May Concert Listings

Week of May 4


Tues. May 5, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Joshua Hopkins, baritone
Michael Shannon, piano

Restless Love
Praised for his “virile, vigorous, yet velvety sound” (The Globe and Mail), Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins steps off the mainstage (where he performs the title role in the COC’s The Barber of Seville) to present an intimate program devoted to some of the most beautiful songs of the two giants of Lied: Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. The program includes Hopkins’ own “cycle” of Schubert songs, Seligkeit, and Schumann’s Liederkreis, Op. 24.



Thurs. May 7, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Kara Huber, piano

Absofunkinlutely: Contemporary Etudes for the Piano
Quickly gaining an international reputation for her extraordinary prowess and flair for contemporary music, award-winning American pianist Kara Huber shows that, in the right hands, piano etudes can be fun and funky. The program features Earl Wild’s virtuosic arrangements of beloved Gershwin tunes (“Embraceable You”, “Somebody Loves Me”, “The Man I Love” and “I Got Rhythm”), a set of pieces by David Rakowski (including such playful movements as “Fists of Fury”, “A Gliss is Just a Gliss” and “Absofunkinlutely”), Aaron Jay Kernis (Two Superstar Etudes) and the world premiere of a new work written for her by Andy Villemez.


Week of May 11


Tues. May 12, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Artists of the COC Orchestra
Marie Bérard, concertmaster
Benjamin Bowman, Paul Zevenhuisen and Csaba Koczó, violin
Keith Hamm and Josh Greenlaw, viola
Bryan Epperson and Alastair Eng, cello

Enescu Octet
A stellar group of principal players from the COC Orchestra (concertmaster Marie Bérard and violinists Benjamin Bowman, Paul Zevenhuisen and Csaba Koczó, violists Keith Hamm and Josh Greenlaw and cellists Bryan Epperson and Alastair Eng) combine their virtuosity and artistry to perform one of the great masterpieces for double string quartet by Romanian composer Georges Enescu, the Octet for Strings in C Major, Op. 7.



Thurs. May 14, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Artists of the COC Orchestra
Shelley Brown, flute
James Shields, clarinet
Aya Miyagawa and Nancy Kershaw, violin
Josh Greenlaw, viola
Olga Laktionova, cello
Lori Gemmell, harp

Folk Impressions
Artists of the COC Orchestra and guest harpist Lori Gemmell perform works by Arnold Bax (Elegiac Trio for flute, viola and harp), Béla Bartók (String Quartet No.4) and Maurice Ravel (Introduction and Allegro). In the early 20th century, Bax, Bartók and Ravel found themselves in the midst of great change, chaos and war. Perhaps in response to this pressure, all three of these works were influenced by their composer's love affair with a particular pastoral region. Bax, an Englishman, felt a strong affinity for Ireland and Celtic music. Bartók went to the countryside of Hungary and Romania for inspiration from the peasant's unique folk tradition. Ravel, though French, looked to Spain and his mother's roots for rhythm and harp lines that have much in common with the folk guitar music of the Basque region.

This concert is part of the sub-series A Century of Change: Commemorating the World Wars and the Fall of the Berlin Wall


Week of May 18


Tues. May 19, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Ekaterina Gubanova, mezzo-soprano
Rachel Andrist, piano

Songs and Dances of Death
Internationally acclaimed Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova (making her COC debut as Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle) performs Mussorgsky’s devastatingly beautiful song cycle Songs and Dances of Death.



Wed. May 20, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio

Les Adieux
The graduating artists of the COC Ensemble Studio perform a special “farewell” concert of their favourite arias and duets.



Thurs. May 21, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano
Christopher Mokrzewski, piano

Harawi: Songs of Love and Death
Acclaimed Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó (making her role debut as The Woman in the COC’s Erwartung) and pianist Christopher Mokrzewski unite to perform Olivier Messiaen’s exquisitely beautiful and deeply moving song cycle, Harawi (Songs of Love and Death), part of a trilogy of works embracing the Tristan myth and the concept of the simultaneous fulfillment of love and death. Messiaen dedicated this song cycle to his second wife, the pianist Yvonne Loriod.


Week of May 25


Tues. May 26, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Alejandro Vela, piano

Noche Azúl
Praised for his “elegance, exceptional technique and profound musicality" (Mundo Clásico), Mexican-Canadian pianist Alejandro Vela is rapidly developing an international reputation as a young artist to watch. In this special presentation, he brings a fresh repertoire by Latin American composers Lecuona (Noche azúl, Córdoba, La comparsa, Gitanerías), Ginastera (Sonata No. 1) and Corea (Armando’s Rhumba), as well as the much-loved concert standards by Chopin (Ballade No. 1) and Rachmaninov (5 Preludes, Op. 23).



Thurs. May 28, 2015
12 – 1 p.m.
Toronto Summer Music Festival

2015 Festival Preview
Celebrating its 10th season, the Toronto Summer Music Festival has firmly established itself as Toronto’s premier chamber music festival. Artistic director Douglas McNabney presents a festival sneak preview featuring emerging artists and music from the festival.


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