LSM Newswire

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Master Pianists to Astound April Audiences

Giants of piano performance loom large over the first April events at The Royal Conservatory’s TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. One formidable performer will debut a new work to Canadian audiences, while another will present a lecture on a Romantic classic. Also in April, a world music luminary brings his soulful voice to the stage, while students of The Royal Conservatory use contemporary composers to explore music’s ethical dimensions.


April concerts kick off with Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman, who comes to The Royal Conservatory on April 1. Currently in the midst of an extensive international tour, his Koerner Hall performance is his only Canadian recital date of the season. Renowned for his powerful and commanding technique, ConcertoNet exclaimed: “no matter what he plays, one feels that his fingers want to roar, to pound, to tear the piano to bits with the Promethean strength which he possesses.” The program includes the Canadian debut of Jörg Widmann’s XI Humoresken, which Bronfman premiered at Carnegie Hall in May of 2008, as well as Tchaikovsky’s rarely performed “Grand” Sonata in G Major. In a recent interview with The Baltimore Sun, Bronfman described the majestic, almost operatic work as a “neglected masterpiece.”


On April 2, legendary pianist Anton Kuerti returns to Mazzoleni Hall to continue his lecture series dedicated to the essential works of the piano concerto repertoire. This talk, the third in a three-part series, is dedicated to Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. Schumann’s only completed piano concerto, this piece is one of the most beloved works in the Romantic piano repertoire. This lecture provides the unique opportunity to hear one of Canada's most prominent musical ambassadors bring his extensive stylistic and musical knowledge to this work.


Senegalese singing superstar Baaba Maal brings his singular Afropop to Koerner Hall on April 9. Presented in partnership with Batuki Music, this Toronto performance is the only Canadian date on his North American tour in support of Television, his first album since the 2001 Grammy-nominated Missing You. This new, multilingual disc blends the traditions of West African music with subtle electronic elements. Maal co-produced the recording with Barry Reynolds, who has worked with everyone from Antony & The Johnsons to Grace Jones. The Independent described the result as “elegant, pan-cultural pop.” Baaba Maal is deeply committed to the concerns of families, young people, and the future of Africa, as is reflected in his role as Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program, and his participation in the Nelson Mandela 46664 Concert in Cape Town, and at the Live Earth Concert in Johannesburg. “It strengthens my determination to work harder to contribute more to improving the living conditions of disadvantaged people of the African continent, especially young people,” says Maal. “This is why I really wanted to make music, so people can listen more to the…messages I am talking about.”

Is there such a thing as socially responsible music? On April 10, the Conservatory faculty member Brian Current, along with The Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble and guest violinist Livia Sohn, comes to Mazzoleni Hall in an attempt to answer this intriguing question. During the presentation, entitled Songs of Love and Sorrow – Rediscovering the Social Ethics of Music, they will perform works by a host of contemporary composers, including Canadians Claude Vivier and John Rea, along with Jonathan Berger and Luciano Berio. The performance is presented in partnership with the Centre for Ethics, the Institute for Christian Studies, the Jackman Humanities Institute, and Stanford University.

Also on April 10, The Royal Conservatory presents the latest edition of the ultimate songwriters circle when Bluebird North returns to the Conservatory Theatre. During this informal evening, co-presented by the Songwriters Association of Canada, celebrated Canadian musicians will perform their songs and share the ‘back story’ and inspiration about how each was written. Caribbean-inspired Nine Mile lead singer D’Ari will be on the bill, along with the sweetly intimate folk-pop duo Dala, with more performers to be announced. Joining them is host Blair Packham, who first gained notoriety in the 1980s as a singer-songwriter fronting The Jitters ("Last of the Red Hot Fools" and "Til the Fever Breaks”). Bluebird North is based on and endorsed by Nashville's famed The Bluebird Cafe, which opened in 1982. The venue is well known for helping launch the careers of Garth Brooks, Ashley Cleveland, and Pam Tillis.

Canadian piano master Louis Lortie makes his Koerner Hall debut on April 11. The Montreal-born musician, critically acclaimed for his interpretations of Chopin, will present an all-Chopin celebration to honour the composer’s 200th birthday. The program will include one of the composer’s most beloved and glowing pieces, the Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, the imaginative Berceuse in D-flat Major, and a selection of Nocturnes and Ballades. “Mr. Lortie, with his splendid technique and thoughtful soul" (The New York Times) is "one of a half-dozen pianists worth dropping everything to hear." (London Daily Telegraph) "Better Chopin playing than this is not to be heard, not anywhere." (Financial Times, London)

The Royal Conservatory acknowledges all of its sponsors and donors and recognizes the remarkable generosity of: TELUS – Official Season Sponsor of the 2009-10 Koerner Hall Concert Season

The Globe and Mail – Season Media Sponsor

CBC Radio 2 – Performance Sponsor (Yefim Bronfman, Louis Lortie)

Invesco Trimark – Performance Sponsor (Louis Lortie)


CONCERTS AND EVENTS AT THE ROYAL CONSERVATORY – APRIL 1-15, 2010

KH – Koerner Hall; MH – Mazzoleni Hall; CT – Conservatory Theatre


Yefim Bronfman: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 8pm; $20-$65 (KH)

Kuerti Lecture – Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor: Friday, April 2, 2010 at 2pm; $10 (MH)

Baaba Maal: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 8pm; $25-$50 (KH)

Songs of Love and Sorrow–Rediscovering the Social Ethics of Music: Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 7pm; $10 (MH)

Blue Bird North – Where Songwriters Sing and Tell: Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 8pm;

$20; $15 for Songwriters Association of Canada Members (CT)

Louis Lortie: Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 3pm; $20-$75 (KH)


Tickets are available online at http://www.rcmusic.ca/, by calling 416.408.0208,

or in person at the Weston Family Box Office, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto


More information about upcoming concerts and events is available The Royal Conservatory website at http://www.rcmusic.ca/.

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