Bruce Cockburn and jazz singer Holly Cole are some of the Canadians icons headlining the schedule for the Royal Conservatory of Music this fall and winter and both are artists who have enjoyed national and international acclaim.
The Royal Conservatory, a “music education institution” founded on the principle that personal growth is channelled through the arts, has alumni of such renowned names as Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould, Sarah McLachlan, Diana Krall, Gordon Lightfoot, k.d. lang and Cockburn.
Mervon Mehta, executive director of performing arts at The Royal Conservatory, says blending in Canadian icons is vital to their programming since they opened Koerner Hall 10 years ago. The venue showcases top-flight artists from across the jazz, classical, world music, folk and pop genres.
“Quite naturally, many have been Canadian,” Mehta says. This season the Royal Conservatory has 100 concerts and 51 of those feature Canadian artists.
That tells you everything about the demand. Canadian audiences take pride in Canadian artistic talent, but won’t go just because it’s the patriotic thing to do.
“Canadian musicians can go toe-to-toe with musicians from around the world in any genre,” Mehta says. “We proudly present them without caveat and without quotas. We also love to introduce our audiences to newer artists who we think show promise and need a larger platform.”
Of the Canadian headliners for the coming season three are already sold out (Cockburn, Cole and Adrianne Pieczonka) and several others are close (Karina Gauvin, Toronto Sings the Breithaupt Brothers, Amici Ensemble with Russell Braun, Louis Lortie, Oscar Peterson’s Africa, Angela Hewitt and Jan Lisiecki).
Cockburn plays Oct. 19 and Cole plays Dec. 14.
In Brampton, the Rose Theatre has a lineup this fall featuring Canadian legend Burton Cummings, rock quartet Sloan and a tribute to the late, great Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip.
Formed in Halifax in 1991, Sloan, now based in Toronto, just released its 12th studio album. A CBC Critics’ Poll had the Juno Award-winning band as one of Canada’s top bands of all time. Sloan plays on Oct. 10.
It’s been almost two years since Downie, the former frontman of The Tragically Hip, died, and Canada lost one of its true music icons. One of his legacies was his work on the reconciliation with Canada’s First Peoples.
The tribute concert at The Rose on Oct. 16 will feature a group of Canadian artists, in collaboration with The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, promoting awareness and education about the issue and celebrating Downie, his music and legacy. (Gord’s Legacy will also be performed on Oct. 18 at First Ontario Performing Arts Centre and at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on Oct. 17.)
Cummings needs no introduction – the legendary singer, songwriter and recording artist was with Canada’s original rock ‘n’ roll superstars, The Guess Who, and then followed that with a long solo career featuring dozens of hit singles and albums. His Up Close and Alone show runs at The Rose on Nov. 28.
There is no shortage of Canadian talent around the province this fall and winter. Other notable concerts include: award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt at Roy Thomson Hall on Nov. 1; Avril Lavigne plays TO Live’s Meridian Hall (formerly the Sony Centre) on Oct. 6; Jann Arden plays Casino Rama Resort on Dec. 7; Celine Dion is at Scotiabank Theatre on Dec. 9; and Blue Rodeo is at the Barrie Molson Centre on Dec. 29.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.