TORONTO CONCERT REVIEWS

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

Toronto Concert Reviews in Toronto

Many in the audience had long anticipated the silver medalist from the 2015 International Chopin Competition. Charles Richard-Hamelin did not disappoint. He found all the lyric beauty and captured all of the varied moods of Chopin’s masterpiece, Sonata No. 3 in B minor Op. 58. He spun musical threads of silken melody with the delicacy of a ballerina. The brilliant displays of virtuosic passages flowed easily from his hands. The audience demanded an encore and he came back with Chopin’s thrilling Polonaise héroïque Op. 53.

Following intermission, Emily D’Angelo performed Rossini’s Giovanna D’Arco with pianist Stephen Philcox. Her dramatic portrayal of the story was almost as spellbinding as her magnificent coloratura mezzo-soprano voice. There was a dark beauty in her lower range that blossomed into a dazzling upper register. Her control of leaps and scales was thrilling. At the same time her presence commanded the audience’s attention like few can. She left no doubt as to why she won the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Finals. Toronto can look forward to her upcoming COC performance in Die Zauberflöte

Cellist Stéphane Tétreault

Seredenko from the outset of the work brought out the stormy anger with percussive and rhythmic drive. He is known for his outstanding Russian interpretations having performed both Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff concertos with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The third movement, Precipitato exploded with the powerful toccata. He took the music on a tidal wave of emotion.

Later, when Tony Yang performed the same work, there were clear differences in approach and delivery. At age 17 Yang is already a full-scholarship student at Harvard University and New England Conservatory. He demonstrated his consummate musicality in some of the tender moments of the first two movements and in his fiery technique in the third. He let the music build to a painful cry of war-torn agony. 

Pianist Tony Yike Yang

Mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo 

GENERATION NEXT showcases rising Canadian talent!

With the International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA) conference in Toronto this weekend, the Royal Conservatory of Music decided to showcase emerging Canadian artists for the opening night concert. Many of the two hundred delegates to the conference from across Canada and around the world joined a close-to-capacity audience at Koerner Hall to hear five of Canada’s newest star performers. Generation Next was the name given to this concert of newly heralded musical sensations.


Pianist Alexander Seredenko, cellist Stéphane Tétreault, pianist Tony Yike Yang, mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo, and pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin delivered riveting performances of some of the most challenging music of the repertoire. They served notice that they deserved to be dubbed “Generation Now”! Each of them displayed the artistry that has already garnered them accolades.

When does one have the opportunity to compare two versions of a great sonata in a single concert? Last night, when Seredenko changed his programme to the same Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major Op.83 that Yang would perform later in the concert, we were privileged to hear two interpretations as different as those of Richter and Gould. 

Review by David Richards
Toronto ON November 11th 2016

Pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin at Generation Next Concert

Pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin

​Photo: Elizabeth Delage

The concert had the feel of a major music competition. Each of the soloists performed as though auditioning for their careers. In addition to providing the local audience an opportunity to hear them perform a major work, they were in front of managers, presenters, promoters and producers. Their time is indeed now. Each of them displayed an artistry that society so desperately needs. We will no doubt be hearing much more from each of them.

Stéphane Tétreault arrived at the concert from Philadelphia having performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin twice in the past week. His performance of Schumann’s Fantasiestück for cello and piano, Op. 73 displayed warm, lyrical soaring phrases and the turbulence of Schuman’s inner strife. He and collaborative pianist Philip Chiu created a duet of playful imitation and transcendent beauty. The Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62 of Tchaikovsky was a wondrous display of tonal warmth from the 1707 "Countess of Steinlein, Ex-Paganini" Stradivarius he has on loan by Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais. The virtuosic spicatto section was played with pin-point accuracy and blinding speed. Cello and piano were as together as one could imagine.

Pianist Alexander Seredenko