TORONTO CONCERT REVIEWS

Music reviews of the finest concerts in Toronto and beyond!
- ​symphonic, choral, opera, chamber, jazz and period music​ -

In the four years since reviewing concerts for Toronto Concert Reviews, we have always tried to find interesting holiday-themed programs at this time of year. When we saw the Exultate Chamber Singers’ concert notice entitled Holiday Concert with a Twist, the title alone intrigued us.


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Review by David Richards
Toronto ON January 12th 2019

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON December 28th 2019

Adrianne Pieczonka
​Photo credit: Bo Huang, courtesy of the Royal  Conservatory of Music 

Review by Paul Merkley F.R.S.C.
Toronto ON November 24th 2019

An American in Paris in Toronto: TSO plays Gershwin

Last night’s amazing concert by the Royal Conservatory Orchestra at Koerner Hall must have been one of those life-altering moments for many of the Glenn Gould School’s aspiring professional musicians when the young conducting phenom, Andrei Feher came to lead the orchestra.


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Beethoven’s 250th begins its celebratory year with the Toronto Symphony!​

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON November 23rd 2019

Conductor Andrei Feher brings youthful vitality to the Royal Conservatory Orchestra

Interim Music Director, Sir Andrew Davis, pianist Seong-Jin Cho and the
​Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON November 25th 2019

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Concertmaster Jonathan Crow combine for chamber music at its finest!

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON January 16th 2019

Holly Cole: Christmas Time is Here​

Holly Cole; Photo courtesy of Royal Conservatory of Music

A stellar cast and brilliant orchestral playing result in a remarkable performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra!

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON November 17th 2019

Adrianne Pieczonka lights up the room in a program of mostly German lieder

Review by Jeff Mitchell
Toronto ON December 2nd 2019

On Saturday, December 14th, renowned Canadian jazz singer Holly Cole and her outstanding quartet brought a “little naughty and nice” to Koerner Hall, celebrating the Christmas season in style. Holly, who resides part-time in Toronto, was making her second visit to Koerner Hall and this was her final gig of 2019.  The concert continued the popular series “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage”, supported in memory of Robert Calvin.  RCM Executive Director of Performing Arts, Mervon Mehta, recognized season sponsors BMO Financial and the Toronto Star, as well as the evening’s concert sponsor, Wawanesa Insurance. 


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Yolanda Bruno and Isabelle David fill their debut album with extraordinary music played with imagination and brilliance!​

Toronto Symphony and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir join forces for a memorable Requiem​

Sir Andrew Davis conducts TorontoSymphony Orchestra soloists, and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in Massenet’s Thaïs; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra began the new year this past week with concerts celebrating 250 years since the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, born on December 16th or 17th 1770. This was the first of a series of all-Beethoven concerts at Roy Thomson Hall by the TSO through 2020. It was conducted by Interim Music Director Sir Andrew Davis and featured the brilliant young South Korean pianist, Seong-Jin Cho. A close to sell-out audience heard Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Concerto No. 4 and his King Stephen Overture, three works composed in two of the most fertile periods of Beethoven’s creative life.


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On Saturday, November 30th,  Dr. Peter Simon, President and CEO of the Royal Conservatory, welcomed patrons to this gala concert celebrating Koerner Hall’s 11th season. He thanked season sponsors BMO Financial and the Toronto Star, as well as concert sponsor, TD Bank Group and broadcasting supporter, Telus. He noted that proceeds of the concert go to Resounding! The Campaign for the Royal Conservatory, which helps to fund the many spectacular concerts hosted by Koerner Hall. Simon then introduced Executive Director of Performing Arts, Mervon Mehta, who acknowledged the traditional lands of 1st nations peoples on which Koerner Hall is built and the 15,000 years that people have been coming together to make music in this area. Before welcoming Wynton Marsalis and the 15-piece Jazz atLincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) to the stage, he noted that this would be the 1000th concert performed at Koerner Hall, a milestone worthy of one of the most anticipated jazz events of the year in Toronto.


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Review by Jeff Mitchell
Toronto ON December 14th 2019

Exultate Chamber Singers: a Holiday Concert with a Twist

Concertmaster Jonathan Crow and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
​Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Exultate Chamber Singers in concert at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church, Toronto

CD Cover; Photo credit: Fabio Jock

Guest Conductor Andrei Feher and RCM Orchestra​

Photo credit: The Royal Conservatory of Music/Koerner Hall; Lisa Sakulensky

When I look at the TSO calendar of concerts at the start of the season, the first to be penciled into our calendar are invariably those that include the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. There is something extraordinary about the choral orchestral sounds that touches my soul like nothing else can. The stunning power and beauty of our fine orchestra takes me to another space when it is enveloped by the over-arching sopranos or pierced by the strength of the male voices.


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Last night’s amazing concert by the Royal Conservatory Orchestra at Koerner Hall must have been one of those life-altering moments for many of the Glenn Gould School’s aspiring professional musicians when the young conducting phenom, Andrei Feher came to lead the orchestra.


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Big Band Holidays: Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

It was quite a Sunday for great music in Toronto. I was left wishing I could be in four places at once. I could have attended Uof T’s Opera School production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Moordale’s recital by Wallis Giunta, Koerner Hall’s presentation of pianist Yefim Bronfman, or as I ultimately and happily decided on, An Afternoon with Adrianne Pieczonka in the Royal Conservatory’s Mazzoleni Hall.


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Last night’s foréee into Grand Opera by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall was indeed very special. It is rare to attend concert versions of grand opera with full orchestra. (I haven’t been a fan of the scaled-down piano accompanied versions). TSO’s Interim Music Director Sir Andrew Davis led an outstanding cast in a dramatically and musically charged performance of Massenet’s Thaïs that kept me riveted for the full two and a half hours. That the performance was being recorded for the Chandos recording label meant that orchestra, soloists and chorus were all fully prepared to make it a memorable night.


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Review by David Richards
Toronto ON December 7th 2019

Violinist Yolanda Bruno and pianist Isabelle David have released their debut album, and WOW! What a Christmas gift of virtuosity, imagination and purpose. Not content to produce yet another Kreutzer Sonata or facsimile, these daring young Canadian artists who have been chamber music partners for ten years since meeting up as first year undergrads, searched out nineteen distinct selections from eleven different composers, each with a story of its own. The inspiration of the stories fills the imagination with colourful sound pictures. The eleven composers are women whose work deserves the recognition that has traditionally been bestowed on the work of the male gender. 


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Conductor Andrew Davis, soprano Jenavieve Moore, mezzo-soprano Jillian Bonner,  tenor Charles Sy, bass Trevor Eliot Bowes, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Guest Conductor Leonard Slatkin, Pianist Jon Kimura Parker and TSO
Photo Credit: Jag Gundu

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON November 10th 2019

Vocalists Alexis Morrast and Denzal Sinclaire perform Silent Night 
​with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
​Photo credit: The Royal Conservatory of Music/Koerner Hall; Lisa Sakulensky

Rarely does a concert leave me breathless as it did last night at Roy Thomson Hall. A pared-down Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed three works that all had linkages to nature. The meticulous attention to detail was clear from beginning to end in music that was as transparent as it was emotionally engaging.


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