Monday, March 31, 2014

Coming Soon from Nacional Records: Santé Les Amis and Sudamericana (May 27 2014)

From my friends at Nacional Records:

After Opening For Foals & Franz Ferdinand,
Santé Les Amis Announce USA Debut - Sudamericana (Nacional Records - May 27, 2014)
Album And Performance at LAMC

Rolling Stone (Argentina) Names Santé Les Amis a ‘New Band to Watch’
“Electro rock that you can’t help but dance to, full of cowbell, infectious drumbeats, and all-around fun” Indie Shuffle
“Funky, dance-floor-igniting goodness” Remezcla

With a catchy fusion of rock and electronica, 'Sudamericana' is the debut album from acclaimed indie band Santé Les Amis, which will be released May 27th by Nacional Records.

Santé Les Amis has toured with Franz Ferdinand, Foals and Calle 13, making the band a fan favorite among indie rock fans. With tracks in English and Spanish, 'Sudamericana' has won praise from Indie Shuffle and Remezcla, who celebrated their “funky, dance-floor-igniting goodness.”

Santé Les Amis music will make their U.S. debut at the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) in New York this July.

Watch the Video For The First Single “Brasil”:

Off Broadway Smash Hit Here Lies Love - Performances Begin April 14 2014 / Opening Night Set for May 1 2014

From a media release:


H E R E   L I E S   L O V E


New York, NY –
Joey Parnes Productions and EMURSIVE (Jonathan Hochwald, Arthur Karpati, and Randy Weiner, principals) have announced casting and dates for The Public Theater's production of David Byrne and Alex Timbers' smash hit musical, Here Lies Love.  Performances will begin on April 14th with an opening night set for May 1st at The Public Theater's LuEsther Hall (425 Lafayette Street, New York City) for an open-ended commercial run.  The principal cast from the 2013 world premiere of Here Lies Lovereturns, including Ruthie Ann Miles and Jose Llana as Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos, and Conrad Ricamora as Ninoy Aquino.

Under the direction of Alex Timbers, Here Lies Love played a critically raved-about, sold-out run last year at the same space, which was extended by popular demand four times.  Here Lies Love was conceived by David Byrne, and features lyrics by Byrne, music by Byrne and Fatboy Slim, additional music by Tom Gandey and J Pardo, and choreography by Annie-B Parson.  Tickets for Here Lies Love will go on sale March 10thand range from $99-$139.  For more info, visit beginning March 10th.

Here Lies Love features, in alphabetical order: Renee Albulario, Carol Angeli, Melody Butiu, Natalie Cortez, Debralee Daco, Jose Llana, Kelvin Moon Loh, Jaygee Macapugay, Jeigh Madjus, Ruthie Ann Miles, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Conrad Ricamora, George Salazar, and Janelle Velasquez.

Within a pulsating dance club atmosphere, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim deconstruct the astonishing journey of Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos retracing her meteoric rise to power and subsequent descent into infamy and disgrace at the end of the People Power Revolution.  Here Lies Love is neither a period piece nor a biography, neither a play nor a traditional musical but an immersive theatrical event combining songs influenced by four decades of dance music, adrenaline-fueled choreography, and a remarkable 360-degree scenic and video environment to go beyond Imelda’s near-mythic obsession with shoes and explore the tragic consequences of the abuse of power.

Here Lies Love is a 90-minute theatrical experience.  Set within a dance club atmosphere, audiences will stand and move with the actors.  Comfortable shoes and clothing are recommended.  Dancing is encouraged.

"There was an overwhelming desire, both by the fans of this work and those of us who are committed to it, to get it back to New York this season," said producer Joey Parnes.  "We spent of a lot of time looking for the perfect space to remount it, so when its original home became available, it created a perfect opportunity."

Performance Art: Etobicoke Grannies tweet their #legacy April 12, 2014 – #HatchTO Harbourfront, Toronto

From a media release:

Performance Art:
Etobicoke Grannies tweet their #legacy in opening HATCH performance – April 12, 2014 – #HatchTO
Harbourfront, Toronto

Featuring three women over 65, Grandma meets the Twitterverse in this performance project, which examines what is left behind and why we look to leave a legacy. Harbourfront Centre is pleased to present #legacy as the first project of the HATCH 2014 season. The piece is co-created and directed by Rob Kempson, a theatre artist who regularly works in arts education and applied theatre. Equal parts community arts project and interactive stage piece, #legacy promises to ask provocative questions about how we define others and ourselves by what we share both in person and online.

When three women over 65 get on stage to share their thoughts on legacy, it’s bound to be poignant; when they are asked to tweet about it, anything can happen. Joan, Judith and Donna are new to social media and do not consider themselves ‘artists’. For Kempson’s HATCH performance experiment, all three women have undertaken the task of reflection, exploring what it means to leave a legacy, to create something permanent, something memorable. These three women: @judith_dove, @Joan_Belford2 and @McCroq have been tweeting throughout the creation process using the #HatchTO and #Legacy hashtags. They will continue to tweet during the performance, in an effort to understand how sharing content online can leave a legacy of its own.

What are the implications of an online legacy that is based on frequency and not potency? Audiences will have the chance to hear the script on stage and engage with the “Twitter script” online—a series of reflections, considerations and questions from the performers that will be tweeted as the piece is being played out. Whether audiences come to sit in the tweet seats with their smartphone or choose to watch as the online story develops through projection on stage, this is an experiment in combining new technologies and community-based art that will touch hearts and ask big questions. 

“We make assumptions about the capacities of older adults,” suggests Kempson, who began co-creating #legacy after facilitating a multi-generational project with these women at their church.  “Joan, Judith, and Donna carry a great deal of truth with them. They know who they are and they’re willing to take the artistic risk to share it. I think audiences will be surprised by these women and what they have to offer, from the things they tweet to the stories they reveal on stage.”

Rob Kempson is a multi-faceted theatre artist and artist-educator, and for this project, is working in collaboration with production designer Beth Kates and dramaturg Samantha Serles. Kempson’s work has regularly led to community-based collaborations, including interactive exhibits for Casa Loma and Opera Atelier, as well as the creation of collective work with students and non-artists of all ages. He has taught workshops in community-based collective creation with the York and Peel Regional School Boards, the Council of Drama and Dance Educators and the Toronto District School Board Arts Co-Op, as well as at a number of Toronto theatre companies. He was most recently seen starring in his musical The Way Back To Thursday at Theatre Passe Muraille.

• Tickets for #legacy and other HATCH 2014 projects are available via Harbourfront Centre’s Box Office. Patrons can call 416-973-4000416-973-4000, visit 235 Queens Quay West and/or go online for all ticket inquiries.

Celebrating its tenth year, HATCH is a key initiative in Harbourfront Centre’s mission to develop local artists and their unique practices. Curated by Michael Wheeler and Aislinn Rose, the 2014 HATCH residency and mentorship programme provides resources and professional assistance to a new generation of engaging and innovative contemporary artists.

Montreal Premiere: Theatre 317 Presents The Memory of Water April 8 to 12 2014

From a media release:

Theatre 317 Presents
The Memory of Water

Written by Shelagh Stephenson
Directed by Corey Castle
Tuesday, April 8 - Saturday, April 12, 2014

Achetez vos billets en ligne / Buy your tickets online
• Réservations / Reservations: (514) 989-1336(514) 989-1336

The funniest drama you’ll ever see…

Montreal – Theater 317 proudly presents the Montreal premiere of The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson, directed by Corey Castle, from April 8th - 12th at Theatre La Chapelle.

In The Memory of Water, three sisters, each haunted by their own demons, gather in a highly charged atmosphere on the eve of their mother's funeral. With a storm raging outside, they laugh, cry, rage and bicker as the conflicts of the past and their hold on the present are mercilessly exposed.

Complicating their interactions is the fragile nature of memory; no two sisters remember their childhood experiences in the same way. Yet, they are sisters and must find a way to come together. Unable to connect with each other, they find dangerous, desperate, poignant and wildly funny ways to break through.

Theatre 317 artistic director, Munirah Amra, chose this play because for her, it is about the two most important things in life, memory and love, “The Memory of Water is life affirming and bittersweet, cheeky and profound, gentle and cruel. It offers us an evening of laughter and the opportunity to celebrate what makes us human.”

This searing comedy exposes the patterns and strains of family life in a way that will be familiar to all.  Winner of the British Laurence Olivier Award in 2000 for Best Comedy, The Memory of Water promises to be one of those great elucidating nights at the theatre, holding a mirror up to anyone with a sibling.

The cast includes Katherine Cleland, Mylène Dinh-Robic (from the hit new TV series 19-2), Milan Duchêne, Anais Kassardjian, Azeddine Kettani, Jéromine Lorre-Déjoie and Ani Shahbazian.  Lighting design is by Marie-Reine Corvellec and set design by Olivier Donohue.

The Memory of Water
Theatre 317
Playing at Theatre La Chapelle, 3700 rue St. Dominique
Tuesday, April 8-Saturday, April 12 at 8:00pm

Tickets: 25$ regular, 20$ students
Achetez vos billets en ligne / Buy your tickets online:
Réservations / Reservations: (514) 989-1336(514) 989-1336

Small World Music Toronto Presents: the 12th Annual Asian Music Series April 5 to May 31, 2014

From a media release:

Small World Music Presents:
the 12th Annual Asian Music Series
April 5 to May 31, 2014

Tickets & info for all shows

We're delighted to announce the lineup for the 12th Annual Asian Music Series. From April 5th through May 31st, we present ten events embracing the scope of music, new and old, from across the Asian cultural landscape. The series celebrates Asian and South Asian Heritage Month, bringing together emerging local artists with legendary figures and communities from across the GTA to celebrate musical heritage. The series is generously supported by TD Bank.

As announced previously, it all starts with the great  Zakir Hussain and his Masters of Percussion project that hits the stage at Roy Thomson Hall on April 5th. It's coming up soon and tickets are moving, so now would be a good time to visit here to secure your seats. Those of you who were there for Zakir's last appearance in town with Shivkumar Sharma during last year's Asian Music Series, will remember what a magical concert it was. We've got a video that revisits that event and delves into some aspects of music and culture with two of the great artists of their generations. Well worth a look.

The series will end on a high note as well - we're now able to announce a major closing event, as the Sony Centre and Asian Music Series collaborate to present Shafqat Amanat Ali. One of the preeminent voices in South Asian music, Shafqat is a major star in the soundscape of Bollywood, contemporary fusion and semi-classical music. With his soulful voice, tremendous stage presence and a ten-piece backing band, he promises an electrifying performance. Tickets are on sale as of today, so you can be among the first in line!

The full lineup for the series looks like this:

Saturday April 5th - Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion at Roy Thomson Hall
Wednesday April 16th - Rakkatak at Lula Lounge
Saturday April 19th - Jonita Gandhi w. Akash Gandhi & Sahil Khan at Rose Theatre
Thursday April 29th - Autorickshaw at Lula Lounge
Saturday May 3rd - Gods Robots & eccodek at El Mocambo
Sunday May 4th - Sultans of String with Anwar Khurshid at Kingston Road United
Saturday May 10th - Spire at Small World Music Centre
Saturday May 17th - Kala Ramnath and Vandana Vishwas at SVBF Auditorium
Wednesday May 21st - Ron Davis' Symphronica w. Nagata Shachu Taiko at Lula Lounge
Saturday May 31st  - Shafqat Amanat Ali at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

Unsound Festival New York City: German Dub Techno Legends Porter Ricks & More at The Bunker April 5 2014

From a media release:

Part of the Unsound Festival New York City
April 5, 2014 at The Bunker

On Saturday night of Unsound Festival New York, The Bunker, who has partnered with the festival since its inception, will present an evening including a long overdue live appearance of the phenomenal dub techno duo Porter Ricks (Thomas Köner / Andy Mellwig). The duo were been brought back into the spotlight following the reissue of their rare but acclaimed 1996 debut album "Biokinetics" (a Techno classic if there ever were one) on the Type label as their 100th release in late 2011 (the record was originally released on Basic Channel's Chain Reaction imprint). Porter Ricks came out of retirement especially to perform at Unsound Festival Krakow last October, so it seemed only fitting to bring them to New York this spring.

Appearing in place of Vladislav Delay, who cancelled his US tour, is acclaimed New York based electronic, drone, experimental producer Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (aka Lichens). Lowe's unique electronic music can be sampled on albums like "Timon Irnok Manta". Lowe has also been reaching new audiences far and wide via his lead performance in the new film "A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness".

Joining these titan of electronic music in delivering stunning live performance will be two homegrown Brooklyn based talents - fractured house renegade Ital (two acclaimed albums on Planet Mu) joined by shadowy producer Aurora Halal for the worldwide live debut performance as Ital & Halal, as well Leisure Muffin, fresh off the releasing the first ever 12" on The Bunker's new record label will perform his hard to pin down modular synth infected take on Kosmische music.

Looking back to Europe, Miles, one half of Demdike Stare, who also records solo works under the name will take to the decks for a unique DJ set and making his New York debut is another Norwegian addition to the festival, Le Petit Garcon, presenting his take on isolated Ambient Techno using a vast expanse of shoegazing guitars, synth harmonics and churning, ice-breaking bass.

Recently Released: Nils Bultmann - Troubadour Blue (innova Recordings - 25 February 2014)

From a media release:

Recently Released:
Nils Bultmann - Troubadour Blue
(innova Recordings - 25 February 2014)

Composers: Nils Bultmann
Performers: Nils Bultmann, Hank Dutt, Stephen Kent, Parry Karp

Check It Out & Buy It Here

Nils Bultmann wears a lot of hats: violist, improviser, composer, collaborator. But Bultmann’s innova Recordings debut, Troubadour Blue, reveals that he’s been hard at work stitching all those hats together into one big enough to encompass all of his diverse interests. Falling into a luminous space between through-composition and improvisation, the music here proudly shows its roots in process.

“Ten Viola Duets” evolved organically over years, built from bits and pieces of solo improvisations and drawn out from sketches into complete works. Working with Kronos Quartet violist Hank Dutt helped Bultmann solidify and complete the collection of pieces.

Elsewhere, Bultmann explores the timbral relationship between the viola and the didjeridu in “From the Depths,” a multi-movement work honed from improvisational duets. For “Lucid,” Bultmann blends improvised material into a more structured piece in a work that he would frequently use to open up concerts as a way of arriving at the instruments and connecting with the audience. The album closes with “Suite for Solo Cello,” performed by Parry Karp and based on Bach’s “Cello Suite #1 in G Major,” a work that Bultmann calls a “foundational pillar of [his] musical life.”

Throughout, the pieces on Troubadour Blue share a peripatetic spirit, a desire to wander and explore, to be happy in the journey but also sure of a destination. By working with others, Bultmann expands his sense of his own work and in turn brings forth music that is open, warm-hearted and generous.

Tarragon Theatre Toronto presents Soliciting Temptation on stage April 1 - May 4 2014

From a media release:

Tarragon Theatre proudly presents the world premiere of
Soliciting Temptation
By Governor General Award winner Erin Shields

written by Erin Shields
directed by Andrea Donaldson
starring Derek Boyes & Miriam Fernandes

In the Extra Space
April 1 – May 4, 2014
Opens Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Tuesday 1 – Tuesday 8 April
Tuesday 15 – Sunday 20 April

Buy tickets

TORONTO - Tarragon Theatre, under the artistic direction of Richard Rose, proudly presents the world premiere of Soliciting Temptation by Governor General Award winner and Tarragon playwright-in-residence Erin Shields. Directed by Tarragon's Assistant Artistic Director Andrea Donaldson, this compelling drama shines a light on the complexities of sex tourism and our preconceptions about love. Starring Soulpepper stalwart Derek Boyes and emerging artist Miriam Fernandes, Soliciting Temptation opens Wednesday, April 9 and runs to May 4 (with previews from April 1) in Tarragon's Extraspace.

In a sweaty and sticky hotel room in an unnamed developing country, a Western man and a young woman meet for sex. Somewhere between the reality and the fantasy, the sex becomes talk and the talk becomes dangerous. Nothing is off limits in this battle of morality, economics and desire.

Says Shields, "I initially started writing this play because I was incensed at the rise in child sex tourism in developing countries. As I began to write, I realized that what I wanted to talk about was the power dynamics between young and old, rich and poor, male and female. Soliciting Temptation is about child sex tourism, but it is also a play about entrapment and desperate longing, about sexual suppression and sexual awakening, about the desire to expose and be exposed."

Director Andrea Donaldson, who has collaborated with Shields previously on such Groundwater Productions as Montparnesse and The Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski, says, "We count on playwrights to write the unspeakable, and for actors to give those words life - to be us at our best and to be us at our worst. Erin's two characters are ultimately each other's perfect match - and there is nothing more attractive than a couple who are worthy opponents. At the end of 60 minutes of real-time, they face themselves in ways that surprise them and us. I am drawn to this play because it grapples with our most essential human questions in an unexpected way."

Derek Boyes makes his Tarragon debut. A resident artist at Soulpepper Theatre, currently in his 11th season there, his numerous credits recently include The Norman Conquests and The Crucible with 12 Angry Men upcoming. An early claim to fame was his appearance in the world premiere of Ann-Marie MacDonald's Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), produced by Nightwood Theatre. He is also an associate artist with Toronto Masque Theatre.

Miriam Fernandes also makes her Tarragon debut. She has been seen in Hamlet for Shakespeare in Action, The Biographer for Tango Co. at Videofag, The Bundle during Sheep No Wool Theatre Company's Edward Bond Festival in 2012 and she is currently an artist-in-residence at Theatre Passe Muraille. In 2011, Fernandes co-founded The Pomegranate Project, an arts education initiative that connects students in Toronto to students in Mumbai, India through dance, theatre and filmmaking. She is the recipient of the inaugural Independent Theatre Creators International Training Scholarship, a partnership between Theatre Ontario and Why Not Theatre.

Set and costume design is by Ken MacKenzie, lighting design by Kimberly Purtell, and sound design by Thomas Ryder Payne. The stage manager is Laura Baxter.

Tarragon Theatre proudly presents the world premiere of Soliciting Temptation
By Erin Shields

Directed by Andrea Donaldson
Starring Derek Boyes and Miriam Fernandes
Set and Costume Design by Ken MacKenzie
Lighting Design by Kimberly Purtell
Sound Design by Thomas Ryder Payne

April 9 to May 4, 2014 (previews from April 1)
Tarragon's Extraspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto
Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm
with Saturday 2:30pm matinees on April 12, 19, 26
Tickets range from $21-$53 (including discounts for students, seniors and groups)
AND a Pay-What-You-Can on April 1 at 8pm - $13 Rush Tickets at the door Fridays (on sale at 6pm) & Sundays (on sale at 1pm) starting April 11 -
For tickets, call Patron Services at 416.531.1827416.531.1827 or visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Major Exhibition of Plains Indians Art Opens in Paris April 7 2014, then Travels to Kansas City & the Met NYC

From a media release - it's funny, here in Canada we don't use the word 'Indian' anymore to describe First Nations/indigenous/Aboriginal people so it sounds a bit odd to my ears; it's the name of the show, however.

Major Plains Indian Exhibition Opens in Paris, Propels Nelson-Atkins Into International Arena
Travels to Kansas City for Fall Opening, then to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Kansas City, MO. March 25, 2014–
A groundbreaking exhibition of Plains Indian masterworks, The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, opens in Paris at musée du quai Branly on April 7. It was organized by quai Branly in partnership with the Nelson-Atkins, and in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It is curated by Gaylord Torrence, one of the nation’s leading scholars of Plains Indian art and the Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American Indian Art at the Nelson-Atkins.

The Plains Indians will be on view at
•  quai Branly
April 7 until July 20, 2014 ,
• then travel to the Nelson-Atkins from Sept. 19, 2014 to Jan. 11, 2015.
• The show culminates at the Metropolitan Museum from March 2 to May 10, 2015.

“This exhibition is a defining moment in the understanding of Native American art,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director & CEO of the Nelson-Atkins. “The works on view convey the continuum of hundreds of years of artistic tradition, and we are very proud of the role the Nelson-Atkins has played in this exhibition.”

To celebrate this milestone exhibit that has brought the Nelson-Atkins to the international stage, Board Chair Shirley Bush Helzberg and Zugazagoitia will attend the Paris opening with a group of Kansas City patrons. Festivities surrounding the opening celebrate the Nelson-Atkins stature in the field of Native American Art and Torrence’s scholarship in the area of Plains Indian art, as well as his deep ties of many years to the Native American community.

Stéphane Martin, President of quai Branly, traveled to the United States in 2010 to explore his idea for an exhibition on the art of the Plains Indians.  On his tour, he visited the new and highly acclaimed American Indian galleries at the Nelson-Atkins and invited Torrence to curate the Plains show at quai Branly.

“This exhibition captures the beauty and spiritual resonance of Plains Indian art,” said Torrence. “The objects embody both the creative brilliance of their individual makers and the meanings and power of profound cultural traditions.”

More than 130 works of art from 57 European, Canadian, and American institutions and private collections will be displayed in an unprecedented continuum from pre-contact to the present-day.  Featured works include numbers of the great early Plains Indian robes, and other masterworks collected in the eighteenth century by European explorers and taken back to the continent never to return to America until now.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated 320-page catalogue published by Skira Group, with essays by leading experts, under the direction of Torrence.

Jamie Okuma, b. 1977, Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock, California. Horseshoes, 2014. Commercial shoes, glass and 24k gold beads, 30 ½ x 20 ¼ x 7 5/8 inches. Collection of Ellen and Bill Taubman, AI.1403.001, Photo: Cameron Linton.

Shield, Arikara artist, North Dakota, ca. 1850. Buffalo rawhide, native tanned leather, pigment, Diameter: 20 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Purchase: the Donald D. Jones Fund for American Indian Art, 2004.35, Photo: Jamison Miller.

Horse Effigy, Hunkpapa Lakota (Teton Sioux) artist, Standing Rock Reservation, North or South Dakota, ca. 1880. Wood (possibly cottonwood), pigment, commercial and native tanned leather, rawhide, horsehair, brass, iron, bird quill, Length: 38 1/2 inches. South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, South Dakota, 1974.002.122, Photo: Chad Coppess, South Dakota Office of Tourism. 

Gauntlets, Sioux-Métis artist, North or South Dakota, ca. 1890. Native tanned leather, glass and brass beads, cotton cloth, 14 ½ x 8 inches each. The Hirschfield Family Collection, Courtesy of Berte and Alan Hirschfield.

The exhibition was organized by the musée du quai Branly Paris, in partnership with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, and in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned collection of more than 33,500 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. The institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins has included the 165,000-square-foot Bloch Building expansion and renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are Wednesday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART816.751.1ART

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just Before They Set Off - Artistic Duo, Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky on Their Way to Glenfiddich Residency

More on the 2014 Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize Winner -
Artistic Duo, Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky

The people at Glenfiddich know how to throw a party and a bunch of us recently feted the Canadian Artists in Residence Prize Winners at Toronto's Spoke Club. Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky are actually the first Canadian artistic duo to take advantage of the chance to spend three months in the storied Valley of the Deer in Dufftown, Scotland making art. You can check out more on the background of the competition in a previous post.

The pair leave on May 1 and I got a chance to talk to them before the endless round of cocktails, smoked salmon, lamb chops and other distractions began. They've been working together since 2004.

"We were shortlisted last year," says Trevor, "this year we went for it again."

There was a small display of their work on view along with videos showing previous projects. "A smorgasbord of our work," laughs Rhonda. Their sculptural work is colourful and features ordinary objects transformed and reformed, some in resin, others in copper foil. Their pieces often have a playful kind of flair that's fueled by a sense of invention/reinvention in reaction to the objects themselves.

A residency gives them the opportunity and the space to create. "We don't actually live in the same city," Trevor explains. "We work on a lot of public art projects." A residency abroad also offers the opportunity to grow as an artist. "When you're local all the time, it starts to feel like that really is the whole world."

"You're really isolating, working in your studio all the time," Rhonda adds. Working alongside other artists (the residency includes artists from around the world) is energizing. "It's so great that a company supports contemporary art. As a Canadian you want to promote your work and our culture (abroad)."

"The main material we want to work with are oak veneer and copper foil," Rhonda mentions. The pair's desire to use the materials of the whisky distilling process - the oak casks and the copper pot stills whose use is deemed essential to producing scotch's unique aroma - is in keeping with much of their previous work. A previous installation - the All Night Convenience store you may remember from Nuit Blanche 2012 - featured a storefront with foil shopping carts among other items. Their piece Rozinante is a canoe made of thin wood veneer. A reaction to materials and objects fuels much of their work.

Their desire to immerse themselves in the whisky making process and culture and use the materials in their work was also - according to Andy Fairgrieve, the dreadlocked Coordinator and Curator of the Glenfiddich Artist in Residence Program - what tipped the scales in their favour in a field of just under 200 entries from artists across the country. The Residency prize continues to grow, now in it's 10th year in Canada (and a dozen for the program internationally). (Trevor, Rhonda & Andy pictured left)

"We were inspired by the materials and the culture (of making whisky)," Rhonda says. The idea is to let that inspiration lead to a unique work that wouldn't have been made otherwise.

Three months seems like a long time in some ways but making art isn't often done on a strict timeline. Trevor names time management is an essential skill. "There's that pressure: I gotta produce something," he says. Rather than having set plans drawn up, the pair want to let the chemistry of the place and the whisky distilling process and culture suggest the work. "We have a more general set of materials in mind," Trevor says. "We do make a lot of ephemeral work so it might be something along those lines," he speculates.

I'll be looking forward to seeing the results in the fall.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Recently Released - From Hungarian Soul to Houston Symphony: Classical Violinist Ferenc Illyeni Cuts Loose and Captures The Gypsy Dream

From a media release:

I was happy to get this CD in the mail - it's playfully sensual and the tone runs from passionate gypsy jazz to nimble avant garde.

CD Release
From Hungarian Soul to Houston Symphony: Classical Violinist Ferenc Illyeni Cuts Loose and Captures The Gypsy Dream (Mesa/Bluemoon Records - March 11, 2014)

Buy the CD here

A melody with a wicked glint that sets the pulses racing...a single note that captures and age of heartbreak and sorrow...Gypsy music is unmistakeable. The violin soars and dances, playful and inviting, then turns to a sweet, loving ache. It’s pure passion, and that is what Hungarian-born violinist Ferenc Illenyi (pronounced "Fair-ense") mines on his album Gypsy Dream (Mesa/Bluemoon Records; Release: March 11, 2014).

A first violinist in the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Illenyi is a lauded figure in the classical world. But on this recording, he delves into his past, to the music that lives inside his soul.

“I was classically trained,” he explains. “That was my education, but growing up in Hungary, Gypsy music is there in your soul, subliminally. With classical music you do as you are told, you play what’s in the score. Gypsy music is so much freer, people take and add their own parts to the melody.”

Gypsy Dream is Illenyi’s opportunity to dive deep into the music and explore all the varied facets of Gypsy music, from the old melody “Ando Beco” through the jazz of “A Minor Swing” to the demanding flamenco that’s “Boabdit, Bulerias.”

“The flamenco nearly killed me,” Illenyi laughs. “The rhythm is so different. Erich Avinger, the guitar player and arranger, suggested it. I learned it through headphones and I love it, in part because it was so hard for me to capture. Flamenco is really music for guitar, not violin, and that made it so much more difficult – but intimately, very rewarding.”

In addition to Avinger, Illenyi is accompanied by pianist Andrew Leinhard who mostly plays jazz and who Illeny calls “an incredible musician”. Bassist Chris Maresh, is also in the line-up. “Chris has a very thick sound, wonderful rhythm, and he always lags just behind the beat in that perfect way,” says Illenyi. Violinist Zeljko Pavlovic, director of the Vivaldi Music Academy, also appears on the CD in “Ando Beco” and “Oblivion.”

This exceptional group of players turns Kreisler’s “Gypsy Caprice” into something that swings hard. The violin flies over the melody in breathtaking fashion, highlighting Illenyi’s virtuosic technique and his organic feel for this kind of music. Illenyi’s exceptional gift is unmistakably apparent in “The Birds of Santa Maria Novella,” where his violin echoes the flight of the birds with virtuosic swoops and dives.

“Erich Avinger wrote it about 20 years ago after seeing the birds fly around a square in Italy. Our version is very different from his original. We brought in tabla player Dexter Raghunanan, a highly regarded Indian Classical artist, for the track “Boabdit, Bulerias.” In a way, the circle is complete, since the Gypsies came from Rajahstan in India.”

Jazz is also part of the musical equation, Illenyi feels. “Jazz is a natural extension of Gypsy music. Gypsy musicians cross over all the time,” he explains. “It is almost a requirement. In the hotels in Hungary, musicians have to do it all the time.” It is no surprise when the group moves seamlessly into “A Minor Swing,” a take on the jazz classic made famous by Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli.

“Grappelli only ever had one violin lesson, did you know that?”Illenyi says. “I love his sound, he was as good at 82 as he was when he was 20, but that’s because he never had to play loud. In classical music you need to project, and over the years the muscles become overworked, like an athlete. He didn’t abuse his body the way we do.”

Illenyi, of course, had far more than a single violin lesson. His father began teaching him, and his three siblings, the instrument when they were all very young. “My father played with the Hungarian State Opera, and he was very strict and a great teacher. He forced us to practice between three and four hours every day. There were things he didn’t know, but I was lucky enough to meet people who helped me along the way.”

That practice and discipline took Illenyi to the Liszt Music Academy in Budapest. He gave recitals across Europe and North America, and furthered his studies in Canada and the U.S. before taking the position with the Houston Symphony in 1991. He’s not the only successful musician in the family, his sister Katica is a violinist and singer. Klezmer, a style closely related to Gypsy music, greatly influences her music.

While Gypsy Dream is a journey through Illenyi’s heart, his classical side isn’t completely hidden. The album ends with a version of Scarlatti’s Sonata in F Minor, K466. It is one of the composer’s lesser-known works written for two harpsichords, but arranged here for piano and violin. The breathlessly beautiful melody unfolds with gorgeous precision. “It’s a version we put together. It’s so different from what Scarlatti wrote,” says Illenyi.

From Gyspy to classical, this is Ferenc Illenyi’s world and Gypsy Dream is the portrait of his Hungarian soul.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

acclaimed director peter sellars, all-star cast and renowned conductor for coc premiere of handel’s hercules april 5 to 30 2014

From a media release:

acclaimed director peter sellars, all-star cast and renowned conductor propel myth into the modern day for coc premiere of handel’s hercules

Get Tickets

Toronto –
Internationally renowned director Peter Sellars returns to the Canadian Opera Company this spring with a new company production of Handel’s Hercules that propels the Greek myth into the modern day, giving voice to the untold horrors of war and the unspoken complications faced by veterans returning home. The COC premiere of Hercules reunites Sellars with celebrated conductor Harry Bicket and the all-star cast that presented this co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago to unequivocal praise at its debut in Chicago in 2011. Hercules is sung in English with English SURTITLES™ and runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 5, 11, 15, 19, 24, 27, 30, 2014.

One of the most powerful forces in the performing arts world today, director Peter Sellars (Tristan und Isolde, 2013) has created a production described “as a stinging, profoundly moving examination of the domestic aftermath of modern war” (Opera News) that is not only “capable of inspiring moral action” (Los Angeles Times) but “will follow you home and keep you thinking as well” (Chicago Sun-Times).

Using Handel’s musical drama about the mythical hero’s triumphant return home after a prolonged war abroad, Sellars’s production of Hercules examines the heartbreaking conflict faced by returning soldiers of war and their families. “Ultimately, the verities Handel knew and captured so brilliantly in his music leap across time and space in Sellars’ inspired update” (Chicago Tribune) where, in working with his frequent collaborators (set designer George Tsypin, costume designer Dunya Ramicova and lighting designer James F. Ingalls), Sellars has created a production that evokes ancient Greece while still locating the action clearly in the present.

Grammy Award-winning American bass-baritone Eric Owens makes his COC debut as Hercules. Internationally acclaimed for his commanding stage presence and inventive artistry, Owens’s portrayal of this mythical veteran of war has been called a “poignant realization of the title character’s struggle with psychological disintegration” (Opera News) and a Hercules that “speaks to you even in his silences … and shakes you when he sings” (Chicago Sun-Times).

World renowned British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote (Ariadne auf Naxos, 2011) returns to the COC as Hercules’ wife, Dejanira. Regarded as one of the great artists in opera today, Coote’s performance of Dejanira has been called “riveting” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “ranks with theatrical performances of legends” (Los Angeles Times).

Britain’s Lucy Crowe, one of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation, makes her COC debut as Iole, Hercules’ prisoner of war. Crowe’s Iole at Lyric Opera of Chicago was met with unanimous acclaim, declaring her “a major discovery” (Chicago Tribune) and “a new star born, both for her searing expression of a prisoner’s pain and for the luminous light she shines on one of Handel’s most compassionate arias, ‘My breast with tender pity swells’” (Los Angeles Times).

American countertenor David Daniels (Xerxes, 1999) returns to the COC as Hercules’ trusted aide, Lichas. “To say that he is the most acclaimed countertenor of the day, perhaps the best ever, is to understate his achievement. He is simply a great singer,” (New York Times) and with Handel’s opera he “was born for this music and his Lichas grabs your heart” (Chicago Sun-Times).

American tenor Richard Croft (Così fan tutte, 1992) is internationally renowned for his performances with leading opera companies and orchestras around the world and returns to the COC as Hercules’ son, Hyllus. In this role, Croft is “firmly in his vocal element” (Chicago Tribune), delivering a performance that has been called “profound” (Los Angeles Times).

Internationally renowned Baroque specialist conductor Harry Bicket (Orfeo ed Euridice, 2011; Idomeneo, 2009; Rodelinda, 2005) returns to lead the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Handel’s glorious music. Bicket was praised for his musical leadership of Hercules in Chicago, leading the “orchestra in a spirited performance that brings out the melancholy beauty of the score, as well as Handel’s edgy, almost dissonant harmonies” (Huffington Post) and “conducted a performance true to the spirit of Handel’s time yet truer still to Sellars’ stress points” (Los Angeles Times).

Beyond the Mainstage
In keeping with Peter Sellars’s overarching ambition to rejuvenate theatre as an arena for political consciousness, and to let opera speak to our society, the COC has reached out to various veterans groups to engage them with this production of Hercules. In addition to inviting veterans to the dress rehearsal of the COC’s Hercules, veterans from World War II and the wars in Korea, Bosnia, and Afghanistan are taking part in the COC’s Opera Exchange day-long symposium Coming Home: Handel’s Hercules on April 4, 2014, offered as part of the Munk School of Global Affairs’ series, 1914-1918: The Making of the Modern World, which explores the effects of the First World War through the century.

About Hercules
Handel’s opera is based largely on the Sophoclean tragedy Women of Trachis. In addition to being a dramatist, Sophocles was also a war general and knew first-hand the devastating psychological traumas that imperilled returning veterans. More than 2,000 years later, Handel tackled the material with Hercules, an oratorio-opera hybrid he himself labeled a “musical drama.” Hercules was a failure at its 1745 premiere in London. It was not until the 20th century, in conjunction with a broader rediscovery of Handel’s work, that Hercules came to be recognized as one of the composer’s greatest achievements.

Tickets for Hercules are $12 – $332 (includes applicable taxes), and are available online at, by calling 416-363-8231416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.)

For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30 presented by TD Bank Group, student groups and rush seating, visit

CD Release Concert: Turkish-Born Jazz Pianist and Composer Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol April 5 2014 in New York City

From a media release:

Round Trip for Big Band: Turkish-Born Jazz Pianist and Composer Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol Comes Full Circle with Makam and Swing, Ney and Noir on whatsnext?

Release celebrations in Boston April 3 and New York City April 5 2014

At age 16, musician, composer, and ethnomusicologist Mehmet Sanlıkol dropped a hand-written letter in the mail in his hometown of Bursa, Turkey, addressed to the admissions department at Berklee College of Music. It was the first big move in his love affair with jazz, in particular with the sound and compositional possibilities of the big jazz band.

Yet it took more than two decades for Sanlikol to realize his dream and record his wide-ranging, sonically diverse compositions. Along the way, he absorbed the musical lessons of mentors from Aydin Esen to Bob Brookmeyer, and delved into his roots, both Cypriot and Turkish. On whatsnext? (release: April 3, 2014) Sanlikol closes this circle, returning to the jazz-framed beginning of his musical life, visiting and rethinking some of his first charts, while finding new iterations for old melodies and forms.

From swinging (the title track and the Ellington-inspired “On the edge of the extreme possible”) to darkly grooving (“Better Stay Home”), Sanlikol’s pieces vibrate with intensity and love of craft. Though firmly planted in jazz, Sanlikol’s works fearlessly incorporate hints of his other passions: a ney solo (“Blue Soul of Turkoromero”), a Cypriot melody (“Kozan March”), a wink at makam modes thanks to the bendy potential of synthesizer (“A violet longing“).

By bringing these two musical streams into dialogue, Sanlikol hopes to further both traditions, to present a lively, rich vision of what’s next for both jazz and world music.“I tend to be very skeptical about bringing traditional elements into other contemporary settings. My skepticism comes from the linguistics of music. These are languages you’re trying to combine,” reflects Sanlikol. “Sometimes, as a bilingual, you get lucky, and the chemistry is instant.”

Trained as a classical pianist, an avid fan of British prog rock, Sanlikol began to flirt with jazz as a teenager. He applied to Berklee—and got in, only to have his plans nixed by his otherwise musically supportive parents. So he secretly sought out and took lessons from Turkish jazz icon Aydin Esen (to whom the album is dedicated). “Within a year,” recalls Sanlikol, “he had me at a place where I could test out of two years’ worth of Berklee classes.” With Esen’s masterful guidance, Sanlikol finally won his family over and made it to the US.

With several like-minded musician friends from Greek and other ethnic and musical backgrounds, he founded Dünya, an ambitious Boston-based performance collective that engages with the many musics of the Near East and former Ottoman territories.

Sanlikol urges his band to speak compellingly in his pieces, bringing crack players together and giving them plenty of challenge and room. Motifs float through the horns, moving nimbly from section to section. Drummer Bertram Lehmann knows how to complement without overpowering, be it with thoughtful fills (“What's Next?”) or sensitive brush work (“On the Edge Of the Extreme Possible”). Bassist Fernando Huergo can drive the groove or subtly support solos (like trombonist Chris Gagne’s work on “Better Stay Home”). Collaboration extended into the visual realm as well: To create the album’s intriguing, bold artwork, Sanlikol worked closely with fellow Turkish expat, designer Cem Eskanazi, who created the images in response to Sanlikol’s music and his tales.

The sounds and images map out Sanlikol’s inner round trip. “I’ve settled here in the States, but I went back to Turkey in an abstract, spiritual way,” says Sanlikol. “Now, having come full circle back to jazz, I can’t help but wonder what’s next.” This album gives the beginning of the answer.

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, whatsnext? (DÜNYA):
April 3, 2014 - Regattabar - Cambridge, MA    
April 5, 2014 - DROM - New York, NY

Photo Credit: Cem Eskinazi, John Weston

At le poisson rouge nyc: Metropolis Ensemble: Cymbeline April 4 & 5 2014

From a release:

at le poisson rouge nyc:
Metropolis Ensemble: Cymbeline
with Andrew Cyr, conductor, Avi Avital, solo mandolin, Bridget Kibbey, solo harp,    Mattias Jacobsson, solo guitar and Quartet Senza Mizura
New Music by David Bruce, Chris Cerrone, Jakub Ciupinski, Vivian Fung

April 6 2014
April 7 2014

Seated: $20 advance, $25 day of show
Standing: $15 advance, $20 day of show
VIP Opera Box: $75

Cymbeline — David Bruce — For solo mandolin and string ensemble (World premiere)
Concerto for Harp — Vivian Fung — For solo harp, strings, and percussion (NY premiere)
Concerto for Guitar — Jakub Ciupinski — For guitar, strings, and electronics (World premiere)
High Windows — Chris Cerrone — For solo string quartet and string ensemble

About the Artists:

Metropolis Ensemble is a New York–based chamber orchestra dedicated to making classical music in its most contemporary forms. Founded in 2006 by conductor Andrew Cyr, Metropolis Ensemble has commissioned 96 works of music from a dynamic mix of emerging composers. Metropolis Ensemble has been presented by Lincoln Center, BAM, Celebrate Brooklyn!, (le) Poisson Rouge, Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute, New Victory Theater (in collaboration with ROH II and The Opera Group), Wordless Music, and in broadcasts on NPR and NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

In 2013, Metropolis Ensemble’s recording of Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto (Kristin Lee, solo violin) was awarded Canada’s prestigious Juno Award for Best Classical Composition. The Ensemble’s debut album, featuring the music of Avner Dorman, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2010. Metropolis Ensemble is equally dedicated to fostering music creativity in its local school communities through its education program Youth Works.

Grammy-nominated conductor Andrew Cyr is a leader in the rapidly growing contemporary music scene. His passion for creating platforms for outstanding emerging composers and performing artists to make new music led him to found Metropolis Ensemble in 2006. A multifaceted musician, Cyr has led performances with a number of internationally known musical artists who defy classification, including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Deerhoof, and Babx. Recent engagements include his debut with the Colorado Symphony in 2013, his off-Broadway debut at New Victory Theatre conducting a new opera by David Bruce, and his debut at Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall as part of Philadelphia’s International Festival of the Arts. Cyr’s latest studio album with Metropolis was released in July on Nonesuch Records, featuring the music of Timo Andres. A native of Fort Kent, Maine, Cyr holds music degrees from Bates College, the French National Conservatory, and Westminster Choir College.
Avi Avital, solo mandolin

GRAMMY-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital is one of the world’s most exciting and entrepreneurial young musicians. He is deeply committed to building a fresh legacy for the mandolin through virtuosic performance and new repertoire. An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, Avital released his first recording for the label BACH – with a second release, Between Worlds slated for January 2014.

Part of Deutsche Grammophon’s first Yellow Lounge performance in the U.S., Avital performed at the 2013 SXSW Festival and toured New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. He was a guest of the Colorado and San Diego Symphony Orchestras and in residency at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and debuted at the Aspen Music Festival. Additional debuts will be Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Vancouver Recital Society’s Vancouver Playhouse and the Savannah Music Festival.

A graduate of the Jerusalem Music Academy and the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini, Avital is a Salon De Virtuosi grant recipient. He has been profiled for radio stations around the world including NPR’s All Things Considered and WNYC’s Soundcheck.

Lauded for her virtuosity and artistry that broadens the scope of the harp, BRIDGET KIBBEY “makes it seem as thought her instrument had been waiting all its life to explode with the gorgeous colors and energetic figures she was getting from it (New York Times).”

Mattias Jacobsson made his recital debut at age seventeen and has since released a recording and performed in concerto, chamber and recital settings. His recording Invocación (Avie), explores the Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega’s influences, original work and legacy; from the inspiration that Chopin had on Tárrega’s musical output, through to his pupils Miguel Llobet and Emilio Pujol.

Formed by four exciting new faces in the classical music scene (Siwoo Kim and Francisco Fullana, violins, Daniel Kim, viola, and Jay Cambell, cello), Quartet Senza Misura promotes the music of our time while infusing renewed vitality to the standard repertory. Although recent in its conception, Senza Misura has already taken its “whip-smart” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) performances to renowned venues such as The Stone, Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center.

April 2014 Concerts at the Royal Conservatory Toronto

From a media release:


Pianist Khatia Buniatishvili makes her Koerner Hall debut and South Africa’s Johnny Clegg returns
TD Jazz: Celebrating Dinah & Sarah concert series continues with Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project

Classical Concerts

Invesco Piano Concerts closes out with The Royal Conservatory debut by the Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili on April 6. Buniatishvili’s warm, sometimes sorrowful playing may reflect a close proximity to Georgian folk music, which, she attests, has greatly influenced her musicality. In this concert, she presents Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B Minor, Maurice Ravel’s  La valse, Fryderyk Chopin’s  Piano Sonata No. 2, and Igor Stravinsky’s Three Movements from Petrushka (Russian Dance, Chez Petrushka, and The Shrove-Tide Fair).

Royal Conservatory students get one last chance this season to present one of their own concerts, as the Royal Conservatory Orchestra is conducted by Uri Mayer on April 25. Mayer conducts a program of Hector Berlioz’s Overture to Benvenuto Cellini and Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 1. He is joined by Glenn Gould School concerto competition winner, clarinetist Jaewon Kim, for Claude Debussy’s Première rhapsodie, and by mezzo-soprano Beste Kalender for R. Murray Schafer’s Adieu Robert Schumann.

Mazzoleni Masters concert series ends with Atis Bankas with Robert McDonald on April 13 and Mariko Anraku on April 27. Glenn Gould School (The GGS) faculty violinist Atis Bankas has developed a career as a soloist and chamber musician, as well as a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In this concert, he shares the stage with American pianist and pedagogue Robert McDonald, who has performed internationally and as musical partner to Isaac Stern, Midori, and many others. Their program features Ravel’s Sonata No. 1 in A Minor for Violin and Piano “Posthumous,” Elgar’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in E Minor, and for the second half of the concert they are joined by Toronto Symphony principals Teng Li (viola) and Joseph Johnson (cello) in Piano Quartet in G Minor by Brahms. Associate Principal Harp of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and GGS alumna Mariko Anraku is hailed as a manifestation of grace and elegance, and has garnered attention as one of the world’s most outstanding harpists. For this recital, she is joined by former teachers, harpist Judy Loman and GGS Dean and pianist James Anagnoson, in a program of Händel’s Prelude and Toccata (arr. Marcel Grandjany), Tournier’s Harp Sonatine, Salzedo’s Sonata for Harp and Piano, Lizotte’s Raga for 2 harps, and Debussy’s Ma mère l'oye for 2 harps.

Presented with the generous support of the Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program, The GGS presents three Rebanks Family Fellowship Concerts on three consecutive Tuesdays in April – April 1, 8, and 15. In these concerts, all seven of the Rebanks Fellows currently enrolled in the special one year program will be featured. This season, the Fellows are Matthew Berliner (horn), Stefan Chaplikov and  Mehdi Ghazi (piano), Luri Lee (violin), Jonathan Lo and Britton Riley (cello), and Alessandro Rauli (oboe). The program on April 1 includes Messiaen’s “Regard de l’esprit de joie,” Brahms’s Horn Trio, Corigliano’s Fancy on a Bach Air, and Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4; on April 8 Mozart’s Quartet for Oboe, Karl Pilss’s Pieces in Sonata Form, and Schumann’s Symphonic Études; and on April 15 Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata No. 2; Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, K452; and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 29, “Hammerklavier.”

Audiences are invited to two free events in April: The Glenn Gould School Chamber Competition Finals and The Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble. On April 2 one can hear the talented ensembles of The Glenn Gould School compete for over $11,000 in prizes and the chance to perform a Prelude Recital in Koerner Hall preceding a Royal  Conservatory Orchestra performance. On April 10, Brian Current, Director and conductor of The Royal Conservatory’s New Music Ensemble, conducts the world premiere of Behind the Sound of Music, Nicole Lizée's multi-media composition for orchestra and video.


TD Jazz: Celebrating Dinah & Sarah concert series continues with Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project on April 26. 2014 Grammy Award winner in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category, American percussionist Carrington leads an all-star cast of musicians and two signature voices – Nona Hendryx (from LaBelle) and Carmen Lundy. The musicians include Canadian trumpeter and Royal Conservatory alumna Ingrid Jensen, saxophonist Tia Fuller (who has toured with Byoncé), American jazz pianist Helen Sung, and Israeli bassist Tamir Shmerling. “The Mosaic Project  … is all about what happens when seemingly unrelated elements coalesce into a greater, cohesive whole.” (Jazz Times)

World Music

Presented in association with Batuki Music and Small World Music, singer, songwriter, dancer, anthropologist, and musical activist Johnny Clegg returns on April 16 after his sold-out Conservatory debut on April 13, 2011. The infectious music of this South African icon is a blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythms that has earned him the affectionate nickname “Le Zoulou Blanc” (The White Zulu) in France. His live shows include stories and tributes to the late former South African president, Nelson Mandela. Clegg performed at all four of Mandela’s 46664 Aids Awareness Concerts in South Africa and in Norway, and Mandela once joined him on stage during the performance of “Asimbonanga,” a song written by Clegg about Mandela (and other struggle heroes) during his period of incarceration. Johnny’s son, guitarist and singer Jesse Clegg, opens the concert.

The Royal Conservatory Concerts in April
Rebanks Family Fellowship Concert Series (Discovery Series): Tuesdays, April 1, 8 & 15 at 7:30 pm | MCH; $15
The Glenn Gould School Chamber Competition Finals (Discovery Series): Wednesday, April 2 at 7:30 pm | MCH; FREE
Khatia Buniatishvili (Invesco Piano Concerts): Sunday, April 6 at 3 pm | KH; $25-$65
The Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble (Discovery Series): Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 pm | CT; FREE
Atis Bankas with Robert McDonald (Mazzoleni Masters): Sunday, April 13 at 2 pm | MCH; $32
Johnny Clegg with Special Guest Jesse Clegg (World Music; A Celebration of African Music): Wednesday, April 16 at 8 pm | KH; $45-$85
Royal Conservatory Orchestra with Uri Mayer (Orchestra Concerts): Friday, April 25 at 8 pm | KH; $25-$55
Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project  (TD Jazz: Celebrating Dinah & Sarah): Saturday, April 26 at 8 pm | KH; $35-$80
Mariko Anraku (Mazzoleni Masters): Sun. 27th at 2 pm | MCH; $32

Venue Legend: KH Koerner Hall; MCH Mazzoleni Concert Hall in historic Ihnatowycz Hall; CT Conservatory Theatre
Tickets are available online at, by calling 416.408.0208416.408.0208, or in person at the Weston Family Box Office

South African DJs Hit New York City April 2, 2014 - GOLDFISH with special guests TBA

From a media release:

South African DJs Hit New York City
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
GOLDFISH with special guests TBA
at Stage 48 - 605 West 48th Street, NYC

Buy the CD Three Second Memory

"Goldfish are all about the collision of Analogue and Digital, the excitement of live instruments vs machines...a lot of electronic music is very bright and sterile but we like to rub a bit of dirt back in. We want to make Dance Music come alive again."

In a scene saturated with premixes, and mysterious button pressing, Goldfish are a breath of fresh air - two multi-instrumentalists who are re-inventing the concept of a DJ and taking live performance excitement to a whole new level. Their genre-defying live mix of sax, double bass, keyboards and pounding house beats has touched a nerve with audiences across the world, from impromtu jams in a tiny beach club in their home town of Cape Town to selling out Amsterdam's Heineken Music Hall and curating their own sold out festival in Holland. The boys haven't stopped there, cracking a top 10 on the US iTunes Dance chart, mixing the covermount CD for DJ Mag, a 5 year residency at Pacha Ibiza, and DJ's like Fedde le Grand knocking at their door to remix their tracks - It's almost hard to believe that not very long ago they were just Dom and Dave, two music students who led a relatively chilled life surfing and playing music in their home town Cape Town.

All that really did change when they decided to record an album. Being penniless students they simply locked themselves in a bedroom...with a double bass, a saxophone and a couple of synths, recording their debut Caught In The Loop on their own. A charming dance/chill out record that received massive support from the electronic music scene. Pete Tong even called it his Ibiza Poolside Album of the Summer.

The two guys quickly found themselves maintaining gruelling international tour schedule that saw them play sold-out shows from Amsterdam to Miami, from the Sydney Opera House to Sao Paulo, releasing the album Perceptions of Pacha, garnering a record-breaking 10 SAMA nominations, numerous number ones on radio at home, as well as performances at Glastonbury, Sensation White, Ultra Festival Miami, XO live, 46664 and Get Loaded in the Park amongst others.

Now with the launch of their seminal album Three Second Memory, Goldfish have once again crafted a brilliant musical work that perfects the bond between digital and analog - a back to mine sensibility meets live energy electronic music that you can listen to, dance to, or just chill out to.

With props coming from everyone from Fedde Le Grand, Dr Dre, Sebastian Ingrosso, Pete Tong, Sander Kleinenberg, and Faithless, Goldfish are ready to swim with the big fish. Watch this space, the Re-invention of the DJ has arrived.

Goldfish - April 2, 2014
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
General Admission Tickets - $18 advance / $20 at door
VIP Tickets (Private Viewing/Bar Access) - $40 advance / $45 at door 
16 or Over to Enter - Full Bar and Restaurant on Premises

STAGE 48, located at 605 West 48th Street in Hell's Kitchen NYC, is a four floor, multi-use venue that hosts concerts, nightlife, private and corporate events. Built in the 1950s as a horse stable, the building has been completely remodeled based on the classic beauty of the original industrial architecture while incorporating complementary modern elements to create an ambience that is at once intimate and grandiose. Tickets to all shows are available in person at the Stage 48 box office Monday through Friday from 11AM to 6PM and two hours before any showtime.  Tickets may also be purchased online at

dance Immersion Toronto Presents Azaguno & KasheDance April 4 & 5 2014

From a media release:

dance Immersion Presents
Expressions...Now  - April 4-5, 2014
Friday-Saturday at 8pm, Saturday matinee at 1pm
Both shows part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps series at Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Tickets: $25-$30 (Students/Seniors/CADA $18-$20) Group Rates Available

dance Immersion’s 2014 showcase features two breathtaking companies presenting a myriad dance expressions informed by their own personal evolvement in dance. This presentation features Ohio’s critically acclaimed Azaguno and Toronto’s KasheDance.

Azaguno founder/dance director and choreographer, Zelma Badu-Younge, and founder/executive and music director, Paschal Yao Younge, bring to stage the world premiere of Africa Meets Asia. The performance will explore the fusion, juxtaposition and similarities of African and Asian dance and music. Azaguno, a multi-ethnic international touring group based in Athens, Ohio, focuses on performance of traditional and contemporary African dance and music. Through intercultural works, Azaguno brings to the stage a unique African theatrical experience.

KasheDance is hailed as embodying artistic diversity in technique, form and presentation. This company echoes in a new genealogy of Afro-contemporary dance steeped in modern dance, ballet and rooted in dances of the diaspora. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, KasheDance will perform Ke-ashe (Interludes within), a work that unleashes a person’s restraint to freedom in the internal and external interludes of life. Recalcitrare (2011) is about dance at the crossroads; where definition is insignificant to technical execution, form, content, choreographic exploration and personal artistic expression. Finally, 5…, a journey of three pieces choreographed since KasheDance’s inception where the final sections will dance the story of migratory bodies in motion; unrelenting artistic inquiry in form, place and time.

About the Choreographers:

Zelma Badu-Younge – Founder/Dance Director & Choreographer of Azaguno

Zelma Badu-Younge, one of the most charismatic cultural fusion artists, captivates her audience as she steps on stage. This mesmerizing performer is considered one of the most electrifying choreographers in Canada, Ghana and the United States; with her high-energy synthesis of West African traditions combined with other world dance forms. A multi-award winning choreographer, Zelma has received the Canada Council for the Arts, Laidlaw Foundation, and Chalmers Awards; the Ontario, North York, and Toronto Art Council awards, a nomination for Outstanding Choreography by the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for choreography, and the NAACP Image Award for Excellence. Commissioned twice by the National Dance Company of Ghana, she has instructed, lectured, performed, given workshops or choreographed throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Italy, Germany and Ghana. Recently, Azaguno performed Zelma’s work in a production with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (China.) Zelma Badu-Younge is the choreographer/dance director of Azaguno.

Paschal Yao Younge – Founder/Executive and Music Director of Azaguno
The sights and sounds of Africa fill the air when Paschal Yao Younge, a multi-talented musician, composer, author and performer presents world musical arts internationally, focusing on types from Africa and the African diaspora. Younge’s works include several vocal and instrumental works for orchestras, brass bands and choirs. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra performed his recent work, “Africa Meets Asia” arranged for Chinese and African instruments by Simon Kong Su Leong in November of 2011. As a specialist and advocate of intercultural and multicultural musical arts, Younge has presented internationally in over 30 states/provinces in the US/Canada and 15 countries internationally including, France, Spain, England, South Korea, China-Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, Togo, Ghana, etc. Younge’s recent book and DVD publications in 2011 include Music and Dance Traditions of Ghana: History, Performance and Teaching and a 10-DVD set, Dance-Drumming Ceremonies of Ghana. Younge is the executive/music director of Azaguno.

Kevin Ormsby – Choreographer/Artistic Director of KasheDance
Kevin A. Ormsby, artistic director of KasheDance, works independently as an arts marketing consultant, dance teacher, choreographer and movement coach. He started his training at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in the dance and drama departments and continued his career with Ballet Creole, Ron A. Taylor Dance among others in Toronto and has performed in the works of Ron K. Brown, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Gesel Mason and Allison Cummings. A company member with Garth Fagan Dance (New York) for six years, Kevin further developed his artistry and passion for dance. He is the dance animateur at the Living Arts Centre, a consultant for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), and a member of Wind in the Leaves Collective. A passionate advocate of dance education, writing and outreach, he has presented papers and sat on panels in the US, Caribbean, Canada and has been published in Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Gonna Come (2012). He is on the Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Committee and also lends his efforts as chair of the Dance Companies’ Standing Council at Canadian Dance Assembly.

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