DECEMBER AT THE ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC
Trailblazers concert series continues with Michael Kaeshammer
and TD Jazz Concerts with Marcus Roberts
Storm Large takes Koerner Hall by storm on December 8
The King’s Singers return for their fourth Koerner Hall engagement
with a special 50th anniversary Christmas concert
Paquito D’Rivera makes his third Koerner Hall appearance,
this time with the Harlem Quartet
A new series for the 10th anniversary concert season brings Canadian trailblazers, each with a unique voice and perspective. The series continues with Canadian boogie-woogie pianist, vocalist, composer, and arranger Michael Kaeshammer as he brings his high energy – and some musician friends from New Orleans – to Koerner Hall. New Orleans, “The Big Easy,” has been a crucial component of Kaeshammer’s musical DNA since he began his career in his teens as a pianist in his native Germany. “I grew up with the music of New Orleans, from listening to my dad’s records,” he recalls. “That is where the music I love comes from, so what can be better than to go and record with some of the guys that were part of that?” For his Koerner Hall debut on December 14, he will be joined by Canadian bassist David Piltch (member of k.d. lang’s, Willie Nelson’s, and Allen Toussaint’s last band) and drummer Johnny Vidacovich (a New Orleans legend and drummer for Professor Longhair, James Booker, and Bobby McFerrin).
TD Jazz Concerts
JAZZIZ said of Marcus Roberts: “Roberts individualizes his sound by utilizing orchestral devices … In the course of a single piece, he constantly modulates grooves, tempos and keys, plays separate time signatures with the right hand and the left, and, as he puts it, ‘flips around the roles of the piano, bass and drums by giving everyone an equal opportunity to develop the concepts and themes, to change the form, to get us where we’re getting ready to go’.” On December 1, Roberts performs Jelly Roll Morton, Monk, Ellington, and Gershwin on solo piano and, in the second half of the concert, he plays music by Coltrane with his trio, featuring Rodney Jordan on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums
Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage
The popular concert series, featuring great female voices and inspired by Australian songwriter Peter Allen’s song, “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage,” continues on December 8. Not for the faint of heart, musician, actor, playwright, and author, Storm Large of Pink Martini and Rock Star: Supernova fame performs her own brand of in-your-face Broadway, jazz, and rock-goddess anthems. Called “sensational” by The New York Times, she has performed with Grammy Award winner k.d. lang, pianist Kirill Gerstein, punk rocker John Doe, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer George Clinton. Her autobiographical musical memoir, Crazy Enough, played to packed houses and her biography of the same name, released by Simon and Schuster in 2012, was named Oprah’s Book of the Week. In the fall of 2014, Storm & Le Bonheur released a record designed to capture sublime and subversive interpretations of the American Songbook. The recording is a collection of tortured and titillating love songs: beautiful, familiar, yet twisted … much like the lady herself. As this performance contains adult content and explicit language (with humour), we recommend this concert for adults only.
Living legend and multiple Grammy Award winner, Paquito D’Rivera, returns to Koerner Hall. On December 7, he is joined by the Harlem Quartet, praised for its “panache” by The New York Times and for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent,” by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Their program will consist of classical chamber music as well as Latin jazz and improvisations, including many D’Rivera-composed pieces.
The Times has called The King’s Singers “[the] superlative vocal sextet.” Acclaimed for their life-affirming virtuosity and irresistible charm, the group celebrates its 50th anniversary with an adventure that gives thanks for all the music that has defined their first 50 years, inspired by the unique maverick spirit that guided the original six King’s Singers to keep every performance as fresh and varied as possible. This holiday performance on December 16, titled GOLD 50, will feature seasonal songs alongside some of the ensemble’s favourite repertoire.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra Principal Clarinet and Royal Conservatory Orchestra Resident Conductor, Joaquin Valdepeñas, conducts Glenn Gould School students in a program of chamber works on December 10.
As the thunderclouds of the Great War pile up and burst, the musical revolutionary Claude Debussy and his one-time follower Maurice Ravel compete for the love of their proud, fickle, darling, Paris. Tom Allen’s The Judgment of Paris on December 2 is a mix of cabaret, history, and storytelling with timeless music by Debussy and Ravel, as well as original songs by the performers. It is new and old, heroic and tragic, history and fiction – and may the best composer win. “Beautiful arrangements of works by both composers as well as evocative new compositions riffing on themes in their life and music.” (NOW) This concert, part of the Sunday Interludes concert series is approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Audiences can hear artists on the cusp of major careers during the Rebanks Family Fellowship Concert on December 5. This concert features solo and chamber works performed by Rebanks Fellows currently enrolled in the one-year Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program at The Glenn Gould School.
Academy Chamber Orchestra concert on December 15, presented by The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists, features the Academy’s Senior Strings students with works by Schubert, Barber, and Serouj Kradjian.