Preview: Week of January 20th

There’s only one concert to happening in Toronto this week. However next week it gets busy. Next week, the University of Toronto New Music Festival gets underway with a week and a half worth of events. Concerts, lectures, shows, discussions, and more concerts will be available for free viewing. The composer in residence at the university this year is English composer Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of Sergei, and a very talented DJ and composer in his own right. I’ll be covering the week’s events, so you can expect quite a few written pieces.

Now, onto business.

Wednesday January 22nd

7:30 PM: Ryan Scott, percussionist for Continuum, Esprit, and the Canadian Opera Company puts on a recital at University of Toronto’s Walter Hall. On the program are works from Japan and Canada, including a new piece by Andrew Staniland.

Thursday January 23rd

7:30 PM: Toronto pianist, composer, and New Music Toronto contributor Adam Sherkin will be joining forces with soprano Carla Huhtanen to “celebrate the musicality of Winter in a recital of songs from Canada and Scandinavia”. On tap are pieces by Canadians Omar Daniel, Ana Sokolovic, and Jeffrey Ryan, as well as Finnish legend Jean Sibelius, and Swedish powerhouse Ture Rangström. I have a great amount of affect for the music coming out of Scandanavia, and so I’m quite excited for this concert. Come have a listen.

Until Friday.

– Paolo Griffin

Preview: Weekend of January 17th

Finally, the concert scene is picking up some. This weekend is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are a whole batch of new music concerts coming your way in the next two months. Here’s what’s on this weekend.

Friday January 17th

8:00 PM: The Music Gallery presents their second concert in their Emergents series. This concert, curated by Toronto composer and bassist Adam Scime, and featuring Montreal-based Ensemble Paramirabo features a whole swath of brand new, never before heard works by Brazilian born Rodrigo Bussad, and Canadians, Scott Rubin, Robert Hansler, and Christopher Willes. Also on tap are arrangements of two pieces by Frank Zappa, who, as we all know, rocks. Don’t miss this concert, it’s a rare chance to hear a concert made almost entirely of premieres.

Sunday January 19th

8:00 PM: New Music Concerts kicks of 2014 with a collaboration concert featuring  east coast Motion Ensemble.  Together, the New Music Concerts ensemble, and Motion, will perform eight pieces of music written by eight Canadian composers all within the past 10 years. Derek Charke, Jérôme Blais, Sandy Moore, just to name a few. I’m already looking forward to this.


So, there you have it. Two concerts this weekend, with plenty of time to reflect. I’ll see you on the field.


– Paolo Griffin


The Return

And we’re back.

I hope that everyone had a good winter break.

There’s not much going on in Toronto until next week, so I’ll just quickly mention what’s happening this weekend and leave it at that.

Sunday January 12th

3:00 PM:  Syrinx Concerts presents their first concert of the season at the Canadian Music Centre. The Pamina Quartet will be played Beethoven’s String Quartet op. 18 no. 5, Dvorak’s Piano Quintet, and Canadian composer Kelly Marie Murphy’s string quartet, This is my voice.

The busy season starts next week with more concerts and festivals.

See you then.


– Paolo Griffin

Preview: Weekend of December 6th

There are three concerts happening this weekend in Toronto. Friday and Sunday, which means you can see Friday’s concert, and then reflect on what great music it is for the entirety of Saturday.

Friday December 6th:

8:00 PM: Array Music presents the works of American composer and theorist James Tenney. Tenney’s work with tuning systems and non-traditional sounds made him a great figure in the American school of music, and his work is certainly to be admired. Takes place at Array Space.

Sunday December 8th:

3:00 PM: Pianist Ishay Shaer presents an impressive piano program that includes Canadian great, Harry Somer’s Piano Sonata No. 1. This concert takes place at Heliconian Hall.

8:00 PM: Contact presents music for the guitar. New works for guitar and instruments featuring works by Andrew Staniland, Jimmie LeBlanc, and other Canadian heavyweights. Takes place at the Music Gallery.


So? Why are you still here? Go go go!

– Paolo Griffin

Preview: Week of December 2nd

Good news everyone! There are four (technically five) events happening this week!

Let’s get down to it:

Tuesday December 3rd:

12:00 PM: The Canadian Opera Company’s regular chamber music series presents a concert of Canadian and American music, put on by musicians from the Glenn Gould School and surrounding areas. Music by John Rea and Martin Bresnick, as well as a world premiere by  Scott Good are on the program. This should be fun, as each piece calls for sizable ensembles.

7:00 PM: The CMC hosts the Score Reading Club. This club combines the music of Canadian composers, mini-lectures on their music and lives, and, you guessed it, a bit of score reading. This is always a very enjoyable event to attend, so get out to it if you can.

8:00 PM: Lula Lounge hosts ‘Canada Day Revisited’. This is a repeat of the Canada Day concert put on earlier this year (can you guess the date?). Poulenc, Brahms, and Schubert are on the program as well as Canadians Colin Eatock and Jean Papineau-Couture.

Wednesday December 4th:

7:00 PM: Continuum music works with last year’s Toronto Emerging Composer award winner Anna Höstman, dramaturge Dylan Robinson, and mezzo-soprano Marion Newman to create a program exploring the lives and times of the Norwegian settlers who arrived in Canada circa the 19th century. This show is presented on Wednesday and Thursday, and I advise you not to miss it.

Thursday December 5th:

7:00 PM: Same as above. ‘Singing the Earth’, presented by Continuum and Anna Höstman.

– Paolo Griffin

Please take the time to read this: It would be lovely to see emerging composers inside and outside of Canada combine  their works for a great concert.

Preview: Weekend of November 29th

As the holiday season nears, the number of concerts happening every week or weekend decreases slightly. However fear not. For there is always at least one concert going on in Toronto somewhere. I should also mention, I will be using this less populated review period to type up some opinion pieces, as well as guest opinion pieces by fellow composers and musicians. I also encouraged you to have a look at this link:

I was a composer-in-residence at an Artistic Centre in Finland in September, and I met some wonderfully talented composers and musicians. I was impressed by the quality of the new music in Finland, and the way in which the arts are viewed, and so I want to bring some of that music here. My concert will be a program of half Canadian, half Finnish works, on March 14th at Array Space. Again, check out the link above for more details.

Now, on to the concerts for this weekend.

Friday November 29th:

8:00 PM: The Goethe-Institute, the Music Gallery and Yatra Arts co-presents music of a different kind. East German electronics, Frank Bretschneider and his ‘Subharchord’ instrument, and a world premiere by Michael Trommer make up this interesting night of music and sound.

Saturday November 30th:

8:00 PM: The Hart House Symphonic Band presents a program of music by composers Percy Grainger, Samuel Hazo, and Eric Whitacre, along with some popular music, and holiday fare.

8:00 PM: Composer and accordionist Michael Century offers an interesting mix of new and old pieces for accordion and piano, along with some electronics. Jazz and folk influences will be present, and a good time should be had. Presented by the Music Gallery.

– Paolo Griffin

Preview: Weekend of November 22nd

This weekend there are two events happening in the city.

Saturday November 23rd:

8:00 PM: InterAccess presents new works by three experimental musicians. Canadians Nick Storring, Matt Rogalsky, and Crys Cole, will be on hand to present new sounds, instrument tunings, and other sounds and how they create their works.

This concert takes place at 9 Ossington Ave. in Toronto.

Sunday November 24th:

7:00 PM: A Tribute to Canadian Women Composers. This concert, which celebrates the work of female Canadian composers, takes place at the Music Gallery. The music world is still dealing with its fair share of sexism, however the work of these composers transcended those boundaries, and they left us with a wealth of great Canadian music. Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico joins the Koffler Chamber Orchestra and Jacques Israelovitch for this tribute concert, featuring concertos by Violet Archer and Heather Schmidt, as well as works by Larysa Kuzmenko and Ann Southam.

– Paolo Griffin