Now in its eighth year of bringing outstanding classical music experiences to the city in the summer, the Toronto Summer Music Festival features renowned Canadian and international artists performing in 12 mainstage concerts at Koerner Hall and Walter Hall, plus masterclasses, lectures, interviews, workshops, free outreach concerts, and more. This year’s festival celebrates turn of the century Paris, a time known as La Belle Époque.
The Festival opens next Tuesday, July 16th at Koerner Hall with a concert featuring France’s Pasquier Pidoux Pennetier Piano Trio in their Toronto debut. Violinist Régis Pasquier, cellist Roland Pidoux, and pianist Jean-Claude Pennetier will perform two masterworks of their country’s chamber music repertoire: Gabriel Fauré’s luminous Piano Trio in D Minor Op. 120, and the supremely colourful Trio for piano, violin and cello by his most gifted pupil, Maurice Ravel. The program also includes Sergei Rachmaninoff’s heartfelt Trio Élégiaque in D Minor Op. 9 composed in memory of his idol and mentor, Tchaikovsky. The concert will be followed by a champagne reception in the lobby with the artists.
Other performances worth noting are:
Gryphon Trio Thursday July 18, 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall
Canada’s Gryphon Trio is joined by two guest artists, bass Robert Pomakov and violist Paul Coletti, for a program of stirring and intriguing music. Debussy’s melodious Piano Trio offers a snapshot of the young, still tradition-orientated composer, while Fauré’s passionate Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 45 shows him at the height of his powers. Rounding out the program is Mussorgsky’s profoundly moving song-cycle Songs and Dances of Death in Gary Kulesha’s new and masterful transcription for bass voice and piano trio.
Cédric Tiberghien Tuesday July 30, 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall
French pianist Cédric Tiberghien makes his Toronto debut fresh from a thrilling performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This young artist performs a striking program that places Schubert – both miniaturist and deep, soulful thinker – side-by-side with the fanciful impressionist visions of Debussy. Works include Schubert’s Six Moments musicaux, D. 780 and Sonata in C Minor, D. 958, and Debussy’s Masques, L. 105, D’un cahier d’esquisses, L. 99, and L’isle Joyeuse, L. 106.
The Minimalist Dreamhouse Project Thursday August 1, 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall
The brilliant French piano duo of sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque headline a kaleidoscopic tribute to Minimalism, the hypnotic style of rhythmic patterning developed by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, and other contemporary masters. Mixing pianos with guitars, percussion, electronics, keyboards and vocals, this unique project explores musical minimalism from its origins through to its influence on rock groups like Sonic Youth and Radiohead
Debussy & Brahms Friday August 2, 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall
The festival comes to a truly grand conclusion with the robust feelings, rich textures, and gypsy-flavoured festivities of Brahms’ mighty Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25. Balancing it are the graceful refinement of a late Debussy gem, Sonata for flute, viola and harp, L. 137, and Caplet’s Conte fantastique for harp and string quartet, an atmospheric evocation of Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting story, The Masque of the Red Death. The program will be performed by Jonathan Crow (violin), Martin Beaver (violin), Steven Dann (viola), Marc Coppey (cello), Ian Brown (piano) and Jennifer Swartz (harp).
The line up for this series includes:
Thursday, July 18 – Jake Charkey, cello fusion/ Amir Amiri, Indian Santoorist
Friday, July 19 – “Alexandru Sura and friends” virtuoso Romanian cimbalom
Wednesday, July 24 – Assemblage Duo (NY) Charles Waters and Ryan Ingebritsen
Thursday, July 25 – LA Guitar Quartet / Alexander Fiterstein, klezmer clarinet
Wednesday, July 31 – Tango Café led by Soohyun Nam
Friday, August 2 – Spectrolite Piano trio led by Carol Gimbel and Vernon Regehr/ Music in the Barns Ensemble
Also make sure to check out the Free Outreach Concerts: These popular free concerts showcase gifted Toronto Summer Music Academy Fellows and guest artists. Performances are at noon on July 19, July 25, July 26, August 1 and August 2 at Heliconian Hall.
Festival passes are already on sale. You can find the full schedule, box office, and venue information at torontosummermusic.com.