Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020


Following the Goldberg trail from Gould to Lang Lang; Measha Brueggergosman and Edwin Huizinga on face to face collaboration in strange times; diggings into dance as FFDN keeps live alive; "Classical unicorn?" - Luke Welch reflects on life as a Black classical pianist; Debashis Sinha's adventures in sound art; choral lessons from Skagit Valley; and the 21st annual WholeNote Blue Pages (part 1 of 3) in print and online. Here now. And, yes, still in print, with distribution starting Thursday October 1.

TSO at the Drive-In – coming soon!

“I find it uncomfortable to watch myself,” said the conductor –

from his home in Amsterdam – in answer to a question by Loden.

“My analytic mind wonders ‘Could I have done something different?’

– but the music is moving and emotionally powerful… the human

being can’t stop the emotion… I got goosebumps right away... It’s

simply wonderful to see the faces of the musicians around me and

the audience.”

That October 2019 performance of the Ravel Daphnis and Chloé

was Gimeno’s third time conducting the TSO and Loden asked

whether it felt different. Gimeno said that he felt a connection to the

orchestra within the first half of the first rehearsal he ever had with

them. “With the atmosphere, with the sound and the way of making

music, I felt in the right place.” And the TSO still feels like his musical

family, but now that he’s no longer a guest conductor “the analysis

goes much further and deeper.”

“We were all very excited to work with Gustavo,” Zimba said. “The

energy that was onstage was really strong and palpable… We really

trusted Gustavo’s musical vision.”

Ever since early July when all concerts in the 2020/21 season were

cancelled, we’ve been wondering how the TSO will be engaging with

the public under COVID-19 protocols, and Loden was able to reveal

a few things for the coming months at the September 23 event. One

he spoke about was four upcoming appearances on select Fridays by

TSO musicians in the Walker Court of the AGO (with accompanying

pop-ups in other spots within the AGO) – September 25 (concertmaster

Jonathan Crow and principal cello Joseph Johnson); October 2

(Ashley Vandiver, viola, and Alastair Eng, cello); October 9 (principal

percussion Charles Settle and percussionist Joseph Kelly); and

October 16 (TBD). Audiences are welcome to drop in, stand on physically

distanced markers and enjoy the program. Limited accessibility

seating is available. Free with admission, the performances will

happen in the Gallery from 2pm to 4pm. These are not continuous

performances and can only be attended by booking a timed-entry

ticket for AGO admission. Space is limited.

He also talked about the fact that groups of approximately 20 TSO

musicians will play at each of three outdoor concerts at CityView

Drive-In, in the Toronto Port Lands. “Kings of Ragtime” kicks off

the mini-series October 7 at 7pm with a selection of six Scott Joplin


tunes, three by Jelly Roll Morton and two by George Gershwin, plus

W.C. Handy’s iconic St. Louis Blues. Gordon Gerrard conducts. Next

up, concertmaster Jonathan Crow is soloist and leader in Vivaldi’s

Four Seasons, October 16 at 8pm. And then “First Ladies of Soul,”

a tribute to legendary voices from Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and

Nina Simone to Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner

rounds things out October 17 at 8pm, featuring award-winning blues

singer Shakura S’Aida and TSO principal education conductor and

community ambassador, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser.

Loden then surprised us with the disclosure that TSO musicians

would be collaborating with the cast of Murdoch Mysteries beginning

September 24. Don’t touch that dial. And finally, he offered a

teaser for an upcoming HD concert series – “Gustavo’s putting these

programs together” which will include masterworks – like Vivaldi’s

Four Seasons, the Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No.5, an

all-Mozart program, and two Beethoven programs including the

“Pastoral” Symphony 6 and Symphony No.7 – intermixed with works

by contemporary composers Gabriela Lena Frank, Dinuk Wijeratne,

Jörg Widmann and Barbara Croall. Gimeno will conduct the two

Beethoven programs himself.

For now, the video of Gimeno’s finely calibrated October 2019 Ravel

– the TSO so-well balanced, their sound relaxed and transparent – is a

reminder of what awaits us in a post-pandemic world.

Twists and turns at RCM: Meanwhile, up the road from a shuttered

Roy Thomson Hall, The Royal Conservatory is gamely trying to navigate

the various twists and turns in the COVID-19 river while maintaining

as full a concert schedule as possible despite the current limit

of 50 people in the audience – at their season launch in the spring,

they planned for audiences as large as 400.

October 2, for example, was to be the first Royal Conservatory

Orchestra concert of the season with British harpsichordist/conductor

Trevor Pinnock leading the orchestra. With Pinnock unable to travel,

Toronto Symphony Orchestra concertmaster and New Orford String

Quartet violinist, Jonathan Crow, stepped in, to lead the from the

concertmaster’s chair in a program which, in addition to Mozart’s

Haffner Symphony, will feature the new recipient of the Ihnatowycz

Piano Prize, Sae Yoon Chon, as the soloist in Beethoven’s “Emperor”

Concerto. In-venue attendance on October 2 has now been ruled out,

and the event as advertised will now be replaced with a free online

concert at a date to be announced. Similarly Follies in Concert, a

performance and gala event originally scheduled for October 17, has

been postponed to October 16, 2021.

On the bright side, Angela Hewitt will be performing J.S. Bach’s

magnificent Art of the Fugue BWV 1080 in Koerner Hall at 3pm

Kristian Alexander | Artistic Director

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