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Galas strike a musical note in Toronto and Calgary


Galas strike a musical note in Toronto and Calgary

Fundraisers for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Calgary's Decidedly Jazz Danceworks make for melodic evenings

Toronto Symphony Orchestra Gala, Toronto

Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 was the piece superstar pianist Lang Lang was set to perform at this year's Toronto Symphony Orchestra gala, held on March 1, but tendinitis in his left arm got in the way. To relieve a bit of the pain, Maxim Lando, a 15-year-old Lang Lang International Music Foundation Scholar, was called upon to join Lang Lang for a special arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. The performance was well received and helped underline the company's commitment to the next generation of Canadian musicians. Attendees enjoyed the rest of the evening's program, notably Paul Dukas's tone poem The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which the TSO performed alongside the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra under the direction of TSO music director Peter Oundjian. This latest gala, held at Roy Thomson Hall, supported the TSO and its myriad mentorship programs, including school concerts offered in both English and French that support teaching of the Ontario Music Curriculum and the aforementioned Youth Orchestra, which for more than four decades has provided orchestral opportunities and experiences for musicians ages 22 and under.

Atom Egoyan, Peter Oundjian and Arsinée Khanjian.

Lang Lang with Maxim Lando and Amanda Sherrington.

Zach Spence, Erion Karroqe, Ashley Hong and Ron Lloyd.

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks' Black & White Ball, Calgary

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, the Calgary-based dance company founded in 1984 to reignite interest in jazz dance and reconnect it with jazz music, hosted its annual Black & White Ball on March 17 at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary. There was music on offer, namely from the band Penguins on Broadway, and a few DJs that stepped-in between sets, and of course, there was dancing, mostly done by donors and guests – but throughout the evening, artists from DJD Company popped up for some impromptu performances. Each year, the company creates an original work and presents it with live music; in April, Mimic, a new collaborative work between DJD artistic director Kimberley Cooper and Peter Balkwill of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, will make its debut with a score by the Nick Fraser Ensemble. National tours, education outreach performances for kindergarten to Grade 12 students, school residencies, lectures and workshops that promote jazz dance to the next generation are among the programs that this latest to-do raised funds for.

DJD ball chair Claire Auroi with Sheena Bailie.

DJD artistic director Kimberley Cooper and Rob Fooks.

Sherie Toner, Debra Kerr, DJD executive director Kathi Sundstrom, Michelle McPherson and Ellie Caissie.

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