LSM Newswire

Thursday, November 5, 2009

COC and Ben Heppner offer special recital for all COC 60th Anniversary Concert ticket holders

For immediate release: November 5, 2009


Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Company (COC) and celebrated Canadian tenor Ben Heppner are pleased to announce that Mr. Heppner will perform a special solo recital for all ticket holders of the COCs Diamond Anniversary concert.  Mr. Heppner, who was to have been featured at the concert, was forced to withdraw late last week due to illness.  The recital with piano, to take place on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts at a date to be announced soon, will be free for all ticket purchasers of the Saturday, November 7, Diamond Anniversary concert.  Ticket holders will be contacted with full details once the date is announced.

We know Bens appearance was highly anticipated by many people, and we understand they are as disappointed by his cancellation as we are.  We asked him if he could offer our audience a special recital with piano on the Four Seasons Centre stage.  He immediately agreed, and we are eager to have him back with us soon, says Alexander Neef, General Director.  I am very pleased that we will be providing our 60th anniversary concert-goers with a program of the highest calibre, as well as a solo recital by Ben later this season.  All this makes our 60th anniversary even more exciting!

The COCs 60th Anniversary Concert takes place as planned on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 7 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, with a pre-concert reception beginning at 6 p.m.  Last week, after Mr. Heppner was forced to withdraw from performing at the concert, the COC quickly signed opera stars Ramn Vargas, John Treleaven, and Canadas own Russell Braun to replace the ailing singer.  The concert also features the COC Orchestra, led by Johannes Debus, making his debut as COC Music Director.

Regulars at all the great opera houses of the world, Ramn Vargas, Russell Braun and John Treleaven perform extensively with the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper, Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Munich Staatsoper, and San Francisco Opera, among many others.  The evenings concert program has retained most of its original repertoire with Mr. Vargas singing from the romantic French repertoire,
Mr. Treleaven singing the Wagner repertoire and Mr. Braun singing both.

The COCs 60th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, November 7, 2009, begins with a pre-concert reception at 6 p.m. in the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room at the Four Seasons Centre, followed by the concert which begins at 7 p.m.  All tickets include a complimentary glass of Trius Brut sparkling wine or Peller Estates Icewine.  

Supporting Sponsors of the COCs Diamond Anniversary Concert: BMO Financial Group, Diamond and Schmitt Architects

Wine Sponsor: Andrew Peller Limited

Diamond Raffle Sponsor: De Beers Canada

The COC is grateful to Colleen Sexsmith for offering her generous financial support to help make the COCs Diamond Anniversary concert possible, in part through underwriting Ramn Vargass and John Treleavans respective performances.

Russell Brauns appearance is generously underwritten by Earlaine Collins.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Illness forces Ben Heppner to Withdraw from COC 60th Anniversary Concert


For immediate release: October 31, 2009



Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Company (COC) regretfully announces that renowned tenor Ben Heppner is unable to perform at the company's 60th anniversary concert on November 7, 2009 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  Mr. Heppner has not sufficiently recovered from a viral infection caught in October while singing Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

"I caught an infection in London and I had hoped to have fully recovered by this time," says Mr. Heppner.  "Unfortunately, a visit with my doctor and my coach confirmed that I will not be able to give the first-class performance Toronto audiences deserve."

The COC's anniversary concert will take place as planned on Saturday, November 7, 2009 featuring conductor Johannes Debus making his debut as the COC's new Music Director, and the celebrated COC Orchestra.  The company is very pleased to announce that it has secured world renowned artists, tenor Ramn Vargas and baritone
Russell Braun to sing at the concert.  Additional artists will be confirmed early next week.

"We are terribly sad that Ben is unable to perform with us on Saturday.  His presence means a lot to the Canadian Opera Company and we're sorry that he can't be here to celebrate with us," says Alexander Neef, General Director of the COC.  "Fortunately, another one of the world's greatest tenors, Ramn Vargas, was available on short notice and is very pleased to make his debut with us.  And, of course, it is always a pleasure to welcome our good friend Russell Braun back to Toronto.  I am very happy that we have secured some great vocal talent to celebrate the COC's 60th anniversary and Johannes Debus's first appearance as new Music Director.  We know that this new program, along with the wonderful COC Orchestra, will make for a spectacular concert."

Regulars at all the great opera houses of the world, Ramn Vargas and Russell Braun perform extensively with the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Munich State Opera, and San Francisco, among many others.

Ramn Vargas is currently performing as Faust in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Robert Lepage's production of La Damnation de Faust.  He returns to the Met in 2010 to sing in a new production of Attila, and next spring performs Werther at the Vienna State Opera and Medea in Corinto at the Munich State Opera.  The Metropolitan Opera has graciously agreed to allow Mr. Vargas to appear at the COC anniversary concert.

This season, Russell Braun makes his role debuts as The Traveller in Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna and as Lescaut in the ROH Covent Garden production of Manon, as well as appearing with the Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver symphony orchestras.

Portions of the evening's program remain unchanged, and additional arias will be performed. The complete program will be announced early next week.

The 60th anniversary celebration on Saturday, November 7 begins with a pre-concert reception at 6 p.m. in the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room at the Four Seasons Centre, followed by the concert which begins at 7 p.m.  All tickets include a complimentary glass of Trius Brut sparkling wine or Peller Estates Icewine.  

To add even more sparkle to the event, a draw for a spectacular 1.26 carat Canadian diamond, valued at $20,000, will be held at the concert.  The Hearts and Arrows brilliant-cut diamond, courtesy of De Beers Canada, originated from the pristine tundra of the Canadian Arctic and has been environmentally and ethically mined, cut, and polished.  Diamond Raffle tickets are $100 each or three for $250 and will be available for purchase at the Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. or by calling 416-306-2309.  

Supporting Sponsors of the COC's Diamond Anniversary Concert: BMO Financial Group, Diamond and Schmitt Architects

Wine Sponsor: Andrew Peller Limited

Diamond Raffle Sponsor: De Beers Canada

Russell Braun's appearance is generously underwritten by Earlaine Collins.

The COC is grateful to Colleen Sexsmith for offering her generous financial support to make the other artists' appearances possible.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Roy Thomson Hall's 13th Annual Free Noon Hour Choir & Organ Concerts: featuring Frdric Champion, organ on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12 Noon

Roy Thomson Halls 13th Annual Free Noon Hour Choir & Organ Concerts
Frdric Champion, organ
Solo Recital by the First Prize Winner of the Canadian International Organ Competition
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 12 Noon / Roy Thomson Hall / Toronto
FREE Admission - Call 416-872-4255 for further information
For reservations of 20 or more, call 416-593-4822, Ext.225
Concert suitable for ages 6 and up -

Toronto, ON, October 16, 2009 - French organist Frdric Champion launches Roy Thomson Halls 13th Annual Free Noon Hour Choir & Organ Series with a solo recital of organ masterworks on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12 Noon. The event is the first of four FREE noon hour concerts during the 2009-2010 season that celebrate the artistry of outstanding organists and choral ensembles, and spotlights Roy Thomson Halls magnificent Gabriel Kney Pipe Organ, one of the largest mechanical action instruments in Canada.

Frdric Champion won the top prize at the inaugural Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC), held in Montreal in October 2008. The first prize included a three-year career management contract with Karen McFarlane Artists, a CD recording with ATMA Classique, which will be released in October 2009, and a $30,000 cash award. He was also voted the audience favourite to win the $5,000 Richard Bradshaw Audience Prize. The competition attracted 60 applications from 17 countries; and following a pre-selection round, 16 competitors from 11 countries were chosen to participate. Mr. Champions Roy Thomson Hall solo recital is part of his debut North American tour as the initial ambassador of this prestigious new triennial competition. Organist John Grew is the Artistic Director of the CIOC.

A native of Lyon, France, Frdric Champion has won a string of top prizes at major international organ competitions, including First Prize at the Minoru Yoshida Tokyo Competition; the Bach Prize at the Leipzig Bach Competition; First Prize at the International Competition Gottfried Silbermann; and First Prize at the International Competition Musica Antiqua in Bruges. He has performed regularly as a solo organist and with orchestras and choirs, appearing in concerts in France, Germany, Russia, Portugal and Japan. Mr. Champion is acclaimed for his exceptional talent at improvisation.

Frdric Champions Recital Program at Roy Thomson Hall Nov. 10, 2009 at 12 Noon
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) - Prelude in E-flat major St. Anne
Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) - Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (excerpts)
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) - Sonata 6 in D-minor
Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) - Allegro Vivace from Symphony No. 5
Frdric CHAMPION (1976 -) - Improvisation

Roy Thomson Halls Choir & Organ Concerts are generously supported by Edwards Charitable Foundation

Roy Thomson Halls 2009-2010 Free Noon Hour Choir & Organ Concerts (Call 416-872-4255):
- Tues Nov 10/09 12 Noon: Frdric Champion - Solo Organ Recital
- Tues Dec 15/09: Victoria Scholars & The Sr. Choir of St. Michaels Choir School - A Christmas Celebration
- Thurs Mar 25/10: Elora Festival Singers - Celebrating the Music of J.S. Bach
- Wed April 7/10: The Choirs of Viva! Youth Singers of Toronto - Youthful Treasures

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Glucks revolutionary opera Iphignie en Tauride returns to Toronto!

Toronto, ON Opera Atelier begins its 2009/10 season with a revival of Christoph Willibald Glucks great reform opera, Iphignie en Tauride. The opera attacked the very core of French operatic tradition and caused a sensation when it premiered at the Paris Opera in 1779, and again when Opera Atelier first staged it in 2003.

Iphignie en Tauride tells the story of the Greek princess Iphignie, daughter of Agamemnon, who is abandoned on the island of Tauride for the duration of the Trojan War. Miraculously reunited with her brother Oreste following the murder of their mother (Clytemnestra), Iphignies courage and self-sacrifice ensure their safe return to Greece.

Hailed as a work of genius by ecstatic critics, Iphignie en Tauride is considered the greatest triumph of Glucks career. It is melodrama in the best sense of the word, says OAs co-artistic director Marshall Pynkoski. Huge human emotions are being explored with a psychological depth that is unique for the 18th century. Gluck points the way to the intense interest in human psychology that is usually associated with the 19th century. There is nothing superfluous.

Iphignie en Tauride runs October 31, November 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7, 2009 and is sung in French with English SURTITLESTM. Performances are at Torontos Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street) and begin at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of the November 1st matinee at
3 p.m.

American soprano Peggy Kriha Dye, a favourite with OA audiences, returns as Iphignie, the incredibly courageous young heroine. Croatian tenor Kresimir Spicer, who sang the title role in OAs Idomeneo, makes his role debut as her brother Oreste. Both Ms. Kriha Dye and Mr. Spicer received Dora nominations for their performances in Opera Ateliers 2008 production of Idomeneo. Canadian tenor Thomas Macleay makes his company debut as Pylade, beloved companion of Oreste. Thoas, King of Tauride, is sung by bass-baritone Olivier Laquerre, and bass-baritone Curtis Sullivan sings the role of Le Ministre. Esteemed British conductor Andrew Parrott will lead the Tafelmusik Orchestra and Chamber Choir and the full corps of Artists of Atelier Ballet. This production is directed by Marshall Pynkoski and choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg with set designs by Gerard Gauci, costumes by Dora Rust DEye, lighting by Kevin Fraser and fight direction by Jenny Parr.

Tickets for Iphignie en Tauride are $30 to $135 and are available by calling TicketMaster at 416-872-5555, on-line at or at the Elgin Theatre box office. Operatix are $20 and may be purchased by people under the age of 30 with valid I.D. in person at the Elgin Theatre Box Office (subject to availability). Group discounts (15 people +) are available by calling 416-703-3767 ext. 22. For podcasts and more information visit or check out our Vox Populi blog at

Opera Atelier also gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and the Creative Trust.

2009/10 Season Sponsor: Sun Life Financial
Iphignie Production Sponsor: BMO Financial Group
2009/10 Major Sponsors: Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust Music, The Dominion of Canada General Assurance Company

Opera Atelier is Canadas premier baroque theatre company, dedicated to producing opera, ballet and drama from the 17th and 18th centuries. While drawing upon the aesthetics and ideals of the period, Opera Atelier goes beyond reconstruction and infuses each production with an inventive theatricality that resonates with modern audiences. For more than two decades, under the direction of founders Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, Opera Atelier has garnered acclaim for its performances at home as well as in the United States, Europe and Asia.

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York Artists offer a Contemporary Take on an Ancient Tale with A Compendium of Scenes from VirgilĮĮ

, October 14, 2009: York Universitys Music Department celebrates the heroic genesis of a new era with The Aeneid: A Compendium of Scenes from Virgil, an original cycle of musical tableaux based on the famed Latin epic. ĮĮA dynamic mix of opera, oratorio, cantata, dance and digital media, this contemporary retelling of an ancient tale unfolds November 11 in York Us Tribute Communities Recital Hall.ĮĮThe founding myth of classical Roman culture, The Aeneid was the final work of the poet Virgil, who dedicated it to Romes first emperor, Caesar Augustus. The story follows the warrior-hero Aeneas and his fellow Trojans as they sail to find a second home after the fall of Troy. Fraught with divine intervention, their journey encompasses momentous battles, love affairs, suffering and sacrifice. It culminates in a final battle in Italy where Aeneas emerges victorious, setting the stage for a glorious new epoch leading to the founding of Rome.

ĮĮBringing Virgils myth-history to life are professional musicians, performers, academics and students in York Us Music Department and Faculty of Fine Arts, joined by leading guest artists. ĮĮMusic Professor Michael Coghlan conceived the project, composed the music and scripted the (English and Latin) texts, devising a distinctive musical setting for each of the twelve dramatic scenes.ĮĮ

Featured performers include York U faculty members, mezzo soprano Catherine Robbin, multi-instrumentalist Rob Simms, choral conductor Lisette Canton, Bill Thomas, conductor of the York U Wind Symphony, clarinetist Patricia Wait and flamenco guitarist Roger Scannura. Guest artists include the award-winning Mississauga Children's Choir, internationally renowned trumpeter Guido Basso, bass/baritones Daniel Lichti and Peter Wall, and York U alumna, soprano Leigh Anne Martin.

ĮĮCoghlan, the director of Yorks Graduate Program in Music, has extensive professional credits as a composer, performer, conductor, record producer and music director. He has worked in a wide range of musical genres and techniques, from medieval and classical to jazz, popular, world and contemporary music, with dozens of published scores and recorded compositions. His most recent compositions are two pieces, Peregrine Riffs and Lucky Cube 343, commissioned for the Royal Canadian College of Organists 100th anniversary this year. A specialist in digital music production, he is known nationally for his work in the development and use of contemporary music technologies in artistic and pedagogical practices.ĮĮ

The Aeneid: A Compendium of Scenes from Virgil is a YU50 event, created in celebration of York Universitys 50th anniversary.ĮĮ

When: Wed. November 11 at 7:30pm ĮWhere: Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building, York University, 4700 Keele St. Admission: $15 | $5 students & seniors ĮBox Office: 416.736.5888 |ĮĮĮ

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Multiple Award-winning Bassist, Composer and Arranger, Dave Young, Releases New Quartet CD, Mean What You Say

Featuring Kevin Turcotte, Robi Botos and Frank Botos
and...celebrates his new recording with a Special CD Launch at Torontos vibrant new Jazz Venue, The TRANE STUDIO Jazz Lounge
Thursday November 12th from 8:00 pm

To my way of thinking, Dave Young is one of the most talented bassists on the jazz scene. His harmonic simpatico and unerring sense of time have kept him in the foreground of the jazz picture.
-Dr. Oscar Peterson

...Flawless time, big buoyant tone and bold solo ideas...keen instincts and depth of musicality. The results of (his playing) are a testament to his ability to listen and adapt his concept of time from player to player.
-Bill Milkowski, JAZZ TIMES

Dave Young has been properly acclaimed as a musician with bold solo ideas, flawless timekeeping and a large, gorgeous tone.
-Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star

TORONTO OCT. 7, 2009 On this coming November 12th, Award-winning and internationally recognized jazz bassist, composer and arranger, Dave Young will be releasing his third excellent CD as a leader. On the footsteps of Daves previous hit jazz recordings, Tale of the Fingers and Mainly Mingus (JustinTime), Mean What You Say is an independent release and a thrilling musical collaboration (as well as bass-centric jazz recording masterpiece). In addition to Dave on bass, the quartet recording also features the considerable talents of first-call trumpet genius Kevin Turcotte, as well as gifted pianist Robi Botos and dynamic drummer Frank Botos.

Well-Produced by noted award-winning bassist, composer and producer Roberto Occhipinti, Mean What You Say is comprised of material from some of the most intriguing jazz composers of the modern musical era (e.g. title-track author Thad Jones, Oscar Pettiford, Sam Jones, W.C. Handy, Bud Powell, Cole Porter and Matt Dennis) as well as original pieces by Dave Young himself. The TRANE Studio Jazz Lounge is located at 964 Bathurst St. (at Fallis Ave. South of Dupont Ave.). For reservations (HIGHLY recommended) and further venue info, please call 416-913-8197, or log on to The Trane Studio Jazz Lounge is also a Fine Arts Gallery, and is currently exhibiting Mark Tearles photographic tribute: Doug Richardson: 1937 -2007. Nouvelle gourmet appetizer and full dinner menus (from 6:00 PM) are available. Performances will begin at 8:00 PM, and there will be a $10 Music Charge for the general public.

The eclectic, musically sophisticated and deeply swinging material on Mean What You Say includes the title track, written by legendary jazz trumpeter, arranger and bandleader Thad Jones (one third of the Pontiac, Michigan jazz dynasty that includes late drum legend Elvin and still swinging pianist Hank Jones). Its only natural that Thads tune should be a feature for Kevin Turcottes agile and sumptuous sound while also including strong rhythmic work from Frank Botos and inspired solos from Robi Botos and Dave. Will You Still Be Mine comes from the late, prolific Sinatra inspired vocalist/composer Matt Dennis, and is arranged here as a jaunty, rhythmic swing with an impressive arco solo by Dave as well as more exquisite lead trumpet work from Turcotte and strong solo piano sections from Robi Botos. Innovative bass/cello genius Oscar Pettifords Bohemia After Dark is a bass-centric stand out, and one of the most appealing tracks on the CD. Of particular beauty are penultimate American tunesmith Cole Porters classic and moving ballads, Every Time We Say Good-bye and the sumptuous, more up-tempo Dream Dancing both of which display the communicative sensitivity and superb musicianship of the entire quartet. Other highlights of Mean What You Say include Celia, by revered seminal bop pianist Bud Powell; Dave Youngs original compositions Sandu (which features a gorgeous pizzicato bass solo), Minor 101 and the emotionally evocative Last Time I Saw Her. Also, avant-garde jazz bassist/composer Sam Jones progressively smooth bopper, Seven Minds and the gospel-tinged bass feature, Morning Star from jazz progenitor and rag-time king, W.C. Handy.

About Dave Young......
Toronto-based and Winnipeg-born multiple award-winning bassist and composer Dave Young, is, without a doubt, one of Canadas most valuable and beloved musical exports. Whether hes performing as part of a classical symphony, or as an integral member of an iconic jazz trio (with the likes of the late Oscar Peterson), or leading any of his dynamic ensembles, Dave remains a total musician, with artistic soul in abundance. He first began studying the guitar and violin at age ten, but a turn of events at his first gig (a University dance band) compelled him to pick up the bass. Equally comfortable in the worlds of orchestral classical music and jazz, Dave is a multiple threat. As a classical musician, he has been a member of The Edmonton Symphony, The Winnipeg Symphony and The Hamilton Philharmonic.

As a jazz artist, he is a chameleon-like bassist, who often shines brightest in collaborative efforts with other musicians. Because of his technical skill, few bassists (jazz or otherwise) are able to dig in, swing hard and still render a lyrical arco solo as Dave can.

One of Daves most beloved gigs was a five year stint (1961-66) as a member of iconic jazz guitarist Lenny Breaus quartet. Recently, Randy Bachmans Guitar Archives label has released Bourbon Street a LIVE recording of Dave and Lenny in duo format, digitally restored and originally recorded on a primitive reel to reel at Torontos late, lamented jazz venue. The list of musicians with whom Dave has shared the stage is a virtual Whos Who of international jazz...including the late Oscar Peterson (with whom Dave had a thirty-five year musical relationship), Clark Terry, Harry Sweets Edison, Zoot Simms, Joe Williams, Oliver Jones, Kenny Burrell, Cedar Walton, Hank Jones, Nat Adderly, Peter Appleyard, Gary Burton, Barney Kessell, Ed Bickert, Ranee Lee, Marcus Belgrave, Don Thompson, Kenny Burrell and James Moody.

In recent years, Dave Young has released a number of excellent CDs as leader: the JUNO winning Fables and Dreams with co-leader Phil Dwyer (Justin Time Records); We Three with Phil Dwyer and Michele Lambert ( and Two by Two Volumes 1 & 2 (1995 & 96) which featured Dave in duet performances with jazz legends Oscar Peterson, Cedar Walton, John Hicks, Mulgrew Miller, Tommy Flanagan, Ellis Marsalis, Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Renee Rosnes, Cyrus Chestnut and Oliver Jones and the hit recordings Tale of the Fingers with Special Guest Mulgrew Miller (Justin Time), and the excellent quintet album, Mainly Mingus (Justin Time), which features Daves re-imaginings of the music of Charles Mingus and Horace Silver.

In addition to club appearances, touring, recording and concert/festival performance work, Dave is also a dedicated jazz educator, having taught at numerous music seminars and jazz clinics, as well as being an ongoing member of the Faculty of Music at Humber College and The University of Toronto. In the classical milieu, Dave regularly tours with clarinettist James Campbell and pianist Gene Di Novi in a successful programme of Classical Fusion. He also stretches both his classical and jazz chops at the annual Festival of the Sound in Perry Sound, Ontario, where he has been an integral part of this two-week eclectic musical event for some years.

Dave Young was recently named as a member to The Order of Canada our countrys highest and most prestigious civilian honour. He was installed for his huge international contribution to the music world and to Canada. Dave Young is also the winner (several times over) of the prestigious National Jazz Award Bassist of the Year. Dave is currently performing as part of the 17-piece orchestra accompanying award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharps latest Broadway-bound dance extravaganza: Come Fly With Me The Music of Frank Sinatra. The orchestra (led by drummer/arranger Dennis Mackrel) is performing LIVE to vocal tracks drawn from Sinatras long, distinguished recording career. Vocalist Dee Daniels (also LIVE) adds her unique voice to the performance. The show has already received rave reviews, and will be touring major U.S. and Canadian cities prior to what promises to be a long run on The Great White Way.

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T&T Legend Desmond Waithe delivers the 2009 Lise Waxer Memorial Lecture at York U: Steelpan and Calypso Trinidad and Tobagos Troubadours

Toronto, October 13, 2009: Caribbean music icon Desmond Waithe will be the featured speaker for the 2009 Lise Waxer Memorial Lecture in the Department of Music at York University on October 23. His talk on Steelpan and Calypso Trinidad and Tobagos Troubadours will be framed by vintage calypso music performed live by a guest quintet comprising keyboards, bass, pan, percussion and quarto.

Waithes lecture will cover the history of steelpan and calypso, from the pans tamboo-bamboo roots in the 1920s and 30s, through the evolution of the instruments using oil drums in the 40s, to calypsos important role in spreading news about current events, fighting the censorship of the British government and pushing the boundaries of free speech.

A native of Trinidad, Waithe is an internationally recognized expert in calypso and pan music. His career spans well over four decades of composing, arranging, teaching and promoting steelpan music. Currently on faculty with the University of Trinidad and Tobago, he is also a regional coordinator for T&Ts Ministry of Education, developing curriculum for pan in the classroom. As a musical director, he leads the champion Exocubs Junior Steel Orchestra and the Renegades Steel Orchestra, who recently performed to standing ovations at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with T&Ts finest opera singers in celebration of the 47th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

I have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Desmond Waithe for over four decades as friend and as a mentor said Lindy Burgess, who directs the Caribbean ensemble in Yorks world music program. Hes an extremely talented, accomplished musician who has travelled the globe promoting the music of Trinidad and Tobago. Along the way he has amassed numerous awards and accolades for his contributions. His visit to York University will have a lasting impact on those privileged to hear him.

Bringing this world-renowned musician to York is a natural choice for the Lise Waxer Memorial Lecture, since Ms. Waxer's primary area of research was Latin American music, said Professor Michael Coghlan, Director of Yorks Graduate Program in Music which is hosting Waithes visit. We are honoured that our students will have the opportunity to learn directly from a true pioneer of T&Ts most treasured instrument.

The lecture commemorates musician, ethnomusicologist, author and educator Lise Aerinne Waxer, an alumna of Yorks music program who passed away in 2002. Waxer's work in ethnomusicology included producing and hosting one of Toronto's first world music radio programs on CIUT 89.5 FM and conducting fieldwork on salsa music in Cali, Colombia. She also authored two books: Situating Salsa: Global Markets and Local Meanings in Latin American Popular Music (Routledge 2002) and The City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia (Wesleyan University Press 2002), which received the 2003 Alan P. Merriam Prize and the 2003 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for popular music. At the time of her death, Waxer was a faculty member in the music department at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.

Waxer's family, friends and colleagues established the Lise Waxer Memorial Lecture at York University to celebrate her love of music of all cultures and her joy in sharing that passion with others. Previous speakers in the series include acclaimed Canadian jazz artist Jane Bunnett; York music Professor Michael Marcuzzi; T.M. Scruggs, professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Iowa; and Gage Averill, then Chair of the Music Department and director of the Program in Ethnomusicology at New York University.

The music curriculum at York University features numerous courses which expose students to a wide variety of Latin American music styles. Offerings include Caribbean steelpan; Cuban music; bossa nova workshop; ska, reggae and dancehall; Escola de Samba; Latin and Caribbean popular music; music of the Americas; and popular music of the world.

What: Desmond Waithe delivers the 2009 Lise Waxer Memorial Lecture at York U: Steelpan and Calypso Trinidad and Tobagos Troubadours
When: Friday, October 23, 7:30pm
Where: Sterling Beckwith Studio, 235 Accolade East Building, York University, 4700 Keele St
Admission: Free

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Jackie Richardson Adds Soul to the STARS Gala

Toronto, October 13, 2009 Mixed Company Theatre is delighted to announce that Jackie Richardson will be performing at the 1st Annual STARS Awards Gala, Mixed Company Theatres 25th Anniversary celebration.

One of Canada's foremost singers of gospel, blues and jazz, Richardson has a powerful and supple voice and a warm, vibrant stage presence. The music of Jackie Richardson is an experience of soul, a profoundly personal synthesis of the remarkable gospel, blues and jazz women she has embodied on stage and screen. A veteran of the stage and the small and large screens, Jackie Richardson forged a very successful acting career with roles in "No! No! Nanette Anything Goes"; "Hello Dolly!" and Raisin in the Sun". She became well known for her part in "Ain't Misbehaving", which earned her a Dora Award.

Richardson has worked with Mixed Company Artistic Director, Simon Malbogat, and Mixed Company is excited to partner with her for the 1st Annual STARS Awards Gala.

Enhanced by artistic performances, a silent auction, award ceremony and cocktail reception, celebrating Mixed Company Theatres 25 years of positive change will be an evening to remember.

WHERE: SHAMBA foundation, 48 Yonge Street, Suite 1200, Toronto, ON

WHEN: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Tickets are $75 per person or $200 for 3 people and can be purchased by calling 416 515 8080 or visiting

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Music for Heart and Soul

October 10, 2009 - Toronto General Hospital invites musical performers to participate in its Concert series, Music for Heart and Soul. Performances are on Thursday and Sunday afternoons in the DeGasperis Conservatory, cardiac wing. The series which has been presented for four years welcomes new performers to share their music with patients, families, staff and public.

In addition to performers, volunteers are welcomed to join to assist with concerts as hosts and other capacities.

Please call, 416-340-4115 or for further information about performance or volunteer opportunities.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Prestigious CD Label Features Canadian Composer

Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae by Peter-Anthony Togni
A deeply expressive piece with ancient origins for modern times

Performance & CD Launch on ECM label A Canadian First!
Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Annes Anglican Church
Elmer Iseler Singers - Lydia Adams, Conductor
Jeff Reilly, Bass Clarinet and Rebecca Whelan, Soprano
Special Guest: Peter-Anthony Togni

Toronto, ON, October 9, 2009: Virtuoso bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly and soprano Rebecca Whelan join the celebrated Elmer Iseler Singers and conductor Lydia Adams for the performance and CD launch of Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae: Concerto for bass clarinet and choir (2007), by Halifax composer Peter-Anthony Togni on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. (please note starting time) at St. Annes Anglican Church in Toronto. The new CD will be available at the November 14 concert, and will become available at Canadian retailers in January 2010.

Weaving an intricate, universal tale of a prophet who speaks the truth and is disregarded, Jeff Reilly, often improvising the bass clarinet, Rebecca Whelan, and the 20-voiced ensemble offer a poignant interpretation of Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae (Lamentations of Jeremiah), a compelling and expressive piece that was commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts. This is the first work by a Canadian composer to appear on the prestigious ECM label (under the guidance of producer/guru Manfred Eicher) as part of the ECM New Series, which has launched the careers of some of the world's most famous contemporary composers. In the year of its 40th anniversary, ECM Records has been named both Classical and Jazz Label Of The Year by the world's leading publications in these genres, Gramophone and Downbeat respectively.

After a world premiere in Toronto in 2007 and a 2008 tour in Nova Scotia, Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae was recorded in Halifax in October 2008 in the richly acoustical All Saints Cathedral in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As Keith Horner explains in his CD liner notes, Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae is a virtuoso concerto, incorporating improvisation and choral support. Composer Peter-Anthony Togni points out that the origins of the word concerto embrace the concept of playing together. So I wanted this sense of performing together, and still have the bass clarinet as concerto virtuoso and improviser, and then combine this with the challenge of telling a story, adds Togni.

"Togni's music is deeply felt, simply put well-crafted and irradiated by a personal sense of the divineĶ Jeff Reilly is an undisputed master of the Bass Clarinet who has gone to the end to explore its sonic universe."
Halifax Herald

Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae (Lamentations of Jeremiah): Concert/CD Launch
Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.
The Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor
Soloists: Bass clarinetist/improviser Jeff Reilly, soprano Rebecca Whelan
Special Guest: Peter-Anthony Togni
St. Annes Anglican Church: 270 Gladstone Avenue, Toronto
For tickets (Reg. $35/ Sen. $30/ Students $10) please call 416-217-0537
Group rates available

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Amanda Martinez - Friday, October 23, 2009 at 8 PM, Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory

Toronto, ON. October 8, 2009: A new concert hall, a new recording and a new chapter in the promising career of Canadian Latin-jazz songstress Amanda Martinez begins at Koerner Hall on October 23rd, 2009. Backed by an award winning 6-piece band featuring guitarist Kevin Lalibert and special guests including pianist Robi Botos, Martinez will debut a bevy of songs penned for her long-awaited sophomore release, Amor a disc radiant with the soulful array of original bossa-infused Jazz, Afro-Cuban and Mexican folk songs that have been earning the Toronto-based Martinez rave reviews across the country. The concert will also feature a string quartet led by Vancouver based cellist Harold Birston.

Perhaps best known to Toronto Latin music fans as the charismatic host of the JazzFM.91's Cafe Latino, Amanda Martinez is a staple on the city's Latin live music circuit. Her lustrous vocal stylings and emotive delivery have prompted notable praise from critics including CBC Radio Host Matt Galloway who states her new album Amor is a tremendously confident leap ahead from her Sola debut; polished but with none of the passion missing. Slow dancing is encouraged."ĮĮIn February 2008, Martinez accepted an invitation to travel with award winning guitarist Jesse Cook to perform at the International Jazz Festival of Dubai and then to New York to perform at Dizzys Club at Jazz at Lincoln Centre. Her talents have been recognized with the Emerging Artist Award from FACTOR, 3-consecutive National Jazz Award nominations (2007-2009) including Latin Jazz Singer of the Year; and an invitation to make her debut at New Yorks legendary Blue Note Club this November.

Born in Canada to a Mexican father and South African mother, Amanda grew up in a house that loved music. Although she spent her school years studying classical piano and ballet, Amanda obtained an undergraduate degree in biology and later completed her masters degree in international business. It was only after her first year as associate director of finance at one of Canadas leading banks that she made the decision to pursue music professionally. Her debut album Sola won Best World Music at the Toronto Independent Music Awards, selling over 6000 copies and becoming Torontos top selling independent release.

Friday, October 23, 2009 at 8 pm
Koerner Hall / 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto / Tickets $49.50 - $39.50
Roy Thomson Hall Box Office - 416-872-4255 /
The Royal Conservatory Box Office - 416-408-0208 /

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Jesse Harris with very special guest Jillian Lebeck Quartet

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 at 8 PM / Glenn Gould Studio
Tickets on sale to FriendsFirst members Thursday, October 1 at noon;
to the Public on Friday, October 2 at 10 AM
$34.50 - Call 416-872-4255 or online at
or visit the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office

Toronto, ON. Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - Jesse Harris rose to fame when millions of music lovers discovered his Grammy Award winning song "Don't Know Why" on Norah Jones's debut album Come Away With Me. Since then he has been leading many different projects and has been collaborating with a wide range of artists. Recently, he wrote and recorded the score for the Ethan Hawke movie "The Hottest State" which soundtrack features versions of Harris songs by artists such as Willie Nelson, Norah Jones and Brad Mehldau.

After over a year of touring as a duo, playing the 6-string banjo (tuned like a guitar) with a Brazilian-based percussionist, Jesse Harris decided to make that surprisingly full and efficient instrumentation the foundation of his new album Watching The Sky. Expanding upon the rhythmic direction of his previous release, Feel, this new recording is centered around the backbone percussion of Mauro Refosco (David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto) who also plays vibes, marimba, and keyboards; and augmented by the versatile bass and guitar playing of his old pal from Jesse's earlier band The Ferdinandos, Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell, Willie Nelson).

For this exceptional concert, Jesse is joined by the Jillian Lebeck Quartet. Jillian is a Vancouver-based vocalist, pianist and songwriter known as one of the freshest and most dynamic new voices in Canada. Jillian has performed across the world and opened for the legendary saxophonist Joe Lovano, among others. Her vocal and songwriting influences range from Keren Ann to Ron Sexsmith and Rufus Wainright, while her piano influences draw from instrumentalists such as Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett. Lebeck favours simple, subtle melodies which lead to inventive and smart improvisation.

In the true spirit of collaboration, Jillian and Jesse will be joining each other on their respective sets to perform together! For information about these dynamic artists please visit their websites at and

With Very Special Guest Jillian Lebeck Quartet
Thursday, October 29 2009 at 8 pm / Glenn Gould Studio
250 Front Street West, Toronto
Tickets $34.50 - Call 416-872-4255 or visit the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office

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Afro Cuban All Stars

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 8 PM / Massey Hall
$69.50 - $39.50 - Call 416-872-4255 or online at
Or visit the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office

Toronto, ON. Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - The Washington Post proclaims, The Afro Cuban All Stars continue to meld the hard-won experience of old masters with the energy and enthusiasm of a new generation of Cuban musicians....[They play] a sizzling sonic stew laced with sleek rhythms, searing horns, sharp percussion and sensuous vocals. After a 3-year absence, renowned bandleader Juan de Marcos leads his four-time Grammy-nominated, multi-generational band as it serves up an authentic taste of Havana in a feast of Cubas unique and addictive sounds at Massey Hall on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009.

The Afro Cuban All Stars were first brought together by Juan De Marcos, the leader of the son group Sierra Maestra, and original member of the Buena Vista Social Club. Determined to preserve the traditions of early Cuban music, singer-guitarist De Marcos saw this landmark project as an opportunity to invite listeners to explore the rich musical heritage of the island, by showing the world the diversity, continuity, and vitality of Cuban music. Since coming together with Nick Gold of the London-based World Circuit record label in 1997, the Afro Cuban All Stars have become an undeniable force in the global revival of Afro-Cuban music, making producer Juan De Marcos one of the most important figures in Cuban music today.

The Afro Cuban All Stars, a power-house, dream ensemble, comprised of four generations of Cubas finest musicians not only capture the fiery big band sound of pre-Castro, 1950s Cuba, but also continue to break barriers with brand-new arrangements that celebrate Cubas fantastic musical legacy of Latin dance music, mambo, cha cha, salsa, rumba, son montuno, timba, guajira, danzn, abaku, and bolero. The first Afro Cuban All Stars album, A Toda Cuba le Gusta, recorded shortly before the Buena Vista Social Clubs groundbreaking album, with many of the same musicians in both recordings, pays homage to the legendary soneros of the 1940s and 1950s and it is through these two projects Juan de Marcos rekindled the world's fascination with traditional Cuban music.

Named the best Beyond Band by Jazz Magazine, members of the All Stars have garnered tremendous recognition with numerous award-winning albums, including the Grammy Award-winning The Buena Vista Social Club, which inspired an Academy Award-nominated documentary of the same name.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 8 pm / Massey Hall
178 Victoria Street, Toronto
Tickets $69.50 - $39.50 - Call 416-872-4255

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Legendary actor Theodore Bikel to receive tribute / Le lgendaire acteur Theodore Bikel recevra l'hommage

"If it were not for the unions and guilds, we would have nothing to protect us from our own folly
or from those who seek to abuse our love for what we do."
~ Theodore Bikel

Toronto, ON October 8, 2009 - In his autobiography, theatrical and music legend, Theodore Bikel writes, "It seems that I have conducted my life on two different emotional planes: one lighthearted, gregarious, even frivolous; the other politically and socially involved and following a serious social and moral commitment." On Wednesday, October 14th as the curtain falls on the opening night performance of Bikel's SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH THE TEARS' Canadian premiere, AFM Canada will pay special tribute to Mr. Bikel's extraordinary 55-year commitment to the labour community.

Theodore Bikel's dedication to social justice is a testament to both the man and the professional. A member of five different AFL-CIO unions (Actors' Equity Association, American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild and American Guild of Variety Artists) Bikel has been a vocal supporter of the rights of professional artists helping to shape not only our unions and our economy, but also our culture.

"Theodore Bikel's advocacy is second to none," explains Bill Skolnik, the AFM Vice President from Canada. "It will be a great honour to recognize and celebrate Theo Bikel's decades of social activism on behalf of many causes, particularly his untiring work representing the collective rights of artists and his over 50 years of membership in the AFM".

The special presentation, will take place on the Winter Garden Theatre stage immediately following the gala performance. Skolnik will be joined by Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company's Co-Artistic Director Avery Saltzman; and award-winning AFM member, trumpeter David Buchbinder, who will offer a very musical tribute recognizing Bikel's own virtuosic talents.

Theo's love of music, in particular folk music, has remained a constant throughout his life. From his concert debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall in 1956 to spending his off time during The Sound of Music playing at small folk music clubs to his heavy touring schedule to this day. Bikel's passion for folk music has offered a forum for the fusion of Theo the Artist and Theo the Activist. His many accolades in the folk community include co-founding the Newport Folk Festival; to this day the premier folk music festival in the United States, in 1959 and seeing his 1961 book Folksongs and Footnotes demand three reprint editions. His experiences as a folk musician in turbulent times in America's history, however, provide much insight into this compelling labor leader. A supporter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in its early years, Theo often traveled the American South performing with bass player Bill Lee, father of filmmaker Spike. At one point, Theo was arrested for taking part in demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, and led his fellow cell mates in song to protest their treatment. For more information please visit

Deeply researched, powerfully felt and beautifully sung, SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS is the true tale of the great Yiddish storyteller's youth, fame and challenging journey to America. SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS will have its Canadian premiere at Toronto's Winter Garden Theatre, October 13 - 18, 2009 as part of the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company's 2009/2010 season. For more information please

About AFM Canada
AFM Canada is a complementary yet independent office of the American Federation of Musicians, United States and Canada and is uniquely positioned to address Canadian issues for its Canadian membership. It is the leading professional organization of its kind available to Canadian musicians and represents over 17,000 professional musicians in Canada. In June 2009, AFM Canada began a year-long 30th Anniversary celebration. For more information please visit our website,


Si ce n'tait des syndicats et des guildes, rien ne nous protgerait de notre propre folie ou de ceux qui cherchent abuser de l'amour que nous vouons ce que nous faisons.
~Theodore Bikel

, ON le 8 octobre 2009 Dans son autobiographie, la lgende vivante du thtre et de la musique Theodore Bikel crit : Il me semble avoir men ma vie deux niveaux motionnels : le premier au cur lger, grgaire et mme frivole; le second politiquement et socialement concern, suivant un srieux engagement social et moral. Mercredi 14 octobre, la tombe du rideau de la soire d'ouverture de la premire canadienne du spectacle SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH THE TEARS de Bikel, l'AFM Canada rendra un hommage particulier l'engagement extraordinaire de 55 ans de M. Bikel envers la communaut de travailleurs.

La conscience de Theodore Bikel pour la justice sociale est rvlatrice la fois de l'homme et du professionnel. Membre de cinq syndicats FAT-COI Fdration amricaine du travail et Congrs des organisations industrielles (l'Actors' Equity Association, l'American Federation of Musicians, la Federation of Television and Radio Artists d'Amrique, la Screen Actors Guild et l'American Guild of Variety Artists), Bikel depuis toujours le dfenseur des droits des artistes professionnels a particip non seulement l'laboration de nos syndicats et de notre conomie, mais aussi de notre culture.

Dans le domaine de la dfense des droits, Theodore Bikel ne cde sa place personne , explique Bill Skolnik, le vice-prsident du Canada de la FAM. C'est pour nous un grand honneur que de reconnatre et de clbrer les dcennies consacres par Theo Bikel la protection d'intrts sociaux, et notamment son travail infatigable dans la reprsentation des droits collectifs des artistes et ses plus de cinquante annes comme membre de la FAM.

Cette prsentation spciale aura lieu sur la scne du Winter Garden Theatre immdiatement aprs la performance gala. Skolnik sera accompagn par Avery Saltzman, codirecteur artistique de la Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company; le trompettiste David Buchbinder, membre prim de la FAM, offrira en outre un hommage trs musical aux talents de virtuose de Bikel.

Son amour de la musique et particulirement de la musique folklorique, est depuis toujours une constante dans la vie : de ses dbuts au Carnegie Recital Hall en 1956 jusqu' ses tournes importantes d'aujourd'hui, en passant par les petites botes de musique folk o il se produisait entre les reprsentations de The Sound of Music. La passion manifeste par Bikel pour la musique folklorique lui a permis d'effectuer la fusion entre Theo l'Artiste et Theo l'Engag. Parmi ses nombreux bons coups dans la communaut folk, mentionnons la fondation en 1959 du Newport Folk Festival, encore de nos jours le plus prestigieux festival de musique folklorique des tats-Unis, et son livre Folksongs and Footnotes (1961) qui en est sa troisime rdition. Ses expriences en tant que musicien folklorique au cours de la rcente turbulente histoire d'Amrique ont fait de lui un dirigeant syndical clair. Un partisan du Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) pendant ses premires annes d'existence, Theo a souvent visit le sud des tats-Unis o il se produisait avec le bassiste Bill Lee, le pre du cinaste Spike Lee. Il a mme dj t mis en tat d'arrestation pour avoir particip des manifestations Birmingham en Alabama. En cellule, il incitait ses codtenus chanter en guise de protestation. Pour plus de renseignements, consulter le site

Le fruit d'une profonde recherche, d'une facture puissante et chant de faon admirable, le spectacle SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS est l'histoire vraie de la jeunesse, la clbrit et le voyage rempli de dfis vers l'Amrique de ce grand conteur yiddish. SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS sera prsent en premire canadienne au Winter Garden Theatre de Toronto du 13 au 18 octobre 2009 dans le cadre de la saison 2009-2010 de la Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company. Pour plus de dtails, consulter le site suivant :

propos de l'AFM Canada
AFM Canada est le bureau complmentaire bien que tout fait distinct de l'American Federation of Musicians, United States and Canada (la Fdration amricaine des musiciens des tats-Unis et du Canada) et ce titre, occupe une place unique pour traiter des questions canadiennes de ses membres canadiens. C'est l'organisme professionnel de premier rang dans son domaine d'activit, au service des musiciens canadiens, et reprsente au-del de 17 000 musiciens professionnels au Canada. En juin 2009, l'AFM Canada a amorc les clbrations soulignant son 30e anniversaire qui dureront toute l'anne. Pour plus de renseignements, prire de consulter notre site Web au

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tickets on Sale for Mixed Company Theatres STARS Awards Gala

Toronto, October 7, 2009 Tickets are now on sale to the 1st Annual STARS Awards Gala, Mixed Company Theatres 25th Anniversary celebration.

Mixed Company Theatre is thrilled to partner with Master of Ceremonies, Suhana Meharchand, desert sponsor, Dufflet, and host, SHAMBA foundation to celebrate the STARS Awards Gala.
Enhanced by artistic performances, a silent auction, award ceremony and cocktail reception, celebrating Mixed Company Theatres 25 years of positive change will be an evening to remember.

WHERE: SHAMBA foundation, 48 Yonge Street, Suite 1200, Toronto, ON
WHEN: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Tickets are $75 per person or $200 for 3 people and can be purchased by calling 416 515 8080 or visiting

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Canadian schools jubilant as MusiCounts invests half a million dollars in music education

60 MusiCounts Band Aid grants confirmed for 2009-2010

TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - MusiCounts, Canada's music education charity associated with CARAS, announced today that 60 Band Aid grants will be given out in 2009/2010.
MusiCounts provides opportunity and access for Canadian students of all ages and backgrounds to comprehensive music programs through their schools. Research proves that children's music education aids their cognitive development, creativity, as well as their overall attitude toward their studies. The demand for support of music programs is ever more apparent and this year is no exception.

For a complete list of 2009-2010 recipients, please visit

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Monday, October 5, 2009

'Clowning Around' at the Harbourfront Centre

Toronto Jasp arrives for her first day at a new school. Morro, the local bully, decides that Jasp is the perfect new target and things go from bad to worse.

Combining Forum Theatre and Theatre in the Round, loveable and laughable clowns Morro and Jasp along with young bystander, Wit Ness invite kids to get involved and suggest their own approaches for dealing with bullies.

The Bully Show: Clown in the Round kicks off the season in Hamilton elementary schools, followed by free performances at HarbourKIDS: Respect, a 3-day festival for kids October 10 12.

The interactive play will then tour to elementary schools across Toronto, empowering kids to stand up for themselves and for those around them who just might need a helping hand.

WHAT: The Bully Show: Clown in the Round, a new interactive anti-bullying performance for kids
WHERE: Harbourfront Centre - Lakeside Terrace - York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

WHEN: Saturday, October 10 - 12:00 pm 1:00 pm
Sunday, October 11 - 12:00 pm 1:00 pm
Monday, October 12 - 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: All performances are FREE. Additional information is available at

To learn more about The Bully Show: Clown in the Round and Mixed Company Theatres Educational Tour, additional information is available at or by calling 416 515 8080.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Gang Violence: From the Streets to the Stage

Gang Violence: From the Streets to the Stage

Toronto, July 27, 2009 Mixed Company Theatre partners with the Toronto Police Service to create theatre for social change with youth affected by gang violence.

"The Toronto Police Service's partnership with Mixed Company Theatre creates an excellent opportunity to engage communities through the use of theatre arts and assists our ongoing efforts to enhance relationships with citizens of Toronto. Positive community relations improve our effectiveness in keeping our community safe, said Staff Superintendent Glenn De Caire, Central Field, Toronto Police Service.

For the next four weeks, youth will meet at York Memorial Collegiate Institute, collaborating with professional theatre, dance and music artists, including Chalmers Award Winning script-writer, Rex Deverell. They will participate in intensive workshops, covering hip-hop, rap, and script-development, learning to express their voices to make their communities safer.

"With support from the Toronto Police Service, Mixed Company Theatre has had the opportunity to connect with many community groups across Toronto, hearing the voices of those who have experienced gang violence. This new interactive performance incorporates these experiences, focusing on gang presence in our neighbourhoods and the pressures youth face finding social connection and identity, remarked Simon Malbogat, Artistic Director, Mixed Company Theatre.

With the help of the Toronto Police Service, Mixed Company Theatre has been reaching out to young people through the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), the Youth in Policing Initiative and other community-based programs such as Project PEACE, Breaking the Cycle and L.O.V.E.. The end result, a forum theatre production addressing gang violence, will debut August 14 and August 16 at York Memorial CI. The presentation will tour to communities within 12 and 31 Divisions plus many more between August 17 21.

Mixed Company Theatre produces innovative, socially relevant drama as a tool to educate, engage and empower for positive change.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Toronto Summer Music Festival August Concerts

Opened with a World Premiere and
Concludes with an Opera Extravaganza

The fourth annual Toronto Summer Music Festival (TSM) opened last night with the world premiere pairing of Grammy and Juno Award-winning violinist James Ehnes, and Leeds International Competition winner, pianist Jon Kimura Parker, in concert together. This spectacular event was just the beginning of the Festival, which continues until August 13.

August concerts begin with beloved Toronto pianist, Anton Kuerti. Kuerti, who is an Officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Canadian Governor General's lifetime artistic achievement award in 2008, sold out his previous appearances with TSM. On August 1, Kuerti will present a programme which includes two composers whose anniversaries are being celebrated by the Festival this year: Haydn (Sonata in E Flat Major) and Mendelssohn (17 Variations Srieuses, Op. 54, and Scherzo Capriccio in F Sharp Minor); and Beethoven's Sonata in F Minor and Robert Schumann's Sonata in G Minor, Op 22.

Long-time collaborator with the TSM, violinist Mayumi Seiler will be joined by fellow violinist Ian Swensen on August 4. Swensen is a winner of the top prize in both solo and chamber music sections of the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg International Competition. Performing together as a duo for the very first time in Toronto, Swensen and Seiler will play rarely performed pieces by Bartk, Corelli, Martinu, Purcell, Saraste, Shostakovich, Telemann, and Vivaldi.

Two hot young string quartets will grace the stage of Walter Hall on August 6: Cecelia String Quartet and the Tokai String Quartet. They bring fresh energy and insight to the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. In addition, they will present a world premiere of Jacques Htu's Hommage Mendelssohn. Htu himself will present the pre-concert lecture.

Star French flutist Patrick Gallois will be joined by his wife, pianist Cecilia Lfstrand, on August 8. Gallois, who enjoys extraordinary success as a flute soloist, is also currently the Artistic Director and principal conductor of Sinfonia Finlandia. The pair will present an evening of sparkling duo sonatas by Desbire, Gaubert, Poulenc, and Prokofiev.

Juno Award-winning fan favourite and one of the premier chamber ensembles in North America, Gryphon Trio will perform on August 11. They will play Mendelssohn's Trio No. 2 in C Minor and Haydn's Trio in C Major. They will be joined by the sublimely elegant soprano, Monica Whicher, in a variety of Scottish Folk Songs, arranged by Beethoven and Haydn.

Opera Extravaganza will close the festival on August 13, conducted by TSM Artistic Director Agnes Grossmann. She will be joined by star alumni of the TSM's Opera Studio in a varied and delightful programme of arias from Cilea, Donizetti, Verdi, and Mozart, duets from Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, and Richard Strauss, and ensembles from Donizetti and Verdi. Singers will include sopranos Melinda Delorme, Teiya Kasahara and Dsire Till, mezzo-sopranos Erica Iris Huang and Lauren Segal, tenors Joey Niceforo and Paul Ouellette, baritone Phillip Addis, and bass-baritone Tomislav Lavoie.

July 21 - August 13, 2009

August Concerts
Anton Kuerti: Saturday, August 1 at 8pm ***
Pre-concert lecture: "Bicentennials and Sonatas" presented by Stephen Cera
Swensen & Seiler: Tuesday, August 4 at 8pm **
Pre-concert lecture: "A Smrgsbord of Paris: Musical Duets over the Centuries" presented by
Dr. Timothy McGee
Cecilia String Quartet and Tokai String Quartet: Thursday, August 6 at 8pm **
Pre-concert lecture: "Mendelssohn: The Child Prodigy" presented by Jacques Htu
Gallois & Lfstrand: Saturday, August 8 at 8pm **
Pre-concert lecture: "The Monk and the Rascal: A Look at Francis Poulenc's dual personality" presented by Charlne St. Aubin
Gryphon Trio with Monica Whicher: Tuesday, August 11 at 8pm **
Pre-concert lecture: "Scotland the Exotic? Scottish Folksong Settings by Haydn and Beethoven" presented by Dr. James Kippen
Opera Extravaganza: Thursday, August 13 at 7:30pm ***
Pre-concert lecture: Presented by one of Canada's leading experts on opera, Ian Scott

July Concerts
James Ehnes & Jon Kimura Parker: Tuesday, July 21 at 8pm *
Pressler & Friends: Thursday, July 23 at 8pm ***
Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi & Friends: Saturday, July 25 at 8pm **
Anagnoson & Kinton: Tuesday, July 28 at 8pm **
Leipzig String Quartet with Karl Leister: Thursday, July 30 at 8pm ***
Penderecki String Quartet: Friday, July 31 at 8pm **

Festival passes ($120 - $300) and single tickets ($20 - $75) are available online or by calling 416.597.7840

Pre-concert lectures are free and take place at 6:45pm the night of the concert
in Room 330, Edward Johnson Building

*Carlu Concert Hall, 444 Yonge Street, 7th Floor, Toronto
**Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, 80 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto
***MacMillan Theatre, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, 80 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Morro and Jasp... DO PUBERTY... Again!

Morro and JaspĶ DO PUBERTYĶ Again!

Toronto, July 20, 2009 Mixed Company Theatre is excited to announce that loveable and laughable clowns, Morro and Jasp, have been chosen as Best of the Fringe!

Morro and Jasp have finally reached puberty. Written and Performed by Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee, this hilarious show explores the trials and tribulations that we all went through, or are about to go through, in becoming a grown-up. Sixty minutes of laughter, longing, tears and tampons!

Funny and touching, its a Fringe winner - Jon Kaplan, NOW Magazine

Ķa must-see of the Fringe - Caroline Lock, Eye Weekly

WHEN: Wednesday July 22 7:00pm; Thursday July 23 9:00pm; Friday July 24 9:00pm; Saturday July 25 9:00pm

WHERE: The Berkeley Street Theatre - 26 Berkeley Street at Front Street

TICKETS: $16.50 - Info available at 416.368.3110 or or

In partnership with Mixed Company Theatre, Morro and Jasp will also tour to elementary schools across Ontario this Fall as part of our Breaking the Cycle of Violence Program. In The Bully Show: CLOWN IN THE ROUND, the clowns interact with the audience through theatre in the round, inviting students to get involved and suggest their own approaches for dealing with bullies.

Mixed Company Theatre produces innovative, socially relevant drama as a tool to educate, engage and empower for positive change.

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