Go Concert Hopping this Thursday


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.

Read on…

The Art of (Performance in) Public Space

BLOG_header_SalonWest_Public_Space_2014(Photo: “green monster” A wall along Calle 7 outside La Candelaria in Bogota, Colombia. Credit: Aziza Mohammed)

The spaces and places that ‘host’ the performances are transformed, as are all the artists and audiences who are part of that experience.

Everywhere around us, conversations are happening about the ways the arts sector is changing: At the bar after a show, at community events, at industry meet-ups, and even at policy discussions. One such conversation is coming soon to Salon West, a series of curated conversations led by “thoughtful individuals from different sectors to discuss the arts and culture scene that makes our city a great place to be”.

Related Blog Post: Q&A with Clay and Paper Theatre’s David Anderson

The September 26, 6pm event at the Heliconian Hall (35 Hazelton Ave.) is entitled “Toronto The Bad, The Good and the Ugly: The Art of Public Space.” It is a call for all of us to develop a more thoughtful response and understanding of public spaces, and our role in shaping it.

The Salon will feature three guest speakers: Javid Jah (Graffiti Artist/Architect), Elle Alconcel (Curator from Daniels Spectrum) and Ashley McKenzie-Barnes (MANIFESTO! Visual Arts Director). Read on…

The Chamber Experience in Toronto

BLOG_header_chamber_music_2014a(Photo: Ton Beau String Quartet at Banff)

The magic of chamber music comes from experiencing breath-taking musical moments up close and personal, as if you were a part of it.

To appropriate the byline of I FURIOSI, chamber ensembles are like the rock bands of classical music, and the best of them are certainly admired the way rock stars are, just in genre-appropriate ways.

What is described as “chamber” today is not limited to music performed in a private household (often in a “room” of varying sizes), but refers generally to a small ensemble that performs music requiring an intense connection and synergies between the artists. Read on…

High Notes Gala shines light on Mental Health Illness


“Music is very powerful and can evoke emotions in people. It lifts our spirits in many ways and can do something good.” ~ Ingrid Taheri

We have featured a lot of independent performing artists on our blog, celebrating the fresh faces and new ideas that create experiences relevant to today’s audiences. This spirit of experimentation and exploration isn’t limited to just independent artists; professionals that service artists are also going through a similar renaissance. Read on…

An Ode to the Live Performance

And now for a perspective from the other side of the stage.

I recently attended a concert that celebrated Debussy’s works. The concert, organized by the Toronto Heliconian Club, blended performances of Debussy’s pieces with a display of the kinds of impressionist paintings that had inspired the composer. A narrator provided historical and biographical information for each piece, which was interesting and informative. But in all honesty, I went mainly because Margaret (BeMused’s founder and talented pianist) was one of the performers, and I wanted to support her.

Regardless of why I went and even though I don’t exactly dig Debussy, I found myself appreciating some of the performances (particularly Margaret’s solo as well as her duet with the sole violinist in the show, of course!), which to me were worth the price of admission. This got me thinking about why I attend live performances. Why not just put on a CD or MP3 or surf YouTube in the comfort of my own home? Why put in the effort to purchase tickets and make the trek? Why get all excited to go? I’d say for multiple reasons, though they may not be the same as everyone else’s or, for that matter, for every performance, even ones within the same genre.

Read on…

Why I Do Marketing for the Arts

As artists, we tend to strive for a certain type of perfection. Just like the greatest of athletes, we aim for the best we can possibly be. It takes a toll on us mentally and physically, but so what? That rush when we achieve a performance of sublime excellence is fantastic and worth the hours spent in rehearsals and practice rooms. We do it because we care and love this art form we have chosen.

And yet, is that enough? Is it enough to reach the peak of personal excellence? Is it enough to have mastered the toughest of technical passages or trickiest of tunings?

Read on…

The Many Hats of the Modern-Day Performer

*** This blog post highlights the “non-artistic” work and know-how that are an essential part of any performer’s pursuit in today’s social climate.***

When we ask about the challenges confronting the performing arts today, we usually hear the following: people are not interested; they need to be better educated in arts appreciation; there needs to be more money put into the marketing engine to compete with mass media; the government needs to stop cutting funding. These arguments have one common implicit message: It’s not people in the arts that are the problem, it’s those that are outside of the arts. It is almost inevitable, then, that we see the cause of our problems as being external to us, and also see the solution as being changing what is “out there,” not reflecting on what might need to change “in here.”

Read on…

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