Feb 24, 2014

Tafelmusik presents The Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun

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February 19, 2014 … From March 6 to March 12, 2014, Tafelmusik remounts its celebrated programme Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun, a global re-imagining of Antonio Vivaldi’s most famous work. Tafelmusik's virtuoso violinists perform Vivaldi's Spring, Summer, and Fall Concertos, together with Wen Zhao (Chinese pipa), Aruna Narayan Kalle (Indian sarangi), and Sylvia Cloutier and Beatrice Deer, throat singers and members of the Inuit ensemble Aqsarniit (Northern Lights), who bring to the stage music representing the seasons from other traditions. The grand finale is Winter by Mychael Danna, the Canadian composer who won an Oscar for his score of Life of Pi. Mr. Danna will be in attendance at one of the March performances.  Alison Mackay, who conceived and designed the concert, will be presented with the 2013 Betty Webster Award by Orchestras Canada at the Sunday afternoon concert.
Tafelmusik has toured the Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun programme around North America and Asia, where the orchestra was invited to perform at the Natural History Museum in Beijing and the Museum of Science and Technology in Shanghai, marking the first concerts known to have been performed in museums in China. In 2005, Toronto’s Media Headquarters created a documentary about the project called The Four Seasons Mosaic, which was filmed in Nunavut, India, China and Toronto, and was later broadcast on CBC Television. The Four Seasons Mosaic DVD is included in Tafelmusik's recording of Vivaldi L'Estro Armonico, and will be featured in a free screening in the Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium at the Toronto Reference Library on Thurs Feb 27 at 2 PM, with guest speakers Alison Mackay and Wen Zhao. A brief excerpt of the film can also be seen on Tafelmusik’s Watch & Listen site.   
Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun uses one of the most popular works in Tafelmusik’s repertoire to blend four traditions, born centuries ago and still playing a vital part in the musical life of Canada in the twenty-first century. Tafelmusik commissioned Mychael Danna, a pioneer in the fusion of western orchestral music and non-western sound sources, to compose a new version of “Winter.” This movement is the evening’s culminating point, and incorporates aspects of North Indian classical music, eighteenth-century Chinese music, and the ancient practice of throat singing, or “katajjaq” — a kind of musical game played by pairs of women to pass the hours of darkness during winter.
Mychael Danna is an Academy Award-winning film composer recognized for his evocative blending of nonwestern traditions with orchestral and electronic music. He composed the transculturally inspired 2013 Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning score for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, and has composed for all of Atom Egoyan’s films since 1987, winning the Genie for their films Exotica, Felicia’s Journey, Ararat, and The Sweet Hereafter. Other noted credits include Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated films such as Moneyball, Capote, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Monsoon Wedding, Shattered Glass, Little Miss Sunshine, (500) Days of Summer, Surf’s Up, Water, Antwone Fisher, Being Julia, and Girl, Interrupted.
Pipa virtuoso Wen Zhao has performed throughout Canada and teaches at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music and York University. Born in Beijing, she began to study the pipa at the age of seven, winning first prize at the Beijing Youth National Instrument Competition in 1985. She has collaborated with numerous Western ensembles, including Tafelmusik, Toronto Symphony, and The Toronto Consort, and has performed at major ethnic music festivals in Asia, Europe, Canada, and the US.
Born in Mumbai, India, Aruna Narayan Kalle is the daughter of the renowned sarangi master Pandit Ram Narayan. As a torchbearer of her father’s musical legacy, she is the only female sarangi player to perform professionally. Narayan Kalle performs regularly in Europe, the US, and Canada, and has collaborated with Western symphonies. Her music has also been featured in several Hollywood movies.
Aqsarniit (which means “northern lights” in Inuktitut) is a group of young Inuit performing artists from Nunavik (northern Quebec), Nunavut (eastern Arctic), and Greenland. The ensemble works to preserve and promote Inuit culture through performances of traditional and modern forms of dancing, throat singing, theatre and games. Members of Aqsarniit performing in this programme are Sylvia Cloutier (daughter of the famous Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007), and Beatrice Deer (winner of Best Inuit Cultural Album at the 2005 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards).
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, founded in 1979 and led by Music Director Jeanne Lamon since 1981, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The orchestra performs more than 50 concerts each year at home in Toronto, and travels extensively around the world to such places as this season's tour destinations: Japan and South Korea, Carnegie Hall in New York City, BachFest Leipzig in Germany, cities across Ontario, and a tour with Opera Atelier to Versailles, France. The choir and orchestra’s multi-platform recording label Tafelmusik Media was launched in January 2012, along with the Watch and Listen site, Tafelmusik‘s digital concert hall. Tafelmusik has a rich discography of more than 80 CDs recorded on the Sony Classical, CBC Records, Analekta and Tafelmusik Media labels. Since 1991, Tafelmusik has received nine JUNO Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Tafelmusik is the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and operates its annual artist training programmes, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute and Tafelmusik Winter Institute.