Elena Kapeleris. Photo by Kori Ayukawa.When I was a child in pre-amalgamation Toronto, any trip past Bloor Street on the Yonge line was “north” to me, with the magic moment being when the subway emerged from the tunnel and went above ground; for a magic moment you could pretend you were on a different kind of train bound for who knows where.

Read more: Night Owls, Legions and Libraries: Finding Homes for Music

Jane Glover in the TSO's "Messiah". Photo by Allan Cabral.“It’s one show stopper after another, isn’t it? There’s not a bad number in it,” is what conductor Jane Glover, DBE, says when I ask how she explains the enduring appeal of Handel’s Messiah. We met and talked in December in the lobby of her hotel in downtown Toronto, one day after she’d conducted the first of five Messiah concerts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in a near-full Roy Thomson Hall. Her new book, Mozart in Italy, had come out earlier in 2023, and Toronto was a cap on a busy, Atlantic crisscrossing year.

Read more: Recently In Town: Jane Glover

Leah Roseman. Photo by Curtis Perry.Life the way most working musicians across the spectrum knew it came to a standstill in March 2020. For Leah Roseman, a violinist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) since 1997, the effect was immediate, manifesting itself from day one as “a need to engage with people and help.” Finding herself teaching online for the first time, she began recording videos of herself playing etudes, scales, orchestral excerpts, and offering tips about learning violin for her students. “I was just going to put them in some Dropbox file, but I thought ‘Well, I could just put them on a [private] YouTube channel.’ And then I thought if I made it public maybe people would stumble upon it.” And stumble upon it they did. Ultimately, Roseman created over 1,000 videos on her YouTube channel, attracting over 400,000 views, and laying the groundwork for her path to what I call “other-level pivoting.”

Read more: Conversations with Musicians: Violinist Leah Roseman’s “other-level” podcasting pivot

Alison Mackay. Photo courtesy of Tafelmusik.Whether they are physical or metaphorical, staircases take us from one place to another through a liminal space. But far from being “non-places”’ that we should take for granted, stairways are also entities unto themselves: they can effect a change in place or fortune, and themselves stand as symbols of class or power. In Staircases, her new production for Tafelmusik, Alison Mackay explores music with direct or inferred links to staircases and, as she puts it herself, builds a case about complex connections between the arts and economic issues.

Read more: Musico-metaphorical journeys in Alison Mackay’s "Staircases"

Hornepayne to BramptonFor those reliant on public transit, Brampton may seem impossibly north. From this writer’s current location, it’s 1,063 km south. With that in mind, it seems fair to say that Brampton On Stage’s wonderfully diverse programming (music and otherwise) across five venues in that city make a compelling argument for downtowners to take the 43 minute ride from Union Station on the Kitchener or Brampton/Orangeville GO lines.

Read more: Brampton, Braun, Broadsway & Beyond
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