Tag Archives: Gryphon Trio

Our 46th season!

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

Season subscription for our 2017-2018 season are now on sale.  Existing subscribers – you should have received your renewal information in late February.  You have until May 31st to renew and keep your existing seats.  Contact the box office at 416-366-7723 if you have not received your renewal information.

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.

Another Toronto debut!  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 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 pianist, Alexei Lubimov will make his Toronto recital debut, at the age of 74, with our February 6th concert.

The Apollon Musagète Quartet return on February 22nd

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

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The musical compositions of Schoenberg, Kelly Ann Murphy, Brahms and young locals. (Or, lovely stories as told by the Gryphon Trio)

by guest blogger Julie Berridge

Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), was composed in 1899. Schoenberg composed it as a sextet and Eduard Steuermann later arranged it for a trio.

Verklärte Nacht was inspired by a poem of the same name written by German poet Richard Fedor Leopold Dehmel. The poem tells a lovely story of a night transfigured by a revelation of a woman who has found her true love around the time she discovers that she has become pregnant by another man. As the new lovers walk through the forest, the woman reveals her sadness and regret. The man’s response is beautiful and totally unexpected.

Below is an English translation of the poem. The composition matches the moods of the poem. Come hear the Gryphon Trio tonight, and see if you agree.

Two people are walking through a bare, cold wood;
the moon keeps pace with them and draws their gaze.
The moon moves along above tall oak trees,
there is no wisp of cloud to obscure the radiance
to which the black, jagged tips reach up.
A woman’s voice speaks:
“I am carrying a child, and not by you.
I am walking here with you in a state of sin.
I have offended grievously against myself.
I despaired of happiness,
and yet I still felt a grievous longing
for life’s fullness, for a mother’s joys
and duties; and so I sinned,
and so I yielded, shuddering, my sex
to the embrace of a stranger,
and even thought myself blessed.
Now life has taken its revenge,
and I have met you, met you.”
She walks on, stumbling.
She looks up; the moon keeps pace.
Her dark gaze drowns in light.
A man’s voice speaks:
“Do not let the child you have conceived
be a burden on your soul.
Look, how brightly the universe shines!
Splendour falls on everything around,
you are voyaging with me on a cold sea,
but there is the glow of an inner warmth
from you in me, from me in you.
That warmth will transfigure the stranger’s child,
and you bear it me, begot by me.
You have transfused me with splendour,
you have made a child of me.”
He puts an arm about her strong hips.
Their breath embraces in the air.
Two people walk on through the high, bright night.
Give me Phoenix Wing to Fly is a composition by Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy, Commissioned by the Gryphon Quartet in 1997. Murphy has noted that the words of John Keats inspired the work.

But when I am consumed in the fire,
Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire

Those are lines from Keats’ sonnet “On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again”. Keats wrote that sonnet in 1818, but those words are perhaps even more relevant today.

Murphy has noted,

“I’ve always been intrigued by the myth of the Phoenix – a bird that immolates in fire and then rises up again from its own ashes. It is such a powerful image, and one which is relevant to contemporary life, as we find ourselves balanced somewhat precariously on the brink of disaster. No matter how devastating any single event might be, you can still recover and begin again: a do-over. The success in the attempt and the belief that it is possible to move forward”.

Give Me Phoenix Wings To Fly: A shouted demand to the heavens, or a whispered prayer? Struggle, angst, chaos, exploration, tenuous grasps of the thing we most want that eludes us. Freedom caught but can it be held? Come, listen and decide. Tonight.

It’s only fitting that a theme so apt to contemporary society be followed by compositions of very young contemporary composers in the 2016 Gryphon Trio Young Composers Program from the Claude Watson program at Earl Haig Secondary School. This program was initiated by the Gryphon Trio in 1996, to provide mentorship to students as they create original works. What moods and emotions will you hear in these compositions? Come and find out.

Brahms’ Trio in B-sharp Major brings the evening to a close. It develops through four movements. The work opens with a pensive but sweet piano solo, followed by an engaging cello solo. The second movement starts with a whispered skip followed by increased exuberance. Then comes the Adagio third movement. Mysterious, serene and meditative. The final movement approaches symphonic proportions. The scope and sound of this work is enormous. Warm, sentimental, lyrical, rich and intense.

All in all, an evening not to be missed.

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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 http://music-toronto.com/ and you can find us all season long!

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Gryphon Trio – December 2015

Next Thursday we welcome the Gryphon Trio back to our stage! The evening includes Beethoven (Trio in C Minor Op. 1, No. 3), a new piece by Vincent Ho (Gryphon Realms – a world premiere), Piano Trio in F-sharp Minor by Arno Babajanian, and new pieces composed by grade 11 students from the Gryphon Trio Young Composers Program with the Claude Watson Arts Program.

Many of our patrons are already familiar with the Gryphon Trio (Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; Roman Borys, cello; Jamie Parker, piano). They have performed for us for 20 years now (and have been in existence for 22 years), eight of those as our ensemble-in-residence.

Instead of trying to find something new to tell you about the Gryphon, I thought it might be more fun to hear about them from them! Below are a number of video clips with various interviews from over the years.

Guardian of treasures – how the Gryphon Trio came to be – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3eFG8EtJdk

Interview of Jamie Parker by David Perlman at The Whole Note. February 2015 – http://www.gryphontrio.com/conversationsthewholenote-jamie-parker/

Interview of Roman Borys by David Perlman at The Whole Note. June 2012 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7hf2VRqHhg – Roman

Interview of Jamie Parker by David Perlman at The Whole Note. October 2011 – http://www.thewholenote.com/index.php/newsroom/musical-life/whoismusicalchild/12937-we-are-all-musics-child-october-2011

The Gryphon Trio interviewed by Keith Horner, recorded at the 2009 Festival of the Sound – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6C8qJTQJpA

 

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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.
http://www.music-toronto.com/index.html

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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Gryphon Trio – February 26, 2015 concert

By guest contributor Julie Berridge

On February 26 the Gryphon Trio brings us music from a prolific composer of music’s classical period – Haydn, born in 1732; Franz Peter Schubert born in 1797; some very young composers from the Claude Watson program at Earl Haig Secondary School, and Dinuk Wijeratne, a Sri Lankan born, Dubai raised, Canadian based composer, conductor and pianist.

Haydn and Schubert lived in somewhat different worlds in the same country. Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estates far from Vienna. Being far away from Vienna, Haydn did not often get to enjoy Vienna’s vibrant entertainment scene. The following excerpt is taken from a letter he wrote to his friend Maria Anna von Genzinger dated February 9, 1790

Well here I sit in my wilderness; forsaken, like some poor orphan, almost without human society; melancholy, dwelling on the memory of past glorious days. Yes; past, alas! And who can tell when these happy hours may return? Those charming meetings? Where the whole circle have but one heart and one soul–all those delightful musical evenings, which can only be remembered, and not described. Where are all those inspired moments? All gone–and gone for long.

In contrast, Schubert’s working life was filled with gaiety. He would compose in the morning, go to coffee shops in the afternoon and then to sing-alongs at the homes of friends in the evening. The delightful musical evenings that Haydn longed for were a regular feature of Schubert’s life.

Dinuk Wijeratne was born in Sri Lanka grew up in Dubai, and acquired his musical education in the UK, and in the US at the Juilliard school of music. He is now based in Canada where for the 9th season he is Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.

So what do these composers and artistes have in common? Three words come immediately to mind: adventure, invention and evolution.

Of Haydn, American musicologist Barbara Russano Hanning has noted, “His compositions had broad appeal because they combined the familiar with the unexpected”.

Of Wijeratne, The New York Times says he can “transform his instrument [the piano] into a drum, a zither and a scampering melodic partner”. The Halifax Chronicle Herald states that “Dinuk Wijeratne’s boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs…”

Schubert’s work has been cited as the source of the modern pop song. The Emmy award winning British composer Howard Goodall in drawing links between the songs of British pop singer Adele and Schubert, has said, “Strip away the cultural differences, the clothes and anything that dates them, and there is a strong connection”.

The Young Composer Project at the Claude Watson Arts program at Earl Haig Secondary School will bring to us the music of young high school composers. Again: adventure, invention and evolution.

The evening promises a musical exploration of all of these concepts. Not to mention, delight.

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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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St. Lawrence String Quartet

The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) is no stranger to MTO audiences!  This lively quartet first performed for our audiences in 1992 and has been performing yearly for us since 1995.   They will be back on our stage this season on January 9, 2014.

We will have the pleasure of being the first Canadian city to have the latest formation of the quartet play.   Mark Fewer (2nd violin) officially joins the SLSQ on January 1st.   MTO audiences have heard Mark play with the SLSQ previously as he has filled in for both Geoff and Scott at different points in the past.

The quartet is Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University.  There they teach masterclasses, play concerts, and enrich the musical lives of students through special projects.  One of these projects is the “Why Music Matters” classes offered by Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies.  Geared toward 14 to 17 year olds, it is an intensive program that explores music over time from several perspectives – culture, technology, history, theory.

Another staple for the SLSQ is their summer Chamber Music Seminar.   This is a 10 day program held at Stanford that combines students aiming for careers in chamber music performance and aspiring adult musicians.   It features daily sessions with members of the SLSQ along with guest instructors each summer.   The summer of 2014 features the members of the Gryphon Trio as some of the guest faculty members.   This year’s seminar takes place from June 20 to 29, 2014 and for more info or an application, visit http://music.stanford.edu/SLSQWorkshop/

We look forward to having the members of the SLSQ – Geoff Nuttall (first violin), Mark Fewer (second violin), Lesley Robertson (viola), and Christopher Costanza (cello) – perform for our first concert of 2014!   Come join us!

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Waypoints, by Erik Ross – a world premiere!

Along with supporting Canadian artists, Music Toronto is often honoured with world premieres of new pieces. This coming Thursday, December 19th, Phillip Addis will sing the world premiere of Waypoints composed by Erik Ross, with text by Zachariah Wells.

Wells’ original poem was published in the summer 2012 edition of The Fiddlehead, a literary journal published at the University of New Brunswick. In existence for more than 65 years, The Fiddlehead has a mandate “to publish accomplished poetry, short fiction, and Canadian literature reviews; to discover and promote new writing talent; to represent the Atlantic region’s lively cultural and literary diversity; and to place the best of new and established Canadian writing in an international context.” (http://www.thefiddlehead.ca/aboutus.html)

Born in PEI, Zachariah Wells has lived and travelled across all of Canada. He currently resides in Halifax. To find out more about his writing, visit his website at http://www.zachariahwells.com

Composer Erik Ross completed his Doctor of Music degree at the University of Toronto back in 2002. He has composed commissioned pieces for several well known groups including The Gyphon Trio. His work has been performed across Canada, and in the U.S., Australia, England, and Japan. With a passion for education, he teaches piano and composition lessons, along with theory and improvisation. In the years 2000, 2004, and 2005, Ross was an instructor with the Gryphon Trio in their composition program at Earl Haig Secondary School. You can learn more about Dr. Ross and hear some of his previous works on his website at http://www.erikross.com/index.html

 

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The Walter Carsen Prize

The Gryphon Trio will be presented with the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts prior to their performance on Thursday December 5, 2013.  At that performance, they will play a piece to celebrate their 20th anniversary commissioned from R. Murray Schafer, a recipient of the Walter Carsen Prize in 2005.

So what is the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts?  It “recognizes the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievement by a Canadian professional artist in music, theatre or dance.” (www.canadacouncil.ca)  The prize is awarded annually, cycling through the various mediums, with music being the category of choice once every four years.  Nominees are put forward by a fellow peer and often the prize is awarded to an individual.  It can, as it has been this year, be awarded to a small ensemble provided that each artist meet the guidelines. The award is administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Walter Carsen passed away last year at the age of 100.  He was a very successful businessman and an amazing supporter of the arts in general.  He had a long and supportive association with the National Ballet of Canada, helping to fund the Walter Carsen Centre and underwriting a number of productions.  He supported the Shaw Festival and the Art Gallery of Ontario.  In 2001, he donated over $1 million to create the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts in order to recognize outstanding arts professionals.   His generous spirit shall live on with the many projects he has helped create.

Music Toronto’s audiences have always known how special the Trio is and it is always a pleasure to have them perform on our stage.  It will be extra special this year as we watch them receive well deserved national recognition.  Congratulations to the Gryphon Trio!

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