Annual Festival to be Launched During Koerner Hall's 5th Anniversary Concert Season 8 Concerts; 5 Nights; 20+ Premieres

In this newly-minted festival, today’s most fearless musicians and composers bring us fresh new sounds and ideas. Over five nights, eight concerts featuring 21st century music will be presented as part of Koerner Hall’s fifth anniversary concert season, which will feature 20+ world, Canadian, and Toronto premieres. A number of concerts will also include an artist/composer chat following the performance. “Michael and Sonja Koerner have been champions of the creative process and commissioners of new works for much of their lives. It came as no surprise that Koerner Hall, named in their honour, was opened in 2009 with Beethoven and Bernstein, but also solo piano works by Györgi Ligeti and a new orchestral work by their long-time friend, R. Murray Schafer. The Conservatory is extremely grateful for Michael and Sonja's support and encouragement that enabled us to launch an annual festival of new works,” said Mervon Mehta, Executive Director of Performing Arts at The Royal Conservatory.

A concert titled Faster Still Anaïs Nin will include a world premiere by Canadian composer Christos Hatzis written for and played by the Afiara String Quartet, The Conservatory’s quartet-in-residence, alongside Faster Still, a new work from Canadian composer Brian Current. The concert closes with the Canadian premiere of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen’s Anaïs Nin, a semi-staged work for chamber ensemble, video, and soprano, based on the diary entries of Anaïs Nin.

Chilly Eve of Lemon Cane features four world premieres – by Canadian, Spanish, and American composers – that stretch the boundaries of classical music. Jazz pianist Uri Caine will offer a piano quintet (commissioned by The Banff Centre) to be played by the Afiara String Quartet and himself. Pianist, producer, and provocateur Chilly Gonzales debuts a new work (commissioned by The Royal Conservatory) for chamber ensemble and piano; flamenco guitarist and producer Javier Limón, who made his Koerner Hall debut during the 2012-13 concert season with Amanda Martinez, debuts his first String Quartet (commissioned by The Royal Conservatory); and Toronto-based pianist/composer Eve Egoyan teams up with visual artist David Rokeby for the world premiere of their piece, Surface Tension, for piano and live video.         

In Night Blooms Marc-André Hamelin, one of Canada’s most prodigious piano talents, is featured in works that look back to 20th century stalwarts and forward with a new piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Hamelin plays The Perilous Night, a solo work for prepared piano by John Cage, and is joined by the Pacifica Quartet for Leo Orenstein’s Piano Quintet, a still thoroughly modern piece, written in 1927. Finally, Hamelin and the Pacifica Quartet are joined by a Canadian baritone (TBD) for the Canadian premiere of a work by Higdon, titled Dooryard Bloom (commissioned by The Royal Conservatory). Dooryard Bloom is based on Walt Whitman’s poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” which he wrote in response to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Marc-André Hamelin appears for the second time during the 21C Music Festival in a concert titled Hush!, which features a rare performance of For Bunita Marcus, a 70-minute work for solo piano marked entirely triple piano by the late American composer Morton Feldman.

On two evenings, following mainstage Koerner Hall performances, Festival After Hours concerts will be held in Conservatory Theatre, featuring new works in a causal setting, and the bar will be open. Artists from the 21C Festival Ensemble will play new works by Canadian composers (all commissioned by The Royal Conservatory) and, the second concert will include the Pacifica Quartet performing the Canadian premiere of Shulamit Ran’s GLITTER, DOOM, SHARDS, MEMORY for string quartet, a work written in response to the life and works of Felix Nussbaum, a Jewish painter who perished in the Holocaust.

New Music Concerts and Esprit Orchestra will present two of their respective season’s concerts as part of the 21C Music Festival. New Music Concerts Presents New Beijing will feature pipa virtuoso Lan Weiwei, who coordinates a contemporary music program at the Beijing Conservatory. New Music Concerts has invited her colleagues Jia Guoping, Shi Fuhong, and Qin Wenchen to compose new works (co-commissioned by New Music Concerts and The Royal Conservatory) for her, featuring pipa in combination with western instruments. The concert will also include Chinese-Canadian composer and Conservatory alumna Alexina Louie’s Imaginary Opera. Esprit Orchestra will perform premieres of new works by two important emerging Canadian composers living and working abroad: Zosha Di Castri (world premiere) and Christopher Mayo (world premiere). The program will also feature the North American premiere of Mysteriën, a new piece by renowned Dutch composer Louis Andriessen.


The 21C Music Festival is made possible through the generous support of Michael and Sonja Koerner.

The Afiara String Quartet appearance is generously supported by R.S. Williams and Sons Co.

Media Sponsors: Classical 96.3 FM, NOW


21C Music Festival at The Royal Conservatory

New Music Concerts Presents New Beijing: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 8 pm | MCH; tickets: $32

Faster Still Anaïs Nin: Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 8 pm | KH; tickets start at: $30

Chilly Eve of Lemon Cane: Friday, May 23, 2014 at 8 pm | KH; tickets start at: $30

Festival After Hours #1: Friday, May 23, 2014 at 10 pm | CT; tickets: $25

Night Blooms: Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 8 pm | KH; tickets start at: $30

Festival After Hours #2: Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 10 pm | CT; tickets: $25

Hush!: Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 3 pm | MCH; tickets: $32

Esprit Orchestra Presents: Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 8 pm | KH; tickets start at: $30

Venue Legend: KH Koerner Hall; MCH Mazzoleni Concert Hall in historic Ihnatowycz Hall; CT Conservatory Theatre


All tickets go on sale on Thursday, June 13, 2013, at 10:00 am



21C FESTIVAL PASS = $170.00


All advertised prices include service charge and 13% HST


Media Contact: Barbora Kršek, Concert Publicity Manager and Publications Editor

416.408.2824 ext.265;