Preview: Weekend of Oct. 25th – 27th

The fast approaching weekend has another slew of events happening. Here’s what’s on in Toronto!

Friday, October 25th: Thin Edge New Music Collective presents ‘6 Degrees of Separation‘.

The Thin Edge New Music Collective gives  their first concert of their 2013/2014 season. This unique and talented group of musicians will put on a concert that attempts to establish the sonic link between composer, ensemble and audience through their performance. Pieces by composers  John Zorn, Allison Cameron, Peter Hatch, Louis Andriessen will be performed as well as a new commission by Toronto-based composer and saxophonist Kyle Brenders. It’s all going down at Gallery 345 at 8 PM, so get over there and see some music.

Saturday, October 26th: The Art of the Piano: Katarzyna Musial.

Polish-Canadian pianist Katarzyna Musial puts on a solo piano concert featuring music by great composers of the 20th century (and Chopin). Music by Messiaen, Lutoslawski, and Gorecki, just to name a few, will be played with the impressive virtuosity that Musial is known for.

This concert is also held at Gallery 345 at 8 PM. If you’re interested in music that pushes sonic borders, this show is for you.

Sunday, October 27th: Two events happening in Toronto on Sunday.

4 PM: Expressions Concert: The Dim Sum Ensemble is a Chinese/Canadian music project that is dedicated to commissioning and performing new works for Chinese instruments. Founded by composer Tony K.T. Leung, this groups concerts promise interesting and enlightening views of traditional Chinese instruments. If you have any interest in Chinese art music, or if you’re a composer looking for inspiration, I urge you to see this concert.

7:30 PM: In Pace Requiescat: Opera 5, the Toronto-based opera troupe begins their season with a spooky offering. Three nights, three short operas based on the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe. Operas by Debussy, American composer Daniel Pinkham, and a new work by Toronto composer Cecilia Livingston (and based on one of my favourite Poe stories) will be performed at the Toronto Arts & Letters Club. Here’s hoping for a terrifyingly entertaining night.

– Paolo Griffin

Preview: A Busy Weekend for Music in Toronto.

This is a busy weekend for all those interested in music in Toronto.

In addition to the usual Thanksgiving/holiday feasting, there is also a plethora of concerts for listeners to feast on.

Concert weekend kicks off on Friday, with the X Avante New Music Festival returning to the Music Gallery with three nights of great music. Friday offers Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (1913) as reimagined by Montreal-based group Quartetski. Their Rite will feature a smaller, more diverse instrument group, as well as some improvisation and general re-working of the original piece. Having just seen the Marinksy Orchestra play Rite of Spring this past Sunday, I’m looking forward to hearing what Quartetski has come up with.

On Saturday, there is a concert double header. At 6 PM, the X Avante Festival continues at the Music Gallery with the Flux Quartet performing Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2 (1983). Those familiar with the work of Feldman will recall that this particular piece is a whopping six hours long. This piece was first premiered by the Kronos Quartet in the fall of 1983 on CBC radio. It outlasted its two-hour radio spot and pre-empted the national news before finishing just before the stations blackout period at 1 AM. In addition to the music, there will be various rooms to hang around in, as no one expects you to sit through a whole six hour piece. There will be a relaxing room and a video game room, as well as food vendors on site. OCADU is also offering some of its space, and its students will be showing work as well. If you feel like a 6 hour party, come out to this event.

The second concert on Saturday begins at 8 PM at Gallery 345. The Toy Piano Composers are a composer/musician collective who make it their aim to create fun, livley music for people to listen to. This is their 5th anniversary concert, and it will consist of re-worked favourite from past seasons. Special guests junctQin keyboard collective join them for a great night of music.

Finally, on Sunday the X Avante New Music Festival ends with a presentation of music by Charlemagne Palestine, a contemporary of the American minimalist school’s practitioner’s in the 1960’s, but in no way  a minimalist himself. He has described his music as more like “trance music”. Toronto composer Rose Bolton will also be there to present new work.

If you like music at all, and not just new art music, I encourage you to get out this weekend and check out these concerts. No matter what your taste, there really will be something for everyone.

– Paolo Griffin