The Royal Conservatory Announces Upcoming Events

The Royal Conservatory Announces Upcoming Events

In celebration of Koerner Hall's fifth anniversary, Dr. Peter Simon, President of The Royal Conservatory, and Mervon Mehta, Executive Director of Performing Arts, revealed today some of the details of the 2013-14 concert season. As always, the upcoming season will include pop, world music, and new special series. Classical and jazz concerts are being announced now, and the rest of the season of over 70 concerts will be released in June. The Conservatory is thrilled to welcome Broadway star Audra McDonald; soprano Natalie Dessay with composer and pianist Michel Legrand; cellist Mischa Maisky; violinists Midori, Isabelle Faust, and Leonidas Kavakos; pianists Yuja Wang, András Schiff, Kirill Gerstein, and Menahem Pressler; Europa Galante with Fabio Biondi; and jazz musicians Joe Sealy, Jackie Richardson, Arlene Duncan, Ranee Lee, Ramsey Lewis Quintet, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Lalah Hathaway, Nona Hendryx, John Pizzarelli, Daniela Nardi, and The Manhattan Transfer.

Season Opening Weekend
The season opening gala concert will feature American actress and singer Audra McDonald on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm. Ms. McDonald has five Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and a long list of other accolades to her name, plus she is the new host of Live From Lincoln Center. Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for drama, she is equally at home on Broadway and concert stages as in roles on film and television. After four seasons on the TV series Private Practice, Audra McDonald returned to the stage as Bess in a sold-out new production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, for which she was awarded the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. She previously won Tony Awards for roles in Ragtime, Master Class, Carousel, and A Raisin in the Sun. In this gala concert, she will sing her trademark mix of Broadway show tunes, classic songs from movies, and pieces written specially for her by leading composers.

The opening weekend also includes a free Culture Days concert with The Conservatory's very own ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory), one of Canada's pre-eminent cultural ambassadors. The concert includes Giacomo Puccini's Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Quintet for Piano and Strings, and the group is joined by baritone Peter Barrett for Ottorino Respighi's Il tramonto.

TD Jazz Series
The Royal Conservatory pays homage to Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan on their 90th birthdays in four specially curated concerts. Toronto all-stars open the series when jazz pianist and JAZZ.FM91 radio host Joe Sealy is joined by three of Canada's finest vocalists Jackie Richardson, Arlene Duncan, and Ranee Lee, as well as a band including Don Thompson (vibes), Reg Schwager (guitar), Kelly Jefferson (sax), Paul Novotny (bass), and Mark McLean (drums). The celebrations continue with Ramsey Lewis Quintet with Cécile McLorin Salvant. Chicago composer and pianist Ramsey Lewis walked the same streets, breathed the same air, and went to the same school of gospel, blues, and jazz as Dinah Washington. French-American jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant is the 2010 winner of the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition and is among the leaders of a new era of jazz singers. Three-time Grammy Award and Tony Award winner, Dee Dee Bridgewater, is joined by her quintet for the third installment in the series. Over the course of a multifaceted career that has spanned 40 years, Bridgewater has risen to the top tier of today's vocalists, putting her own unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. The Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan 90th birthday tribute concludes with an all-female band, the Terri Lyne Carrington's Mosaic Project, featuring First Daughter of Soul Lalah Hathaway and Nona Hendryx (formerly of the R&B powerhouse Labelle), with jazz pianist Geri Allen; Beyoncé's saxophonist, Tia Fuller; and Canadian jazz trumpet player Ingrid Jensen.

More Jazz
The Conservatory also celebrates two iconic Italian singers, Frank Sinatra and Paolo Conte on a single evening, as singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli pays homage to Frank Sinatra, and one of Toronto's hippest singers, Daniela Nardi, sings the Paolo Conte songbook. The platinum-selling, worldwide chart-topping jazz-pop vocal quartet Manhattan Transfer returns to Koerner Hall after their immensely successful Conservatory debut in December of 2010. Manhattan Transfer has been around for 40 years, and with over 20 albums to their credit, they have delivered their share of masterpieces, from the vibrant Pastiche (1978) and the zoot-sharp Swing (1997), to the landmark Hendricks tribute Vocalese (1990), and their ingenious release The Chick Corea Songbook (2009).

Chamber Music Concerts
Pianist and a founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, Menahem Pressler, celebrates his 90th birthday joined by the New Orford String Quartet (featuring the Concertmasters of the Toronto and Montreal Symphonies Jonathan Crow and Andrew Wan on violins, Eric Nowlin, Associate PrincipAl Viola with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Brian Manker, Principal Cellist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra). The program includes Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet No. 6 in B-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6; R. Murray Schafer's String Quartet No. 1; and Johannes Brahms's Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34. The Beatles's Sgt. Pepper album is re-imagined and re-invented through newly commissioned arrangements from pop, jazz, and classical composers by the Art of Time Ensemble, led by Artistic Director and pianist Andrew Burashko, and featuring Canadian pop icons Steven Page (formerly of the Barenaked Ladies), John Mann (Spirit of the West), Andy Maize (Skydiggers), and Craig Northey (The Odds). Leading Italian violinist and conductor Fabio Biondi makes his Koerner Hall debut with his acclaimed ensemble Europa Galante, in a program called The Windy Seasons, assembled from pieces by Antonio Vivaldi. Biondi writes: "The Windy Seasons is a suite inspired by The Four Seasons and includes titled concerti for violin, recorder, bassoon, and oboe. These are some of Vivaldi's best-known pieces and they present a wide range of colours and tonality."

Invesco Piano Concerts
Sunday matinée Invesco Piano Concerts welcome five pianists to Koerner Hall. Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, widely recognized for playing that combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist, explores new repertoire when she plays works by Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Franz Liszt. As stated by The New York Times: "A passionate performer, Ms. Wang meshes an impeccable technique and insightful artistry." One of the most prominent proponents of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach, András Schiff, received the 2012 International Classical Music Award in the Solo Instrumental Recording of the Year category, the Order pour le mérite for Sciences and Arts, and was also made a Member of Honour of Vienna Konzerthaus. In this marathon concert, he plays Bach's Goldberg Variations followed by Ludwig van Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations." Masterful technique, discerning intelligence, and musical curiosity have led Kirill Gerstein to explore repertoire spanning centuries and many different styles. In his recital, he plays the music of Franz Joseph Haydn, Modest Mussorgsky, Brad Mehldau, György Ligeti, and George Gershwin. Named by The Economist as one of 20 Living Polymaths, Stephen Hough is a rare Renaissance man of our time. Also excelling as a writer and composer, he will play his own Piano Sonata No. 2 "notturno luminoso," as well as works by Arnold Schönberg, Johannes Brahms, and Fryderyk Chopin. Khatia Buniatishvili has given critically acclaimed solo recitals and chamber music concerts at venues such as London's Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Musikverein in Vienna, and Carnegie Hall. In her Koerner Hall appearance she presents a program of Franz Liszt, Fryderyk Chopin, and Igor Stravinsky.

Vocal Concerts
French coloratura soprano and great singing actress, Natalie Dessay, is joined by French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist with more than 200 film and television scores to his credit, Michel Legrand, in a program that includes some of Legrand's most famous songs, his Christmas Pastoral, and a selections of new songs by Legrand and Marilyn & Alan Bergman. Quebec City's Les Violons du Roy return to Koerner Hall to accompany our two special guests for two performances in December 2013. The series also includes the above mentioned concert with Audra McDonald and one more vocal recital will be added at a later date.

String Concerts
Cello virtuoso Mischa Maisky is joined by his daughter, pianist Lily Maisky, in a program of works by Rachmaninov and Schubert. As a young cellist, Maisky studied with Mstislav Rostropovich and now enjoys an extensive recording career with regular collaborators such as Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. "Maisky's playing is marked by razor-sharpness and biting humour, studded with moments of deep longing ... the audience went wild with appreciation," stated the Hamburger Abendblatt. Violinist Midori has established a record of achievement that sets her apart as a master musician, innovator, and champion of the developmental potential of children. In this concert she is joined by Turkish-American pianist Özgür Aydin for a program of sonatas by Paul Hindemith, César Franck, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Richard Strauss. Audiences will be able to hear all 10 of Ludwig van Beethoven's violin sonatas over the course of the season. Violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov perform Violin Sonatas Nos. 4, 3, 9, and 10; and violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Enrico Pace offer Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 5, and 7. To complete the Beethoven cycle, Luri Lee, a Rebanks Fellow of The Glenn Gould School, plays Sonatas Nos. 2 and 8 as part of her Mazzoleni Concert Hall concert.

Orchestral Concerts
Royal Conservatory Orchestra presents four concerts during the 2013-14 season, conducted by Maestros Julian Kuerti, recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción in Chile; Johannes Debus, Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company; Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Toronto Philharmonic, Uri Mayer; and Israeli conductor Lior Shambadal, who is the Chief Conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Orchestre Filarmonica de Bogota, Principal Guest Conductor of the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra in Latvia, as well as Principal Guest Conductor of the Chengdu Symphony Orchestra of the Central Music Conservatory in the Sichuan province of China. As in previous seasons, the Royal Conservatory Orchestra performances are all preceded by Prelude Recitals and ticket holders are encouraged to come to Koerner Hall early to hear a performance of solo and chamber works by students and faculty of The Glenn Gould School. The Prelude Recitals begin at 6:45pm. Frequent Koerner Hall guests, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony with their Music Director Edwin Outwater, return to the Conservatory with a program called "Fantasia on Themes by Rush." This progressive, rock-inspired performance features a new "Rush-ian" composition by the Canadian Nicole Lizée [2012: Triple Concerto for Power Trio and Orchestra (Fantasia on Themes by Rush)] and other works that bridge the gap between old and new; acoustic and electric; and classical and rock, such as pieces by Edvard Grieg and Erik Satie, Matthew Hindson's Homage to Metallica, and Paul Stanhope's Throbbing.

The Royal Conservatory
The Royal Conservatory is one of the largest and most respected music and arts education institutions in the world. Providing the definitive standard of excellence in music education through its curriculum, assessment, performance, and teacher education programs, The Conservatory has had a substantial impact on the lives of millions of people globally. In addition, the organization has helped to train a number of internationally celebrated artists including Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, David Foster, Sarah McLachlan, Angela Hewitt, and Diana Krall. Motivated by its powerful mission to develop human potential through music and the arts, The Royal Conservatory has emerged over the last two decades as a leader in the development of arts-based programs that address a wide range of social issues. For more information, please visit

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