Toronto Summer Music returns with a Metamorphosis (July 9-29)

Classical music aficionados, take note: this year, the Toronto Summer Music festival is challenging you to see as many of its highly acclaimed chamber and solo performances as possible. There’s even a passport for it!

That’s the first change that leaps out at you at this year’s “Metamorphosis”-themed festival, where a cheeky “passport” page greets you when you flip open the programme. Part recognition of the TSM diehards who attend every concert, it’s also a handy way to encourage festival goers to reuse their programme and save paper. At each concert, there are dedicated volunteers who will stamp your passport, with prizes later on for those with the most stamps.

And, as it turns out, there sure is a lot to fill out that passport!

Summer Music
Jon Kimura Parker and Ilia Ovcharenko. [Image courtesy TSM 2023.]
This year’s TSM kicked off with a sold-out showcase for the piano — two pianos, in fact. Vancouver’s own Jon Kimura Parker invited up-and-coming Ukrainian pianist Ilia Ovcharenko to join him for an evening’s worth of piano pieces, including solo works, duets (of the two pianos four hands variety), and chamber pieces. Highlights included the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major (K. 414) and Ovcharenko’s rendition of the famous Liszt “La Campanella”, borrowed from Paganini’s original violin composition.

Looking ahead, the TSM has a wide variety of musical offerings of many different styles and ensembles, starting this coming Monday:

On July 10, 7:30pm at Walter Hall (U of T Faculty of Music), singer Ana Maria Martinez will perform a set of Spanish-language songs from composers and singers of both the classical (Rodrigo) and popular music (Rosario de Alba) variety. The next day – just to give a flavour of the truly unique offerings from one day to the next – the Ironwood Quartet and Tai Chi Chuan Players combine for a program of modern compositions, including world premieres from R. Murray Schafer and Alexina Louie (July 11, 7:30pm, Walter Hall).

Other highlights of the festival include:

July 13, 7:30pm, Church of the Redeemer: Violinist (and TSM Artistic Director) Jonathan Crow leads a chamber performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, arranged for string trio. Sold out but keep an eye out for last-minute tickets!

July 14, 7:30pm, Walter Hall (U of T Faculty of Music): The Miró Quartet visits Toronto for a mixed, old-and-new, performance of Brahms, Hayden, and modern composers George Walker and Kevin Puts.

July 24, 7:30pm, Isabel Bader Theatre (U of Toronto): Critically acclaimed Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt performs an all-Bach program. It will be amazing.

July 27, 7:30pm, Koerner Hall: Another critically acclaimed Canadian, the superstar soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, performs songs from the likes of R. Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and Purcell. This will also be amazing and a highlight of the Toronto summer concert season.

July 29, 7:30pm, Koerner Hall: Mark your calendars and have your passports ready! The TSM Finale will feature a “surprise” program of highlights from throughout the month-long festival. Prizes for the audience members with the most stamps!

For all things Toronto Summer Music, check out the festival website here.