▼ upcoming performances
Magisterra on Tour 2019: Eight
Jutta Puchhammer, viola,
Pablo Mahave-Veglia, cello
Magisterra Soloists has become the face of visionary chamber music in Southern Ontario. Based out of London, ON, Magisterra Soloists has a current roster of over 35 international musicians hailing from over 13 countries, a repertoire of over 100 works, more than 70 concert performances and two dozen school outreach visits.
Founded in 2015 by internationally-acclaimed violinist, Artistic Director Annette-Barbara Vogel, the ensemble is proud to call upon some of the finest chamber musicians worldwide, bringing first-rate festival-style chamber music concerts to the region through its “Magisterra at the Museum” concert series, among others. Magisterra Soloists plays a significant role in invigorating and enriching the local artistic experience. Its carefully-crafted programs engage timeless masterworks in tandem with countless intriguing new discoveries. Performances showcase the ensemble’s constant curiosity and total artistic commitment to sharing gems from the string chamber music literature with the community.
The ensemble’s interactive educational “Magisterra in Schools” program has reached already thousands of youth from kindergarten to high school. Magisterra Soloists is particularly passionate about bringing up-close exposure to the arts to underprivileged and rural school communities. Thanks to a generous grant from the Ontario Arts Council, the ensemble will be offering programming in both English and French to roughly 2000 children in the 2018-2019 school year.
Magisterra Soloists is committed to providing invaluable professional development to young talent. Its “on-the-job” mentorship program, “Magisterra Fellows,” has already provided artistic training to nearly a dozen deserving emerging artists. This rigorous musical training will serve them richly in their future careers as professional musicians.
While providing opportunities to young professionals, Magisterra Soloists is proud to serve the local community and to showcase our city’s best to the outside world. As champions of Canadian art and artists, the ensemble has already successfully completed three multi-city tours through both Canada and Brazil. In 2018, musicians from Magisterra’s string roster will be visiting Rotterdam (Holland) to perform chamber works by Robert Fuchs. Stay tuned for the full tour itinerary of the ensemble’s third annual Ontario-Quebec May 2019 Tour.
Bach, Beethoven, & die Bande
Fundraiser for Orchestra Toronto
Sunday May 5, 2019 at 2 pm
Admission $50/for one. $90/for two
Purchase tickets at 416 467 7142
In advance at Eventbrite
Cellist Tom Mueller and violinist Corey Gemmell are teaming up with Bach, Beethoven, and a band of compatriots in a fund-raising recital for Orchestra Toronto. Join us for an afternoon of fantastic music at Gallery 345.
On the programme
Bach Suite for Solo Cello No.1 in G Major BWV 1007
Bach Sonata for Solo Violin No.1 in G minor BWV 1001
Beethoven Septet in E Flat Major Opus 20 for violin, viola, cello, bass, clarinet, horn and bassoon
Cash bar. Hors d'oeuvres provided by Leaside Supperworks. Raffle, with prizes from TIFF, the Stratford Festival, and other amazing donors.
Corey Lyle Gemmell, violinist, is a native of Hamilton, Ontario. He has distinguished himself as a soloist and chamber musician with performances in Canada, Germany, the United States and China. Concerto appearances include performances of such works as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Beethoven Triple Concerto, Beethoven Violin Concerto, Sibelius Violin Concerto, Brahms Violin Concerto and Brahms Concerto for Violin and Cello. 20th Century solos with orchestra include Mozetich’s Affairs of the Heart for Violin and Orchestra and Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending.
Mr. Gemmell is concertmaster of the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hamilton Orchestra and the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed in this role with the Boris Brott National Academy Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Orchestra, and Esprit Orchestra. He performs frequently with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
Corey Gemmell was concertmaster for the fall CBC television production of Over the Rainbow with Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. He has performed as concertmaster for a number of musicals including recent productions of Beauty and the Beast,the Hugh Jackman Show and Next to Normal and has worked with such pop icons as Hugh Jackman and Chantal Kreviazuk. Mr. Gemmell was concertmaster for the 2010 production of Miss Saigon at the Four Seasons Centre and the 2009/2010 production of the Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales. He is also active in commercial studio work in Toronto and has recorded for numerous movies and commercials.
Mr. Gemmell can be heard on compact disc in recordings of sonatas by Brahms, Ravel, Robert A. Baker, David Eagle and Hope Lee. He was one of the contributing artists to record the Royal Conservatory of Music’s newly released violin syllabus on compact disc.
Much in demand as a teacher, Mr. Gemmell’s students have distinguished themselves at provincial and national competitions. He is presently on faculty at the Western University, the National Music Camp of Canada and is a member of the Royal College of Examiners.
Tom Mueller has gained notoriety as a versatile musician with a distinctively melodic approach. He earned a Bachelor degree in Music Performance from the Manhattan School of Music and a Masters degree from the University of Illinois.
Foremost a chamber musician, Mueller is a founding member of the Elgin String Quartet and Quartet Saint Cecilia. His playing has been featured on CBC’s Two New Hours and The Music Around Us. Mueller is also an original member of New York City’s Allendale String Quartet, the highlight of which includes a performance at Carnegie Hall.
Mueller is Principal Cellist for Symphony on the Bay with which he has performed, as soloist, the Brahms Double, Beethoven Triple and the Haydn concertos. He is also Principal Cello of Orchestra Toronto and works with organizations such as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic; and performs in musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Disney’s Aladdin.
Thursday May 9, 2019 at 7 pm
Tickets $25 /$10 students/$5 Sistema students
Cash only at the door
Reserve tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org
unQuartet focuses on free improvisation, inspiring a new string quartet experience. They have collaborated with dancers, aerial artists, poets and painters to create beauty in interdisciplinary spontaneous creation. They draw the listener deeper into the music experience by performing original work never to be experienced again.
This concert will combine the artwork of painter Mike Rockwood and the digital manipulations of Meghan Cheng with improvisation from the trio. Large projections of artwork will be layered manually by digital manipulation of sound-activated colour, graphic, and rhythmic layers and textures, enfolding the audience with the marriage of improvised music and visual images. Images of paintings, drawings and photography will be revealed and manipulated based on the improvisations of the string trio and the energy of the audience.
With violinist Meghan Cheng, violist Nelson Moneo and cellist Cheryl O connecting through the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity residencies, each of the members of unQuartet has traditional classical training with expansion into contemporary, jazz, improvisation and electronic music. Though originally a true string quartet of two violinists, a violist and a cellist, the sudden loss of their viola player encouraged them to reform and tighten the group to become an improvising trio, thus becoming even more, an unQuartet.
Iris Rodrigues, soprano
Spend an evening wrapped in "Fantasy" with the talented soprano singer Iris Rodrigues, performing beautiful Italian classical music, opera arias, and crossover music. Guest performers are award winning clarinetist Andrea Allini from Italy and pianist Brahm Goldhamer.
“When I heard Iris Rodrigues singing for the first time I right away fell in love with the beauty of her voice.” Dame Edith Mathis
Soprano Iris Rodrigues is in demand as a solo recitalist and orchestra singer. Her engagements include solo performances in Haydn’s “Mass in Time of War”; the Persian opera “Love, Wisdom and Human” at Roy Thompson Hall (sung in Farsi); and productions of Mozart’s Requiem Mass. Her prior engagements include performing a recital as part of a Concert series in Victoria, British Columbia; the featured soloist with Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra performing Zerlina, Verdi/Puccini arias, and the role of Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier.
Ms. Rodrigues’ extensive Oratorio experience includes numerous solo engagements in Handel’s Messiah. Other Chamber music credits include a vocal recital, “From Handel to Tango," (performed with Baroque and Modern instruments), Love Never Dies with Trumpet, Guitar and Piano and performances under Maestro Kerry Stratton with Grand Salon and the L’orchestra Internazionale D’Italia. Ever a champion of new music Ms. Rodrigues’ collaborative range includes a remix of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” which garnered personal praise from Peter Gabriel himself.
Iris coached with Richard Hetherington at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, England. She also sang at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria in Masterclasses with soprano Dame Edith Mathis.
Exhilarating jazz pianist/improviser Marilyn Lerner performs to acclaim internationally, from her native Montreal to Havana, from Jerusalem to Amsterdam and the Ukraine. Her groundbreaking recordings have garnered recognition, including "Best Western Jazz Recording 2004" for her "Special Angel" duo with legendary guitarist Sonny Greenwich.
Lerner's work spans the worlds of jazz, creative improvisation, klezmer and 20th century classical music. She composes for film, theatre, radio and television. She produced "Birds Are Returning", the first contemporary Canadian jazz recording to come out of Cuba, playing her compositions with greats Dafnis Prieto, Yosvanny Terryand Jane Bunnett.
Along with her innovative solo piano work, Lerner tours with The Queen Mab Trio (clarinettist Lori Freedman and Dutch violist Ig Henneman) across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Their fall 2006 European tour included the prestigious Wels XX Music Unlimited Festival in Austria. Marilyn also performs with Sonny Greenwich,the Mad Satie Trio (Andrew Downing, David Occhipinti), Nick Frasier and Matt Brubeck, Lou Grassi and Ken Filiano, and in the Jewish scene with Adrienne Cooper, Frank London, Alicia Svigals, From Both Ends of the Earth, and David Wall. She has appeared with Steve Lacy, Tito Puente, Michael Vatcher and Gerry Hemingway.
Lerner's original music has garnered the Montreal International Jazz Festival award for best composition. Her audio art collages have been broadcast internationally. A recent commission by CBC in honour of composer Dmitri Shostakovitch's 100th birthday entitled "Meditations on Mitya" was performed by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and in November 2006.
A prolific recording artist, her most recent work includes the independently produced "Romanian Fantasy", a solo recording of improvisations on traditional Eastern European Jewish music recorded at the Glenn Gould Studio at CBC Toronto, "Thin Air" (WIG)the Queen Mab Trio's new release based on Hector Berloiz' Queen Mab Scherzo, "Luminance" (Ambiences Magnetiques), solo improvised piano music using different microphone techniques, "Special Angel" (C.B.C. records), duo with jazz guitar legend Sonny Greenwich, and, with singer David Wall, "Still Soft Voiced Heart"(Traditional Crossroads), original settings of contemporary Yiddish poetry.
Lerner conducts workshops on improvisation and on Jewish music throughout North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union. Current projects include both a recording and performances of "Shake My Heart Like a Copper Bell", Lerner's contemporary Yiddish song cycle on the poetry of Anna Margolin, scored for piano, cello, clarinet and singer Adrienne Cooper, for which she received a Hadassah-Brandeis research award, ongoing collaborations with poet Patrick Friesen, a new trio project with cellist Matt Brubeck and drummer Nick Fraser and numerous solo concerts.
Matt Brubeck is a composer/performer specializing in improvisation on the cello. Classically trained, with a Master's in cello performance from Yale, Matt is at ease in multiple genres and has taken his cello improvisation skills into diverse musical territories. He also plays piano and bass.
Presently residing near Toronto, Matt performs with an array of jazz and improvising artists. Projects include Stretch Orchestra, a trio with guitarist Kevin Breit and percussionist Jesse Stewart. Stretch Orchestra's eponymous CD won the 2012 JUNO Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year. Matt is also a member of Ugly Beauties (a trio with pianist Marilyn Lerner and drummer Nick Fraser). Their critically acclaimed CD Ugly Beauties was released on the Ambience Magnetique label in May 2009. The trio performed at jazz festivals across Canada that summer. Additionally, Matt performs with with jazz pianist David Braid as the duo Brubeck Braid, Their 2007 CD, twotet/deuxtet was nominated for both a JUNO award and a National Jazz award in 2008. Brubeck Braid has toured Australia, China, Ontario and Quebec.
"Matt Brubeck's facility with the instrument, bowing or plucking, seems to allow him to play whatever occurs to him." - Doug Ramsey, Rifftides
In the pop/rock world, Matt's eclectic adventures have included touring with the Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow, and the Indigo Girls, as well as performing and/or recording with Tom Waits, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie MacMaster, Tracy Chapman and others. During his many years in San Francisco, Matt collaborated with various musicians, including Ben Goldberg, Scott Amendola, Gino Robair, Myles Boisen, John Schott, and Pamela Z. He founded Oranj Symphonette, which recorded two CD's for Rykodisc and went on to play many of the major jazz festivals, from Monterey to Montreal. He worked for several years as composer and cellist/bassist with the San Francisco based Club Foot Orchestra, contributing to critically acclaimed scores for film and television. Alongside all his other musical endeavors, Matt continued to play classical cello and was a member of Kent Nagano's Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1989-2003. In 2008, Matt participated in the Grammy award winning Songs of Joy and Peace project with cellist Yo-Yo Ma (video). Matt has enjoyed performing with a wide range of other musicians including Evan Parker, Carlos del Junco, John Geggie, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Pierre Tanguay, Anne Bourne, and David Mott. www.mattbrubeck.com.
Matt is on the music faculty at York University and Humber College. He teaches jazz strings, improvisation, composition, and leads various ensembles. (And, yes, he is the tallest son of Dave.)
"You are a fantastic cellist!" - Yo-Yo Ma
Nick Fraser has been an active and engaging presence in the Toronto new jazz and improvised music community since he moved there from Ottawa in 1995. He has worked with a veritable “who’s who” of Canadian jazz and improvised music including Justin Haynes, Mike Murley, Rich Underhill, P.J. Perry, Phil Dwyer, Michael Snow, John Oswald, Andrew Downing, Jean Martin, Christine Duncan, Lina Allemano, Quinsin Nachoff, Dave Restivo, Jim Vivian, David Braid, Ryan Driver, David Occhipinti, William Carn, Nancy Walker, Kieran Overs, Kelly Jefferson, John Geggie, Scott Thomson, Marilyn Lerner, David Mott, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Ron Samworth and Kirk MacDonald.
In addition, he has had the opportunity to perform and/or record with such international artists as Tony Malaby, Michael Moore, Bobby Shew, Donny McCaslin, Marilyn Crispell, Anthony Braxton, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bela Fleck, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Wynton Marsalis, David Binney, Steve Turre, Matt Welch, Bill Carrothers and Bill Mays. Nick’s recorded works as a leader include Owls in Daylight (1997), Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes are faking it (2004) and Towns and Villages (2013).
For 10 years, he co-led the co-operative group Drumheller with Brodie West, Rob Clutton, Eric Chenaux and Doug Tielli, who released four critically acclaimed CDs between 2005 and 2013. Other projects that occupy Nick regularly are Ugly Beauties (with Marilyn Lerner and Matt Brubeck), Peripheral Vision, the Lina Allemano Four and Titanium Riot.
Nick is a founding member of The Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to the Toronto improvising community.
“Fraser not so much plays the drums as hurls himself whole body and soul against skin and metal… truly talented.” - Bill Stunt, CBC Radio.
“The young Toronto drummer is perhaps a little too progressive for the hidebound Canadian scene… Fraser is a deft and sensitive percussionist with a hint of an enigmatic streak, a feeling for economical gestures, and an innate sense of form.” - Mark Miller, The Globe & Mail
“Fraser can swing hard when necessary, but he’s equally a colorist with all manner of unusual tricks up his sleeve. Placing cymbals on the drums and pushing on them while striking them created a sound akin to a water gongs. His brushwork was impeccable, asserting time while, at the same time, creating richer texture. His solos were clearly focused on the musical rather than macho displays of dexterity—though in order to do what he does, it’s clear that he possesses all kinds of technical facility.” - John Kelman, All About Jazz
Jazz for Two: Decus Duo
Lucia Barcari, violin
Katya Khatsco, piano
Photo Credit: Bo Huang
Works by G. Gershwin, C. Bolling, A. Kapustin, A. Piazzolla and F. Say
A co-founding member of Decus Duo, Lucia Barcari is a versatile violinist with a special affinity for collaborative projects in diverse genres and ensembles. She enjoys an active career as an orchestral leader, recording artist, chamber and folk musician, throughout Canada and Europe. Committed to educating a new generation of musicians and audiences, Ms. Barcari has worked with Sistema Toronto, a philanthropic organization created to enhance the social development of children through music education. An active orchestral musician for over twenty years, she has served as concertmaster for the Ottawa Valley Music Festival, Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and Nuove Musiche in Belgium. Born in Chișinău, Moldova, Ms. Barcari was admitted to the Music School for Talented Children at the age of seven, and later won the Moldovan National Music Competition. She immigrated to Canada in
1996 and became a Canadian citizen in 2000.
Prizewinner at the 2011 Knigge Music Competition at the University of British Columbia, Katsiaryna Khatsko is a versatile and imaginative musician continuously building her career as a rising concert pianist and chamber musician. Born in Belarus, Mrs. Khatsko started playing piano at an early age, participating in numerous concerts and competitions and taking home top prizes, including the city-wide Minsk music competition “Debut” in 1999, First Place in the Mikhail Glinka Concerto Competition at the Belarusian College of Music and performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Minsk Music College Orchestra in 2005. She has studied with distinguished pianists and pedagogues such as Leon Fleisher, Anton Kuerti, and Robert McDonald, completing her Master of Music in piano performance at the University of Toronto in 2014. Ms. Khatsko is an active performer and presenter of the chamber repertoire and is currently the Music Director at Dixie Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ontario.
Ukrainian Art Song Project presents
Contrasts in a Theme
Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 7 pm
$35; $20 Students (Cash only at the door)
Purchase tickets at www.ukrainianartsong.ca
Andrea Ludwig, mezzo-soprano
Olesia Verzole, soprano
Taras Chmil, tenor
Robert Kortgaard, piano
"A good number of poems, Ukrainian and German, have proved to be favourites among Ukrainian composers, particularly Oleksandr Oles', Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Lesia Ukrainka and Heinrich Heine. However, it's striking how each composer envisages the words. It's fascinating to hear the same text to radically contrasting music. Herein lies the wealth of classical art song; many ways to compose, many ways to interpret what appears to be the same thought. But, is it the same?.. Come and decide for yourselves."
Pavlo Hunka, Artistic Director
The Art of the Piano: James Giles
Waltzes Op. 39 - Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Nos. 1-4, 12-15
Sonata in B flat major D. 960 - Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Scherzo: Allegro vivace con delicatezza - Trio
Allegro, ma non troppo - Presto
Alt-Wien - Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938)
The Enchanted Nymph - Mischa Levitski (1898-1941)
Papillons - Moriz Rosenthal (1862-1946)
Prelude Op. 61 No. 1 - Ignaz Friedman (1882-1948)
Minuet in G major Op. 14 No. 1 -Ignacy Paderewski (1860-1941)
El Albaicin from Iberia - Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)
Navarra (completion by William Bolcom)
James Giles regularly performs in important musical centers in America, Europe, and Asia. In 2019 he tours Denmark, Taiwan, and China and performs recitals in Toronto, Paris, Naples, Budapest, and Manchester, England. US dates include recitals in Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, Des Moines, Bloomington, IN, and Chicago. As a chamber musician he appears at the Tucson Chamber Music Festival and with the Rembrandt Chamber Players and the Dempster Street Promusica in Chicago.
In an eclectic repertoire encompassing the solo and chamber music literatures, Giles is equally at home in the standard repertoire as in the music of our time. He has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, C. Curtis-Smith, Stephen Hough, Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, Augusta Read Thomas, Earl Wild, and James Wintle. Most of these new works are featured on Giles’s Albany Records release entitled “American Virtuoso.” His recording of solo works by Schumann and Prokofiev is available on England’s Master Musicians label. He recorded John Harbison’s Horn Trio with the Chicago Chamber Musicians and recently released a recording with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic.
His Paris recital at the Salle Cortot in was hailed as “a true revelation, due equally to the pianist’s artistry as to his choice of program.” After a recital at the Sibelius Academy, the critic for Helsinki’s main newspaper wrote that “Giles is a technically polished, elegant pianist.” And a London critic called his Wigmore Hall recital “one of the most sheerly inspired piano recitals I can remember hearing for some time” and added that “with a riveting intelligence given to everything he played, it was the kind of recital you never really forget.”
He has performed with New York’s Jupiter Symphony (Alkan and Czerny); the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra in Queen Elizabeth Hall (Mozart and Beethoven); the Kharkiv Philharmonic in Ukraine (Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff); and with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Alice Tully Hall (Chopin). After his Tully Hall solo recital debut, critic Harris Goldsmith wrote: “Giles has a truly distinctive interpretive persona. This was beautiful pianism – direct and unmannered.” Other tours have included concerts in the Shanghai International Piano Festival; St. Petersburg’s White Nights New Music Festival, Warsaw’s Chopin Academy of Music; Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Series, Salt Lake City’s Assembly Hall Concert Series, and in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Musikhalle in Hamburg, and the Purcell Room at London’s South Bank Centre. He has given live recitals over the public radio stations of New York, Boston, Chicago, and Indianapolis. As a chamber musician he has collaborated with members of the National and Chicago Symphonies and with members of the Escher, Pacifica, Cassatt, Chicago, Ying, Chester, St. Lawrence, Essex, Lincoln, and Miami Quartets, as well as singers Aprile Millo and Anthony Dean Griffey.
A native of North Carolina, Dr. Giles studied with Byron Janis at the Manhattan School of Music, Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Shannon at Oberlin College. He received early career assistance from the Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy with the legendary pianist Lazar Berman.
The pianist was the recipient of a fellowship grant and the Christel Award from the American Pianists Association. He won first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Competition. As a student he was awarded the prestigious William Petschek Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Arthur Dann Award at the Oberlin College Conservatory. He wrote for Piano and Keyboard magazine and has presented lecture-recitals at the national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society, and Pi Kappa Lambda. He regularly serves on competition jury panels and has been conference artist for many state music teachers associations.
Dr. Giles is coordinator of the piano program and director of music performance graduate studies at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and during the summers is director of the piano program at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. He gives master classes and lectures at schools nationwide, including Juilliard, Manhattan, Eastman, Oberlin, Indiana, Yale, New England and has taught during the summers at the Gijon Piano Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Bowdoin, Brevard, Art of the Piano, Colburn, Interlochen, ARIA, Pianofest in the Hamptons, and the Schlern Festival in Italy. His classes internationally have occurred throughout China as well as at Seoul National University, the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen), the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki), the Chopin Academy (Warsaw), the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester) and the Royal College of Music (London).
Robi Botos: The Art of the Piano | Toronto
2019 JUNO Award-winner Robi Botos returns to Gallery 345 on Friday, May 31st! Don't miss what is sure to be an unforgettable evening of solo piano in one of the most beautiful and intimate listening rooms in Toronto. Special thanks to Yamaha Canada, who will be providing a beautiful C7x especially for this evening.
ROBI BOTOS has been hailed as one of the most diverse multi-instrumentalists of this generation. From the hard-bop style of Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, to the swing of Oscar Peterson and the heartfelt melodic expression of Mulgrew Miller and Cedar Walton, Robi has managed to master the technique of his idols, all while showcasing his musical expressions in a voice that is purely his own. While Robi is known for being a strong player in the traditional jazz and funk fields, he always incorporates an element of the music he grew up listening to into his playing. Says organist, trumpeter and pianist Joey Defrancesco: “Robi is one of the most swingin’, soulful, funky, world class players I’ve ever heard, and he has a technique like you can’t believe. Definitely one of my very favorite players!!!”
Born of Romani descent in Hungary, Robi taught himself first to play drums as a young child, and got his first taste of being a professional musician working throughout Budapest. Robi was first introduced to the piano when he was 7 years old, and never looked back. He continued to perform throughout Hungary and when he turned 20, decided to move his wife and children to Canada, to further pursue the career he was born for. Now 20 years later, Robi has solidified himself as one of the most sought-after pianists in the country.
Immediately after coming to Canada, Robi immersed himself into both the Canadian and international jazz scene. In 2004, he traveled to Montreux to compete in the Montreux Jazz Festival’s solo piano competition, where he placed first. His prize? Returning the following year to open for one of the headlining artists. That artists happened to be one of Robi’s idols - Oscar Peterson. Unknowingly to Robi, Peterson sat in the wings as Robi performed and upon their return to Canada, the two would form a friendship that resulted in Robi being one of OP’s final mentees. Over the next few years, Robi would continue to participate in and win global prizes and awards including the International “Jazz Hoeilaart” band competition in Belgium, the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) award in California, and the “Martial Solal Piano Competition” in Paris. In 2006, Robi would receive his first JUNO Award nomination for his participation in the ALMA Records release, “One Take.”
Since moving to Canada, Robi has been given the chance to work with many of the greats in his industry including Al Jarreau, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joey Defrancesco, Steve Gadd and Chaka Khan and has participated in projects with Michel Legrand, Chick Corea, Bill Charlap, Benny Green, and Kenny Barron. Robi wasted no time laying down roots in Toronto. He has been the pianist of choice for Officer of the Order of Canada, Molly Johnson, for close to 15 years and has worked extensively with some of Canada’s most celebrated players including Dave Young, Phil Dwyer, Archie Alleyne, Oliver Jones, Renee Rosnes, Sophie Milman, Paul Novotny, Carol Welsman and more.
Along with being a first-call pianist for some of the top artists around the world, as well as leading his own groups in sold-out shows nationwide, Robi is also a highly sought-after composer. In 2013, Robi composed the score for a film that was deeply personal to him. Aaron Yeger’s “A People Uncounted” tells the story of the rich culture and history of the Romani people (commonly refered to as ‘Gypsies’) in Europe. The film specifically focuses on the mistreatment and devastation of the Romani people during the Holocaust. This moving project was nominated for a Producer’s Guild Award in 2014. Since then, Robi’s music can also be heard on Stella Meghie’s 2016 film “Jean of the Joneses,” which received 2 nominations at the Canadian Screen Awards. Robi also contributed to the soundtrack of the 2013 Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon film “Arbitrage”.
In 2015, Robi released his highly anticipated sophomore album for A440 Entertainment, “Movin’ Forward”, which brought him a 2016 JUNO Award win for Solo Jazz Album of the Year. This would be Robi’s 5th nomination and 2nd win for Canada’s highest award in music. “Movin’ Forward” featured Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone, Robert Hurst on bass, and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums. After rave reviews and countless sold-out shows in support of this record, Robi went back into the studio in summer, 2016 to record his next album.
In 2018, Robi is back with a brand-new record that pays homage to his Hungarian upbringing, the early days of his career, and the music that he has dedicated his life to. “OLD SOUL” sees Robi not only venturing into a number of different genres (jazz, funk, soul, gospel and more!), but he also plays on a number of different instruments including the Harpejji, which he was inspired to learn and incorporate into his sound by Stevie Wonder. Robi is joined by some familiar faces such as longtime collaborators Mike Downes on bass and Larnell Lewis on drums, as well as Seamus Blake on saxophone. Also joining them for the first time is Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Garrett) on the Hammond B3, Ingrid Jensen (Clark Terry, Maria Schneider, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Billy Taylor) on trumpet, and Lionel Loueke (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Wayne Shorter) on guitar. Robi’s ability as a composer is once again highlighted on this record, with a majority of the tracks being his original material. “Old Soul” pays tribute to his homeland as he takes you down memory lane with visions of his childhood neighbourhood and through some of his favourite spots in his hometown. This record makes you feel like you have a personal connection with one of the most diverse and eclectic artists of our time. "Old Soul" was awarded the 2019 JUNO Award for 'Jazz Album of the Year: Solo'.