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REVIEW | The Dover Quartet flexes their brawn at the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto

By Robin Elliott on November 14, 2014

A stellar reputation preceded the Dover Quartet of Philadelphia, which gave its Toronto debut recital in Walter Hall for the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto (WMCT) on Thursday afternoon, 13 November.
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SCHMOPERA | Opera for Kids

By Jenna Douglas on November 12, 2014

It’s true that enough slapstick comedy will get laughs from kids, even without much artistry behind it. But children are an honest litmus test for something like opera. They react in a big way, using their voices and bodies to tell the performers just how they feel about what’s happening onstage. Conversely, it’s really noticeable when there’s no reaction at all. If a performer mumbles his words, a joke falls flat and crickets are heard. If there’s no eye contact, no connection between singers and the kids, it’s pretty easy to lose their attention and never get it back. Stage director Ashlie Corcoran has her fair share of experience in directing children’s opera: “When I am directing an opera for children, my number one priority is that they have an artistic and cultural experience. By that, I mean that sometimes live performance directed at children is used as a vehicle to explore an issue, or a moral or a lesson. Personally, my priority is that the young audience walks away from their experience jazzed by what they saw – curious about the music, about staging and design, and inspired by live storytelling. Basically – wanting to see more opera, or theatre, or dance.”

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WHO'S WHO | International Resource Centre for Performing Artists

By Member on November 11, 2014

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is a dedicated service organization for Musical Artists. It was incorporated in 1985 to (a) support freelance performers in the music field to make the transition from student to professional and to assist them to reach their goals at various stages in their careers, and (b) To inform and inspire audiences with increased knowledge and appreciation of the development of Canadian musical performing artists. Programs are designed to enable performers to grow in their artistry and gain access to international contacts of the highest standards, in order to be employed at home and abroad.
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THE CLASSICAL TRAVELER | Anne Akiko Meyers Celebrates the American Masters

By Paul E. Robinson on November 11, 2014

Anne Akiko Meyers made news last year when an anonymous donor gifted her the lifetime use of one of the world’s great violins, the ‘Ex-Vieuxtemps’ Guarneri del Gesu, crafted in 1741. This year she’s in the news again for putting her Guarneri to excellent use in the service of exceptional works by American composers in an album called The American Masters. This album features world premiere recordings of the Violin Concerto by Mason Bates and Lullaby for Natalie by John Corigliano. Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto (1939), an established classic, rounds out the disc. For the record, Anne made his first recording of the Barber 26 years ago, in 1988.
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CRITIC’S PICKS | 10 Musical Outings You Absolutely Must Do This Week

By Michael Vincent on November 10, 2014

Musical Toronto’s 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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REVIEW | A near-perfect blending of music, poetry and whimsy

By Michael Vincent on November 8, 2014

In a 1950s interview with Robert Craft, Igor Stravinsky was asked to give his opinion about the use of music as accompaniment to recitation. His response: “Do not ask, sins cannot be undone, only forgiven.” Despite Stravinsky’s misgivings, the Art of Time Ensemble (whose aim is to go beyond the classical repertoire) opened its 15th season on Friday night, with a fascinating and varied look at how music and the written word have collided and intersected throughout the ages. Following a series of recited poems, sung poems, tone poems, poets as musicians and musicals inspired by poetry, it was a variety show approach that rapidly swung back and forth from light entertainment to deeply affecting music...
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Q&A | 26 Questions for Composer, Richard Reed Parry

By Michael Vincent on November 7, 2014

Q&A:

What are three things that Toronto doesn’t have but should?

Margaret Atwood as mayor, Olivia Chow as mayor, or anybody excellent as mayor.
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REVIEW | The Unforgettable Tanya Tagaq

By Robin Elliott on November 7, 2014

“Live Music is Best.” That is the motto of the musicians’ union, and it could well be the motto of Tanya Tagaq as well. No amount of familiarity with Tagaq’s recordings and videos can prepare one for the impact of witnessing her in live performance.
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COFFEE BREAK | Danish Orchestra attempts to play after eating red hot chili peppers (Video)

By Michael Vincent on November 6, 2014

The Danish National Chamber Orchestra did a little experiment last week. They were curious to see (and hear) what Tango Jalousie by Jacob Gade would sound like after eating one of the worlds hottest Chili Peppers. Watch what happens.
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Q&A | 20 Questions for Soprano Aprile Millo

By Michael Vincent on November 5, 2014

After filling in for an indisposed soprano at the Metropolitan Opera in 1984, Aprile Millo got her big break as Amelia, in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. The reviews rolled in, calling her “the Verdi soprano we’ve all be waiting for.” Performing in over 160 performances across 15 different, she has since gone on to become one of the most essential spinto sopranos of our time. She has performed alongside Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Ben Heppner, Herbert von Karajan, Riccardo Muti, James Levine, and Giuseppe Sinopoli (to name a few). Franco Zeffirelli chose her as the singing voice of Elizabeth Taylor in the bio film, “Young Toscanini”. Her career has been nothing short of remarkable, and based upon a single foundation: her voice.
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COFFEE BREAK | Violinist Lara St. John takes on 'Anaconda' by Nicki Minaj (Video)

By Michael Vincent on November 5, 2014

(via) Released just today, virtuoso violinist Lara St. John has taken up the challenge to rework Nicki Minaj’s latest hit “Anaconda”. Renaming it “Anachorda", St. John hired out a number of well-known Vancouver musicians to help her bridge the great style divide. Her approach was to focus on the rhythmic element, rather than the controversial lyrics, which have received some criticism. The original is inspired by Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back, which is all about celebrating a “big butts”...
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WHO'S WHO | Sinfonia Toronto

By Member on November 5, 2014

Acclaimed as “a world-class ensemble”, Sinfonia Toronto is one of Canada’s finest chamber orchestras. Its repertoire includes all the major works for string orchestra from baroque to contemporary, and it has premiered many new works. It presents its concerts two of the finest concert halls of Toronto: at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio, where many of its concerts have been recorded for national broadcast and in the George Weston Recital Hall in North York. The orchestra has recorded for its own label, Marquis Classics EMI, Cambria and Analekta on iTunes.
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