Toronto Summer Music 2023

Web-homepageMost of the line up for this year’s Toronto Summer Music, which is themed Metamorphosis, was unveiled last night at the Lula Lounge.  Basically it’s back to the full on festival with some exciting headline acts, some rising stars and the usual ReGen and Shuffle concerts, mentor programmes and community programming.  Plus a few surprises.  The festival runs July 6th to 29th in a variety of venues mostly around the Bloor Street Culture Corridor.

Opening night is a heavy weight piano/chamber music concert with Honens prize winner Illia Ovcharenko and Jon Kimura Parker joined by Jonathan Crow, Yura Lee, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, Ani Aznavoorian and Michael Chiarello in a programme that includes Beethoven, Liszt, Mozart, Milhaud, and Revutsky plus Rachmaninoff’s Second Suite for Two Pianos.  7.30pm in Koerner Hall with reception to follow.

JULY-27-Sondra-RadvanovskyThe big vocal news is Sondra Radvanovsky at Koerner on the 27th at 7.30pm.  This is a reprise of her Carnegie Hall recital featuring Rachmaninoff, R. Strauss, Duparc, Heggie and Handel.  More experimentally there’s the latest iteration of Teiya Kasahara’s The Butterfly Project, directed by Aria Umezawa, which explores the Japanese melodies that Puccini appropriated in that opera of his.  That’s on July 12th at 7.30pm in Walter Hall.  There’s also a recital by Art of Song mentors Ana Mariá Martinez and Craig Terry on the 10th, also 7.30pm in Walter Hall.  This is an all Spanish language programme including de Falla, Rodrigo and Turina.

JULY-19-Isidore2022 Banff String Quartet Competition winners the Isidore Quartet feature twice.  On the 19th at Walter Hall (7.30pm) they have a programme including works by Bach, Beethoven (the Op. 132 quartet), Shirazi and Wijeratne.  Then on the 20th they are at The Great Hall with reinforcements including Jonathan Crow for a programme including Bartók, Telemann, Dvořák and Caroline Shaw.

There’s lots more (fairly conventional) chamber music featuring the Miró Quartet, the New Orford Quartet, Angela Hewitt (playing Bach of course), Jonathan Crow and lots more but I just wanted to draw attention to the weirder end of the line up.  On the 11th at 7.30pm in Walter Hall the Ironwood Quartet are joined by the Tai Chi Chuan players with newly commissioned works by Kevin Lau,  Mitchell and Alexina Louie plus R. Murray Schafer’s Parting Wild Horse’s Mane.  It will include demonstrations of Tai Chi Chuan forms and weapons.  There’s nothing more dangerous than an armed string quartet!

JULY-18-BridgeWolakOn the 18th at 7.30pm at Lula Lounge Michael Bridge on enhanced accordion and Kornel Wolak on clarinet will take you on a wild journey from Bach to benny Goodman.  You can get dinner at this one too.  On the 24th in the Lovely Isabel Bader Theatre there’s a tango programme featuring the Payadora Tango Ensemble and Pointe Tango dance.  I haven’t seen these dancers but Payadora are amazing.

There’s more to come too.  There will be the big finale at Koerner on the 29th as well as free ReGen concerts all afternoon and evening on the Saturdays in Walter Hall featuring both art song and chamber music from the Academy Fellows.  There’s more free stuff in the form of kids’ concerts, Shuffle Hour at Heliconian Hall at 5pm on July 11th to 13th and 18th to 20th.  Free noon hour concerts, also at Heliconian on July 12th to 14th and 26th to 28th and even a neurodiversity and disability friendly concert presented in conjunction with Xenia Concerts at 11am on the 22nd in the space called (for now) Meridian Hall.

There will be more details on the free stuff in June but basically you can spend three full weeks in July in the concert hall if you like!  So much for nothing on in Toronto in the summer.  All the details plus ticket information are at It looks to me like here we have one part of the Toronto music scene that has put the last three years behind t and is going full out again. Hurrah!

Finally I’d like to acknowledge the rather fine music making that bracketed the announcements last night.  Jonathan Crow and friends kicked things off with three rather lovely miniatures by Dvořák and the extremely talented Brazilian mezzo-soprano Camila Montefusco accompanied by Vlad Soloviev sang us out with five beautiful songs by Latin American composers.  Good stuff!


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