Piano Ecstasy…umm…

April 10th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Ecstasy is a funny word – I can’t always spell it and I can’t say it without risk of a giggle-frisson (unless we’re talking about MDMA – which is serious…very serious). Whatever or whichever, on April 26, I’m playing with eight other great pianists on six grand pianos in Koerner Hall, the most acoustically perfect hall south of Sheppard. We’re also playing Six Pianos, which is probably my favourite Steve Reich piece – who is sort of the Johannes Brahms of 20th Century North America. Pretty Great. Also, super cute piano image – find all of our faces in the piano! Special thanks to Robert Lowrey Pianos, who is ponying up the grands, if you know what I mean.

Click here for more details

90 second Promo of Halo Ballet!

February 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

You should watch this, because who doesn’t love a minute-and-a-half of Halo Ballet?

The original idea was to combine live dance with live music in a virtual, repurposed environment.

Welcome to 2012!

January 7th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I almost resolved to update my blog more in 2012, but I took the easy route and bought a gym membership instead.

Since last update – played in the NMC Ann Southam concert, did some outreach work with the amazing Julia Aplin at the Sweetwater Festival, played the penultimate concert in our Haydn Piano Trio Cycle (last concert is April 1st here), conducted and played in the John Cage show for Nuit Blanche Toronto, conducted Michael Gordon’s Trance with CONTACT at the Music Gallery’s X-Avant Festival, recreated Carole King’s Tapestry for the Global TV Cabaret Festival, music directed the revival of John Beckwith and James Reaney’s Crazy to Kill for Toronto Masque Theatre, did some reading and performing in the Young Centre’s Word Festival, Vinko Globokar came to town, did some work with the always fun Young Centre City Choir, which anyone can join and is free!.

Coming up soon – on January 29th, I’m playing in Thomas Kessler’s Piano Quintet – an hommage to Mozart’s, as well as the premiere of Omar Daniel’s new piece Mehetapja for three sopranos and ensemble, part of the New Music Concerts Legends show.  Details here.

February 10th and 11th at the Music Gallery is the Cold War Songbook, a weekend I’ve curated involving three of my favourite pianists, Vicky Chow, Simon Docking and Stephen Clarke.  Details here

On February 25th, I’ll be in Vancouver playing some four piano stuff with the Vancouver Bach Choir and some amazing klavierspielers – the Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann and Kinza Tyrell.  Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Carl Orff’s Catulli Carmina.  Should be amazing.

In March, I’ll be playing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the New Creations Festival.  Looking forward to working with Peter Eotvos.  I also wrote an article about the festival for the TSO magazine.  You can read it here.

Cheers, and happy new year!

Things I’ve been meaning to write more about that I’m blogging about in vague point form because I’m procrastinating.

September 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Here are two ideas I’m working on.

1 – When I perform a new piece of music, culpability for my mistakes rests with the composer unless there is strong compelling evidence otherwise. A highway with well-designed signage and a smart physical layout makes it easy for travelers to get from A to B; if you have a clear idea of where you need to go and have ample advance warning along with the physical space to do so, then the civil engineers have done their job. Composers need to think about how they notate their ideas in a much more critical fashion than they currently do. Performance notation should give performers the best possible chance of creating the sounds a composer wants – this is distinct from compositional notation, which should be more about illustrating the ideas of the composer. Put it this way – if I’m adding extra lanes to a highway, a topographical survey is nice to have, but if I’m navigating the highway, do I really need kilometrage to two decimal places?

2 – I’m astonished by performers who complain about small score errors or lack of dynamics. As I play through Haydn’s piano trios, I laugh at the suppositions and errors that are fixed and forgiven. I also don’t hear the same standards of notational rigour applied to, say, Johnny Bach. 18th and 19th century performance practice is so ingrained in our training that we don’t think twice about these things. Couldn’t we at least extend a similar courtesy to the composers who represent us?

Do these ideas seem contradictory?

Pattycake and Halo Ballet @ Ottawa Chamberfest!

July 27th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Toca Loca is taking Halo Ballet and Pattycake to the Ottawa Chamberfest late night show on Saturday July 30th. I don’t know what’s more exciting – playing at a really fun festival, or sharing a show with two of my favourite artists, Christine Fellows and Shary Boyle.

Definitely the latter.

The indy Carleton newspaper gave us a nice writeup here and you can get more info about the festival here and here.

Julia Aplin and I will also be performing Pattycake and messing around with Living Statues in the Waterway Soundfaire the same day at 1pm.

edit:  just found this. I wanna be disserted!

May Flowers! Toronto New Music Events for May!

May 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Kaija Saariaho is visiting Toronto courtesy of the TSO. You can see her and hear her music played by the Toronto Symphony at RTH (with Karita Mattila and Anssi Karttunen) Saturday May 7th at 8 pm.

There’s also a Music Gallery show of her music tonight! Details below.

Also tonight, Pestova/Meyer duo at Gallery 345, if your not a Finn-o-phile.

Later – in the month – NMC, Continuum, Esprit, Emergents feat. Alex Samaras’ GREX and the Katelyn Clark/Patrick Dupuis duo, plus a cool show by CONTACT featuring composer/death metal hero Helmut Oehring.

May listings after the fold!

» Read the rest of this entry «


March 26th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

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It’s good to have spring back, yes? Yes.

TONIGHT: A new music battle of the bands, but all friendly like. RCM New Music Ensemble, U of T Sax Ensemble and U of T Chainsaw Ensemble play Steve Reich, Sean Griffin and world premieres by Robert Lemay at the Music Gallery, tonight, Sat March 26, at 8pm. $10/$5. Students free.

Via Salzburg has a an emerging composer competition. Deadline Apr 29.

It’s happening out of town, but check out Kitchener’s Open Ears Festival if you get a chance. April 27-May 1. Susanna Hood does John Oswald’s Spinvolver, Princeton Laptop Orchestra, Nicole Lizee, Tony Conrad, Tanya Tagaq, Toca Loca CD Release, Eve Egoyan and more more more!!!

I’m breaking my own rule here (no pop), but it’s my rule. My super favourite songwriter, Christine Fellows, will be having her CD release at the Music Gallery on March 26. If you saw her show with Shary Boyle at the closing of the Images Festival last year, you’ll be as excited as I am. http://musicgallery.org/node/405

Lots of great concerts this month. Norma Beecroft show (17th), the AMP boys come to town (10th) and Terry Riley’s Cactus Rosary (16th).
And now, listings for April! (after the jump) » Read the rest of this entry «