LSM Newswire

Friday, January 15, 2010

Canadian Debuts Highlight of First February Events at the Royal Conservatory

The Royal Conservatory is offering a wide-ranging roster of enriching experiences in the first half of February, with performances from top international artists, and our stellar faculty and gifted students.  

Grammy Award-winning violinist and composer, Mark OConnor, comes to Koerner Hall on February 13 for the Canadian premiere of his genre-crossing String Quartet No. 2 (Blue-Grass) & No. 3 (Old-Time), issued on his 2009 album for OMAC Records. Joining him are Ida Kavafian (violin), Paul Neubauer (viola), and Matt Haimovitz (cello), in the quartets Canadian debut. Like all of OConnors works, these string quartets are inspired by, and evocative of, American musical traditions.  He is perhaps best known for his work with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer on the Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey discs.  Former U.S. President Bill Clinton described his music as uniting the strains of classical music with American hill country music.  OConnors musical vision also extends pedagogically; in November 2009, he issued the latest edition of his two-volume OConnor Violin Method, whereby students learn violin technique through a wide range of pieces, including traditional American songs.  As he puts it, students do not want to be left out of the great sounds and energy of fiddling and jazz because they wish to become fine classical players.  OConnor will demonstrate his passion for education during a free public master class on February 12.

The Royal Conservatory Orchestra (RCO) returns to Koerner Hall on February 12.  For this concert, the orchestra will be under the baton of Canadian Opera Company Music Director, Johannes Debus.  Recently described as a master conductor by the Toronto Star, Debus is making his debut with the RCO.  Joining them will be award-winning mezzo-soprano and Conservatory alumnus, Wallis Giunta, and pianists Nicholas King and Lucas Porter, both of whom are current students of The Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory.  Debus will be leading the orchestra in a passionate program including Prokofievs Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25 Classique, Poulencs Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D Minor, Ravels Shhrazade, and Stravinskys Firebird Suite (1945).

The internationally renowned double bassist Jeffrey Beecher is performing a wide-ranging recital on February 7 in Mazzoleni Hall.  The program includes the Canadian premieres of Deyishme, a composition for tabla, bass, and string quartet by Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, and the Sonata for Double Bass and Piano by American composer David Anderson.  Also on the program is Bachs Suite for Unaccompanied Cello No. 2 in D Minor, and John Harbisons Concerto for Bass Viol and Piano.  This accomplished faculty member of The Royal Conservatorys Glenn Gould School has toured extensively as a member of Yo-Yo Mas Silk Road Ensemble and is currently the Principal Bass with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Fellow faculty member David Louie will charm the audience of Mazzoleni Hall on February 14 with a harpsichord recital.  Described as a pianistic sensation (Rhein-Zeitung, Germany), this award-winning instrumentalist has appeared with orchestras across North America and Europe.  He will perform a special all Bach program that will include the Goldberg Variations, the Ricercar A 3 in C Minor, and Mr. Louie's own transcription of the Partita No. 2 for solo violin. 

Legendary pianist and pedagogue Leon Fleisher makes a welcome return to The Royal Conservatory from February 10-12, to continue his long-running series of master classes.  Held in Mazzoleni Hall, they provide a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and wisdom from the legendary pianist and pedagogue as he listens to students of The Glenn Gould School and provides insights into issues of technique, interpretation, and style. 

Founded in 1886, The Royal Conservatory is the largest and oldest independent arts educator in Canada.  It is an internationally renowned centre for performance and learning, providing opportunities for personal development through music and arts education in over 300 communities across Canada and a dozen countries around the world. Each year, more than 500,000 Canadians take part in RCM programs, exams, and public school initiatives. 

The Royal Conservatory acknowledges all of its donors and recognizes the remarkable generosity of:  

TELUS Official season sponsor of the 2009-10 Koerner Hall Concert Season
The Globe and Mail Season Media Partner
RBC Royal Conservatory Orchestra Guest Conductor Program Sponsor
MasterCard Royal Conservatory Orchestra Performance Sponsor
Classical 96.3 Media Sponsor (Mark OConnor)
The family of Lily Kertes Rolin Performance supporter (Johannes Debus Conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra)

KH Koerner Hall; MH Mazzoleni Hall; CT Conservatory Theatre

Jeffrey Beecher: Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 2pm; $20-$30 (MH)
Leon Fleisher Master Classes: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 10am & 2pm;
Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10am & 2pm; Friday, February 12, 2010 at 10am & 2pm; $10 (MH)
Mark OConnor Master Class: Friday, February 12, 2010 at 5pm; FREE (CT)
Johannes Debus Conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra: Friday, February 12, 2010 at 8pm; $10-$20 (KH)
Mark OConnor: Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 8pm; $20-$50 (KH)
David Louie: Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 2pm; $20-$30 (MH)

Tickets are available online at, by calling 416.408.0208,
or in person at the Weston Family Box Office, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto

More information about upcoming concerts and events is available The Royal Conservatory website at



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