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Robert Aitken, artistic director


Ana Sokolović: Evta Comes to Town

David Jaeger’s column in the May issue of The Wholenote, “Ana Sokolović: Evta Comes to Town” is available here

Coffee House 345

Wednesday June 15, 2016 at “Coffee House 345” 345 Sorauren Ave.
Doors Open 7:30 | First Set 8:00

Tickets are $50 (2 for $75) and include complimentary coffee, pastries, wine and cheese. Proceeds will benefit New Music Concerts,
with a charitable receipt for the CRA allowable portion. Call 416.961.9594 for reservations.

David Olds is known across Canada as a broadcaster, annotator and administrator specializing in contemporary music and its dissemination. In 1993, as a result of his work as producer and host of “Transfigured Night” at CKLN-FM, he was awarded the first Canadian League of Composers Award (now the Friends of Canadian Music Award) for his “exceptional commitment to Canadian Composers.” In 1999-2000 David produced “Canadian Currents” for the Canadian Music Centre, a series of 52 radio programs that aired on CJRT-FM. In addition to his duties as general manager of New Music Concerts (since 1999), he is the editor of DISCoveries, WholeNote magazine’s CD review section. David Olds was the convener of the Toronto Coalition of New Music Presenters (now the Toronto New Music Alliance) (2000-2007), is a founding member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community and the Canadian New Music Network, a voting member of both the Canadian Music Centre and the Music Gallery and from 2007-2009 he served on the Toronto Arts Council’s Music Committee.

Less well known are David’s activities as a musician in his own right. Since receiving his first guitar at age 11 he has gone on to build a repertoire of more than 500 songs drawn from the folk, pop, rock, blues, r&b and alternative traditions. He is also an accomplished amateur cellist and has played in a string quartet with friends for more than a decade with a repertoire spanning Mozart to Shostakovich. In recent years he has added mandolin and mandola to his collection of instruments, developing an interest in country and bluegrass music. In addition to several original compositions, David will sing a selection from the following:

Bob Dylan – You’re No Good; You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
Willie P. Bennett – Music in Your Eyes
Bruce Springsteen – Growin’ Up
Bridget Kearney – When I Grow Up
Paul Simon – Duncan
David Wiffen – Coast to Coast Fever
Loudon Wainwright III – School Days; I Haven’t Got the Blues (yet)
Allan Fraser and Daisy DeBolt – Pure Spring Water; Dance Hall Girls
Fred Neil – Dolphins
Elmo and Patsy – Grandma got run over by a Reindeer
Tim Buckley – Buzzin’ Fly; Strange Feeling
Tom Rush – No Regrets
Sy Potma – When I Was Young
Paul Quarrington – Am I Ready?
James Taylor – Bartender’s Blues
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Van Morrison - Moondance

David will be joined by musical friends Bob McNiven (with Howard Willett),
Sy Potma and David Perlman, who will perform songs from their own repertoires.
Complimentary refreshments generously provided by the New Music Concerts Board of Directors.

Robert Aitken flute recital Thursday April 7

Dear Friends,
I thought you might be interested in a recital tomorrow evening which features a different aspect of our multi-talented artistic director Robert Aitken. Although he continues his acclaimed international solo career performing repertoire spanning three centuries around the globe, we rarely have a chance to hear him featured in anything but contemporary repertoire here in Toronto. On Thursday at 7:30 in the Church of the Holy Trinity Bob and distinguished pianist William Aide will perform the inaugural recital featuring the church’s new Steinway piano. Here are the details:
Thursday April 7 at 7:30
Church of the Holy Trinity
Trinity Square (west side of the Eaton Centre)
$25 admission – proceeds will go toward the piano fund
Robert Aitken, flute
William Aide, piano
Eldin Burton – Sonatina (1948)
Three Schubert Song Transcriptions:
Schubert/Boehm - Gute Nacht ("Winterreise"); Die Taubenpost ("Schwanengesang"); Daniel Linton-France – Fantasy on Schubert's "Du bist die Ruh"
Frédéric Chopin – Ballade in F minor, Op. 52
William Aide "Quatrième Prélude" (poem)
Claude Debussy – "Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir”
Robert Aitken – Plainsong (1977; rev. 1980)
Max Meyer-Olbersleben – Fantasy-Sonata, Op. 17

Pierre Boulez 1925-2016

Dear Friends,

It is with sadness that we note the passing of one of contemporary music’s icons, composer, conductor and educator Pierre Boulez. His music was featured on our series a number of times over the years, beginning with the North American premiere of Messagesquisse back in 1979 with cello soloist Peter Schenkman under Bob Aitken’s direction in 1979. Marc Widner performed the Piano Sonata No.1 in 1986 and then in April 1991 Boulez’s close associate Jean-Pierre Drouet conducted our ensemble in Mémoriale with Bob as flute soloist. The following month we presented Boulez conducting the Ensemble InterContemporain in a concert at Roy Thomson Hall which included Le Marteau sans Maître and he also directed a workshop with our musicians at the Royal Conservatory. In 2002 when Boulez was awarded the sixth Glenn Gould Prize we had the privilege of performing the award presentation concert of seven seminal works all conducted by the master, including Messagesquisse, this time with Glenn Gould “Protégé” prize winner Jean-Guihen Queyras as the soloist. That occasion was a very special opportunity for our musicians, especially soloists Patricia Green, Fujiko Imajishi and Christina Petrowska Quilico. It was also a highlight of my time with New Music Concerts and I will always treasure the two days I got to spend as Mr. Boulez’s liaison in Toronto. There are many tributes appearing in the press and here are links to a few of the most notable, including an extended encomium by NY Times critic Paul Griffiths (who took part in our series last season).

The New York Times (Paul Griffiths)
The Washington Post (Tim Page)
The Globe and Mail (review of Boulez conducting the NMC ensemble by Robert Everett-Green from Nov. 26, 2002)
British Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Boulezian appreciation by Mark Berry

February 15, the Family Day Holiday Monday, New Music Concerts will present our tribute to the late master. Initially intended as a celebration of Boulez at 90, we will instead mark his passing in the best way we know how, by performing one of his later masterworks Sur Incises (1996/2006) for the amazing combination of 3 pianos, 3 harps and 3 percussion. Stephen Clarke, Gregory Oh, Wesley Chen, Erica Goodman, Sanya Eng, Angela Scharzkopf, Rick Sacks, Ryan Scott and David Schotzko are already hard at work preparing this stunning 40 minute work. The concert also includes the original solo piano work Incises from which the ensemble piece is derived performed by Simon Docking, and a new work for 18 musicians by Edmonton composer Howard Bashaw. It promises to be a memorable evening indeed and I hope to see you there.

David Olds
General Manager
New Music Concerts

Welcome to the 2015-2016 Season

Each year I approach this season’s greetings with apprehension as I am never quite sure where this little paragraph will take me. After 44 seasons, we can look back and attempt to assess what has been achieved and where we are going. As most of you know, I believe New Music Concerts should present challenging music. That means someone needs to be challenged – the composer, the performer or the listener, and hopefully all three. It also implies that “high art” is not just entertainment; there needs to be a deeper message. It’s our job to seek out these ideas, and in many cases, foster their development through commissions. We appreciate that our devoted audience understands what we are attempting and the risks involved. Thank you for undertaking this quest with us over the past four and a half decades. Please join us and be challenged.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Aitken, founding artistic director