For an extended version of Jane Bunnett's interview, please re-visit this page next week

adult jane bunnett band danilo img 5246Jane Bunnett plays soprano saxophone, flute, piccolo and piano, and is one of Canada’s foremost jazz musicians. Known for her improvising talents, technical alacrity, versatile writing, band leading abilities and also for her collaborative work celebrating the music of Cuba, Bunnett is a multiple JUNO Award winner, Grammy nominee, and a recipient of the Order of Canada. A film, Embracing Voices: The Woman Behind The Music Of Jane Bunnett, which follows a recent recording project, premiered in April 2012. Driven by a deep appreciation for the universality of music, she continues to tour internationally, forge new collaborations and record.

Bunnett lives with her partner of 34 years, trumpet player Larry Cramer, in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood and enjoys “painting and creating art, gardening, hiking in the woods, chilling out and cooking with friends and digging into our great vintage record collection.” This summer marked Jane’s and Larry’s fourth year as co-artistic directors of the Bancroft & Maynooth Jazz and Blues Fest.

About that childhood photo?

I do remember loving my stuffed animals. Often at night they’d end up one by one in my bed because I’d be sorry about any of them feeling left out. My mother would come in and find me asleep on the floor. Today maybe I’d tell little me “don’t ever let the sidemen upstage you!”

What is your earliest musical memory?

Lying under a grand piano, having all that lovely music wash over me. This was at our neighbours’ home, Rosemary Hahn and Marta Stayner — two elderly German ladies — sisters. Rosemary had studied to become a concert pianist. She was incredibly widely read and philosophical, and was pretty much my first piano teacher — she had a major impact on my life.

My parents cut a miniature gate in the fence so as a four-year-old I could visit freely.

What do you remember about music as a child?

I loved lip-syncing and pretending to play along with records in front of a big mirror with my friends. We had the Supremes and Aretha Franklin ... There was also the Jim Kweskin Jug Band — Maria Muldar sang with them. I got the idea of making home made instruments and I’d bring my friends over to play jug band with me.

We made one of those things with a wash tub with a string and a broomstick. And I remember that the Canadian Brass come to perform for us at Brown School. Right in front of us they cut up a garden hose into pieces, stuck some kind of nozzles on the ends, and played them like horns. We had band in grade 5 and 6, and I loved it.

I saw this NFB film in grade 6 or 7 with people playing music on flower pots, so I went out and gathered terracotta pots and hung them from the pipes in the basement to play on them. My brother lent me some kind of a tape recorder, and I recorded it.

And I had these bongos — I remember playing along with Gordon Lightfoot’s The way I feel is like a robin. It was kind of bossa nova Lightfoot.

I loved going to Sam’s to buy a new record. I’d come home, turn the lights out and listen in the dark ... 

A longer version of Jane Bunnett’s interview continues at

crow-photo 1 tso credit sian richards

Violinist Jonathan Crow lives in Roncesvalles Village, Toronto, with his wife Molly Read and their two daughters – Lucy and Sabina. He’s a proud Canadiens fan.

A native of Prince George, British Columbia, Crow attended high school in Victoria and graduated in Honours Performance from McGill University, at which time he joined the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as associate principal second violin. From 2002 to 2006 he was the concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, at the time the youngest concertmaster of a major North American orchestra. The 2011/12 concert season marked Crow’s debut as concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, an appointment which provides him with the opportunity to play a Guarneri del Gesù 1738 violin – recently restored by Ric Heinl, and newly lent to the TSO for the concertmaster’s use by Dr. and Mrs. Edward Pong. An avid chamber musician, Crow is a founding member of the New Orford String Quartet. A passionate and caring teacher, he juggles an extraordinary schedule to accommodate it all.

Suppose a friendly fellow traveller asks about your work? How might you reply? Hard to say – often if I'm travelling it's for a freelance chamber music show or a concerto. Some people seem very worried: “how can you make a living at that!” Luckily I can explain that I have a “real job” with the TSO.

Do you remember that childhood photo being taken? I don't actually remember when that photo was taken, but I certainly remember the dinner bell in the background – a good way to get kids in from street hockey for supper in Prince George! The photo makes me think of my parents - both avid gardeners, as you can (maybe) see from the plants also in the background. I'd love to know where my parents went shopping to pick up my concert shirts – I had a more extensive selection of button ups than I do now!

What is your absolute earliest memory of hearing music? My sister practising violin at night while I was falling asleep. I knew all the Suzuki tunes before I played them – my sister is six years older. She played violin and later viola, while my brother played trumpet and piano. The first CD I can remember buying was Itzhak Perlman playing Dvorak works for violin and piano

When did you first play the violin? I started at the age of six – there was a free Suzuki program in our school district at the time. I actually wanted to start on cello, but there wasn't a teacher available. Plus, three kids and a Volkswagen Rabbit ... surprised my parents didn't have me play the flute!

What do you remember about your first music teacher? I went through many teachers in Prince George – often people would come for a few years to teach and work there before moving on. I was lucky though to have many great people to work with!

crowe scan0010First recollections of making music with others? I performed regularly with a few close friends at their church in Prince George. It was a very musical environment, and many of us continued into the profession. One of the advantages of playing a string instrument is getting the chance to perform with friends basically from day one. I can't actually remember a time playing the violin where I wasn't playing in Suzuki groups, string orchestra or ensembles of some sort. This is one of the things that kept me going in music – I didn't want to lose out on hanging out with all my friends!

What are your first memories of performing? Good question- perhaps playing for my grandparents in England when I visited them as a child? My grandmother loved the Mendelssohn concerto- wasn't quite at that level for many more years though. Beyond that It would have to be at the Prince George Music Festival. I don't remember the performance, but I'm pretty sure I got to go for ice cream after.

crow enfamilleWhere does music fit into your family life today? My wife is a cellist, my eldest daughter plays violin and my youngest has just started cello. Music is very important to us. Regardless of what career paths my children choose, I feel that music lessons are so useful in life to help with developing creativity and self-esteem.

The point at which you began to think of yourself as a career musician? I actually never had a clear moment where I decided that music was the career for me - I went to university doing both math and music, and only later found myself drifting in the direction of a career in the music field. It always seemed to make more sense to try out music first and see how it worked out rather than giving it up for a few years and trying to regain facility in the fingers.

Suppose an after-school club asked you to talk informally with a mixed group of children ten to 12 years old, as part of a series called "What people do" …

I’d tell them I get to play music for a living. Playing the violin gives me a chance to meet some of the most interesting people in the world and play music written by some of the most musically creative and talented people ever to have lived.

Advice for a young person already sure they were going to have a life in music of some kind? Be open-minded! There are so many ways to make a living in music, but not everyone will end up playing in a orchestra or teaching. Find your own opportunities!

UPCOMING  engagements  …

TSO – regular concerts as concertmaster

Sep 11 - Gallery 345: New Orford String Quartet

September 12 –  Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society:

September 13 –  Integral House: New Orford String Quartet

September 15 & 16 – Prince Edward County Music Festival New Orford String Quartet

Sep 30 – Mooredale Concerts: Stars of the TSO

Oct 10  – Beethoven Concert, Orchestra London

October 12 – Brandon:  New Orford String Quartet

October 13  –  Winnipeg: New Orford String Quartet

October 14  – Saskatoon  New Orford String Quartet

Oct 26 – University of Western Ontario: New Orford String Quartet

Oct 28  - Mooredale Concerts: New Orford String Quartet

Nov 14-19 – TSO (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Brockville) Beethoven Triple Concerto with André Laplante and Shauna Rolston

New recordings?

I just recently finished a recording of Schubert Works for Violin and Piano with Philip Chiu. The disc is on XXI-21 Records and will be released this fall. My latest release is on Bridge with the New Orford String Quartet – late works of Beethoven and Schubert

For the September Mystery Child Click Here

For the names our June contest winners and to see and the prizes they won, click here

Vibraphonist, percussionist, composer Peter Appleyard was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England, in 1928. At 84, a consummate performer for most of his life, Appleyard continues to tour this summer — indefatigably entertaining, with no signs of slowing down.Before discovering the vibraphone, he started out as a drummer playing in vaudeville and dance bands, was conscripted into the RAF where he spent 18 months playing with RAF bands, and took an 18-month contract in 1949 to play in Bermuda.

In 1951 he came to Toronto, for what was going to be a vacation in Canada, and he has remained to become one of our most celebrated jazz musicians and an Officer of the Order of Canada. A list of people with whom he has played or is playing or has influenced would simply be endless. Appleyard has released 22 albums, including two in 2012, and collaborated on dozens more. He has hosted CBC Radio shows and had his own television program, Peter Appleyard Presents, syndicated throughout North America.

When you look at your childhood photo today, what do you think about? Those were happy innocent times, prior to WWII, when the whole world, it seems, changed forever.

Your absolute earliest memories of hearing music? I was taken to see at a circus called Bertram and Mills. One of the acts was a guy with about 20 cigarettes in his mouth: the music they were playing was Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

I was a choirboy at Old Clee Church, Grimsby.

There was radio, and records, I remember hearing Paul Robeson’s Old Man River, Crosby, later Sinatra — the first record I ever bought myself was Nat Cole singing Sweet Lorraine.

What about making music? I remember messing about with the piano and drums at Clee Pier whilst father decorated the stage — the drummer was not around. And I played bugle and snare drum in the Boys Brigade.

Do you remember a time when you thought you would do something else? In those days to have a secondary education in high school, you had to pay for it, which my parents who were victims of the recession could not afford. So they obtained an apprenticeship for me, as a nautical instrument maker. The main work I did was as a compass adjuster — this had to be done routinely as they were not electronic compasses. But one day I was sent on an errand picking up some naval charts and I stopped off at a record store. In those days you could listen to records you were thinking of buying . So I was listening to a record and tapping away along with the drums and this fellow stuck his head around a corner and said “Hey … are you a drummer?” And I said “well … yes, I am!” And he said he was the bandleader of Felix Mendelssohn’s Hawaiian Serenaders and he offered me a job. Seems their drummer had been caught with another woman by his wife, who took a hatchet to his drums … I’d been earning 7/6 a week as a compass adjuster and they were offering me 17 pounds a week to play the drums. We worked the vaudeville/variety circuit — these shows would have a comedian, and maybe some jugglers, but the main attraction was a band. Ours was a kind of Hawaiian-flavoured. We had a couple of dancers: hula girls. We were the first band ever to appear on British television, in 1946 … 

A longer version of Peter Appleyard’s interview coming soon.


For the July / August Mystery Child Click Here

For the names our contest winners and to see and the prizes they won, click here

July /
August’s ChildJuly /August’s Child?

josh-grossman adult img 5024

Vancouver-born Josh Grossman came to Toronto at the age of 8. He attended Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, and then moved on to the University of Toronto Jazz Performance programme.

When you look at your childhood photo today, what do you remember?

It looks like it might have been taken at my grandparents’ house in Toronto – we must have been visiting from Vancouver. I enjoyed sports of all kinds when I was younger, and still have a hankering for go-karts, so I imagine that’s at play in the photo…

If you could travel back through time is there anything you would like to tell the child in the photo?

DON’T GO INTO THE ARTS! Just kidding. Probably I’d say make sure you nurture your soul – in your family and friends, in your work and in your hobbies.

Anything you'd like to ask?

Where are your pants, child?

What’s coming up? The TD Toronto Jazz Festival runs June 22 to July 1.This is my third festival as Artistic Director and I’ve had so much fun so far! As Artistic Director I get to see a bit of every show, meet all kinds of great people, introduce performances, and interview artists.

During the festival my big band, the Toronto Jazz Orchestra is presenting the Radiohead Jazz Project 2, (July 1 at The Rex Hotel, 7:30pm). We’re playing two sets: arrangements of Radiohead tunes and a bunch of new music too. The first incarnation of The Project sold out!

I play (trumpet, flugelhorn) in the Chris Hunt Tentet, which has shows coming up in July and August at The Rex. I’ve played in the band for almost ten years and it’s always a blast. The repertoire is an interesting mix of jazz standards and pop tunes. I get to do a bit of writing for the band, and the other musicians are fantastic.

I’m looking forward to my 15th season as Artistic Director and Conductor of the TJO. I get to work with outstanding musicians, perform interesting music, and enjoy the challenge of keeping things fresh each year. The TJO is good for my soul.

I’m also looking forward to a sixth season as administrator for Continuum Contemporary Music. With Continuum, my mind is constantly expanded. There are no boundaries to contemporary music, and Co-Artistic Directors Jennifer Waring and Ryan Scott are always coming up with outlandish new plans. I get a lot out of helping to make them happen, working with some of the top classical musicians in the city. I feel so lucky to be involved with these organizations - they provide me with such rich and varied musical experience.

Early musical memories? My parents played records all the time at home. I have fond memories of going through the 45s and picking out what I wanted to hear. When visiting my dad’s parents, my grandfather would always have music playing (usually opera, usually not to my liking at that time) but also was a big Victor Borge fan.

Musicians in your family? My mom is very musical – she took piano for many years and still sings in a choir. My dad can play the radio. He has a story about a clarinet teacher asking him to stop coming for lessons. My brothers (one older, one younger) were both good saxophonists through high school and university (extra-curricular).

Early experiences playing music with other kids? Piano, and then later on, trumpet. I did the Suzuki Method, and I’m sure there were piano recitals, but I remember Pine River best – I attended a two-week arts program there in the summer after grade 6 which made a lasting and good impression. My first memory of performing solo is at Pine River. It’s where I learned trumpet and at the end of the two weeks we performed for our parents …

What do you remember about your “first music teacher

I remember Harvey Silver – my piano teacher in Toronto – best. He was very, very patient. He was already an older gentleman when we arrived in Toronto in the mid-80’s, but he was always very kind and very encouraging; when my tastes starting to swing (ha!) more to the pop side of things he would even bring me pop sheet music to play. I especially remember playing “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera and, of course, “Stand By Me”.

When did you first lead other musicians?

High school. Mr. Hazlett and Mr. Dmytryshyn at Lawrence Park were both extremely supportive of my musical pursuits. I had the opportunity to conduct concert bands and jazz bands; I even came back after graduating to continue to work with the jazz band.

Do you remember when began to think of yourself as a musician?

It must have been fairly early on in high school. I had a real passion for music which I’m sure existed for many years, and was fostered by Mr. Ricci at Kane Senior Public School, but it was in high school that I really started to think about pursuing music as a career. I feel lucky to have had such great role models in Mr. Ricci, Mr. Hazlett and Mr. Dmytryshyn – their passion for music and teaching made me pretty sure I wanted to be a music teacher. As my high school years progressed and I was doing more and more playing, I gradually shifted the priority to playing over teaching.

Did you ever think about doing something else?

Nothing in particular. I do remember thinking it was so cool that my dad got to wear a suit and carry a briefcase each day to work…but I can’t remember ever thinking about anything other than music.

Suppose an after-school club asked you to talk informally with a group of children about careers.

When they asked you "What do you do?", how might you reply;

I’m a musician!

If they asked you "Why did you decide to do that"? what do you think you would say;

I love playing and listening to music – it’s so much fun

What advice, if any, could you offer to a pre-adolescent or young teen who was already sure they were going to have a life in music?

Be prepared to work really hard, and practise your butt off…


For this month's contest -  Who is June's Child? - please scroll down.

May's Child is Colin Ainsworth



I can’t wait for Versailles (May) and Glimmerglass (July/August))!

And I’m really excited to be joining London’s Nash Ensemble at the Toronto Summer Music Festival in August.


I’ve been involved with numerous recordings which are all on my website -

I think my favourite is the Aldeburgh Connection’s Our Own Songs which includes Derek Holman’s The Heart Mislaid which were written for me. I’m a huge fan of Derek’s songs and these songs speak to me more now than they ever did.

Tenor Colin Ainsworth is well-known to Southern Ontario audiences for his big warm voice and remarkable diction which bring beauty and clarity to operas, choral and symphonic works and song recitals. Disarmed by his frank grin and unpretentious manner, some will not know that beyond Opera Atelier and The Aldeburgh Connection he is in demand with opera companies and symphonies internationally, and made his Carnegie Hall debut on February 10, singing the role of Haroun in Bizet's Djamileh with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times said that his “… bright, beautiful singing made Haroun instantly appealing …” Those who have followed his career will not be surprised.

Ainsworth’s website biography and schedule are quietly vertigo-inducing, and include a tour of Opera Atelier’s production of Armide to the Opéra Royal de Versailles, France, and the Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York.

Ainsworth grew up in Holland Landing, Ontario, and attended Dr. Denison High School in Newmarket. Late in high school he took a drama/music theatre class for fun: the teacher said he should consider private singing lessons. He went to Irene Ilic on a recommendation from one of his mother’s friends, and subsequently met Darryl Edwards at the Toronto Kiwanis Music Competition. Ainsworth went to the University of Western Ontario to study with Edwards and later transferred to the University of Toronto to continue with him.

Ainsworth’s parents, who are both deaf, were a bit apprehensive about his becoming a singer since they couldn't hear if he was good or not. But people who had heard him sing helped to ease their fears …

Suppose you're travelling, and a friendly fellow traveller asks what work you do?

It usually does come up and people are fascinated that I sing classical music.

I guess it’s not the typical job that would come up in conversation nowadays.

The usual questions then ensue: Do you sing full-time? Can you make a living? Why aren’t you fat?

Can you sing something? Yes; yes; I run; and sure!

65_mysterychild_april2012_2032012_00001_1About your childhood photo … ?

I do remember that I was at a picnic or party with lots of relay races and games, probably for the Montessori school I was going to at the time. I apparently had just cut my own hair – thus the lack of hair at the front – and I remember being very proud of myself for doing so.

Anything you would like to tell little Colin?

I would tell him never to cut my/his own hair, something I didn’t grasp until I was at least 17.

Your earliest memories of music?

My earliest memory is going to hear my mother’s father, Jim Spark, conduct the Masonic Choral Group when I was about four. He too was a tenor but I don’t have any recollection of him singing that day. I also remember trying to do Highland dancing to his Scottish records in my grandparent’s living room and listening to their records of bagpipes. The sound of a bagpipe still brings back those memories for me.

Other family musicians?

My father’s father, Ivan Ainsworth, was a folk singer and played guitar. As a young child, I can vividly remember him singing to me “One day at a time, Lord Jesus.” Both my father’s parents played and sang in a folk band up in Sudbury. My mother’s siblings either sang or played piano. Bur since my parents were deaf, there wasn’t that kind of music in the house at the time that photo was taken.

First experiences of engaging with music?

Despite having deaf parents, music slowly became part of my life. I heard music at church and remember as a child trying to make up harmonies to hymns at church. I loved listening to the radio and would sneak a pocket cassette/radio player into my coat at school and listen to it at recess time. I loved to sing at school, and remember being asked to sing for the class with another friend in Grade 1.

What, if anything, was your first instrument, other than your own voice?

Singing didn’t really come into the picture until late in high school.

I took piano lessons for a couple years but, unfortunately, didn’t take it very seriously. I also started to play trombone in Grade 7 until about the middle of high school but I was hopeless at that. They made me play flute at university as a secondary instrument which I hated and rarely practised.

What were your first experiences of making music with other people?

My first real experiences making music with other people were in high school in the band and jazz choir, with a choral group in Newmarket and with the Ontario Youth Choir with Elmer Iseler conducting.

Do you remember when you first sang alone for an audience?

I think the first real time was for my first singing teacher Irene Ilic’s, studio class. Probably “Close every door” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Do you remember the point at which you began to think of yourself as a musician?

Not until I was well into university did I think that I was actually going to be a musician.

Do you remember thinking you would do something else?

At one point in my life, I thought I was going to go into dentistry. I’m so glad I didn’t!

Suppose an after-school club asked you to talk informally with  group of children, and they asked you  "What  do you do?" …

I would tell them that I get to pretend to be other people on stage and sing really loudly. I get to travel and see really wonderful places, sing amazing music, and meet amazing people.

If they asked you "Why did you decide to do that"?

I would say that I somewhat fell into it, found that I absolutely LOVE what I do, and that I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else!

What advice, if any, could you offer to a young person who was already sure they were going to have a life in music?

Work hard, practise a lot, and no matter what you end up doing, do it with passion.

Who is
June’s Child?

6_mysterychild_may_racerWho is June’s Child?

You’ll find May’s child in the driver’s seat for a diverse continuum of music, and occasionally on the frontline.

He may need a jazzy crash helmet in festive June, racing between Toronto’s lakefront and Koerner Hall, where he’s invited some sophisticated ladies to gather.

Know our mystery child’s name?

Send your best guess to musics­children@thewhole­

Provide your mailing address in case your name is drawn from correct replies received by midnight on May 20, 2012.

“Hey …  where’s my horn?”
Vancouver, 1980.


Orchestra Toronto’s The Choral Symphony (May 27, Toronto Centre for the Arts) is a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 in D minor for which they’re joined by the Toronto Choral Society, and Rachel Cleland, soprano, Erin Lawson, alto, Colin Ainsworth, tenor, and Orival Bento-Goncalves, bass. Sue Woo and Joy Gordon each won a pair of tickets!

The seventh annual Toronto Summer Music Festival has this treat in store: the Nash Ensemble with Colin Ainsworth performs Music of England (August 2, Koerner Hall) — works by Bridge, Vaughan Williams and Elgar. The Nash Ensemble is the first ensemble-in-residence at London’s legendary Wigmore Hall.  Mark your calendars, Warren Keyes, and Rahila Faziluddin, you each have a pair of tickets!

Our Own Songs is a recording of The Aldeburgh Connection’s own commissioned works by John Greer, Derek Holman and John Beckwith, inspired by a wide range of influences in art, history, and literature. Artistic directors and pianists Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata perform with Adrianne Pieczonka, Monica Whicher, Elizabeth Turnbull, Mark Pedrotti, and Colin Ainsworth. (MARQUIS 381) Ruth Comfort and Shelby Cook: a copy each!

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