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Close to 100 Events Announced for Koerner Hall's 2019-20 Concert Season

Close to 100 Events Announced for Koerner Hall's 2019-20 Concert Season

Published on June 4, 2019

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Tonight The Royal Conservatory revealed details of the diverse concerts that will make up its 2019-20 concert season, during which Koerner Hall turns 10 years old.

“We’ve had over 1,000 concerts…across all genres,” recalled Executive Director of Performing Arts Mervon Mehta during a recent interview with alumna – past Koerner Hall performer – Amanda Martinez. “What’s been really gratifying and interesting is that every artist wants to come back.”


Season Gala Features Wynton Marsalis

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis headlines our Season Gala. Entitled Big Band Holidays, the event brings soulful big band arrangements of songs both sacred and secular, and features guest vocalists Alexis Morrast and Toronto’s own Denzal Sinclaire. While the concert is sold out, gala dinner and concert packages are still available by calling 416.408.2824 x447.

Beethoven 250

In 2019-20, The Royal Conservatory embarks on a two-season exploration of Ludwig van Beethoven in recognition of his 250th birthday. Beginning in the spring of 2020, The Royal Conservatory will present more than a dozen concerts featuring a composer Mehta considers one of history’s greatest.

Internationally celebrated pianists Yefim Bronfman, Louis Lortie, and John O’Conor will present concerts dedicated entirely to Beethoven, as will German baritone Matthias Goerne, accompanied by acclaimed alumnus Jan Lisiecki, and an ensemble of students of The Glenn Gould School under resident conductor Joaquin Valdepeñas.

The legendary composer will also feature prominently in concerts by many other esteemed artsits, including The Takács Quartet; pianists Daniil Trifonov and Sir András Schiff; violinists Kyung Wha Chung, Pamela Frank, and Bomsori Kim; and the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus.

Many other internationally distinguished musicians will take the stage for The Royal Conservatory’s remaining classical concerts. Angela Hewitt and Hélène Grimaud complete the Invesco Piano Series and rising star violinists Ray Chen completes the our string concerts.

Gábor Tarkövi, Principal Trumpet of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and faculty members of The Glenn Gould School (GGS)  feature as part of the Mazzoleni Masters series.

Students of The Glenn Gould School and The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists will also appear on our stages. They will perform as part of the GGS Piano Showcase, GGS Concerto Competition Finals, GGS Chamber Competition Finals, Rebanks Family Fellowship Concert, Taylor Academy Showcase Concerts, and Academy Chamber Orchestra, as well as in performances of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under celebrated composers Tania Miller, Andrei Feher, and Gábor Takács-Nagy.

21C Music Festival

The seventh edition of the 21C Music Festival, The Royal Conservatory’s celebration of new music across genres – will include eight concerts over three weekends from Saturday, January 11, 2020 to Saturday, January 25, 2020. Among this year’s performers are Grammy Award winners Laurie Anderson and Danilo Pérez, as well as Zakir Hussain, and John Patitucci, Against the Grain Theatre, as well as alumni Véronique Mathieu, Philippe Sly, Miriam Khalil, and the musicians of the GGS New Music Ensemble.


Lagrime San Pietro Presented by Peter Sellars

Acclaimed opera director Peter Sellars presents two innovative performances of Baroque master Orlando di Lasso’s final work, sung a capella by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Di Lasso knew that Lagrime was to be the last piece he would ever compose, and every measure communicates a lifetime of pain and remorse.

Among the artists comprising the rest of the Power Corporation Vocal Series are beloved alumna Karina Gauvin and Koerner Hall mainstay The Tallis Scholars. Sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Miriam Khalil, as well as the mezzo-soprano Alyson McHardy, make up our annual Songmasters series, while the emerging arts of The Glenn Gould School will appear in the GGS Vocal Showcase as well as The Glenn Gould School's fall and spring operas.

Celebrating the Godfather of Armenian Music

The Amici Chamber Ensemble will present a special concert celebrating the 150th birthday of Father Komitas Vartabed, described by Mehta as the “godfather of Armenian music”. They will be joined by baritone and alumnus Russell Braun; the Elmer Iseler Singers; and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company

Other chamber concerts include Daniel Hope with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

International Artists Celebrated Throughout the Season 

In addition to the abundance of international artists that appear in other concert series, many acclaimed performers will come to Koerner Hall as part of The Royal Conservatory's celebrated world music series. Returning to the stage are fadistas Mariza and Carminho, genre-bending guitarist Raul Midón, and Italian cabaret artist Pilar. Making their debuts are Juno Award-winning musicians Susan Aglukark and Wesli, Benin-based guitarist Lionel Loueke and Zimbabwean band Mokoomba.

At the heart of the series is KUNÉ – Canada’s Global Orchestra. This resident orchestra of The Royal Conservatory, made up of 11 musicians from countries around the world, will perform alongside Toronto Balkan fusion band Moskitto Bar. The success of the ensemble has been a gratifying surprise for Mehta, a labour of love that has attracted the attention of presenters across North America.

Jazz Series Features Legends and Oscar Peterson's AFRICA!

“This year we just decided to bring the best legendary performers that were out there,” declared Mehta, describing the theme of this year’s series. Fittingly, the series opens with Chick Corea and continues with Chucho Valdés, Branford Marsalis, and Orbert Davis.  The series will also include a world premiere of Oscar Peterson’s AFRICA!, a work completed and recorded in 1983 but never performed live in front of an audience. Benny Green will play Peterson’s own piano, accompanied by Christian McBride on bass, Lewis Nash on drums, and a Toronto all-star big band conducted by John Clayton. The concert is generously sponsored by Bösendorfer and co-presented with the Oscar Peterson Jazz Festival.


Quiet Please, There’s A Lady on Stage Returns for Fifth Season

For the fifth time, The Royal Conservatory will dedicate a series to great female voices, inspired by Peter Allen’s song of the same name. Conceived as a one-time series, it has become a signature series on the RCM’s concert calendar, and beloved by audiences. The 2019-20 edition will feature, among others, jazz-inspired singers Holly Cole, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Lizz Wright as well as R&B chanteuse Lisa Fischer and cabaret sensation Meow Meow.


Music Mix Features Trailblazing Female Artists

More than half of the concerts during the 2019-20 season feature female performers. Many of them appear in the Music Mix series, including gospel legend Mavis Staples, country-roots artists Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter, and banjo superstar Rhiannon Giddens.

Other performers in this characteristically diverse series of The Royal Consevatory’s concert season are Bruce Cockburn, Blind Boys of Alabama, Los Lobos, as well as tributes to Charles Aznavour, Canada’s Breithaupt brothers, as well as the Maple Blues Awards, SongBird North, and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.


Free Concert Series Expands in 2019-20

The Royal Conservatory presents its fourth edition of Sunday Interludes, its series of free, 75-minute Sunday afternoon concerts that mix jazz, cabaret, world, and classical music. 2019-20 performers include pianists David Ramsden and Dang Thai Son, violinist Jinjoo Cho, saxophonist Alison Young, as well as the Ladom Ensemble and the students of London’s Royal Academy of Music. This series is possible thanks to the generous support of Dorothy Cohen Shoichet.

“Over the last 10 years, it has been incredibly gratifying to see Koerner Hall emerge as a beloved destination for Toronto music lovers as well as one of the world’s greatest concert halls,” says Dr. Peter Simon, Michael and Sonja Koerner President & CEO. “Our 2019-20 season continues our tradition of programming the world’s leading performing artists from across a wide range of musical genres. On behalf of everyone at The Royal Conservatory, I thank Season Sponsors BMO Financial Group and Toronto Star, as well as our many supporters, for their generous contributions.”

For the full list of concerts and events, including our Music on Film series, visit