21C Music Festival

May 23, 2018

May 27, 2018

$21 & up

Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto


Events Description

This year’s 21C Music Festival will once again run over five days and consist of eight concerts, featuring 5 world, 17 Canadian, 11 Ontario, and 4 Toronto premieres.

At this festival of newly minted music, audiences have an opportunity to experience fresh new sounds and ideas from the greatest musical minds of today. Canadian as well as international composers and musicians are mining new musical territories, breaking down barriers, and introducing us to new virtuosic music creations.

Kronos Quartet with Jherek Bischoff
The 21C Music Festival kicks off on May 23 with Los Angeles-based Jherek Bischoff and the adventurous and daring Kronos Quartet. Bischoff is a composer, arranger, producer, and multi-instrumental performer hailed a “pop polymath” by The New York Times and a “phenom” by The New Yorker, while the Kronos Quartet combines a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience.

Anthony de Mare’s Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim From the Piano
One of the leading champions of contemporary music, pianist Anthony de Mare invited 36 of the world’s foremost contemporary composers to choose a song by Stephen Sondheim and reimagine it as a solo piano piece. Both an homage and a celebration, Liaisons makes the case for Sondheim as one of the 20th century’s most influential composers. Many of the pieces will receive their Canadian or Ontario premieres.

Part One, on May 24 at 8pm, will feature Canadian composer Rodney Sharman’s Notes on “Beautiful,” Steve Reich’s “Finishing the Hat – Two Pianos,” Andy Akiho’s “Into the Woods,” Nico Muhly’s “Color and Light,” and Wynton Marsalis’s “That Old Piano Roll,” among many others. The concert will also include a film interlude of an onstage interview with Stephen Sondheim at Liaisons’ New York City premiere.

Part Two: 21C After Hours on May 25 at 10:30pm, will feature “The Ladies Who Lunch” by David Rakowski, “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” by Kenji Bunch, “Pretty Women” by Mark-Anthony Turnage, “Send in the Clowns” by Ethan Iverson, and much more.

A Far Cry with Simone Dinnerstein
Grammy Award nominated self-conducted chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, is joined by pianist Simone Dinnerstein (in her fourth appearance in Koerner Hall) on May 25 to perform the Canadian premiere of Piano Concerto No. 3, a bold new work for piano and strings by celebrated composer Philip Glass. The work, commissioned for the composer’s 80th birthday, is paired with pieces by J.S. Bach and Glass’s Symphony No. 3.

21C Cinq à Sept: Dinuk Wijeratne with Kinan Azmeh
On May 26 at 5pm, Sri Lankan-born, Halifax-based composer/pianist Dinuk Wijeratne and Syrian-born, New York-based composer/clarinetist Kinan Azmeh present a number of Toronto premieres of their own works as well as a world premiere of a new piece, commissioned by The Royal Conservatory/Koerner Hall. Azmeh’s November 22nd, Ibn Arabi’s Postlude, and Airports, as well as Wijeratne’s This Way Up↓, Something There, and Whose Windows are Songs and Silences, mix delicate arrangements and adventurous improvisation.  His work for the Afiara Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid, featured in the second edition of 21C, went on to win a Juno Award for Best Composition in 2016.

Vox Clamantis and Maarja Nuut & HH Celebrate Estonia’s Centennial
On May 26 at 8pm, Maarja Nuut (vocals, violin & electronics) and Hendrik Kaljujärv (electronics) open the evening for the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Vox Clamantis. Nuut uses modern music technologies – electronics and looping – to create a soundscape where minimalism and experimental music meet village music traditions from Europe, and one is drawn into her sonic dream world, characterized by Estonian mysticism, experimental soundscapes, and classical storytelling. A special collaboration with Estonian electronic music composer Kaljujärv adds more edgy electronic sounds to Nuut’s hypnotic acoustic loops and together they push boundaries and expand soundscapes.

Katia and Marielle Labèque
Sibling pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, acclaimed by The New York Times as the “best piano duo in front of an audience today,” make their 21C Music Festival debut on May 27 at 3pm. Their program consists of the original two-piano version of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring alongside Bryce Dessner’s El Chan and Philip Glass’s Four Movements for Two Pianos.

New Music Concerts presents Zipangu!
The Royal Conservatory is pleased to welcome once again New Music Concerts, under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Robert Aitken, as its partner for this edition of 21C, after their appearance during the inaugural Festival in 2014. In their return on May 27 at 6pm, the New Music Concerts String Orchestra will be joined by The Iris Ensemble and Accordes for the New Music Concerts 1980 commission of Claude Vivier’s Zipangu, the world premiere of an Ontario Arts Council/NMC commission from Brian Harman inspired by Zipangu, and finally two works by Roger Reynolds – the Canadian premiere of Not Forgotten and the world premiere of a new work for flute and string quartet featuring Robert Aitken on flute.

Several pre- or post-concert talks will feature composers and performers in discussion offering further insight into the works being presented.
Who is it for?

All ages


Tickets : $21.00 & up


How to get tickets?

On sale: Feb 23

Buy Online


Date & Time:

Wednesday, May 23 to Sunday, May 27, 2018

Venue & Address :

Koerner Hall – 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1W2 Canada

Add a Review