Normally I don’t know how to write a review on classical music, but after witnessing a glorious concert that resembled a part of my childhood, I felt moved to write something about my experience at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and many more to come in the future.
The presentation of Sergei Prokofiev’s classic “Peter and the Wolf” was a moment that upon celebrating my 35th birthday, highlighted a moment where I was introduced to classical music for the first time. Peter and the Wolf, narrated by a Leonard Bernstein, opened a world in which I would never leave from again. To revisit that in a fresh new retelling featuring the humour and pathos of famed Canadian satirist Rick Mercer, recaptured the moments of pure storytelling, innocence, and tranquility in a long ago world.
In addition to the highlighted piece, there was a serene all horn arrangement performed by French Horn player Neil Deland of my fellow birthday brother Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust”, another birthday brother Benjamin Britten on the opener “Young Persons Guide to an Orchestra”, and another highlight of the evening, a Rachmanninov piano concerto which was a variations of a theme of Paganini. Pianist Coco Ma had a precision and poise that was spot on, added with the sheer grace and charm by the featured pianist.
To close, what touched me the most that night was that the concert was the first benefit dedicated to the valiant work of one of the greatest hospitals in the world and a Canadian icon, “The Hospital for Sick Children”. The story that touched me the most was that of conductor and musical director Peter Oundijan. He shared that because of a ruptured intestine, he could have died as a baby. However, thanks to the God-given talents and skills of the doctors at the time, he fully recovered, has got a clean bill of life, and now leads one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Stories like this prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a God out there who is still bringing hope and healing in accordance with his will and timing. Out of pain, comes growth. And out of this valiant work came a brilliant conductor and musical director.
OFFICIAL TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA WEB SITE:
OFFICIAL HOSPITAL FOR SICK KIDS WEB SITE: