On March 27th, 2020 at Glenn Gould Studio,
audiences in Toronto have one last chance to experience jazz master Adam
Makowicz in concert. Known for his virtuosic performance as a jazz pianist and
unique interpretations of Chopin’s music, he will be joined by the members of
his jazz trio from New York — Krystof Medyna on saxophone and Jeff Dingler on
double bass – as well as Canadian pianist Daniel Wnukowski.
* * *
Makowicz’s musical journey is a remarkable one. He studied classical piano
during the communist regime in Poland, which officially censored jazz music and
forbid it from being broadcasted on radio. Yet, every city has its underground life, and
jazz found a way to the people.
For those familiar with Larry Beckwith’s work, it will come as no surprise that the new Confluence concert series is a delightful medley of juxtaposing ideas. Under his artistic direction, the new series explores all sorts of ideas culturally and historically. It reflects a new energy while deeply rooted in the kind of performing arts experience Beckwith is known to bring to an audience.
The idea for Confluence goes back four years, when Beckwith made the decision to bring Toronto Masque Theatre to a close. “I wanted to get out of the opera world, which can be exhausting and all encompassing, but I also felt responsibility not to walk away from everything that we have built.”
Beckwith is not just referring to the loyal audience that he has built over the years, but also the strong artistic relationships he has cultivated with numerous composers and performing artists in Canada and abroad. The successes of their previous collaborations were founded on mutual trust and respect, and in the Confluence Series, the artists get a say right at the concept stage of the concerts.
“It’s really a scary thing to start all over again, from the bottom up and re-define everything that was your reality.”
I just got off the phone with Rose Cora Perry. She is coming off two hours sleep and a “performer’s high” from singing the Canadian National Anthem to a full house at Budweiser Gardens in London for “Monster Jam,” the Monster Truck event featuring someone or something called “The Grave Digger…”
This classically trained rocker, whose childhood dream of being Sarah Brightman, talked to me about the November release of her sophomore album, Onto The Floor; what inspires her writing; challenges within the industry and feminism. She is also slated to perform at the Hard Rock Cafe on March 5th, for Women’s Day, with her partner from The Truth Untold, Tyler Randall. Read on…
(Credits: Photo by Photo by David Leyes for Luminato Festival)
Carol truly is a creative power house, and it is so apropos that her newest adventure will take place at The Hearn Generating Plant.
The entire story was cloaked in secrecy. There were no hard facts; no idea what the piece was actually about. Just a note asking if I’d be interested in writing a story. Slowly, it unfolded; Carol Gimbel, Girl At The Barns, an incredibly talented violist. A few days later, The Luminato Festival. A week later, arranging to meet. Clues dropped here and there, a tease for what was to come. The interview itself, almost a disaster. The busy Kensington Market coffee shop was packed; a cacophony of noises, impossible to single out any one voice. The recording device conked out (damn cell phone), so Carol was whisked away (to her consternation) to an unfamiliar backyard – the Photo Booth application running on the computer. We had a half hour to get this done. Read on…
“I’m evolving as an artist. The best part of getting older is that we become more honest.”
Ron Davis, one of Toronto’s most vibrant jazz pianists, has been presenting his SymphRonica concerts at the Lula Lounge for nearly three years. His upcoming concert on May 31st, SymphRonica Meets the Dazzling Dancing Lombard Twins, is part of Lula’s 10th annual LulaWorld Festival, taking place this month, is one you don’t want to miss. Read on…
Their chance meeting set in motion what would become the I = I collective’s mandate; that music can break down barriers that generations of propaganda and palpable threat of war had cemented.
The Concert Hall had lost power. And while many producers might not have kept their cool, especially first timers, Dan Deutsch, founding member of the Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative, came out on stage and created an intimate and informal environment. As if at a dinner party, the audience reacted accordingly. Toronto’s Alliance Francaise hosted this very special evening, the inaugural concert of the Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative, on March 31st. The Toronto Symphony’s Shalom Bard conducted. Three new pieces written by the I = I Collective were the foundation of the concert. Guest appearances by noted Persians, kamanche player Saeed Kamjoo and tar player Shahin Fayaz punctuated the Converging Paths concert. Iranian Parisa Sabet, Israeli Dan Deutsch and Canadian Noam Lemish created I = I in 2013. But the seed germinated in a synchronistic meeting at a University of Toronto social for new students, in the doctorate program for musical composition, a year earlier. Read on…
The WMCT’s Career Development Award prizes of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 – among the highest awards for classical music in Canada.
On Sunday April 26, I had the pleasure of attending the tenth presentation of the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto (WMCT)’s Career Development Award (CDA). Established 25 years ago and presented every 3 years, the CDA aims to assist “exceptional young Canadian musicians who are already engaged in a professional performing career.” This year’s finalists were chosen from 10 nominees by CBC producers over the past year. The live competition held in Water Hall featured the top three finalists, Pianist-Author Pierre-André Doucet, pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, and cellist Stéphane Tétreault for prizes of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 – among the highest awards for classical music in Canada. Our gracious host for the afternoon was Julie Nesrallah of CBC Radio 2, who was absolutely delightful. Read on…
(Credits: Photo by Natalie Logan / “1976” choreographed and performed by Dana Michel)
“…there is this contract written somewhere, whereby people will come and (witness) whatever it is you are after.”
Dana Michel is curled up in the corner of an old couch, one knee up, protective, like armour. She is a dancer and choreographer and the first year Resident Artist at Dancemakers Centre For Creation. Dana has already given one interview and I think would prefer to chill out before rehearsing for her revamp of 1976. We are in the rehearsal space at The Distillery District. The period building’s high ceilings and bright light from the massive windows are perfect to magnify the energy of this intense woman. We had a chance to chat about how she journeyed from the practical world of accounting and her job as a medical secretary. But the turning point in which she began dancing, choreographing and performing professionally, in what would be considered late in a dancer’s career, was seminal. Read on…
This is the beauty of independent theatre. It is vibrant and alive and on the edge.
Red One Theatre Collective cordially invites you to George and Martha’s home for an intimate evening of soul wrenching mayhem. Cocktails will have been served throughout the day, including perhaps some rubbing alcohol. Follow them into the wee hours of the following morning as you witness the alcoholic fuelled demise of a damaged marriage. Disappointment and disillusionment will be served as appetizers. Edward Albee’s iconic play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf breaks down the doors of the Storefront Theatre, whose curtains rise at 7 pm. Get ready for a wild ride, baby! Read on…
All the audience needs to do is let the music settle and move them.
Saturday, November 29th, at 8 pm, marks the newest concert for Music In The Barns. Stepping away from the New Canadian Music featured in last season’s series, Artistic Director Carol Gimbel has chosen a deeply traditional programme. Elegantly featuring the talents of pianist Cullan Bryant and violinist Moshe Hammer, New York City artist Lana Jean Israel adds to the multi-disciplinary event with her modernistic projection designs at the post performance reception. Read on…