The middle of the week, and sometimes even the middle of the day, is a time when rewarding musical experiences can often be found. Here is a concert hopping itinerary for this Thursday, October 2nd: Start the afternoon with a lunchtime concert with pianist Adam Sherkin, then follow up with the Paris-based Trio Wanderer presented by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto. After a nice dinner, wrap up the day with the Eybler Quartet at Heliconian hall. And if you’re hungry for more, come back for a bonus concert on Friday night with Ensemble Polaris.
12pm: St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts
Starting at noon, Adam Sherkin is presenting the inaugural concert of his free monthly noon-hour performance series in the lobby of St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts. Each concert features works by celebrated composers of piano music, starting with Scarlatti and Granados, two Iberian icons.
The series will feature Rachmaninoff in November, Mozart in December, Chopin in February of 2015, and Liszt and Beethoven in March and April. This is a great way to get reacquainted with favourites, and get to know a mainstay artist at this beautiful venue.
1:30pm: Walter Hall, University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music
If you bring a brown bag lunch (Adam won’t mind), you’ll have the energy you need to head up to Walter Hall at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. There you can catch the 1:30pm opening concert of Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, which has been presenting – and often debuting – critically acclaimed chamber performers from both within and beyond Canada’s borders.
The Paris-based Trio Wanderer’s Toronto debut features a program of Fauré, Liszt and Tchaikovsky. This ensemble has been playing together since 1987, and has appeared in concert halls around the world, as well as having a few recordings under their belt. For all the work that is involved in presenting international artists, WMCT Artistic Director Simon Fryer and the committee of women volunteers consistently ensure a musical experience that is both satisfying and illuminating.
Get your tickets early though; the hall is usually packed to near capacity with at times over 400 patrons in the audience. The loyal following is no accident, and once you’ve been to one concert, you might be a convert too.
4:00pm: Take a Break
After the concert, stroll along the Bloor corridor and head towards Yorkville. Some great dinner options that won’t burn a hole in a wallet include Flo’s Diner and Aroma Espresso Bar. Shogun is your best value for Japanese in Yorkville. Splurge a little at Trattoria Nervosa for authentic Italian. Wander around and explore specialty stores that could only exist in Yorkville until it’s time for the next concert.
7:30pm: Heliconian Hall
The Eybler Quartet consists of musicians who play regularly with Tafelmusik and other early music groups in Toronto. Violinists Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman, violist Patrick Jordan, and cellist Margaret Gay have a way of injecting fiery passion into classical works that comes from years of playing together and sharing a deep love of the pieces. Cellist Guy Fishman will be a special guest at this concert to perform the quintets.
While the acoustics in Walter Hall are excellent, it is an entirely different experience when you are so close to the musicians you can practically hear them breathe.
**BONUS** Friday, 8:00pm: 918 Bathurst
If you can’t get enough of cellist Margaret Gay, you’re in luck! Margaret and a number of other Tafelmusik musicians are back this Friday evening as part of Ensemble Polaris, offering a completely different experience with their unusual and fun-loving, 12-piece “Nordic folk fusion” ensemble.
Co-founded by Alison Melville and Colin Savage, Ensemble Polaris features a vocalist, two percussionists, and a number of multi-instrumentalists of the most versatile and unusual kind. This concert features new arrangements of Swedish tunes and, as always, a number of surprises.
Related Post: Ensemble Polaris Takes the vikings to the Cabaret
Truly in a category of its own, Ensemble Polaris makes it all look and sound so easy and effortless, while underplaying the collective talent that comes together to make it happen.
Let the music take you away to far away lands in a time when life was pretty simple. You really can’t miss with this concert after dinner in the Annex on a Friday night.