Toronto's 21C Music Festival Returns This Winter with Tanya Tagaq, Kronos Quartet, Jean-Michel Blais

The previously postponed festivities resume on December 6

Photo: Lisa Sakulensky

BY Allie GregoryPublished Nov 8, 2022

With the early 2022 edition of Toronto's 21C Music Festival left hanging in the midst of the Omicron surge, the Royal Conservatory has now announced plans for its rescheduled festivities — including 10 concerts and nearly two-dozen premieres — taking place from December 6, 2022, until January 29, 2023.

Kicking off with three performances grounded by longstanding contemporary classical institution the Kronos Quartet, the festival will see multiple artists showcased on its stages at Koerner Hall, Temerty Theatre and Mazzoleni Concert Hall throughout the winter months.

Those showcases include Sam Green joining the Kronos Quartet on December 6 for A Thousand Thoughts, a multimedia performance co-presented by Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema that blends music, narration and interviews with the likes of Philip Glass, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Reich, Wu Man and Terry Riley.

On December 8, Kronos will be joined on stage by students from the Glenn Gould School for a performance built around the quartet's Fifty for the Future initiative. The following night (December 9) will see Tagaq joining Kronos for Music for Change, a program that includes performances composed or inspired by the works of Reich, Jimi Hendrix, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday and more.

The festivities resume in mid-January with an appearance by pianist Jean-Michel Blais, whose 2022 album aubades found him composing for a 12-person ensemble and collaborating with Alex Weston, Glass's former music assistant. Blais's performance takes place on January 20 at Koerner Hall.

Other highlights from the festival include Susan Hoeppner and Beverley Johnston performing Christos Hatzis's Arctic Dreams for flute, vibraphone and electronics, along with the world premiere of Ice Woman by Alice Ho; Fred Hersch and his trio performing Breath by Breath alongside the Conservatory's Dior Quartet; Toronto-based trumpeter Andrew McAnsh performing Music of the Great Lakes: A Songbook for the Canadian Indigenous; plus festival-closing festivities in Unruly Sun: A Theatrical Song Cycle Inspired by Derek Jarman's Modern Nature, with music by Matthew Ricketts and libretto by Mark Campbell, starring tenor Karim Sulayman; and much, much more. 

Tickets for the events are on sale now. Find more details, ticketing information and a full list of performances at the festival's website.

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