Tag Archives: Benjamin Grosvenor

Benjamin Grosvenor

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 will be opening night for our 2017-2018 piano series and we are bringing back Benjamin Grosvenor for his third visit to us since 2014.

For a bit of background on him, check out our initial blog about him, https://mtochambermusic.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/benjamin-grosvenor/, or visit his website at https://www.benjamingrosvenor.co.uk/

The young pianist continues to delight and impress audiences around the world.  Grosvenor continues to tour and play both with orchestras and in recital. He made his LA debut in May of 2017 receiving this great review – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-benjamin-grosvenor-review-20170501-story.html

Since he was here last, he has released another album on the Decca Classics label.  Homages was released in 2016, making it the fourth CD he has released since signing on in 2011 as their youngest British artist.


His program for our Toronto concert is:

Mozart   Sonata in B-flat Major, K.333, “Linz

Brahms   Four Pieces, Op. 119

Brett Dean   Hommage à Brahms (played as interludes between the Brahms pieces above)


Debussy   L’après midi d’un faune (arr. Leonard Borwick/George Copeland)

Berg   Sonata, Op. 1

Ravel   Gaspard de la nuit


If you haven’t heard him live yet, you will want to join us on November 7th!


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Brett Dean

Australian Brett Dean is a contemporary composer. Born in Brisbane in 1961, he played violin from the age of eight and later moved to viola. He studied at the Queensland Conservatorium, graduating with the Conservatorium Medal for the highest achieving Student of the Year in 1982.

In 1985, he joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as a violist. He played with them until 1999.  He returned to Australia in 2000, deciding to work as a freelance artist. He started composing in 1988, originally for film and radio.

His list of compositions and awards has grown greatly over the years and includes pieces for ballet, opera, orchestra, chamber music, solo instruments, and choral. In 2016, Dean became the inaugural Artist in Residence with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a position which will last for three years and includes conducting, performing, and collaborating with creative programming. The world premier of his latest opera, Hamlet, took place this past summer at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

We will hear his piano piece Hommage à Brahms played by Benjamin Grosvenor at our November 7, 2017 concert. While this three movement piece can be played on its own, it was intended to be performed as interludes between the Four Pieces of Op. 119 by Johannes Brahms – Engelsflügel 1 placed between Brahms’ B-minor and E-minor Intermezzos, Hafenkneipenmusik between the E-minor and C-major Intermezzos, and Engelsflügel 2 between the C-major Intermezzo and the E-flat-major Rhapsody. It will be played this way by Grosvenor at our concert.

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Our 46th season!

On February 16, 2017 we announced our 46th season!

Season subscription for our 2017-2018 season went on sale in February and were mailed out in mid August.  Contact the box office if you have any questions – 416-366-7723

Quatuor Mosaïques open our season and our string series on October 19th with their Toronto debut.  Celebrating their 30th season, they will perform Mozart and Haydn on their period instruments.

November 7th will be the opening of our piano series with Benjamin Grosvenor.  This will be Grosvenor’s 3rd recital for us and we look forward to his return.

The Škampa Quartet perform on November 16th.  This outstanding Czech string quartet has released 15 award-winning recordings and now is your chance to hear them live in Toronto.

Montreal pianist and first recipient of the Prix Goyer (Extreme Emerging Artist), Philip Chiu makes his Toronto recital debut with us on November 28th.

Our annual Gryphon Trio concert will finish out the 2017 calendar year for us on December 7th.

We start 2018 with the Brentano Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw performing together on January 11th.

Stephen Hough returns to our stage on January 23rd for our first piano recital of 2018.  He will be playing a number of pieces by Debussy in honour of the 100th year anniversary of Debussy’s death.

The exuberant St. Lawrence Quartet return for their annual visit on February 1st.

Esteemed Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov joins us at the age of 74 with our February 6th concert.

The Apollon Musagète Quartet return on February 22nd. This dynamic, award-winning young quartet had their Toronto debut on our stage in November 2015.  We are pleased to host a long awaited return engagement.

The Penderecki Quartet join us on March 15th.  This 31 year old quartet has been the Quartet-in-Residence down the road in Waterloo at Wilfrid Laurier University for the past 20 years.

Hungarian pianist Dénes Várjon returns to close our Piano Series for the 2017-2018 season on March 27th.

And the final concert of our 46th season will be the Toronto debut of the award-winning Schumann Quartet on April 12th.

We look forward to having you join us!

Single tickets are now on sale.  In addition to our regular tickets for $50 or $55, we also have $10 student tickets.  These can be purchased for full time students.  An accompanying non-student can purchase a regular ticket at the same time for half price.  So parents, bring your kids.  And grown up students, bring your parents!  If you are between the ages of 18 and 35 and not a student, take advantage of our pay your age tickets available for any of our concerts.  Student tickets and pay your age tickets need to be purchased in person or via phone at 416-366-7723.

For more information on the individual concerts, please visit our website here http://music-toronto.com/season.htm

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Benjamin Grosvenor 2015

It has been 11 years since Benjamin Grosvenor won the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition. He was 11 years old at the time. Since then he has continued on the path of an extremely successful and talented pianist. Decorated with many awards over the years, Grosvenor maintains a busy performance schedule, traveling all over the world for performances. He recently took part in the Last Night of the Proms, with amazing reviews once again! He has an exclusive recording deal with Decca and has released 3 CDs with them, including Dances, his latest recording released in August 2014.

We had the pleasure of hearing him in February of 2014 for his Toronto debut on our stage. You can check out our blog from back then for a bit of information about him – https://mtochambermusic.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/benjamin-grosvenor/  Or visit his website at http://www.benjamingrosvenor.co.uk/

He returns to our stage in just a few short weeks to perform Mendelssohn, Bach-Busoni, Franck, Ravel and Liszt. Join us on Tuesday October 13, 2015 for our concert with Benjamin Grosvenor and the opening night of our 44th season!


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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 http://www.music-toronto.com/outreach.htm

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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The end of a season!

Tonight we close out our 42nd season with The Parker Quartet and Kikuei Ikeda, violist.

Our 42nd year has been another great season filled with old friends and new faces. Long term MTO performers the Gryphon Trio, the St. Lawrence Quartet, and Marc-André Hamelin all played with their usual brilliance. The Jerusalem Quartet, Arnaldo Cohen, the Miró Quartet, Eve Egoyan, the Alcan Quartet, David Jalbert, and the Arditti Quartet all delighted us with amazing return performances. Cohen, the Miró, and Jalbert also gave delightful master classes for us – fun and informative for the students onstage and the audience attending.

We were able to bring an octet to our stage again for the first time in several years and enjoyed some pieces that we don’t often hear live with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble. Our vocal recital for the season brought us Phillip Addis and his lovely baritone voice. And previously seen as a accompanist on our stage, pianist Stephanie Chua gave us a fabulous contemporary classics concert! Making his Toronto and MTO debut, pianist Benjamin Grosvenor charmed us on stage with his talent and off stage with his grace and intelligence at a chat with some students. Also debuting on our stage was violinist (and new father) Alexandre Da Costa. Accompanied by Wonny Song, as a last minute replacement, Da Costa gave us a stunning performance.

Tonight we shall enjoy the Parker Quartet and Kikuei Ikeda. Tomorrow brings our last master class for the season with Ikeda. We look forward to bringing you more great music again in the fall. Join us for our 43rd season!

Thursday, October 9, 2014 – St. Petersburg Quartet
Thursday, October 23, 2014 – Belcea Quartet
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 – Janina Fialkowska
Thursday, November 20, 2014 – Daedalus Quartet
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 – Simon Trpceski
Thursday, December 11, 2014 – Trio D’Argento with Barbara Croall
Thursday, January 8, 2015 – Juilliard Quartet
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 – Barbara Pritchard
Thursday, January 29, 2015 – St. Lawrence String Quartet
Thursday, February 12, 2015 – Bertoli-Marleyn Duo
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 – Denes Varjon
Thursday, February 26, 2015 – Gryphon Trio
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 – Till Fellner
Thursday, March 19, 2015 – Elias Quartet
Thursday, March 26, 2015 – Elliot Madore
Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Lafayette Quartet

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Maurice Ravel

Many of the composers we have looked at have had a fairly difficult and traumatic life, especially in their childhood. It is refreshing to come across one who did not!

Maurice Ravel was born in March of 1875 in Ciboure, France, very near the Spanish border. His mother was Basque and his father, Swiss. At the age of three months, Ravel’s family moved to Paris but his Basque connections remained close to his heart all his life. His father, Joseph, was an inventor, creating some very important inventions including an early internal-combustion engine. This mechanically inclined father also had a love of arts and culture.

Ravel’s started piano lessons at the age of six. His family supported his interests and enrolled him in the Conservatoire de Paris, where he eventually became a piano major. While he wasn’t a great academic student, he was gifted at piano and composition. His private life is not surrounded by personal scandals. In fact, he kept his personal very private and there is no evidence of any major intimate relationships in his life. He spent most of his life in a love affair with his music, devoting his time and energy to his musical passion.

We heard Valses nobles et sentimentales with Benjamin Grosvenor in February 2014. November 2014 brought us Ravel with Simon Trpceski. On Oct 13, 2015 we will again hear Benjamin Grosvenor, this time playing Tombeau de Couperin. Oct 22, 2015 brought us Quartet in F Major with Cuarteto Casals and April 5, 2016 we had Duo Turgeon with a new arrangment for 2 pianos of the Second Suite from the ballet Daphnis and Chole.

This season we will once again be treated to Ravel with Benjamin Grosvenor playing Gaspard de la nuit on Nov 7, 2017.  We will also hear Ravel with Philip Chiu – Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) on Nov 28, 2017.


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Federico Mompou

Federico Mompou is a Catalan Spanish composer who was born in 1893. Mompou spent most of his life in Barcelona and Paris. He was a quiet, shy man who studied as a pianist. He turned to composing as he did not enjoy giving public presentations. He married late in life at the age of 64. His wife, pianist Carmen Bravo, was 30 years younger and they spent the next 30 years together until Mompou’s death. Several more pieces of Mompou’s music were discovered after Bravo’s death in 2007.

During his 94 years, he composed many pieces of beautiful piano music. On February 11th, we will hear just one set of those pieces, Paisajes, when it is played by Benjamin Grosvenor. Paisajes translates as Landscapes. The word paisaje encompasses scenery and view in its translation. I found it interesting to know that “paisaje interior” means “state of mind”. Mompou’s Paisajes consists of 3 pieces written at different times. La fuente y la campana (The Fountain and the Bell) was written in 1942; El lago (The Lake) in 1946; and Carros de Galicia (Carts of Galicia) was done in 1960. Each is inspired by views known to Mompou but evoking different states of mind. Looking forward to hearing it played live!

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Benjamin Grosvenor

On February 11th, Benjamin Grosvenor takes to our stage for his Toronto debut! His program includes Andante & Rondo capriccioso, Op.14 by Mendelssohn; Impromptu in G-flat Major, Op.90, No.3 by Schubert; Humoreske, Op.20 by Schumann; Paisajas by Mompou; 2 Fairy Tales by Medtner; Valses nobles et sentimentales by Ravel; Valse de Faust by Gounod/Liszt.

Born in 1992, this young pianist started playing at the age of 6, taking lessons initially from his mother, a professional piano teacher. Since then he has taken lessons with several pianists including Stephen Hough and Arnaldo Cohen, both well-known on our stage and to our audiences. He has devoted many hours to his art over the years and the results can be seen in the many awards (winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition, Gramophone’s ‘Young Artist of the Year and ‘Instrumental Award’ to name just a few), the many international performances as a soloist and with respected orchestras (such as London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony), and an exclusive record deal with Decca signed in 2011 (the youngest British musician to sign to the label and the first British pianist in close to 60 years). For more information on Grosvenor, you can visit his website at http://www.benjamingrosvenor.co.uk/

Come and join us for this exciting evening! https://www.facebook.com/events/1455951134624985/?ref=5


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Nikolai Medtner

Nikolai Medtner was a Russian composer and pianist. Based on the Gregorian calendar, his birthday is listed as January 5, 1880. When he was born in Moscow, the Julien calendar was still in use and his birthday fell on December 24, 1879. Either way we look at it I guess he was a holiday baby. He passed away in November of 1951.

Taking piano lessons from family members at a young age, he started at the Moscow Conservatory at the age of 10 and graduated at the age of 20. Originally looking at becoming a professional pianist, he was drawn as well to composing and made that his focus. All of his published work includes the piano. His friend and contemporary, Sergei Rachmaninoff, was a big fan of Medtner’s work. Rachmaninoff arranged a US/Canada tour for Medtner in 1924. Medtner wasn’t enthralled with the commercial side of touring and eventually settled in London, England to teach, play, and compose.

Marc-André Hamelin has helped increase the popularity of Nikolai Medtner with his well received recordings of Medtner’s piano sonatas. Later in January we will have the pleasure of hearing Hamelin perform the Sonata in E Minor, Op. 25, No. 2, Night Wind on our stage, known as one of Medtner’s more difficult pieces.

On the other side of Medtner’s work are his 38 Skazki or Fairy Tales as they are called in English. Skazki means tale or legend and the inspiration for them is the Russian tradition of telling folk tales. Medtner is a musical storyteller. We will also get to experience this side of Medtner’s work this season when pianist Benjamin Grosvenor joins us in February and performs a couple of the Fairy Tales.

To learn more about Nikolai Medtner, visit http://www.medtner.org.uk.

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