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Koerner Hall

Hot Date: Enjoy the Sounds of the Toronto Summer Music Festival

The Gryphon Trio performs on July 26

JULY 17 TO AUGUST 4 This city’s classical music lovers are psyched for their annual treat as the Toronto Summer Music Festival returns with a packed program of concerts, masterclasses and lectures. Pianist André Laplante opens the proceedings with a July 17 recital featuring pieces by Ravel, Liszt and more, while the Zuckerman Chamber Players present works by Shostakovich and Schumman on July 24. This city’s excellent Gryphon Trio are also among the scheduled performers—the group makes its first appearance at Koerner Hall on July 26. Various venues and showtimes, $26 to $75; call 416-408-0208 or visit here for more information.

Weekend Roundup, December 9 to 11

Friday: Relive your Royal Conservatory days through Two Pianos Four Hands

Friday, December 9
Follow along with the melodies made by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt, the actor-musicians behind the hit comedy Two Pianos Four Hands, a hilarious and poignant story about two lives transformed by piano teachers, lessons and competitions. The show’s recently extended run continues at the Panasonic Theatre.

Listen to a Latin take on holiday music at Koerner Hall in A Salsa Christmas, performed by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra under the direction of world-renowned pianist, arranger and producer Oscar Hernández.

Get a first look at The Power Plant’s two new exhibitions at their free opening reception. The gallery’s winter exhibits showcase reflections on poignant moments in cultural history by Canadian Stan Douglas and an international collective of young artists.

There’s two more days of merriment after the jump!

Weekend Roundup, February 25th to 27th

Friday: Ladysmith Black Mombazo enlivens Roy Thomson Hall

Friday, February 25
Gather at Roy Thomson Hall tonight to have your spirits lifted by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The South African a capella group—known for its stirring harmonies—is slated to perform songs from its latest album, Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu.

Join Anne Sofie Von Otter and Brad Mehldau at Koerner Hall as they perform selections from their recent effort, Love Songs. The immensely talented Swedish mezzo-soprano and American jazz pianist are adept at playing everything from Brahms to the Beatles.

This evening offers a final opportunity to hear the melodies of The Magic Flute, as performed by the Canadian Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre. Toronto-based soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian is among the talented cast of this beautiful Mozart opera.

Saturday: Bloor-Yorkville's IceFest offers all manner of frosty sculptures

Saturday, February 26
Bloor-Yorkville’s annual Icefest runs all weekend long at the Village of Yorkville Park. Today, visitors can view a “Circus Extravaganza” with ice sculptures of elephants, lion tamers, fortune tellers, and more. The big top atmosphere also offers magic tricks, acrobatics and yummy cotton candy, too.

Follow a young girl’s battle for liberty as Brothel #9 opens tonight at Factory Theatre. Telling the story of a girl who struggles for freedom after being sold to a brothel in Calcutta, the play is a true testament to the endurance of the human spirit.

Drama lovers will also find interest in the final day of Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival, which presents new works by female playwrights. The Happy Woman closes the festival, and features a panel discussion following its performance.

Sunday: See Sacred Moon (detail pictured) and other works by El Anatsui at the Royal Ontario Museum

Sunday, February 27
Today offers the final opportunity to view the Royal Ontario Museum’s acclaimed exhibition, When I Last Wrote You About Africa, by El Anatsui. The Ghanaian artist transforms overlooked and discarded objects into monumental sculptures that reflect global, local, and his own personal history.

In celebration of the Juno Awards’ 40th anniversary, Lula Lounge hosts a performance by the Juno Jazz All-Stars tonight. Eight Juno-winning artists—including Guido Basso, Don Thompson and Dave Young—take the stage at this sure-to-be-smoking show.

Looking for a fun way spend Oscar night? Walk the red carpet to the Drake Hotel’s own Oscar Party. The evening of entertainment features popcorn, drinks, a cinematic trivia contest with great door prizes, and, of course, a viewing of the Academy Awards.

Weekend Roundup, January 21st to 23rd

Friday: Peter Oundjian leads the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in a trio of classical favourites (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Friday, January 21
Wind down from a busy week at Koerner Hall with The Royal Conservatory Orchestra and award-winning young pianist Grace Kim. The ensemble, led by Toronto Symphony Orchestra conductor Peter Oundjian, is set to serenade audiences with Mozart’s “Prague” Symphony, Rachmaninov’s The Rock and Debussy’s impressionistic La Mer.

See Toronto’s landscape transform through the eyes (and lenses) of talented contemporary and historical photographers—Stephen Bulger Gallery’s new exhibition, The Toronto Show, gathers images of the city spanning from the late 19th century to the present day.

Head down to Harbourfront Centre as hundreds of Toronto-area dancers burn up the Fleck Dance Theatre stage. B-boys, ballerinas and belly dancers are just a few of the fleet-footed folks who can be seen at this exciting, weekend-long extravaganza of dance.

Saturday: See Kim Dorland's A Walk in the Forest and many other new works at Angell Gallery (image courtesy of Angell Gallery)

Saturday, January 22
The always provocative artist Kim Dorland opens his highly-anticipated exhibition, Nocturne, tonight at Angell Gallery. Dorland’s latest series features spectral figures and eerie paintings of the skull of his greatest inspiration, Tom Thomson. Also at the gallery: new photographic works by Bonnie Baxter.

The soulful sound of Lauryn Hill resounds tonight at The Sound Academy—her first Toronto appearance in a decade. The acclaimed if mercurial artist breathes life into the lyrics from her classic album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, as well as (possibly) some fresh tunes from a long-rumoured but never confirmed new album.

Don’t forget your earplugs while gearing up for tonight’s Monster Jam at the Rogers Centre.  The roaring trucks are revving up to thrill with daring tricks from current freestyle champion Charlie Pauken and world champion Tom Meents.

Sunday: Groove with Robert Plant (photo by Man Alive)

Sunday, January 23
Robert Plant is getting a lot of mileage out of his current “rootsy” incarnation. Tonight he offers the second of two concerts at the Sony Centre, accompanied by his Band of Joy. The former Led Zeppelin frontman’s melodic mix of rock and folk inspires a truly unique musical style.

Fly through the skies with legendary test pilot Mike Carriker on a journey of education and innovation at the Ontario Science Centre. In it’s OmniMax Theatre, the new Imax film Legends of Flight takes you soaring through the skies on an expedition through the past and future of flight.

Today is the final day to view Constructions: Contemporary Norwegian Arts and Crafts at the Design Exchange. This exhibit features a variety of objects from Scandinavia and emphasizes—as the title suggests—methods of construction in a variety of art and design disciplines.

Weekend Roundup, November 26th to 28th

This weekend, art, comedy, music, dance, and a great winter celebration are sure to entertain (and keep your mind off of the increasingly cold weather).

Friday: Learn about the creative genesis of Tim Burton films such as Mars Attacks!

Friday November 26th
The work of Tim Burton is celebrated with an enormous, acclaimed exhibition at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Drawings, storyboards, and even pieces from Burton’s personal collection are just some of the items comprising this examination of the idiosyncratic American auteur.

See (and hear) Barbie as never before in Barbie at the Symphony at the Sony Centre. This production combines well-loved Barbie Princess films with live classical-music accompaniment performed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

Comedic scenes, songs, and improv make up The Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue. Catch a matinee performance of this hilarious alternative to the traditional holiday show. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon and get into that good old holiday spirit.

Saturday: Revel in the illumination of the Cavalcade of Lights

Saturday November 27th
Get three ballets in one tonight as the National Ballet of Canada presents Chroma, Serenade and Emergence as a triple bill. The first dance pairs classical dancing with the music of The White Stripes. The second is a plotless piece that focuses solely on the beauty of dance, while the final work explores the pressures of social norms.

The unveiling of Toronto’s official Christmas tree occurs tonight at the Cavalcade of Lights.  Fireworks and live performances by such acts as Shawn Desman will all be taking place in celebration at Nathan Phillips Square.

Ozzy Osbourne, arguably one of the most entertaining men in rock and roll, strides on to the Air Canada Centre stage to perform tracks from his new album, Scream, as well as some past hits. It’s sure to be an interesting night with this former reality star in the spotlight.

Sunday: Catch a final glimpse of Canadian conceptual art

Sunday November 28th
Wicked, the enthralling tale of the witches of Oz in the days before Dorothy, takes its final bow today at the Canon Theatre. Beautiful (and award-winning) costumes, sets and singing make this a definite must-see!

It’s also your last chance to check out the challenging works featured in Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980. This exhibition, displayed across four different galleries, curates an important period in the development of modern Canadian art.

Thrill to the magnificent musicality of pianist Stewart Goodyear, who performs this evening at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall. Praised for his creativity, Goodyear is set to showcase his skills with a selection of Beethoven sonatas.

Hot Date: Yo-Yo Ma Returns

OCTOBER 14 The Royal Conservatory’s new season begins with arguably the world’s most famous classical musician, Yo-Yo Ma. The renowned cellist, accompanied by Kathryn Stott on the piano, is certain to make use of the intimate venue’s exceptional acoustics. Koerner Hall, 7 p.m., $50 to $200; call 416-408-0208 or click here for more information.

Hot Date: Melodic Milestone

Anton Kuerti (photo by V. Tony Hauser)

JULY 20 TO AUGUST 14 For five years now, the Toronto Summer Music Festival has brought together famed Canadian and international luminaries of classical music for a curated series of concerts in some of the city’s top recital spaces. This season kicks off July 20 as pianist Anton Kuerti presents a solo homage to Robert Schumann, utilizing the exceptional acoustics of Koerner Hall. On July 29, Andrew Burashko and the Art of Time Ensemble draw inspiration from late-Romantic composer Erich Korngold—considered a father of the classic Hollywood film score—and the following day sees the celebrated Penderecki String Quartet performing works by four emerging composers. Various venues and times, tickets $30 to $75; call 416-408-0208 or visit here for further details.

November Editor’s Picks: Entertainment

<em>Clara</em> opens the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival.

Clara opens the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival.

NOVEMBER 5 TO 14 Too often persons with mental illnesses and addictions are misunderstood and ostracized. The Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival seeks to change this perception through flicks exploring the factual and the false when it comes to afflictions of the mind. This year’s theme is mental health and its affect on family relationships. Appropriately, the festival kicks off with Clara, a biopic about Romantic era musician and composer Clara Schumann. Tensions rise when her renowned yet unstable husband, Robert Schumann, takes under his wing a young Johannes Brahms, who in turn takes a liking to his mentor’s wife. Other notable films include Good Morning Lassa, in which a seven-year-old must care for her depressed mother, and the Oscar-nominated Roads. Various venues, $10 per film; call 416-583-4606 or click here for details.

The Santa Claus Parade

Santa arrives on his super sleigh.

NOVEMBER 15 The man in the jolly red suit is coming to town—and he’s making a grand entrance. A holiday tradition in this city since 1905, the Santa Claus Parade draws more than half a million bright-eyed spectators with its fantastical floats, professional marching bands and cheery elves, clowns and storytime characters. Starting at 12:30 p.m., the procession travels from Christie and Bloor streets and makes its way nearly six kilometres southeast through downtown to Front and Church streets. Call 416-249-7833 or visit here for more information and a detailed route map.

Violinist James Ehnes performs at Koerner Hall.

Violinist James Ehnes performs at Koerner Hall.

ON NOW The Royal Conservatory of Music is so excited about the recent opening of its state-of-art Koerner Hall recital venue in the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning that 20 new shows have been added to its already packed inaugural season. Among them are three November concerts you simply must lend an ear to: on November 8, Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker fills your afternoon with the sounds of Stravinsky and Beethoven; singer-guitarist Sara Tavares weaves together reggae and jazz with ease on November 19; and on November 27, six-time Juno Award–winning violinist James Ehnes offers an intimate recital of Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata plus works by Respighi and Bartók. 273 Bloor St. W. ,$20 to $75; call 416-408-0208 to buy.

Weekend Roundup, September 25th to 27th

Many music ensembles are now launching their seasons, so take in some fresh concerts this weekend.

Friday: Step out to the AGO and ROM to see Edward Steichen's photograph of Princess Nathalie Paley and much more.

Friday: Step out to the AGO and ROM to see Edward Steichen's photograph of Princess Nathalie Paley and much more.

Friday, September 25th
Listen as Jean-Philippe Tremblay leads the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in a rendition of the sweet then rousing sounds of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, as part of the grand opening concert at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s new Koerner Hall performance venue.

Wipe away tears of laughter at the Toronto Improv Festival’s midnight show as audience-driven Road Trip and the MAYBE trio engage in ad hoc antics.

Admire some of the 20th century’s most ingenious and revolutionary celebrity and fashion photographs in two related exhibitions: Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 at the Royal Ontario Museum and Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Both highly anticipated shows open today.

Saturday: Sit in awe of Madama Butterfly's beautiful melodies.

Saturday: Sit in awe of Madama Butterfly's beautiful melody.

Saturday, September 26th
Lend your ears to the award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, who helps kick off the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s new season with an homage to the music of Johannes Brahms.

Roll out your mat and stretch into your favourite asana for morning yoga on the manicured grounds of Casa Loma. The session includes a concert by kirtan yoga band Guara Shakt post-sun salutation.

Be moved by the tragic love story between a geisha and a U.S. naval officer in the Canadian Opera Company’s opening performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Sunday: Hear Margaret Atwood at the International Festival of Authors.

Sunday: Hear Margaret Atwood at the International Festival of Authors.

Sunday, September 27th
Sing along to “Octopus’s Garden” as Canadian artists belt out classic Beatles tunes in the Art of Time Ensemble’s special presentation of the Fab Four’s final album, Abbey Road.

At the nationwide book and magazine festival The Word on the Street, hear acclaimed author Margaret Atwood talk about her latest literary masterpiece, The Year of the Flood.

Rifle through the sample-sale racks to find the perfect one-of-a-kind party frock at The Clothing Show, Canada’s largest weekend-long independent designer and vintage shopping event.