Massey Hall, the grand dame of Victoria Street, was transformed during Toronto’s Nuit Blanche into a sound installation and performance art work. This transformation was care of the composer-sound artist Gordon Monahan, the pride of not only Meaford, Ontario, but also of Berlin, Germany. Judging from the size of the crowd and by the attentiveness of the listeners once they were safely sitting in the hall, Monahan’s work was evidently one of the hits of Nuit Blanche.

Read more: On the Sound-Road of Nuit Blanche

Pianist Dan Tepfer was at Gallery 345 on September 14 – as were about 60 musical cognoscenti, who came out to hear Bach’s Goldberg Variations. And perhaps there was someone else present, at least in spirit.

If Glenn Gould were looking down on the event he’d have immediately recognized his own stage mannerisms: Tepfer likes to hum along while leaning precariously into the keyboard. But Gould’s ghost would have been surprised by Tepfer’s take on the Goldbergs. At 27, this French-born American is both a classical and jazz musician – and his performance was a mixture of movements played “straight” and his own improvised interpretations.

Read more: Gallery Goldbergs

Much has been written about how classical music has taken to the internet like a fish to water. That may be true – but it seems that some of the fish are better swimmers than others.

I know this because I spent an entire afternoon looking up prominent Canadian performers, to see who's got a website and who's got a good website. The first thing I found when I started Googling our nation's foremost classical soloists and chamber groups is that most of these artists are well promoted on their managers' websites. That sort of initiative has its place, to be sure but what I was really looking for were websites created by (or at least apparently created by) the musicians themselves.

Read more: Websites that Work

The following paragraph appeared in The New York Times on August 16.

 In his Magic Songs (1988), the Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer did away with literal meaning, giving his singers strings of phonemes instead of words and creating a ritualistic drama partly through movement and partly through the way the vocal sounds were ordered and shaped. Chants, declarations, call and response and communal celebration were all suggested in turn, indicating that the magic of a ritual can have more to do with the physicality of its enactment than with its text.”

I’m pleased to say that I was in the audience at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall for this performance. I was in New York, attending a music critics’ conference (yes, there are such things), and so I went with a group of critics to hear the Scuola Cantorum Venezuela.

Read more: Schafer in New York

For a few months, rumours have been swirling that Toronto would receive a visit from the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, from Caracas. This is one of the foremost youth orchestras in the world – a professional group, really, in terms of the quality of their performances.

The orchestra is also famous for its social mandate in Venezuela, offering poor kids around the country free instruments and music lessons. As well, it was the training-ground for the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who was appointed conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic a couple of years ago, at the tender age of 26.

Read more: Simón Bolivar in Toronto

The simultaneous projection of orchestral concerts on big screens is gradually creeping into the classical music world.

The idea hasn’t caught on with the wildfire appeal of opera titles, which stormed the world following their introduction by the Canadian Opera Company in 1983. Part of the problem is that big-screen projections are more expensive and elaborate to produce than surtitles. But there’s also a strong aesthetic resistance to the idea.

Read more: About Those Big Screens

Although founded only three years ago by oboist Christopher Palameta, the Montreal-based ensemble Notturna is quickly making its mark on the early music scene. Just recently, their first recording in a series of five compact discs of the complete (27) "quadro sonatas" of Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-1763) was released on the ATMA Classique label. These progressive sonatas are sometimes referred to as "continuo quartets" because of the 4-voice style in which they are written, like a string quartet.

Read more: Notturna at Lamèque

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