In December 2006 Cynthia Steljes, co-founder of Quartetto Gelato, died after a short but intense battle with an asbestos-related form of lung cancer. After a two-year period of reconstruction, now with two new members, and with the next two seasons planned, including an autumn 2009 Asian tour, the ensemble has been re-incarnated. Its other co-founder, violinist, tenor and Cynthia’s widower, Peter DeSotto, brings continuity; and management is provided by entrepreneur and graphic designer Darlene Kulig. The group celebrates its rebirth with CD launch concerts at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa on March 19 and at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio on March 21.

Allan Pulker talked to Peter in mid February about the ensemble, its meteoric ascent, the tragic loss of Cynthia, its members, way of working and the new CD and concert.

Allan: How did you find the strength and the will to keep going after Cynthia’s death? It was a devastating loss, for you as her husband, of course, but also for the other members of the quartet as well.

Peter: I have a lot of trouble talking about it. Cynthia was a real sweetie. But I made a commitment to her that I would keep the group going; and it’s also a commitment to myself as an artist. This is what makes life worthwhile.

Read more: Peter DeSotto: Reinventing Quartetto Gelato



(1) Don Thompson - Reg Schwager Nonet delights every first monthly Monday 7-10pm at Chalkers. Don Thompson (vbs) Reg Schwager (g) Luis Deniz (ss) David French (ts/bc) John de Simini (bs/fl) Jon Challoner (tp) Darren Sigesmund (tb) Jon Maharaj (b) Ethan Ardelli (d).


(2) Pat LaBarbera will dazzle with the Canadian Jazz Quartet as part of ‘Fridays at Five’ March 13 from 5-8pm at Quotes, with Frank Wright (vbs) Gary Benson (g) Duncan Hopkins (b) Don Vickery (d).


3) Laura Hubert is a jazz/blues vocal artist with a style all her own. Grossman’s Tavern every Monday 9:30-1:30pm with band led by dependable Peter Hill (p).


(4) Ron Davis launches Ron Davis & Friends: a monthly playing, weekly hosting gig at The Old Mill’s Home Smith Bar Friday and Saturday March 6 & 7 from 8-11pm with Mike Downes (b) and Ted Warren (d).


(5) Julie Michels (voice) and Kevin Barrett (guitar) are two of Toronto’s most beloved resident musicians. Statlers every Wednesday at 9pm.


(6) Rita di Ghent is a vocalist/composer known for her unique sound and sophisticated phrasing. Ten Feet Tall on Sunday March 8 from 3:30 to 6:30pm.


(7) Richard Whiteman’s one of the country’s hardest-swinging piano players. The Pilot on Saturday March 7 from 3:30-6:30. Trent Reschny (ts) Richard Whiteman (p) Rob McBride (b) Sly Juhas (d)


(8) Eli Bennett is a tremendous tenor player destined for greatness. Tequila Bookworm, Thursday March 12th at 9pm with Darcy Myronuk (p) Devon Henderson (b) Fabio Ragnelli (d); also with Ragnelli at The Rex Wednesdays March 4th & 18th at 6:30.


(9) Drew Austin hosts a happenin’ jam every first monthly Friday 8pm-12am at Dave’s Gourmet Pizza.


(10) Whitney Ross-Barris sings beautiful jazz framed by a convincing theatrical approach. She debuts at Gate 403 on Sunday March 29th from 5-8pm.


Ori Dagan,

Jazz In The Clubs: February 08

By: Ori Dagan

In 2005, fans of Canadian jazz singer-songwriter Georgia Ambros were saddened to learn that she was battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma and held a benefit in her honour, “Georgia on My Mind”. After chemotherapy and two invasive throat operations, Georgia has made a remarkable recovery and last month played her first gig in four years at the intimate Upstairs Cabaret at Statlers. Singing an elegant cocktail-themed 90-minute set with venerable gentlemen Gary Williamson at the piano and Steve Wallace on bass, her voice was in pretty good shape and as always, every word was sincere. The lady’s talents as a clever songwriter were proven when fans ended up singing along to “The Limousine Song”. Congratulations to sweet Georgia on coming back in style! To learn more about the artist visit:

February concludes with two extremely promising shows at Hugh’s Room. The first: Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana with Voices featuring Elizabeth Shepherd and Telmary Diaz on Friday, February 27. Bunnett is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist internationally recognized as one of Canada’s most significant jazz artists. The latest album, “Embracing Voices”, is a large-scale collaborative effort of epic proportions, remarkable depth and haunting beauty. Tickets are selling fast!

Betty Richardson comes to Hugh’s Room
Betty Richardson comes to Hugh’s Room

On Saturday February 28, Hugh’s Room presents a tremendously talented singer: Betty Richardson. Born to a supremely gifted musical family that includes sister/actress Jackie, Betty started singing professionally at fifteen with Dr. Music’s Doug Riley and the Silhouettes. Most of her career has been spent as a background vocalist, but fans insist that powerhouse Betty belongs in the foreground. Her soulful performances are so heavenly that they border on religious experiences. Reservations are strongly recommended.

PLEASE NOTE: as of February 18, Lisa Particelli’s Girls Night Out vocalist-friendly jazz jam moves to WEDNESDAY nights at Chalkers Pub. For more information visit

And there’s more. See our CLUB LISTINGS

Alan DavisSince 1997, Alan Davis, curator of Small World Music, has been introducing Toronto audiences to some of the finest non-Western musicians from around the world. We missed acknowledging Small World’s tenth anniversary season, but there’s no time like the present to have a chat with Alan about what’s been, and what’s coming up.
How did Small World Music come into being?

Small World grew out of my love of forms of music from outside the culture I grew up with. Rock and jazz had always been my ‘world’ and remain very important to me, but somewhere around the early 80’s my ears were opened, largely by some very influential ‘mainstream’ artists - Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno. Without a doubt, Gabriel’s creation of WOMAD, the festival which still takes place in various locations around the globe each year, was a sea change in music for many people. The festival’s presence in Toronto for several years at Harbourfront was a huge revelation to me and many others, who discovered a world of sounds that, while sung in languages we didn’t understand, touched a spiritual place that resonated deeply.
Read more: Small World, Big Difference

The Flanders QuartetLast month, Tafelmusik co-produced a marvellous concert program, “The Galileo Project,” with The Banff Centre — an immersion in the stories, people, and times of the 16th century, through a fusion of arts, science, and culture. It was in 1609, you see, that Galileo Galilei’s first demonstration of the telescope took place, and Monteverdi’s Orfeo was published. So, 400 years later, it was a natural to jointly celebrate Galileo’s work and the music from that period. The collaboration included the Orchestra, astronomers, a stage director, a filmmaker, a set and lighting designer, astronomical photographers, and a recording engineer. It was the kind of sensory experience that gives us a context for our musical relationship with the world, and a reminder that “the music of the spheres” is not a phrase to take lightly.

This month, celebrating their 30th anniversary, and just returned from their Carnegie Hall debut, Tafelmusik features a suite from Rameau’s Dardanus and Handel’s Water Music (February 18 – 22). Website: /

Read more: Love Letters, stars and Chocolate Roads


The cities are Toronto and Los Angeles; the orchestras are the Niagara Symphony, the Scarborough Philharmonic, Sinfonia Toronto and the New American Orchestra; the flutist is Louise Di Tullio, and her nephew is Toronto composer and teacher, Ron Royer.

Let’s start with the flutist. You have probably never heard of Louise Di Tullio, but if you ever watch American movies you are almost sure to have heard her play. Since she began playing professionally in 1958 Ms. Di Tullio has been the flutist or principal flutist in at least 1200 films. She has played the music of all the great American film composers – Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Henry Mancini, David Rose, John Barry, Danny Elfman – the list goes on and on.

She was born into a family of musicians in Los Angeles, and grew up in a highly cultivated musical milieu. Her father and three uncles were all members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s string section as young men. Father, Joseph Di Tullio, and his brother-in-law Kurt Reher later became first stand partners in the cello section of the 20th Century Fox orchestra. Reher later returned to the L.A Philharmonic as the principal cellist.

Read more: Two Cities, Four Orchestras, a Flutist and her Nephew
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