Monthly Archives: April 2016

Maria Olszewska

As we approach Mother’s Day here in North America, today we take a brief look at Maria Olszewska, mother of composer Witold Lutoslawski. Born in the summer of 1882, she lived to be 85 years old.

Maria studied medicine as a young woman. She met her future husband while at school in Zurich. Jozef, her husband to be, was the brother of one of her fellow students.

Her family had a large estate in Podolia. Her father was a mathematician who taught in the neighbouring schools and, being a forward thinker, sent his daughters to school abroad. In 1904, she obtained her medical degree.

In 1915, the Lutoslawski family started their journey to flee Poland from the oncoming Prussian forces. It would eventually lead them to Moscow where Jozef was imprisoned for his political activities. In 1918, Jozef and his brother were killed ( and Maria was left with a family to raise.

Finally able to return home after the war, she attempted to run the family estate in Drozdowo for a few years before settling in Warsaw. Maria returned to medicine and continued working as a physician. In addition, she worked at translating books from English, mainly books for children. She also served as a City Councilor for the City of Warsaw.

While the suffering and hardship of WWI should be enough for anyone to have to live through, Maria then had to endure the capture and death of one of her sons during WWII.

She lived with her son, Witold, and his wife, Danuta, in Warsaw until she passed in 1967.


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Our 2016-2017 season!

As with most arts organizations, we are already looking to next season! Season subscriptions are already on sale for our 2016-2017 season. Existing subscribers – you should have received your renewal information in late February. You have until May to renew and keep your existing seats. Contact the box office at 416-366-7723 if you have not received your renewal information. Subscriptions done before the end of April will get the bonus of an additional ticket!

This will be our 45th season and it is an exciting one!

We open our season on October 13, 2016 with the Juilliard Quartet. Last fall, cellist Joel Krosnick announced his retirement from the quartet after 42 years. We will have the pleasure of welcoming the quartet back to our stage with their new member, cellist Astrid Schween.

Our piano series starts with Janina Fialkowska on October 25, 2016. This concert is part of her year long “Birthday Celebration Tour” as she celebrates turning 65 years young.

November brings us Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc on November 10, 2016. Quartet-in-residence at the Université Laval, they were our ensemble-in-residence in 2007-2008. A few short days later, UK pianist Danny Driver joins us on November 15, 2016 for his Toronto debut.

Soprano Suzie LeBlanc and the Blue Engine String Quartet join together for a concert on December 1, 2016. Entitled A Pocket of Time, the evening is a musical tribute to Elizabeth Bishop.

Before we take a break for the holidays, we will enjoy the talented Gryphon Trio on our stage once again! Join us on December 15, 2016 for an evening of great music.

January starts off with young pianist Sean Chen making his Toronto debut on January 10, 2017 and wraps up with long time MTO performers, the St. Lawrence Quartet on January 26, 2017.

Ilya Poletaev takes to our stage on February 7, 2017 with some Bach and Schumann. The Eybler Quartet will play us some Haydn and Beethoven on February 16, 2017.

We finish off our season in March next year with two long standing internationally renowned quartets – the Prazak Quartet on March 2, 2017 and the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin on March 16, 2017.

Bookmark our website at and you can find us all season long!

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Wrapping up our 44th season!

Tonight we finish our 44th season with a performance by the Artemis Quartet.  This world-class quartet will give their Toronto debut on our stage. An exciting finish to a great season!

We started the season what feels like a lifetime ago but was really only six short months ago!  October started us off with the return of Benjamin Grosvenor (Oct. 13) and then the Toronto debut of Cuarteto Casals (Oct. 22).  Both concerts were amazing evenings to start off our piano series and quartet series respectively for the season!

Our past season featured several Toronto debuts.  In addition to Cuarteto Casals, we presented the Toronto debuts of Peter Jablonski (Nov. 10), the Apollon Musagète Quartett (Nov. 25), and the Artemis Quartet (Apr. 14).  All stunning performances!

The fall also saw the world premiere of a new composition by Nicole Lizée – Isabella Blow at Somerset House (2015) performed by the Cecilia Quartet (Nov. 5).

We ended 2015 with another world premiere!  We were treated to Gryphon Realms by Vincent Ho written for and played by the Gryphon Trio (Dec. 10).

We rang in the new year with the familiar and enchanting sounds of Marc-André Hamelin at the piano (Jan. 5).  We covered all our main areas in January!  We presented the popular and talented JACK Quartet (Jan. 14) as part of our strings and Contemporary Classics series.  And we finished off the month with a Discovery series vocal recital by Canadian opera star Andriana Chuchman (Jan. 21) accompanied by pianist Craig Terry.

February was a month of strings with the Annex Quartet coming to our main stage for the first time (Feb. 4) and a return of the ever popular St. Lawrence Quartet (Feb. 18).

The busy month of March kept us on our toes.  With a snow storm at the door, Stephen Osborne (Mar. 1) gave a wonderful piano recital to the crowd who had braved the weather.  Collectif9 (Mar. 10) brought a nonet to our stage with a light show to back up their innovative sound.  And on St. Patrick’s Day we all forgot about green beer for a few hours and listened to the extraordinary performance of Quatuor Ebène (Mar. 17).

Last week we had the final performance of our piano series this season with Duo Turgeon (Apr. 5).  As this concert was part of our Contemporary Classics series, we were also treated to conversation from the stage with Jeffrey Ryan, our composer advisor.  It was a lovely way to end the piano series for another season!

Join us tonight for our final string performance of this season – the Toronto debut of the Artemis Quartet!

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Artemis Quartett

On April 14, 2016 we will close our 44th season with the Toronto debut performance of the renowned Artemis Quartett. We have tried to bring them in the past but scheduling conflicts have meant we were unable to have them as part of our series until now.

Currently comprised of Vineta Sareika (violin), Anthea Kreston (violin), Gregor Sigl (viola), and Eckart Runge (cello), the quartet was originally formed in 1989 by four students at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck and has seen a few changes in personnel over the years. Eckart Runge is the remaining founding member.

All four of the performers teach at University of the Arts Berlin and Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Brussels. As with many prominent string quartets, they maintain a busy schedule of performances in addition to teaching. And somehow managed to squeeze in time to record and release 18 CDs in the past 10 years with Virgin Classics/EMI.

To read more about the quartet or to listen to some excerpts, visit their website at

To hear them live, join us on April 14th for some Wolf, Shostakovich, and Beethoven with the Artemis Quartett!

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