a close, baking-based connection to the delighted child before collapsing on the floor, clutching child’s leg and moaning “Promise me… you will not stop… the lessons” before dying horribly. Child will have a limited but very serious musical career.
  4. Bring over another child the same age and a much better pianist. After listening to her play with exaggerated pleasure, let your child overhear a tensely whispered argument with your husband about “the upgrade”. New child must also be excessively polite.
  5. Replace child’s bed with piano.
  6. Attach token-operated locks to fridge, bathroom, and front door. Tokens may be obtained from a matching mechanism on the piano that dispenses them. A remarkable increase in playing speed can be obtained like this.
  7. Replace all furniture in house with pianos.
  8. Sit too close to child on piano bench as they practise with rising resentment. Remind them every time they stop–though interrupting is also okay–that you were almost a concert pianist yourself. Did you know that? I just didn’t practise enough. Sigh at all mistakes.
Lev Bratishenko
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COFFEE BREAK | Elvis Presley discusses atonality (Video)

By admin on October 9, 2014

Elvis, “Mr. Everett”, shares his thoughts on atonality in jazz music. I have a feeling by the look on his face, this is exactly how he felt about. His curled lip says it all. “Lady I don’t know what the hell, you’re talking about.” uh huh.
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SCHMOPERA | On Pianists, Those Vicarious Opera Singers

By Jenna Douglas on October 9, 2014

I remember working with a class of first year voice students a few years ago; I saw them all individually (totally a bad idea, switched to masterclass format the next year), and I got the sense that for a majority of these students, they were working with a vocal coach for the first time. One particularly outspoken singer asked an unexpected question during our first coaching session together: “But, you’re a pianist. Why are you telling me what to do?”
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CD REVIEW | Legendary Treasures: Oscar Shumsky

By Paul E. Robinson on October 8, 2014

Music by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Richard Strauss, etc.
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FITS & BURSTS | Toronto International Piano Competition gets a new start

By Michael Vincent on October 8, 2014

For the past 25 years – it has been oddly silent on the Toronto piano competition front. In 1985, there was the Bach International Piano Competition, but it sputtered out despite plenty of local and national support. Notably the first prize winner, Angela Hewitt went on to enjoy an international career, and has become one of Canada’s best-known piano laureates.

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