Monthly Archives: March 2015

Our 2015-2016 season!

We announced our 2015-2016 season at the end of February but perhaps you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet.  Here’s a brief overview of what we have coming up for our 44th season!

Our season opens on October 13th with talented British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor.  He had his Toronto debut on our series in 2013.  He was a sensation then and his talent and reputation continue to grow with every recording and concert he gives.

Our first string quartet of the season will be the Cuarteto Casals on October 22, 2015. Making their Toronto debut, this world-class Spanish quartet is sure to delight.

The Cecilia Quartet did a mini residency with us from 2006 to 2009 and they are back again on November 5, 2015 as part of our main quartet series.

Join us on November 10, 2015 when pianist Peter Jablonski makes his Toronto debut on our stage!

Another Toronto debut in our quartet series – Apollon Musagete Quartett! This young Polish quartet joins us on November 26, 2015.

We end off 2015 with the Gryphon Trio on our stage on December 10, 2015.

The new year brings the return of a familiar face to our stage. Marc-Andre Hamelin performs for us again on January 5, 2016.

January 14, 2016 brings our first Contemporary Classics concert with the JACK Quartet, co-produced with New Music Concerts.

First up in our Discovery Series is soprano Andriana Chuchman. Last January she stepped in at the Met Opera and has being going no where but up since! She performs for us on January 21, 2016.

The Annex Quartet is a rising Toronto quartet who comes to our stage on February 4, 2016. If you haven’t heard them before, you can get a sneak peak (or listen) when they perform on May 7, 2014 at Northern District Library for us. Click here for more details

The St. Lawrence Quartet has had another change in personnel and we will hear them on February 18, 2016. Always a great combination of talent and charisma, it’s a pleasure to have them in our season.

Returning to our stage on March 1, 2016 is pianist Steven Osborne. He debuted on our series in 2007 but it has been a while since we have had the pleasure of his playing on our stage!

March 10, 2016 brings us something a little different – a nonet. Montreal based collectif9 (pronounce collectif neuf) performs classical music often with original arrangements as part of our Discovery series.

Rounding out March with some strings so that we have one performance from each of our series is Quatuor Ebene on March 17, 2016.

Duo Turgeon brings their piano duo proficiency to our stage on April 5, 2016.

And we close our season on April 14, 2016 with one more Toronto debut – the Artemis Quartet!

For more details on the individual concerts, please visit our website.

Tu. Oct 13 Benjamin Grosvenor, pianist
Th. Oct. 22 Cuarteto Casals
Th. Nov 5 Cecilia Quartet
Tu. Nov. 10 Peter Jablonski, pianist
Th. Nov 26 Apollon Musagète Quartett
Th. Dec. 10 Gryphon Trio
Tu. Jan. 5 Marc-André Hamelin, pianist
Th. Jan. 14 JACK Quartet
Th. Jan. 21 Andriana Chuchman, soprano with Craig Terry, pianist
Th. Feb. 4 Annex Quartet
Th. Feb. 18 St. Lawrence Quartet
Tu. Mar. 1 Steven Osborne, pianist
Th. Mar. 10 collectif9
Th. Mar. 17Quatuor Ebène
Tu. Apr. 5 Duo Turgeon, pianists
Th. Apr. 14 Artemis Quartet


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Jean Coulthard

Soon the Lafayette Quartet will be back on our stage!  One of the pieces they will perform is String Quartet No. 2: Threnody (1954, rev 1969), written by Jean Coulthard.

Coulthard was born in Vancouver in 1908 and passed away in 2000.  Born into a family with a doctor for a father and a singer for a mother, her life was filled with music from an early age.  Her mother, also named Jean, her first piano teacher. In 1920 she travelled to London to study at the Royal College of Music for a year. In the 20’s, 30’s, and early 40’s she travelled in North America and Europe, married, had a daughter, and eventually settled with her family in Vancouver again. In 1947 she started teaching in the Department of Music at the University of British Columbia. She taught both theory and composition.

Coulthard was the first west coast composer to receive wide spread recognition. In 1978, she was made a member of the Order of Canada. Over the years she composed more than 350 pieces covering pretty much every genre. She composed for 30 years after her retirement from teaching and finished her final piece just a couple of months before her death in early 2000.

What an honour to have on our stage a first class west coast quartet playing a piece from such an influential and respected west coast composer.

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The Songs of Schumann, Poulenc and Ives

by guest contributor Julie Berridge

On March 26, baritone Elliot Madore sings the songs of Schumann, Poulenc, and Charles Ives. Madore who is Canadian, attended Humbercrest Public School and the Etobicoke School for the Arts before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in voice and a master’s in opera at the Curtis Institute of Music. In December, he performs the lead role of Figaro in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of the Barber of Seville in New York City.

Madore opens with Schumann whose relationship with art songs seems to have evolved over a relatively short period of time – less than a year.

This is what Schumann wrote in a letter to Clara, the woman who would later be his wife, in June 1839,

All my life I have regarded vocal music as inferior to instrumental music, and have never considered it great art

And this is what he wrote to Clara in February 1840,

Oh Clara, what bliss it is to write songs. I can’t tell you how easy it has become for me … it is music of an entirely different kind which doesn’t have to pass through the fingers—far more melodious and direct.

Belsatzar, Op. 57 is based on a short poem by Christian Johann Heinrich Heine. It tells the story of King Belshazzar of Babylonia, who after he desecrated the sacred vessels of Jehovah, saw an apparition consisting of writings on a wall that he could not understand.

Liederkreis, Opus 39, is a song cycle that Schumann composed in 1840. It sets to music Joseph Eichendorff’s collection of poetry entitled Intermezzo.

Poulenc’s Banalities are based on the work of Apollinaire. The five songs, Chanson d’Orkenise, Hôtel, Fagnes de Wallonie, Voyage à Paris and Sanglots, are said to be a balance between “cabaret style populism and Schubertian subtlety”.

Sanglots is moving and wistful. Chanson d’Orkenise is very much in the style of a folk song. Hôtel, brings to mind idle and languorous luxury. It consists of a few lines spoken by a character sitting in a hotel room who wants only to sit and smoke, as opposed to working. The last line reads, “Je ne veux pas travailler – je veux fumer” (I don’t want to work. I want to smoke). Voyage à Paris is a raucous nine line poem about a return to Paris after time spent in the “boring” provinces. The setting for Apollinaire’s Fagnes de Wallonie is a windswept plateau in Belgium. Poulenc ably captures the feeling of a landscape swept by gusting winds.

Madore brings the evening to a close with the compositions of Charles Ives. Ives was born in 1874. He was one of America’s first internationally renowned composers. Ives’ canon of songs has been described as a sort of receptacle or collection of his reaction to places, personalities and events. But he also set to music many classic European poems. Ives composed close to 200 songs before his death in 1954.

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The Elias Quartet

The Elias Quartet makes its Toronto debut on our stage on March 19, 2015! The evening includes Haydn (Quartet in C Major, Op. 33, No. 3, The Bird), Mozart (Quartet in C Major, K. 465, Dissonance), and Mendelssohn (Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80).

Comprised of Sara Bitlloch (violin), Donald Grant (violin), Martin Saving (viola), Marie Bitlloch (cello), the Elias Quartet was originally formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. While they have a variety of backgrounds (Spanish-Catalan, Swiss, and Scots), they are now based in London.

This award winning quartet has been mentored by the Alban Berg Quartet and has done extensive touring in Europe, Australia, and the US. March and April 2015 has them touring in Canada and the US for just over 4 weeks. In addition to performing, over the year they have released a number of CDs. Many of those explore the classical repertoire (like the complete string quartets of Beethoven) but the Elias has also recorded piano quintets and music for string quartets and harp. A very diverse selection to be had!

To read more about the Elias and listen to clips of their music, visit their website at   To hear them live, join us on March 19th at 8pm!

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