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

​​Review by David Richards

Toronto ON June 14th 2018

Toronto Consort; Photo credit: Paul Orenstein

​​Review by Paul Merkley FRSC

Toronto ON May 13th 2018

The audience at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts was treated to an impressive performance on May 3. The singing was dazzling, the acting engaging, and the orchestral playing, under the able baton of accomplished opera director Corrado Rovaris, was expressive, and carefully synchronized with the singing.


Pianist Yuja Wang; Photo credit: Norbert Kniet

It was a fitting capstone to the long and illustrious tenure of David Fallis as artistic director of the virtuosic, musically impressive, adventurous Toronto Consort. The ensemble gave a sterling performance of the first important, well loved opera, composed in 1607.


Tafelmusik: Bach Motets - Music to die for

Gautier Capuçon: the ultimate romantic for a romantic program of cello and piano

TSO and Trifonov: Russian Ark

The Toronto Consort presents Monteverdi's Orfeo: a Fabulous Fable in Music

Music Director and Oboist John Abberger; Photo credit: Saajid Motala

​​Review by Paul Merkley FRSC

Toronto ON May 4th 2018

Ivars Tourin and Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Choir
Photo credit: Sian Richards

Peter Oundjian conducts the TSO; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Last night at Koerner Hall, French superstar cellist Gautier Capuçon along with piano partner Jérome Ducros performed a program of the music of Romantic composers: Fauré, Massenet, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. To say that Capuçon is a superstar is not to overstate. Not only does he have the musical chops and the resumé to go along with the title, but he exudes that love for what he is doing in every look of his intense gaze and in his correspondingly mysterious body language that whispers confidence in all he is doing.


Yuja Wang delights, amazes and inspires audience in her Koerner Hall recital!

​​Review by Paul Merkley FRSC

Toronto ON May 26th 2018

Peter Oundjian and TSO; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

A scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, 2018; Photo credit: Michael Cooper

Anna Bolena at the Canadian Opera Company—Terrific Soprano loses her head (figuratively and literally)

Gautier Capuçon
Photo credit: © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo

​​Review by David Richards

Toronto ON April 29th 2018

The choir and continuo of Tafelmusik, along with violinist Cristina Zacharias, performed brilliantly and sensitively tonight, in a performance of motets by J.S. Bach and his uncle J.C. Bach, interspersed with works for violin solo. It was a memorable evening, in which the music, words, ambience, and expression all came together in a moving way.


Since the days of Horowitz and Richter, solo piano recitals have flourished in concert halls all over the world. Venues of over 1000 seats would be filled to the brim with people of all ages eager to hear their beloved pianist perform some of the most exquisite masterworks in the piano repertoire. Many leave feeling inspired, some hurriedly return to practice, and others feel a wave of excitement knowing they have witnessed something remarkable. With a program of Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Ligeti, and Prokofiev, Chinese pianist Yuja Wang truly stepped up to continue in the traditions of her musical ancestors.


Peter Oundjian has had a remarkable fourteen years at the helm of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the second longest tenure of any music director in the orchestra's history. He has introduced innovative programming such as the annual Mozart  and New Creations festivals and has been responsible for the hiring of two thirds of the outstanding principals and over half of the entire orchestra during that time. Major tours and recordings have cemented the orchestra's reputation among the finest in North America. Thus, for the season-ending finale of his tenure, Oundjian and the TSO have put together a two-and-a-half-week-long farewell party to celebrate the Music Director’s fourteen years with the orchestra with nine performances of five different programs, each highlighting music that has been significant to him. 

Read more ...

​​Review by David Richards

Toronto ON May 12th 2018

Like the film of the Hermitage museum, conserving and displaying the cultural treasures of Russia hidden and ignored by communist regimes, tonight's concert treated the audience to musical treasures.

Read more ...

​​Review by Paul Merkley FRSC

Toronto ON June 17th 2018

COC’s Stravinsky: A visual and musical extravaganza of child-like imaginative proportions!

​​Review by David Richards

Toronto ON May 4th 2018

​​Review by Christopher Au

Toronto ON May 14th 2018

A festival to celebrate the music of J.S. Bach is by no means a unique phenomenon. Many cities devote several weeks annually to music of perhaps the greatest musical genius of the western world. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until oboist John Abberger set out to create a festival that Toronto could join the ranks. Now in its third year, it can boast a devoted following. Last night, at St. Barnabas-on-the-Danforth Church, the Toronto Bach Festival opened with four orchestral works designed to lift the spirits.


Toronto Bach Festival: Riveting soloists dominate the opening concert of Bach’s orchestral music

Sondra Radvanovsky as Anna Bolenain the Canadian Opera
​Company’s production of Anna Bolena, 2018
Photo credit: Michael Cooper

Do you remember the childish laughter that would erupt in elementary school when the class show-off would put his hands in the way of a film or overhead projector to create a shadow-image of a dog barking or a wolf devouring a human hand? Perhaps you were a child who loved to put on puppet shows. Do you remember spending time in your bathtub playing with your ‘tubby’ toys? The Canadian Opera Company’sThe Nightingale and Other Short Fables took me back to childhood memories in a lavishly creative production at the Four Seasons Centre.


Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Farewell to Peter Oundjian: Let the Party Begin