Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 New Music Festival at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music

The University of Toronto Faculty of Music is currently holding the 2017 New Music Festival! Over a total of eight days, from Sunday, January 29 to Sunday, February 5, the Faculty will be presenting 11 concerts, 2 operas, master classes and a lecture. All events will take place at the Edward Johnson Building at 80 Queen's Park.

The 2017 New Music Festival is centred around the work of visiting prominent Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino and features several Italian guest performers including violinist Emmanuele Baldini and pianists Roberto Turrin and Erika Crinò. The festival also presents the results of an ongoing musical collaboration with Italy’s Conservatorio G. Tartini. With a wide spectrum of chamber, vocal, electroacoustic, opera, dance and orchestral music, and partnering with Toronto’s excellent New Music Concerts, the festival offers an insight into the rich Italian culture of contemporary music, side-by-side with the creativity emerging from Toronto and UofT.

For more information on admission (most of the events are free!) and a full schedule of upcoming events, click here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

One More Time

Why can repetition turn almost anything into music? Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains. Click here to read the full article.

What is music? There’s no end to the parade of philosophers who have wondered about this, but most of us feel confident saying: ‘I know it when I hear it.’ Instead of asking: ‘What is music?’ we might have an easier time asking: ‘What do we hear as music?’ And a remarkably large part of the answer appears to be: ‘I know it when I hear it again.’People prefer things they’ve experienced before. It doesn’t matter whether those things are triangles or pictures or melodies; people report liking them more the second or third time around. Instead of thinking: ‘I’ve seen that triangle before, that’s why I know it,’ they seem to think: ‘Gee, I like that triangle. It makes me feel clever.’ This effect extends to musical listening.

Cultures all over the world make repetitive music. Hit songs on American radio often feature a chorus that plays several times, and people listen to these already repetitive songs many times. The play counter in iTunes reveals just how frequently we listen to our favourite tracks. And if that’s not enough, tunes that get stuck in our heads seem to loop again and again. In short, repetition is a startlingly prevalent feature of music, real and imagined.

The stunning prevalence of repetition in music all over the world is no accident. Music didn’t acquire the property of repetitiveness because the 347 times that iTunes says you have listened to your favourite album isn’t evidence of some pathological compulsion – it’s just a crucial part of how music works its magic. Repetitiveness actually gives rise to the kind of listening that we think of as musical. It carves out a familiar, rewarding path in our minds, allowing us at once to anticipate and participate in each phrase as we listen. That experience of being played by the music is what creates a sense of shared subjectivity with the sound, and – when we unplug our earbuds, anyway – with each other, a transcendent connection that lasts at least as long as a favourite song.

Written by Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis and published in Aeon on March 7, 2014.

The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine is coming to Toronto!

The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine will be performing one concert at the Roy Thomson Hall on February 13, 2017 at 8:00 pm. It will also feature Ukraine-born violin soloist Dima Tkachenko.


Yevhen Stankovych: Suite from the ballet The Night Before Christmas [20']
Yevhen Stankovych: Violin Concerto No. 2 [26']
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique" [45']

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.