TORONTO CONCERT REVIEWS

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

TSO's The Seven Deadly Sins; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON June 9th 2017

After a splendid day at the Elora Festival on Saturday, a second day in a row with promising performances made staying over to Sunday irresistible as there were three enticing performances scheduled for the afternoon and evening: soprano Karina Gauvin in recital, Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas Cantata directed by Noel Edison, and finally the young Canadian cellist Cameron Crozman in recital.  


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Review by David Richards
Toronto ON June 22nd 2017

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

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s successful season is coming to an end this week with four performances of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The orchestra has been on a whirlwind for the final six weeks of its schedule with a four country tour of Israel and Europe, two brilliant weeks with Sir Andrew Davis conducting, and the Decades Project concerts that have already included riveting performances of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins. Of course in early June, Sir Andrew Davis was announced as Interim Music Director for two years following Peter Oundjian’s departure in June 2018. All this activity has led to a climactic finale with four performances from last night through to Saturday.


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STRING EXTRAVAGANZA: Five of Canada’s finest chamber musicians join together at Toronto Summer Music Festival

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

TSO’s CARMINA BURANA is a memorable conclusion to its 16/17 season!

Geoff Nuttal, Owen Dalby, Christopher Costanza and Lesley Robertson
Photo credit: James Ireland

Music Director Peter Oundjian, Phillip Addis, Daniel Taylor, Aline Kutan, TMC, TCC
Photo credit: Jag Gundu

TSO knocks it out of the park with Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins!

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON September 16 2017

ELORA FESTIVAL brings the finest of music to the picturesque Ontario town!

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Huddersfield Choral Society combine to create choral ecstasy!

Benjamin Britten's Saint Nicholas Cantata

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON July 17th 2017

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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Review by David Richards
Toronto ON July 17th 2017

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON June 15th 2017

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON July 14d 2017

If a day in Elora is a pleasant escape, a weekend makes the trip truly fulfilling!

ST. LAWRENCE STRING QUARTET lights up opening night at Toronto Summer Music Festival

The last few weeks has been a “Tale of Two Cities” for Toronto Concert Reviews. We have shuttled between Elora and Toronto and enjoyed both the intimate atmosphere of St. John’s Church and the grandeur of Koerner Hall. The Elora Festival has exploited the human voice for the most part while the Toronto Summer Music Festival has focused on chamber music. Both festivals have crossed over into both the vocal and instrumental arts providing a generous mix of great music. Bookending these two weeks has been music written within a few short years of each other by Beethoven in the case of the St. Lawrence Quartet on the opening night of TSMF, and Schubert in the case of last night’s String Extravaganza at University of Toronto’s Walter Hall. In between, the Cecilia Quartet’s Death and the Maiden by Schubert was composed within the same time frame while cellist Cameron Crozman delighted his audience with Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata No 2 written some 15 years later. It has been a ‘Romantic’ summer.​


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Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Huddersfield Choral Society

It wasn’t just the Industrial Revolution in nineteenth century Britain that changed the fabric of society; there was also a musical renaissance happening in England. Public concerts there featured celebrated musicians and composers from across Europe. Throughout the Victorian era, choral societies sprang up in every town, village and city spawning new composers and an unprecedented period of great choral singing that continues today in many British communities. In northern England, the Huddersfield Choral Society was formed in 1836. Choral fever spread to Canada and resulted in the formation of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in 1894.


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Review by David Richards
Toronto ON July 16th 2017

The Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra stopped in at Roy Thomson Hall last night for its only Canadian stop on its current North American Tour. Toronto was the fifth of seven cities being visited including Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The 25 strings and 4 winds led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Vladimir Spivakov were joined by the 14 year-old Israeli cellist Danielle Akta and the Russian soprano Hibla Gerzmava


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I had been beginning to suffer withdrawal symptoms with the void in live music in Toronto since the end of the 2016/17 season for the city’s musical organizations. The withdrawal came to an abrupt halt last night with the spectacular performance by the St Lawrence String Quartet at Koerner Hall marking the beginning of the Toronto Summer Music Festival, and for that matter the beginning of the summer music festival season in Ontario.


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Nestled on the edge of a river gorge northwest of Guelph and not far from the Mennonite communities of St. Jacob’s and Elmira, the village of Elora has been home to some of the finest of summer music festivals for the past 38 years; 2017 is no exception. In this first weekend of the Elora Festival that extends to the end of the July, some of Canada’s finest musicians have made Elora the perfect escape destination from the bustle of Toronto. Yesterday afternoon, two fabulous performances took place at St. John’s Church.


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Vladimir Spivakov and Moscow Virtuosi; Photos by Vladimir Kevorkov for Show One Productions

Andrew Wan, Nikki Chooi, Desmond Hoebig, Joseph Johnson and Steven Dann

Photo Credit: Gord Fulton

Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra introduces soprano diva Hibla Gerzmava and young cellist Danielle Atka to Toronto

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON June 5th 2017

Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt

In the most stunningly creative undertaking of the season, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra mounted a performance of Kurt Weill’s “sung-ballet”, Die sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins). Led by Music Director Peter Oundjian, the orchestra moved upstage, took off their formal jackets and fittingly looked the part of a German cabaret band of the 1930s. This was not just a homerun for the TSO, it had the drama of a walk-off in the ninth inning of a playoff game.​


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