THE SHOVEL | Announcement of the programming of the 21C music festival


With 18 premieres over 13 concerts, as well as a multimedia film screening, the 21C Music Festival 2022 offers a multitude of new music.

Mervon Mehta, executive director of performing arts at the Royal Conservatory, comments in a press release. “We are very fortunate to be back this year with 14 performances, including the premieres of two chamber operas with a theatrical twist, our friends the Kronos Quartet with Tanya Tagaq and beloved Canadian bass baritone Gerald Finley. The support of Michael and Sonja Koerner allows us to bring you this festival every season and to commission works from some of the most exciting composers on the planet. We hope the public will come often and be ready to stretch their ears. “

The ninth edition of the 21C Music Festival will take place from January 12 to 23, with another single date to close the Festival on February 25, 2022.

First 18

  • 6 world premieres (all by Canadian composers: Brian Current, Eve Egoyan, Kathryn Knowles, Morgan-Paige Melbourne, Nauroz Tanya and Tanya Tagaq),
  • 1 North American premiere (Mark-Anthony Turnage),
  • 5 Canadian (Stacy Garrop, Aruna Narayan, Marc Neikrug, Steve Reich, Zachary James Watkins),
  • 6 Ontario premieres (Alex Baranowski, Antonio Haskell, Katia Makdissi-Warren, Abel Meeropol, Bent Sørensen and Julie Thériault).

21C kicks off with the world premiere of Gould’s wall from January 12 to 16, presented in partnership between the Festival, Tapestry Opera and Maniac Star production. The work reinvents Glenn Gould and his life, and will feature singers climbing the wall of the MRC’s atrium. Gould’s wall was composed by Brian Current, who also conducts, with a libretto by Dora Prize-winning writer Liza Balkan. Multiple Dora Award winner Philip Akin runs an all-Canadian cast, with tenor Roger Honeywell as Glenn Gould. The public will watch from the café corner of the MRC.

The star of the Festival this year will be the Kronos Quartet, and the public will have the chance to see them in three different events.

  • A thousand thoughts; a live documentary with the Kronos Quartet, presented in partnership with Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – a multimedia performance that combines live music from Kronos, stock footage, narration and filmed interviews. (January 18)
  • Students at Glenn Gould School will participate in a two-day mentorship with Kronos, culminating in a joint concert called Fifty before. (January 20)
  • Music for change, featuring new works composed and performed by special guests Tanya Tagaq (vocals) and Aruna Narayan (sarangi), and also highlights the social, political and cultural upheavals of civil rights movements across a range of other works. (January the 21st)

Other highlights

  • The Canadian Premiere of Marc Neikrug’s Chamber Opera A song by Mahler. The RCM’s ARC ensemble will perform, with mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert as opera singer and baritone Kelly Markgraf as pianist / husband in a story about confronting her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. (January 16)
  • A program of all-Canadian composers, performed by pianist and Royal Conservatory alumnus Morgan-Paige Melbourne – and Melbourne is also among those composers. (January 16)
  • The world premiere of Eve Egoyan Seven Studies for Augmented Piano. (January 22)
  • The return of the Danish string quartet to Koerner Hall for a program that includes the composition of quartet member Bent Sørensen. (January 22)
  • Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley and pianist Julius Drake perform the North American premiere of a cycle of songs by Mark-Anthony Turnage, co-commissioned by the Royal Conservatory, titled without ceremony, as well as other works. (January 23)
  • The Festival will end with Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, the all-female string ensemble, on February 25 with a program titled Elle – 25th anniversary concert.

Tickets are now available here.

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