Toronto Symphony Orchestra…under Gemma New! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Enterprise has its ‘Trekkies’; Jimmy Buffett has his ‘Parrotheads’; Taylor followers are ‘Swifties’ and Grateful Dead are the deadheads! Now is perhaps the time for fans of the HPO’s Gemma New to have a groupie nickname. A substantial number of Hamiltonians; including a full highway cruiser busload of enthusiasts made the QEW trip to Roy Thomson Hall to listen and applaud Ms. New’s first time at the podium of the TSO.
Toronto considers itself a World-class city and naturally, its eponymous musical assemblage should be world-class too. It definitely IS.
Under Sir Andrew Davis, and his predecessor Peter Oundjian , its stature and recording accomplishments rank with the best.

Gemma New at the podium

Review by Danny Gaisin
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“Escape to Paradise”, a multi-protocol HPO event Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

With just a year shy of six decades of writing about classical music; one feels as though one has heard just about everything euphonic… not so. An intimate proscenium-style almost chamber orchestra phenomenon was held in the Studio Theatre next to Hamilton’s Great Hall. It was audibly; physically; emotionally and sensually effective. HPO conductor/host Gemma New presented five novel and extremely contemporary compositions that incorporated the creative multi-media art of Tony Viera. Both orchestra and audience were impacted by light and projected imagery that accompanied the creative works being interpreted. The effect was a full dimension of impression and sensation.
The first piece was titled ‘Prelude to Dawn’ by
Kevin Lau. This is a new dimension of sensual impression and musical notation interpretation. Like the rest of the audience, our attention was more than rapt — it elicited a concentration and total focus.

Configuration of H.P.O & audience for ESCAPE TO PARADISE

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“From The Beatles, With Love”; an HPO treat Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Over two dozen of the Fab Four’s standards; the Hamilton Philharmonic and Hamilton Jazz great Darcy Hepner at the podium; a musical trifecta. Faultlessly presented with stage rear overhead projections from a certain Beatles cartoon that incorporated the artwork of Peter Blake and Jann Haworth; the evening was an almost psychedelic experience. This was an evocative evening recalling songs we danced to; identified with ; and sang the lyrics to 8-tracks or cassettes or top-twenty radio stations. Last night, I and a filled Great Hall audience turned a concert into a 1500 person singalong.

Tributing the output of the FAB 4;   Note the projection of Hamilton from the mountain!

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“Compose Yourself” an HPO concert 1.0 event Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

 ‘A long time ago in a Province far away’, I and many other classically-minded kids would religiously tune in to CBS on Saturday for Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Young People’s Concerts’. It was an opportunity to learn more of the intricacies involved with classical music, without feeling that the pedagogue was patronizing or condescending. It also gave us the occasional trivia that could be impressively incorporated into dating conversations!
Conductor
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser is a master at performances before young audiences. Like Bernstein, he never talks down to his audiences, and has an innate ability to integrate with the audience on an educational journey through classical music/orchestras utilizing humor and colloquial terms.

The maestro teaching us how to be a conductor!

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“O.A.R.’s TOP TEN for 2018 ” Reply

Opinion by O.A.R. administrators
Dec. 22, ‘ 18
Can’t fight progress, so this year there will be a major change… a Toronto Fringe offering is to be included, even though we previously relegated these 1-hour efforts to the ‘Honourable Mention’ category. However, the criteria for overall inclusion remains unchanged- memorable; educational; entertaining and definitely professionally staged!

HAMILTON PHILHARMONIC. This superior orchestra under the direction of Gemma New offered a full series of superlative concerts whose eclectic selections ran the gamut from the seriously classical to fun pops and contemporary compositions. Given the high caliber of the HPO, choosing just one as a standout proved too difficult; so, a 4-way-tie.

A dramatic on-stage interrogation moment in JOURNEY’S END

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“The Hockey Sweater ”; (or Go HABS go!) Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
What is probably the last of our O.A.R. covered events for 2018 certainly was a cherry-topping one. The Hamilton Philharmonic’s presentation of Roch Carrier’s story about a Quebec kid forced to wear a Maple Leaf’s sweater was narrated by the writer himself; and offered with composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s interpretive music as back-drop is about as perfect an evening as this writer could even imagine. Fortunately, it was professionally recorded! It was also the first opportunity for the audience to see the Trillium®-subsidized projection screens so that Cohen’s caricature imagery could be easily projected and viewed. *

Roch Carrier & HPO’s Gemma New doing “The Hockey Sweater”

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