Friday 18 December 2020

21C Music Festival: the Royal Conservatory of Music's on-line festival gives us a chance to eavesdrop on new music in Toronto

21C Music Festival logo
One of the positive aspects of this rather low year for classical music has been the way restrictions have forced/encouraged organisations into the adoption of live-streaming. This means that, if you so desire, you can drop in on a concert from virtually anywhere in the world, whether it be the opening of the Czech Philharmonic's 2020/21 season in Prague, the Russian National Orchestra's 30th anniversary celebrations in Moscow or Opera Philadelphia.

In January 2021, the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Canada is running its eighth 21C Music Festival focusing on contemporary music. There will be four concerts, all live-streamed, with 13 premieres and a focus on women composers and performers.

The performers will include violinist Angèle Dubeau with her string ensemble La Pietà, pianist (and Royal Conservatory alumna) Eve Egoyan, pianist (and Royal Conservatory alumna) Morgan-Paige Melbourne, and the Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble, the conservatory's new music chamber orchestra.

Eve Egoyan will perform her own Seven Studies for Augmented Piano, Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà perform music by Ludovico Einaudi, Steve Reich, Max Richter, Alex Baranowski, Craig Armstrong, Ólafur Arnalds, Jean-Michel Blais, Armand Amar, and Uno Helmersson, Morgan-Paige Melbourne performs her own new piece plus music by Nauroz Tanya, Kathryn Knowles, Brian Current, and Nikolai Kapustin (1937-2020). The chamber orchestra performs outstanding works alongside projected moving images and classic silent films, including music by Pierre Jodlowski, Martin Matalon, Corie Rose Soumah, and Nicole Lizée, whose piece includes pre-recorded videos synced to the live musicians, which enables the inclusion of players not physically in Canada.

Two of the concerts are free and there is a fee for each of the other two. Well worth the price to explore a new range of repertoire. Full details from the Royal Conservatory of Music's website.

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