A Billy Strayhorn Celebration

Last night the first concert in Confluence’s virtual season went live.  It features the music of Billy Strayhorn curated by Andrew Downing.  Now jazz is not usually my thing but I found this concert interesting in many ways.  Strayhorn was unusual.  He was a poor African American who aspired to be a classical composer and pianist.  Realising the virtual impossibility of that in post WW2 America he took to jazz and dance band music and formed a very productive relationship with Duke Ellington.  He was also gay and that, rather courageously for the time, comes out in his music.  You can find out much more about Strayhorn in the most erudite chat between Andrew Downing and Professor Walter Vandeleur that precedes the music.

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A couple more upcoming livestreams

gkollerCanadian bassist (and much more) George Koller is giving a solo recital in aid of St. Mike’s COVID-19 fund. It’s resented by Canzona Chamber Players on their Youtube channel and by the looks of it fills the slot for this year’s Elizabeth Krehm memorial concert. It’s on September 27th at 7pm and it’s free but, of course, donations to St. Mike’s are encouraged.

Toronto’s Upper Canada Choristers and their Latin ensemble Cantemos will present music from Latin America in a concert titled Inti Ukana: A Latin American Tapestry. This was originally scheduled for May as a public performance but will now be live-streamed, with some pre-recorded elements, It’s on Friday, October 2nd at 7:30 p.m. It will be accessible through the choir’s website

Ema Nikolovska and Steven Philcox

Yesterday was the one vocal element in this year’s virtual Toronto Summer Music; a recital streamed from the Burlington Arts Centre by mezzo Ema Nikolovska and pianist Steven Philcox.  I think this was quite the best on-line event I have seen/heard since this schmozzle started.  It started off with a master class in German Lieder singing.  There were three Beethoven and three Schubert songs and they were just lovely.  Ema’s voice is a lovely rich mezzo and she showed great expression and attention to the text backed up by perfect diction.  Steven, as ever, was an exemplary accompanist.

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Let’s Stay Together

Last night’s virtual salon by Confluence; Let’s Stay Together, featured an extremely, if unsurprisingly, eclectic selection of music and poetry and some serious techno-wizardry.  Two numbers featuring Suba Shankaran and her technical whizz husband Dylan Bell exemplified the techy side.  Come Together was an overdubbed. live looped, east meets west version of the Lennon and McCartney number in which the pair built up layers of sound incrementally.  Meditation Round, which rounded out the evening, was a moving new work by Suba dealing with how we need to move forward, not back, as life, perhaps, returns to some sort of normality.  There was an almost 16th century quality to the music and the performance in which pretty much everyone took part remotely.  Brilliant mixing and post production here backing up an extremely affecting work.

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More streams to watch out for

berg143And the Snow did Lie is a multimedia artwork to be appreciated by both the eyes and the ears, using ten images for string quartet based on André Bergeron’s lithographs for Germaine Guèvremont’s French-Canadian classic, Le Survenant.  The music is by Adirondack based Welsh composer Hilary Tann and it’s performed by the Sirius Quartet.  It plays tonight on Parma Records Livestage at 7pm EDT.

On May 6th from 5pm to 6pm EDT there’s an NAC sponsored livestream concert by husband and wife duo, Alexander Dobson; baritone, and Jimin Dobson on Baroque Violin, Modern Violin and Viola. This performance is presented through Dobshin Arts  and there are more details here.