In celebration of Koerner Hall's fifth anniversary, Dr. Peter Simon, President of The Royal Conservatory, and Mervon Mehta, Executive Director of Performing Arts, revealed today some of the details of the 2013-14 concert season. As always, the upcoming season will include pop, world music, and new special series. Classical and jazz concerts are being announced now, and the rest of the season of over 70 concerts will be released in June. The Conservatory is thrilled to welcome Broadway star Audra McDonald; soprano Natalie Dessay with composer and pianist Michel Legrand; cellist Mischa Maisky; violinists Midori, Isabelle Faust, and Leonidas Kavakos; pianists Yuja Wang, András Schiff, Kirill Gerstein, and Menahem Pressler; Europa Galante with Fabio Biondi; and jazz musicians Joe Sealy, Jackie Richardson, Arlene Duncan, Ranee Lee, Ramsey Lewis Quintet, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Lalah Hathaway, Nona Hendryx, John Pizzarelli, Daniela Nardi, and The Manhattan Transfer.
Season Opening Weekend
The season opening gala concert will feature American actress and singer Audra McDonald on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm. Ms. McDonald has five Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and a long list of other accolades to her name, plus she is the new host of Live From Lincoln Center. Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for drama, she is equally at home on Broadway and concert stages as in roles on film and television. After four seasons on the TV series Private Practice, Audra McDonald returned to the stage as Bess in a sold-out new production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, for which she was awarded the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. She previously won Tony Awards for roles in Ragtime, Master Class, Carousel, and A Raisin in the Sun. In this gala concert, she will sing her trademark mix of Broadway show tunes, classic songs from movies, and pieces written specially for her by leading composers.
The opening weekend also includes a free Culture Days concert with The Conservatory's very own ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory), one of Canada's pre-eminent cultural ambassadors. The concert includes Giacomo Puccini's Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Quintet for Piano and Strings, and the group is joined by baritone Peter Barrett for Ottorino Respighi's Il tramonto.
TD Jazz Series
The Royal Conservatory pays homage to Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan on their 90th birthdays in four specially curated concerts. Toronto all-stars open the series when jazz pianist and JAZZ.FM91 radio host Joe Sealy is joined by three of Canada's finest vocalists Jackie Richardson, Arlene Duncan, and Ranee Lee, as well as a band including Don Thompson (vibes), Reg Schwager (guitar), Kelly Jefferson (sax), Paul Novotny (bass), and Mark McLean (drums). The celebrations continue with Ramsey Lewis Quintet with Cécile McLorin Salvant. Chicago composer and pianist Ramsey Lewis walked the same streets, breathed the same air, and went to the same school of gospel, blues, and jazz as Dinah Washington. French-American jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant is the 2010 winner of the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition and is among the leaders of a new era of jazz singers. Three-time Grammy Award and Tony Award winner, Dee Dee Bridgewater, is joined by her quintet for the third installment in the series. Over the course of a multifaceted career that has spanned 40 years, Bridgewater has risen to the top tier of today's vocalists, putting her own unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. The Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan 90th birthday tribute concludes with an all-female band, the Terri Lyne Carrington's Mosaic Project, featuring First Daughter of Soul Lalah Hathaway and Nona Hendryx (formerly of the R&B powerhouse Labelle), with jazz pianist Geri Allen; Beyoncé's saxophonist, Tia Fuller; and Canadian jazz trumpet player Ingrid Jensen.