TORONTO CONCERT REVIEWS

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

Ilya Kaler presents Master Classes for strings at  the Glenn Gould School;
Photo credit, Heifitz International Music Institute

Finalists of the Glenn Gould School Chamber Competition

Sae Yoon Chon and Richard Goode at Master Class

Kevin Ahfat, Richard Goode and Linda Ruan at Master Class 

On Saturday evening, the piano students of the school had their opportunity to perform in their second annual Piano Showcase, demonstrating the depth of talent in both the students and their artist-teachers. In the first half, students performed eleven selections from Sergei Rachmaninov’s Études Tableaux Op. 33 and 39, and selections from Moments Musicaux Op. 16. The second half of the program was a riveting performance of Rachmaninov’s Suite for Two Pianos, Op. 17. Each of the four movements was performed by different pairs of pianists. The lush melodies and florid musical complexities were orchestral-like throughout. The final movement, Tarantella, was a show-stopping display of pianistic virtuosity. The award-winning duo of Charissa Vandikas and Linda Ruan, known as La Fiammata, brought the audience to its feet. 

Barry Shiffman(front), James Anagonoson, and Jury members James Parker, Hibiki Kobayashi and Alasdair Tait announcing winners of Glenn Gould School’s
​Chamber Music Competition

Pianist Richard Goode; Photo credit Steve Riskind

A banner week for the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School begins with Chamber Music Competition and ends with Richard Goode Recital

The Chamber Music Competition is the culmination of the school’s chamber music program under the leadership of Assistant Dean Barry Shiffman, himself one of Canada’s finest chamber musicians. In total, eighteen chamber groups entered the competition with six finalists performing on Wednesday evening and sharing the $11,000 prize money donated by R.S. Williams and Sons Company Ltd.


The student performances were divided into duo and larger ensemble categories for the purposes of the competition. The duo category was won by Duo Artemisia with cellist Miyoung Jeong and pianist Charissa Vandikas in a breathtakingly energetic performance of the rhythmically complex Cello Sonata No. 1, H227 by Bohuslav Martinů. The larger ensemble category made up of trios and quartets was won by the Summerhill Quartet with Danielle Greene, violin; Joella Pinto, violin; Carson Rick, viola; and Hannah Craig, cello. Their performance of String Quartet No. 3 in F Major ,Op.73 by Dmitri Shostakovich was performed with great emotional intensity and a depth of understanding of this masterpiece. Jury members Allisdair Tait, Hibiki Kobayashi, and James Parker took little time to arrive at their decisions.

Saturday night was nevertheless more about the collective of the piano students than about any of the individual performances. As all eighteen students came back to accept the applause, the applause was as much for the Glenn Gould School’s piano department headed by it dean, James Anagnoson, as it was for any individual performer.

It’s been a banner week at the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School. It began  with its annual Chamber Music Competition, the finals of which were held for the first time in the magnificent Koerner Hall and continued with the Piano Showcase, an evening of music by Rachmaninoff with each student contributing a work  .

In addition to these two showcase events were  master classes by the renowned American pianist Richard Goode  and violinist Ilya Kaler,  one of the world’s most sought after teachers of the instrument. The week culminated with   Richard Goode's sold-out solo recital , one of the Invesco Piano Series of concerts  in Koerner Hall.

The culmination of a week of outstanding music making by student performers ended yesterday afternoon with the renowned American pianist Richard Goode performing what my wife called the most satisfying concert of her entire life. Goode's seemingly inexhaustible pallet of colour coupled with the most exquisite sensitivity to phrasing and musical expression created an unforgettable afternoon. In an all-Beethoven program, Goode gave exquisite life to several of the late sonatas. 

The music-making at the Glenn Gould School still has six weeks left in its academic year. There will be some eighty or so free student recitals between now and the end of May. On Wednesday, April 10, the Glenn Gould School will present its spring Rebanks Fellowship Concert and on Friday, April 26, the Royal Conservatory Orchestra will perform its final concert of the season with conductor Andras Keller. The concert will feature pianist Linda Ruan  in Shotakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Op. 102.

A few of the pianists who participated in the Glenn Gould School’s Piano Showcase

​​Review by  Dave Richards
T
oronto ON April 8th 2019