Photo by Chris VerretteToronto’s early music presenters have been busy people this month. In the midst of their regular musicmaking activities, both the Toronto Consort and Tafelmusik have been “on the road” these past few weeks -- bravely and boldly going where Toronto’s early music presenters are not often found.

Tafelmusik has just arrived back in the city after a 16-day tour across Australia and New Zealand, garnering rave reviews for their multimedia program House of Dreams. The brainchild of double-bassist Alison Mackay, House of Dreams takes listeners through works by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell and Marais, set against a backdrop of images and paintings from the likes of Vermeer, Canaletto and Watteau -- and this year bringing Tafelmusik to sold-out houses in eight Australian cities as well as Auckland, New Zealand.

Be sure to check out Mackay’s newest multimedia creation, J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation. The program will premiere at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre this May.

The WholeNote also has tickets up for grabs to one of Tafelmusik’s shows in the nearer future -- Aisslinn Nosky’s “Baroque Misbehaving,” where musical misdemeanours will include works by Purcell, Rosenmüller, Charpentier, Torelli, Oesterle and Telemann. For a chance to win tickets, check out our Prizes section. To learn more about Tafelmusik’s current projects, visit tafelmusik.org.

While Tafelmusik was across the globe, the Toronto Consort journeyed across town to Roy Thomson Hall last week, where the Toronto Symphony was wrapping up their annual New Creations Festival. Both before and after a riveting TSO performance in concert of George Benjamin’s 2012 opera Written on Skin, the Toronto Consort commandeered the lobby for some playing, on baroque flute, hurdy gurdy, baroque guitar and more, in repertoire spanning the centuries from the late medieval French story that inspired Written on Skin to contemporary work.

Kudos to Consort members for successfully navigating the bridge between recent and distant pasts, and for playing two beautiful sets!

Later this month, the Toronto Consort, in collaboration with Michael Slattery and La Nef, will also present a new take on some well-known early music fare. What if John Dowland, the great English lute master, was actually Irish? Their concert on March 27-28 makes a musical argument for Dowland-as-Irishman, setting his famous songs and fantasias with Irish flute, fiddle and cittern. The program, called “Dowland in Dublin,” will be based on La Nef’s stunning 2012 album of the same name, which WholeNote columnist David Podgorski claims has successfully “turned the early music world on its ear.”

The WholeNote has a limited number of concert tickets and CDs, which interested readers have the opportunity to win. For details, check out our Prizes section here. For more info on the Toronto Consort, visit torontoconsort.org.


For those in the industry -- especially those who like to be in the know -- the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) has a number of exciting events coming up, all dedicated to providing forums for artists to exchange ideas, meet colleagues and learn new things. IRCPA programming in the coming months includes a workshop for singers with Joan Dornemann, assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, and a special panel discussion event in the same building as WholeNote headquarters -- the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Annex location at 720 Bathurst St.

On the afternoon of Sunday, March 29 at CSI Annex, IRCPA will host “Who’s Who in the Industry” -- a panel discussion with a number of industry professionals. With a panel of concert presenters, managers, journalists and publicists, the event is billed as a forum for artists to speak directly with industry members whose decisions build and shape our city’s musical seasons. David Perlman, publisher at The WholeNote, will be joining the panel for what is sure to be an enlightening discussion -- the list of speakers announced so far  is as follows:

Concert presenters Chris Lorway (Roy Thomson Hall), Jose Ortega (Lula Lounge) and Boris Brott (Opera & Festival Hamilton); managers Annick-Patricia Carrière (Station Bleue, Montreal) and Robert Missen (Bobolink, Toronto); journalists David Perlman (The WholeNote) and Michael Vincent (Musical Toronto); publicists Linda Litwack and Jane Harbury

Take a look at http://ircpa.net/2015/01/whos-who-in-the-industry-panel-discussion-march-29-2015/ttp://ircpa.net/2015/01/whos-who-in-the-industry-panel-discussion-march-29-2015/ for more details about the event. If you are eager to attend and a speedy emailer, send us an email at publisher@thewholenote.com -- the first 4 emailers will each receive a complimentary ticket to this event as guests of The WholeNote!

Hope to see you there!


La Nef with Slatterly - Photo by PASYIn this issue: win tickets to the Toronto Consort’s Dowland in Dublin concert with La Nef and Michael Slattery, and to opening night of Tafelmusik’s Baroque Misbehaving. Just click on the following links for a chance to win -- feel free to enter both contests!

Tickets and CD: The Toronto Consort’s “Dowland in Dublin”, Saturday March 28

Tickets: Tafelmusik’s “Baroque Misbehaving”, Thursday April 23


First, a correction: in our March issue, we mistakenly wrote that Wolfrey House’s “By His Stripes We Are Healed” concert was on March 4. It is in fact on April 3, and the corrected listing is as follows:

Apr 3 1:30: Wolfrey House. By His Stripes We Are Healed. For Good Friday. Handel: Messiah(excerpts from part 2). Sacred Concert Chamber Ensemble; String Quartet; Vocal Octet. St. Barnabas on the Danforth, 361 Danforth Ave. 416-463-1344. Free.

Our apologies for this error! Other listings added to our website since the March issue can be found below:

 Sunday March 15

1:00: World Fiddle Day Toronto. World Fiddle Day Toronto Jam Session. Practise jam led by Anne Lederman, hosted by Long & McQuade. , . 647 217-4620. Entry by donation. Next session is March 29; see worldfiddledaytoronto.ca for details.

 Thursday March 19

8:00: Daemon Theatre. The Last Five Years. Kaleigh Gorka (Cathy); Josh Wiles (Jamie); Carl Pucl, director/producer; Doug Price, music director; and others. SMCS Centre for the Arts, 1515 Bathurst St. . $30-$45; $20-$25(st/arts worker); $10(student rush tickets, available 1 hour before the show). Also Mar 20(eve), 21(mat and eve).

 Friday March 20

6:30: Lakeshore Arts. The Chocolate Equinox. Evening event including chocolate sampling, concert and silent auction. The Mississauga Symphony String Quartet. The King's Garden, 15 Canmotor Ave., Etobicoke. 416-201-7093. $60(food and chocolate included).

 Saturday March 21

1:00: AKAM Concert Production. Amstel Saxophone Quartet. The Amstel Saxaphone Quartet from The Netherlands performs a program titled "The Unknown Colours of Saxophone.". Bach: Prelude and Fuge in c minor, BWV 537 (arr. Ties Mellema); Germanus: Moonwalk (2013); Brahms: from Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90: (arr. R. Jak); Riley: Good Medicine (arr. Bas Apswoude); Glass: Mishima (1985) (arr. Amstel Quartet). Remco Jak, soprano saxophone; Olivier Sliepen, alto saxophone; Bas Apswoude, tenor saxophone; Ties Mellema, baritone saxophone. Trinity-St. Paul's Centre, Chapel-Music Room, 427 Bloor St. W. 416-445-4441. PWYC.

2:00: Peterborough Symphony Orchestra. Stories and Music. A family concert, featuring the tales of Babar the Elephant and more. Melody Thomas, guest narrator. Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, 140 Charlotte St., Peterborough. 705-749-1146. $30; $10(youth). Also at 3:30pm.

7:00: Toronto Tabla Ensemble. Intimate Concert Series 2015. Mukur De, Odissi dance; Toronto Tabla Ensemble and Youth Ensemble; Ritesh Das, artistic director. York Woods Library Theatre, 1785 Finch Ave. W. 1-888-958-2252. $15.

 Thursday March 26

6:45: Guelph Youth Singers. Boychoir. Fundraising movie night featuring a screening of newly-released film "Boychoir.". The Bookshelf, 41 Quebec St., Guelph. 519-821-8574. $15.

 Friday March 27

7:00: Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute. Razzmatazz. Jazz fundraiser for the LPCI Music Department. The Ken Hazlett Big Band; LPCI and Glenview stage bands; LPCI Aurum Vocal Ensemble; Alex Dean, guest. Lawrence Park CI Auditorium, 125 Chatsworth Drive. . $20; $10(st).

 Saturday March 28

7:00: Guelph Youth Singers. The Beat of our Drum. Youth choral festival hosted by the Guelph Youth Singers. Sarah Quartel, guest clinician; guest youth choirs from Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto, Hamilton, Halton Hills and Cobourg. Clearview Christian Reformed Church, 2300 Sheridan Garden Dr.,Oakville. 519-821-8574. $15; $10(child).

8:15: Canadian Orpheus Male Choir. Earth Hour Concert. COMC's first Earth Hour Concert -- singing by candlelight to support awareness of climate change. St. Jude's Anglican Church, 160 William St., Oakville. 905-844-3972. $15. Candelight singing starts at 8:30pm.

 Sunday March 29

3:00: Hart House Chorus. Fauré Requiem. Fauré: Requiem; Tudor anthems. Melanie Conly, soprano; Maciej Bujnowicz, baritone; David Bowser, conductor; Suzanne Yeo, accompaniment; and others. Hart House Great Hall, 7 Hart House Circle. 416-978-2452. Free.

3:00: Kingston Road United Church. Glorious Brass! Works by Gabrielli, Dowland, Byrd, de Pres and Thomas Tallis. Scott Good, trombone; and others. 975 Kingston Rd. 416-699-6091. $20; $10(st); free(ages 12 and under).


The WholeNote’s Blue Pages directory of concert presenters can be found year-round on our website -- a warm welcome to taiko superstars Nagata Shachu, who join the directory this month.

Music presenters get the chance to introduce their projects to readers in our annual October Blue Pages issue, but the Blue Pages are available year-round, and musicmaking in southern Ontario happens around the clock and throughout the calendar year. Here’s a warm welcome for Nagata Shachu, newcomers this month to The WholeNote’s Blue Pages directory. Check out their profile below. For all our other Blue Pages listings click here.

Nagata Shachu Japanese Taiko and Music Group

FivePersonGroup.jpgNagata Shachu, based in Toronto, has enthralled audiences with our mesmerizing and heart-pounding performances of the Japanese drum (taiko) since forming in 1998. We have toured widely throughout Canada, the US and Italy, performing in theatres, concert halls and major music festivals.

While rooted in the folk drumming traditions of Japan, our ensemble’s principal aim is to rejuvenate this ancient art form by producing innovative and exciting music that seeks to create a new voice for the taiko.

Featuring an arsenal of taiko (including the massive O-daiko drum), bamboo flutes, the three-stringed shamisen and an array of gongs, cymbals, shakers and wood blocks, Nagata Shachu will take you on a musical journey beyond all borders!

Joe Liu or Kiyoshi Nagata


Our next issue of HalfTones, Vol 2 No 8, is out on April 14! The next print issue of The WholeNote, covering April 1 to May 7, will be published on March 31.

Please contact halftones@thewholenote.com with any HalfTones inquiries.

2006-Etcettera_Etcettera_Ounjain_MaestroClasses.jpgMaster classes such as those listed in Section E: The Etceteras, are invaluable learning experiences. And not just for the participating students. Those listening in, be they students or other musicians can gain insights into performing that they can use in their own private pursuits; curious music lovers can likewise get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the ways music that they hear in the course of their concertgoing lives is imagined and prepared.

TSO music director Peter Oundjian held his second RCM masterclass of the season February 9, teaching students from the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. As the Academy’s dean Barry Schiffman (himself a former student of Oundjian) explained, the Glenn Gould School’s student body ranges in age from 18 to 23 whereas the Taylor Academy’s runs from 12 to 17. (Oundjian’s final masterclass of the season March 2 from 5pm to 7pm at Mazzoleni Hall will focus on GGS students.)

I always have a funny moment  of pleasure when one of our columnists finds himself or herself having to preface a reference to a particular upcoming event with a disclaimer – calling readers’ attention to the fact that the columnist in question is actually performing in the event they’re about to tell you about. (See the final paragraphs of Ben Stein’s and Ori Dagan’s columns in this issue for examples of what I am talking about.)

It doesn’t happen often, but often enough. And the pleasure that I get from it, every time,  is the little reminder that so many of our writers are, in fact, active participants in the musical “Beats” they write about, rather than detached observers. 

I also get some satisfaction, in those situations, from the fact that we still make the effort to point these little conflicts of interest out to our readers when they happen. It gets harder and harder when all the protocols they teach in publishing courses about keeping  one’s editorial  operations as pure as the driven snow are being blown away by the winds of digital change. It’s especially hard for the little guys like us to stick to protocols for keeping editorial and advertising separate at a time when even the big guys who passed exams in the rules are floundering for consistency.

So what am I driving at? Well, just this: this is one of those times when I am busting to use this supposedly sacred bit of editorial real estate to tell you about a whole bunch of things I would not even know about if I were wearing only my editorial hat instead of the two or three that every member of this tiny organization must juggle just to keep this little publication going.

So, damn the torpedoes!  Here I go! (I can always go back to being an editorial virgin in the morning, can’t I?)

One: Azrieli

Were you in too much of a hurry to come visit me here to notice the advertisement from the Azrieli Foundation on page 4, announcing the Azrieli Music Project ? The competition announced in the ad should make the composers among you sit up and take notice, at any rate. It offers a  $50,000 prize for a 15 to 25 minute newly composed work of “orchestral Jewish music,” by a Canadian resident; to be performed in a gala concert by Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

The question that jumped up at me immediately was “So, what constitutes ‘Jewish music,’ in these times?”  To their credit, the AMP doesn’t duck the question. “The question What is Jewish Music? is at the heart of a constantly evolving cultural dialogue,” they say. “Taking into account the rich and diverse history of Jewish musical traditions, the AMP defines ‘Jewish Music’ as music that incorporates a Jewish thematic or Jewish musical influence. …  Defining Jewish music as both deeply rooted in history and tradition and forward-moving and dynamic, the AMP … challenges orchestral composers of all faiths, backgrounds and affiliations to engage creatively and critically with this question in submitting their work.”

Consider the following: in this month’s WholeNote listings there is a concert on March 12, jointly presented by the Ashkenaz Foundation and the Aga Khan Museum, titled “Spotlight on Israeli Culture” and featuring the Diwan Saz Interfaith Ensemble – a multicultural ensemble of Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Bedouin musicians performing “ancient music from Central Asia, Turkey, Persia and the Holy Land.” And two days later, on March 14, the Music Gallery, Ashkenaz Foundation and Koffler Centre for the Arts combine to present a work called The Lanka Suite by Tova Kardonne which, according to columnist Andrew Timar, “goes back to the Klezmer bands Kardonne played in, starting in her teens, as well as to her grandparents’ Eastern European Jewish roots” and goes on from there to engage with the social realities of post-civil war Sri Lanka, taking in, along the way, Kardonne’s   “studies of Cuban santería batá drumming, North and South Indian drumming patterns, and her participation in the Brazilian Samba Elégua group.”

With these kinds of dialogue under way in our town, it will be fascinating to see who rises to the AMP challenge. We will follow the story as it develops.

Still on the subject of ads in the issue, please take a look at the one on page 28 for IRCPA (International Resource Centre for Performing Artists) for their series of workshops, March 27 to 29 and then April 10 to 12. Ann Summers Dossena, driving force behind IRCPA, has been preaching in the arts wilderness for as long as I can remember about the unmet needs of artists on the edge of performing careers who have nowhere to turn for support, resources and expertise when they are in the process of making the transition from a sheltered academic environment to the realities of life as  working musicians. Now finally, it seems people who should have been listening long ago are starting to listen.

I’m proud to say The WholeNote is sponsoring the third of the March sessions (Sunday March 29) right here at the Centre for Social Innovation, 720 Bathurst Street. The first five of you who respond to publisher@thewholenote.com saying you read this can be my guests at the Sunday session!

Three: March for Music Therapy; MusiCounts
And still on the subject of ads, I have two more you should go and look at. First go check out the March for Music Therapy ad on page 77. It’s another example of how music can send out tendrils of re-engagement with community life and living.

And while you’re splashing around the back of the magazine, pop over to page 56 where you’ll find under “Opportunities” in our splendid revamped Classified advertising section the following all-too-easy-to miss announcement about the MusiCounts TD Community program - one of the most unequivocally useful bits of corporate sponsorship I can think of. “SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED” it says “for the 2015 MusiCounts TD Community Music Program, which provides access to musical instruments and equipment to thousands of children in under-served Canadian communities. The grants will be distributed in allotments of up to $25,000 totalling $220,000. Grant applications are now being accepted at www.musicounts.ca, with a submission deadline of Friday, May 8, 2015.”
And finally:
This issue heralds the beginning, in terms of coverage, of our long slow walz towards the summer, in the form of Part One of our coverage of Summer Music Education.  In Sara Constant’s story “All Roads Lead to Summmer” that introduces the directory (page 12) there is the comment that those seeking summer music education, no matter how different, are all looking for “options that  foster the ... spirit of learning and community.” 

Amen to that. All year round.


2006-Feature_2-Till_Fellner_1.jpgTill Fellner was 18 in 1990 when he was asked to play for Alfred Brendel. It was arguably the pivotal moment of his life. Three years later he won the Clara Haskil piano competition gaining a modicum of name recognition and an entrée into the world of recordings.

The head of the keyboard department at the Vienna conservatory, where Fellner had been a student since 1981, had suggested a meeting with Brendel in a castle in Grafenegg not far from Vienna where the noted pianist was giving a recital. Fellner was invited to listen to Brendel’s rehearsal in the morning and then play a few pieces for him. The older pianist immediately started teaching by correcting what the younger man was playing. His first lesson had just begun. Brendel then suggested that Fellner call him and arrange another.

2006-Feature_1-Slattery_and_La_Nef.jpgLet us now take a moment to praise John Dowland. The early music movement owes much to the famed English composer and master of the Renaissance lute song. He gave us a sizeable body of work that has come to function as a kind of soundtrack to the English Renaissance for modern listeners. As impressive, in his own time, Dowland was famous throughout Europe, not only as a composer of popular songs (nearly 90) but also for his solo lute music (nearly 90 of those works as well).

As a Catholic in late Elizabethan England, though, Dowland found it difficult to make a living in the early stages of his career. Although he was a trained musician with a Bachelor of Music from Oxford (apparently they gave out music degrees in the 16th century too), Dowland blamed intolerance against Catholics for his inability to get a position in the English court, eventually leaving England in 1594, to make his fortune abroad on the Continent. His exceptional talents took him far and wide, and he earned renown from Denmark to Italy. After nearly two decades abroad, Dowland finally returned to England as a lutenist in the Catholic court of James I. Although the well-travelled composer was a citizen of the world who, as the story goes, eventually came home to England, he has come to symbolize a particularly English sound for the music of his time.

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