Review by David Richards

​Toronto ON October 15th 2017

Jan Lisiecki, TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian and TSO

Photo Credit: Jag Gundu

Review by David Richards

​Toronto ON October 1st 2017

GRYPHON TRIO combines with clarinetist James Campbell for a lively beginning of the 2017-18 concert season!​

Review by David Richards

​Toronto ON November 17th 2017

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON September 20 2017

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra opened its 2017-18 concert season last night with a performance celebrating Canadian creativity and artistry. This is to be Peter Oundjian’s final season as Music Director and he has curated a year of spectacular programs. Last night’s concert was the first. It included Oscar-winning composer Mychael Danna, and two of the world’s leading performing artists, violinist James Ehnes and pianist Jan Lisiecki, ​the latter being added to the program as a surprise for both the maestro and the audience. ​


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Last night, we attended the third of seven performances of Richard Strauss’ opera Arabella at the Four Seasons Centre. The production is a first for the Canadian Opera Company, and in fact, it is the first production of the work in Canada, 84 years after its opening in Dresden in 1933. Arabella has been called a lyric comedy, and there are certainly many comedic moments. It’s a melodramatic story of an aristocratic family fallen on hard times because of a gambling father who tries to marry off the eldest daughter to someone of wealth to restore some much needed cash. The opera hangs together because of Strauss’s lush orchestration and wonderful sense of soaring melodic line for voice and especially the soprano. 

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Toronto Symphony celebrates the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and showcases its own principal players!​

Russell Braun(baritone), Erin Wall (soprano), Maestro Peter Oundjian and TSO

Photo Credit: Jag Gundu

Canadian Opera Company opens its season with a beautiful production of Richard Strauss' Arabella

The Toronto Symphony remembers​...

Canadian superstars open Toronto Symphony Orchestra's 2017/2018 season!

Erin Wall as Arabella (foreground) and Jane Archibald as Zdenka in the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Arabella, 2017;  Photo credit: Michael Cooper

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON September 25 2017

​​​In the mid-1960's, a lecture at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music criticized the effectiveness of music education in Canada. The work of the conservatories, universities, elementary and high schools all came under attack. Nevertheless, there was one positive note in the lecture.  The point was made that if Canada could produce a Glenn Gould, it must have been doing something right. 


Gould was indeed a graduate of the Royal Conservatory and had become Canada’s iconic legend on the world stage. At the time of that lecture, Gould was in the midst of a career that would earn him more classical album sales than any artist the world has known before or since. And he was Canadian through and through. Sadly his life ended at age fifty. It was only fitting that in Canada’s 150th year, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra would pay tribute to Canada’s most celebrated artist.


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Review by David Richards
Toronto ON September 16 2017

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON September 23 2017

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, supported by season sponsor BMO Financial group, performed a memorable Remembrance Day concert on November 11th, entitled Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, featuring new works commissioned from Canadian composers intended to both honour Canada’s 150th birthday and all those women and men who have served our country in the wars of the past century up to the current day.  Under the baton of outstanding Canadian conductor Tania Miller – in turns imaginative, sensitive and intense - the TSO beautifully captured the reverence and peace of remembrance as well as the anguish, turmoil and horrors of war.  


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This weekend, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and its audiences embraced the arrival of its new Music Director, Elisa Citterio in four concerts at Koerner Hall. The long-awaited new leader has finally arrived. The Toronto music scene had been anticipating this moment for five years since Jeanne Lamon first announced her intention to retire. The search was exhaustive. During the intervening years, a long list of guests appeared with the orchestra, each auditioning for the role.


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A Joyful Welcome…Tafelmusik’s weekend of concerts starts a new and exciting page in its history!

TORONTO CONCERT REVIEWS

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

Ralph Vaughan Williams died almost sixty years ago, but his music was very much alive yesterday at Roy Thomson Hall. The Toronto Symphony, in a matinee performance (there should be more of these), devoted an entire program to his music. Music Director Peter Oundjian, in his final season at the orchestra’s helm, decided to put together a concert of one of his favourite composers. He came by his love of Vaughan Williams honestly, having studied in the very halls haunted by the composer’s twenty years there as a professor. Indeed, while Oundjian was studying at the Royal College of Music in London, Vaughan Williams 100th birthday was celebrated with classes cancelled and replaced by a marathon of Vaughan Williams’ music. 


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The new concert season has begun and Toronto Concert Reviews looks forward to an exciting year of music in Toronto and beyond. We had a wonderful vacation in Europe which included my competing in the FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest. The swimming competition was followed by an adventurous two weeks touring throughout Austria and Switzerland spending time in Vienna, Saltzburg, Innsbruck, and Lucerne where we learned some great trivia about the musical geniuses from that part of the world. Hiking in the mountains was the real source of inspiration.


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Toronto Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to Glenn Gould

Oboist Sarah Jeffrey and TSO;  Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Annalee Patipatanakoon(violin), James Parker(piano), Roman Borys(cello), and James Campbell(clarinet) 

Review by Jeff Mitchell

​Toronto ON November 12th 2017

TSO with Music Director Peter Oundjian and Life of Pi soloists

Photo Credit: Jag Gundu

Tafelmusik's New Music Director Elisa Citterio

Photo Credit: Monica Cordiviola 

When I first looked at the calendar of concerts for the year, I highlighted last night’s as one near the top of my priority list. It had been a number of years since hearing a live performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsche Requiem Op. 45 but it is a work that I can always listen to and count on a feeling of euphoria. Heading out to Roy Thomson Hall last evening to hear the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, I anticipated a thrilling concert. It did not disappoint.

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Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation;  Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir team up for Brahms’ Ein Deutsche Requiem