Tango: the artistry and ensemble playing of classical music with the rhythmic fire and wild abandon of Latin music. The brilliantly accomplished musicians of the Payadora Ensemble explore the richness of Argentinean music, beyond tango into folk music forms such as the Chacarera and Zamba, as well as tango compositions by Canadian composers Drew Jurecka and Robert Horvath. Not surprisingly, these encompass a huge emotional and technical range.

As Rebekah Wolkstein says: “It’s addictive to perform tango. It’s vibrant music and it’s relatable for audiences. They love it. They want to dance and they understand it on a visceral level. It encompasses every human emotion often several times in one piece alone!”

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Quartetto Gelato is unique in blending virtuosity with irresistible charm. Three decades of multiple awards, breathless accolades, and CD sales of over 200,000 to date have given the group an immense and loyal following. Groundbreaking in its scope and vision, the group continues to pack halls and thrill audiences. Using oboe, accordion, violin, cello, vocals and a musical saw, this group performs virtuosic showpieces and romantic ballads, blazing gypsy tunes and forgotten chestnuts, all brought to life with multi-instrument mastery: this is Quartetto Gelato—a popular and highly unusual classical quartet.

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Buckle up for a musical JoyRide with thrilling highs, spontaneous departures and unexpected turns! JoyRide is the brainchild of Colin Maier and Charles Cozens. They have performed as a duo across Canada and the United States since 2017 having played full recitals, university programs/masterclasses/seminars, fundraisers and children/seniors’ outreach. With Colin on oboe, musical saw, vocals, guitar and the kitchen sink, and with Charles on accordion and piano, this incredibly versatile duo pushes the musical outer limits with fresh sounds, original compositions and arrangements. Their music encompasses many styles from ragtime to tango and klezmer to classical, and their multi-instrumental abilities push conventional boundaries.

Canada’s premiere violin and piano ensemble, Duo Concertante, are partners in music and in life. Known for the passion and brilliance of their performances, critics have praised Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves’ “artistry, poetry, and impeccable technique” (La Scena Musicale) and “deeply integrated performances that flow naturally as if the music were being created on the spot” (Gramophone). The Duo’s busy touring schedule across North America, Europe, and China, has led to performances at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, the National Arts Centre, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.

Renowned as a composer of works for symphony orchestra, concerto soloists, opera and chamber ensembles, Andrew Paul MacDonald is also a concert guitarist.

Of the 20 CD recordings of his compositions to date, a number have won prizes including the JUNO Award for Best Composition for his Violin Concerto. In his formative years, MacDonald completed intensive guitar studies with Alexandre Lagoya, Michael Lorimer, and Manuel Lopez-Ramos. He has premiered a number of works especially written for him, including the concerto Nocturno by Canadian composer Glenn Buhr, and in 1979 was a finalist in the CBC National Performers’ Competition. In 1980 he presented the Canadian premiere of Richard Rodney Bennett’s Guitar Concerto and in 1982 made his first Carnegie Hall appearance at the ISCM festival in New York. He has performed many of his own compositions, including solos, chamber works and song cycles and has been recorded and broadcast on both the CBC and Société-Radio Canada. Besides the concertos mentioned above, he has also been the soloist in a number of other concertos, including those by Villa-Lobos and Rodrigo, and recently starred in the premiere of his latest concerto, Electric Pleasures.

“Truly virtuosic and intense” describes Zac Pulak and Edana Higham’s SHHH!! Ensemble. Their mission is to perform, inspire and foster new works for percussion and piano, appearing in halls across Canada in concerts, collaborations and interactive presentations.  Their Toronto debut was featured on CBC Radio 2’s “In Concert”, and they have been named co-Artistic Directors of the Ottawa New Music Creators for 2021-2023. Their debut recording Meanwhile, on the Analekta label, will be released in 2022.

 

Tom Allen’s passion for music is showing. And telling. As a successful broadcaster, storyteller, trombonist, writer and “the ideal creative programmer”, he captivates audiences at home and in the concert hall. His gig as the popular host of CBC Radio’s Music & Company preceded 10 years as the host of CBC’s Shift, two of numerous programs that he has piloted in over 4 decades with the public broadcaster. Tom and his partner, harpist Lori Gemmell, are the creators behind Tom Allen & Friends’ Chamber Musicals: “infectious” and “inspirational” concert programs which combine music, storytelling, history, and dramatization of music.