Our Next Season – 2019-2020

We are pleased to announce the coming season including dates and artists:

Fire & Grace:                                                                  November  11, 2019

Fire & Grace is an eclectic collaboration between guitarist William Coulter and violinist Edwin Huizinga. This unique duo explores the connective musical elements of classical, folk, and contemporary traditions from around the world. Fire & Grace’s repertoire is vast, ranging from Bach to Vivaldi, tango to Celtic tunes, traditional Bulgarian to American fiddle tunes and waltzes, all played with a sense of discovery and commitment to the elements of passion and virtuosity — fire and grace — found in these diverse traditions. Recent and upcoming performances have included engagements at the Carmel Bach Festival, the Mozaic Festival, the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, the Electric Earth Concerts, the Monterey Museum of Art, and with Tomaseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas. In March and April 2017, Fire & Grace toured to New Zealand with appearances at the UPSURGE Festival, the Festival of Colour, and the New Zealand School of Music. The group’s self-titled debut album combines melodies from Argentina, Bulgaria, and Western Europe with dance elements from baroque and folk musical traditions.

Mirror Visions Ensemble                                               March 16, 2020

Mirror Visions Ensemble (MVE) was founded from a desire to explore the relationship between music and text, initially through the creation of “mirror visions” — settings of the same text to music by different composers. The group’s passion for storytelling has produced thematic concerts on surprising subjects, based on scholarly research and laced with humor, leading to the revitalization of art song programming. Featuring soprano, tenor, baritone and piano, often joined by other instrumentalists, MVE’s programs take audiences on an imaginative journey through song, showcasing well-known and often-neglected pieces by composers both familiar and new, set to texts by poets and historical figures that encompass published works, correspondence and other anecdotes.

Now in its 27th season, Mirror Visions Ensemble has championed and fostered the work of new composers, providing a platform for their works to be showcased through the commissioning and performance of over 85 works by 28 composers, including Tom Cipullo, Scott Wheeler, and Pulitzer Prize recipient Yehudi Wyner. Dedicated to developing the future catalogue of vocal chamber music, the ensemble launched its first-ever Young Composers Competition in the 2015-2016 season, awarding four commissions to early-career composers.

Sheng Cai                                                                                    April 27, 2020

Recently described as ” The most electrifying soloist of the 2017 season !” by South Coast Today of Massachusetts, USA. Canadian pianist Sheng Cai has embraced the keyboard tradition which epitomizes the greatness of the romantic virtuoso. His performances of major keyboard works of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries have touched audiences and won the praise of critics on three continents. The Toronto Star headlined ” This is a young man with real talent… from a clear, singing tone to a subtle sense of rubato to a judicious choice of tempi “. and described as a pianist ” with great confidence… gave more lucidity, color and power” by the Birmingham News. Sheng Cai has been honoured with a number of prizes and awards and continues to push the boundaries in interpreting both the established and rarities of the piano literature.

Since his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at just fifteen years old, Sheng Cai has performed a broad spectrum of concerto repertoire– Bartok, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Gershwin,Grieg, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens, Schumann, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with numerous orchestras as guest soloist such as Toronto Symphony, Quebec Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Fort Collins Symphony, New Bedford Symphony and Shanghai Symphony, as well as with the Calgary Philharmonic, Ontario Philharmonic. Jalisco Philharmonic and Boca del Rio Philharmonic of Mexico among many others.

Tickets for each concert will go on sale  on our site approximately six weeks before each performance.  We hope to see you there.

Thank you, 2018-2019 supporters

The organizing committee thanks you for your support during  our sixth season.   Some of you have come for the first time and we hope to see you again.  Others have been with us from the beginning and we owe our success to your enthusiasm and willingness to explore different musical styles and an engaging variety of artists.

Naomi Woo 2014

Some have been seasoned professionals while others are rising stars.  One of the earlier ones was pianist Naomi Woo. who came to us as a Gates Scholar pursuing a doctorate at Cambridge University. We were pleased to hear of her recent appointment as an Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony and you can learn more here

The last concert in 2018-2019 season

Only a few days now to our final concert for this season, A Sumptuous Night of Song, starring Canada’s own young rising star, Simona Rose Genga, with collaborative pianist Stéphane Mayer. They will be here to deliver a delightful program on Monday, May 27, at 7.30 p.m. 

 The programme features some delightful and much-loved lieder by Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler and the second half is devoted to the hilarious The Kitchen Cantata by Harry Freedman and Mary Lou Fallis.

A warm welcome awaits you in the atrium of 21 Shaftesbury Avenue.  After the program, there will be refreshments, a glass of wine or something non-alcoholic, and a chance to talk to Simona and Stéphane.

There are a few tickets remaining before we have to declare an end to ticket sales. I urge you not to miss this wonderful evening, and a chance to say that you heard this stunning singer while she was still an up-and-coming star!

What is this thing called Jazz?

The second concert of our 2018-2019 series is a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in advance on Monday February 4th – and it is already selling well.

Have you ever wondered what happens in a jazz  performance? Who plays the melody and why? What happens during the improvisation? Is there structure, form, harmonic progression and most importantly how do you follow it and what holds it together? Come and hear three top notch students from the  University of Toronto Jazz Studies Program. They will perform with Professor Gordon Foote, who will introduce well-known jazz standards and explain the road map of the performance.

A recent private event at Shaftesbury introduced some of us to the jazz pianist  Anthony D’Alessandro featured at this concert.  He wowed the crowd and many planned to come on the basis of his performance that evening. Anthony is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Piano Performance at the University of Toronto studying under Canadian jazz luminaries Dave Young, Mark Eisenman, David Restivo, David Braid, Steve Wallace and Mike Murley.  Anthony is a four time recipient of the Noreen & Phil Nimmons Scholarship in Jazz Performance, the University of Toronto President’s Entrance Scholarship, the University of Toronto National Book Award and was a finalist for JAZZ.FM91’s 2016 Peter Appleyard Scholarship.

You will want to order your ticket soon so that you won’t miss out – and you can find out how to do so here.


Thanks to all our supporters

Our most recent concert was a great success.  We sold out and enjoyed outstanding performances by Michael Bridge and Joseph Johnson.  People enjoyed the reception, visiting with friends and greeting and thanking the performers.

We also instituted our first audience survey and received 62 replies.  While response to our email invitations was an expected response, the second highest way to hear about our series happens when people forward the email  invitation along with an attached posted to friends and colleagues.  We owe all of you a huge vote of thanks for your help and encourage you to continue doing so.

Audience members can also subscribe to this website to receive updates.  We promise that these happen only occasionally before concerts or when there is news of our artists.  You may subscribe on the right hand side of this page – and you may also cancel at any time.

We wish you all the best in the coming holiday season. As a special treat you might also like to enjoy a reprise of Michael Bridge’s amazing performance on the digital accordion  – a more scenic presentation here but no less inspiring and we can guarantee you have never heard anything quite like it!

Another opening, another show!

Our 2018-2019 season arrives with our first concert on Monday, November 26,  when we welcome back Michael Bridge, accordion,  in partnership with  Joseph Johnson, Principal Cello Chair of the Toronto Symphony.  Both are amazing performers and you can read more about them here.

But we will let them introduce themselves. What they will do in combination promises to be wonderful. Tickets can be ordered here.

R.I.P. Peter Longworth

Peter Longworth

Classical pianist Peter Longworth has died at the age of 53 from cancer,

The London, England-born musician was a soloist and chamber musician who has performed in cities all around the world. He has been a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Chicago Symphony and more. Over the years, he has also collaborated with conductors such as Edwin Outwater, Nikolas Caolie, Eduard Zilberkant and Bramwell Tovey.

Longworth is also a founding member of the Duke Piano Trio, an act he started with violinist Mark Fewer and cellist Thomas Wiebe. Together, they performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. Outside of that, he made many recordings for Azica Records including the complete Brahms violin and piano sonatas with Fewer. Academically, Longworth has been a faculty member of the Glenn Gould School in Toronto since 1991, inspiring an entire generation of classical artists.  (source:: CBC Music)

Peter appeared in concert in a previous season.  He also lived in the Shaftesbury community some years ago.  We shall miss him and send our condolences to his wife and family.



Thanks for your support!

Another series of concerts has ended with success.  Your volunteer committee celebrated with a pot luck supper to end another year of planning and organizing.  We are immensely grateful for your continuing interest and support and wish all of you a relaxing and pleasant summer. We shall  return early in the fall to let you know of another exciting year of performances – including one with a new twist.

Shaftesbury Salon’s Next Concert

Our next concert is a different one for us where several distinctive strands converge.

One of our members had an opportunity to hear a work performed in a European Festival and was immensely moved by the music and the poetry readings added to it.  The Windermere String Quartet, who have performed with us previously, know this work.  The timing of the concert is the week before Easter. Another good friend, Eric Friesen is available for the readings and loves the work. All of these strands have come together for us to present Haydn’s  The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross on Monday March 26, 2018 as our final offering for this season.

The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross (Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze) was originally written as an orchestral work by Joseph Haydn,  and was commissioned in 1786 for the Good Friday service at Oratorio de la Santa Cueva in Cádiz, Spain. Haydn adapted it in 1787 for string quartet and later in 1796 as an oratorio (with both solo and choral vocal forces), and he also approved a version for solo piano.

The seven main meditative sections—labelled “sonatas” and all slow—are framed by a slow Introduction and a fast “Earthquake” conclusion, for a total of nine movements.  It is a work of outstanding power and never fails to move its listeners. We are pleased to welcome back the Windermere String Quartet for the second time as well as  writer and broadcaster Eric Friesen.  We have chosen a number of readings for the occasion including those of a Canadian poet who will also be in attendance.

Yon can read more about the composition and the artists here.

Tickets are $28 and may be purchased here.

The Battle was a Tie!

Happy Holiday season – and a message to save the date for our next concert. It takes place on Sunday, February 11 at 3:00 pm and you can read about it on  the pages above,

The audience at our last concert was hard pressed to decide between the music of 1867 and 1967.  Which year was best?  Here are a few snippets for you to decide for yourself.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

And it’s hard to resist toe tapping when performers like these get busy hands going.

Save the date now. You  can even order tickets right away for holiday gifts. We hope to see you in 2018.