Parlando: The COC Blog


Free Concert Series Returns for its 2013/2014 Season

Summer may be over, but there are tons of reasons to get excited for fall. At the top of the list is the return of the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre!

We recently unveiled an exciting line-up of 79 concerts for our 2013/2014 season and over the next 10 months, audiences can experience world class talent from Canada and around the world in six diverse series: vocal, chamber, piano virtuoso, jazz, dance and world music.

Below, we've selected a few highlights from this season that you won't want to miss!


In a popular Free Concert Series tradition, the first concert of the 13/14 season introduces audiences to the opera stars of tomorrow with a performance by the artists of the COC Ensemble Studio on September 26, 2013 at 12 p.m. It is the first of several concerts featuring the Ensemble Studio throughout the season.

This season, the Vocal Series features two world premieres. In October, Canadian bass Robert Pomakov and the internationally acclaimed Gryphon Trio perform a new work by Ukrainian composer Bohdana Frolyak, while the Canadian Art Song Project premieres a new song cycle by James Rolfe in March.

Several artists featured in the COC’s 13/14 mainstage season also make highly anticipated appearances in the series, including Canadians baritone Russell Braun, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy, and soprano Tracy Dahl, English baritone Sir Thomas Allen, American tenor Paul Appleby, and Ensemble Studio alumna soprano Simone Osborne.


The COC Orchestra returns for a third season with five concerts curated by COC Music Director Johannes Debus. In three additional special presentations, members of the COC Orchestra join forces with young artists of the COC Ensemble Studio and artists of the COC’s 13/14 mainstage season.

The series of 17 concerts includes two world premieres featuring percussionist Rick Sacks of ArrayMusic on April 24 and the young musicians of The Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble on December 3.

Holland's hottest new saxophone ensemble, Amstel Quartet, stop by the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on November 7 as part of their first Canadian tour. Listen to a clip of this versatile group below:


Brilliant pianists from Canada and around the world present a richly varied repertoire in 13 concerts. Highlights include first-time appearances by Kara Huber with a world premiere from emerging American composer Natalie Draper, Chinese virtuoso Haiou Zhang in a rare Toronto performance, and harpsichordist Hank Knox (featured in the video below).

Fans of influential new music composers John Adams and Hans Thomalla are in for a treat when the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival returns to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on March 4. Experience two important and exhilarating works of the contemporary two-piano repertoire: Adams’s iconic Hallelujah Junction and Thomalla’s Noema. Thomalla himself will be on hand to provide personal insight into his composition.


The Jazz Series presents Canadian legends and emerging talent on the Toronto jazz scene in 14 sizzling and soulful performances. Drummer Morgan Childs kicks off the series with his award-winning new quartet in a high-octane hour of swinging standards and original tunes on Tuesday, October 1 at 12 p.m.

Back by popular demand, powerhouse pianist Robi Botos reunites with Cuban pianist Hilario Durán (pictured below) for another meeting of extraordinary musical minds (pictured below) on March 5 at 5:30 p.m.


This season’s seven dance performances showcase some of the city’s most inventive dancers and choreographers, drawing from a variety of cultural and dance traditions. Styles range from the traditional Indian Kathak dancing of Infusion Dance, to the urban street moves of Gadfly Dance.

The series also welcomes return appearances from the University of Toronto’s Dharma Santi with their distinguished guest artists from Bali, and notable Canadian companies Peggy Baker Dance Projects and Ballet Jörgen.


Audiences begin a global musical journey of nine concerts in Turkey with Andrew Downing’s Anahtar Project in a tribute to Istanbul with oud player Güç Başar Gülle on October 8, and finish in Russia with domra virtuosa Iraida Erokhina and acclaimed accordionist Alexander Sevastian on bayan on June 3.

Another highlight is the return of Nagata Shachu, whose heart-pounding taiko drum beats you can preview in the video below.

Which performance are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

For a complete calendar of events and concert descriptions, click here.

Photo Credits: All photos by Chris Hutcheson, unless otherwise noted. Artists of the COC Orchestra; Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio; Robi Botos and Hilario Durán; Dharma Santi. Photo: A. Chandra.

Posted by Kristin McKinnon / in Free Concert Series / comments (0) / permalink

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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