Since its inception in 1886 the Royal Conservatory of Music, Canada’s oldest and largest music conservatory, has been cultivating Canada’s brightest young talent, while also hosting some of the world’s biggest classical music stars. One hundred and thirty-six years and running, the RCM is now more than just a home to sopranos and flautists, regularly showcasing the best of classical, jazz, world, and roots music. Its 2022-2023 season, the first of what’s optimistically being called the “post”-lockdown era, is a welcome return to form, with big names and intriguing concerts throughout the coming year.
The season kicked off late last month with a special Truth and Reconciliation Day concert featuring legendary playwright Tomson Highway and an impressive collective of Indigenous musicians, poets, dancers, and storytellers. Happily, the entire event has been preserved online and is available to watch here.
Jazz remains an ever-present draw at the RCM, with acclaimed performers like Ravi Coltrane, Kellylee Evans, and many more all dropping by Koerner Hall this year. Notable upcoming performances include “diva of divas” Meow Meow (November 4, 8:00 pm) and Thelonious Monk International Jazz-award winner Jazzmeia Horn (November 5, 8:00 pm). Tickets for the jazz series can be found here.
Classical remains the RCM’s bread-and-butter, of course. The Royal Conservatory Orchestra is widely recognized as one of the best student orchestras in North America, giving undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work with a diverse array of conductors. RCO concerts this year include Tania Miller conducting Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 (November 25, 8:00 pm) and Canada’s own Earl Lee with Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 (February 10, 8:00 pm). The RCO concert series can be found here.
There’s a lot more to get excited about in the classical sphere this year, including appearances from Grammy-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov (December 2, 8:00 pm), the brilliant cellist Alisa Weilerstein (January 28, 7:00 pm), and the world-renowned Takács Quartet with guest pianist Jeremy Denk, in a programme that includes Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat Major (March 23, 8:00 pm). Having taken in the fantastic Emerson String Quartet “Farewell” concert earlier this month, we’re happy to see that smaller-scale chamber music remains a central feature of the RCM season. Probably the most exciting event on our radar is the hotly-anticipated appearance of Bach Collegium Japan (February 5, 3:00 pm), making a rare Canadian appearance under the baton of founder and artistic director Masaaki Suzuki. Classical concerts are all listed here.
Looking ahead, the annual 21C Music Festival takes over Koerner Hall and other venues this winter for performances of new music with performers including pianist Stewart Goodyear, flautist Susan Hoeppner, and the Grammy- and Polaris-winning Kronos Quartet (series runs December 6, 2022 through January 29, 2023). You can find out more about 21C here.
Speaking of Koerner, the beloved concert hall, which opened in 2009, continues to wow Toronto concertgoers with its award-winning acoustics and beautiful all-wood aesthetic. For newbies and veterans alike, it’s worth taking in an RCM concert just for the “Koerner experience”. With dozens of options from the classical, roots, world, jazz worlds available, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.
Tickets for the Royal Conservatory of Music’s 2022-2023 season can be purchased here.