CRITIC’S PICKS | Classical Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: Jan. 16 – Jan. 22

L-R (clockwise): Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Photo: Jake Turney); Ian Cusson and Stewart Goodyear (Photos courtesy of the RCM); Nurhan Arman and Sinfonia Toronto (Photo courtesy of Sinfonia Toronto)

This is a list of concerts we are attending, wishing we could attend, or thinking about attending between Jan. 16 and Jan. 22, 2023. For more details on what’s happening around Toronto, visit our calendar here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Friday Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. (repeats Saturday Jan. 21 at 8 p.m.). Roy Thomson Hall. $75+

The highly-regarded young Englishman, who played at the wedding of Harry and Meghan in sunnier days, joins TSO debut in Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Of comparable interest is the world premiere of Gary Kulesha’s Symphony No. 4. Peter Oundjian, who knows a thing or two about British (and Canadian) music, leads these items and Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Info and tickets here.

RCM/21C Music Festival

Friday Jan. 20 to Sunday Jan. 22. Koerner Hall and Temerty Theatre. $21.

The Conservatory’s celebration of the still-youngish century restarts this weekend with widely varied programming. Jean-Michel Blais, a chart-topping Montreal pianist with a crossover following, brings a quartet to Koerner Hall Friday at 8 p.m. for an evening of his own compositions. Saturday at 5 p.m. in Temerty Theatre, a trio of vocalists perform After the Fires by Lembit Beecher (music) and Liza Balkan (words); flutist Susan Hoeppner and percussionist Beverley Johnston are heard in Christos Hatzis’s Arctic Dreams and the world premiere of Ice Woman by Alice Ho. Back in Koerner, Saturday at 8 p.m., jazz fans have the option of the American pianist Fred Hersch and Toronto-based trumpeter Andrew McAnsh, backed up appropriately. Also in Koerner, Sunday at 3 p.m., we hear premieres of chamber works by Ian Cusson and Stewart Goodyear as performed by a dozen notables, including Goodyear himself, who (as a pianist) takes the lead in Specially Mixed, a seven-movement RCM commission that promises jazz and Trinidadian elements. Tickets to all of the above start at an inflation-busting $21. Info and tickets here.

Sinfonia Toronto/Mozart and Mozetich

Friday Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. Jane Mallett Theatre. $44, $17 student, $17 virtual.

The chamber orchestra under Nurhan Arman beefs up Mozart’s “Dissonant” Quartet and performs the Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Marimba by the veteran Canadian Marjan Mozetich with bassoonist Samuel Fraser. Also on the program: the Ontario premiere of Never to Return, a work by the University of Waterloo composer Karen Sunabacka that was inspired by her Métis heritage. Info and tickets here.

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