BY ELIZABETH GANIATSOS
CONSORTIUM Aurora Borealis, Thunder Bay’s vibrant presenter of classical chamber music, recently wrapped up its 38th concert season and is looking forward to its 39th exciting year of serving the people of Thunder Bay.
They are now taking orders for its money-saving season passes, offering seven concerts for only $90 (adults), $80 (seniors 65-plus), and $60 (students).
Passes are completely transferable, and people who pay before June 30 will have their names entered in a draw for a $50 gift certificate to Bistro One, courtesy of chef/owner Jean Robillard, who appreciates what Consortium does and would like to encourage subscription sales.
Subscribers account for over one third of our house; you are invited to join the happy crowd. See below for details on how to order; you may be the lucky winner of a fine dining experience.
Each season is highly varied, in terms of the music, performers, periods, and styles represented. People really love the breadth and excellence of its programming. Consortium has a very wide appeal and a large, enthusiastic following. It uses professional musicians of highest calibre, mostly drawn from our fine Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, but it also on occasion engages distinguished visiting artists, who inspire our local musicians and delight Consortium‘s audiences. The concert season runs from mid-September to the end of February.
All performances take place on Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., with pre-concert talks at 7:30 p.m.
Consortium has concocted a brilliant and varied line-up of exciting musical offerings for its upcoming 39th season, as follows:
Sept. 16: The Golden Violin: Thomas Cosbey, violin and Heather Morrison, piano. Exquisite music from the Romantic Era, including virtuosic showpieces.
Sept. 30: Passionate Piano Quintets: Ensemble Made in Canada, with guest violinist Scott St. John. Schumann and Dvo?k - “Bold and stylishÉimpressive, elegant interpretations”
Nov. 4: Oboe Virtuosi at the German Courts: Colleen Kennedy, Gwen Buttemer, oboe. Ravishing sounds of two oboes playing Baroque music, with cello & harpsichord
Nov. 25: Baroque Brilliance: virtuoso violinist Jeremy Bell. Back by popular demand, Bell performs an exciting programme of violin concerti by Vivaldi, Locatelli, and Leclair, with expanded string ensemble and harpsichord.
Dec. 2: Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra: Symphonies and Serenades. Consortium‘s fifth annual presentation of the TBSO. Hear the full orchestra perform “up close and personal” in the intimacy of the acoustically-excellent, beautiful space of St. Paul’s United Church. Symphonies by Boccherini and Mozart flanking works for winds and strings alone.
Jan. 13: Classical Concoctions for Clarinet and Bassoon. Peter Shackleton, Karine Breton, and strings perform stylish chamber music by Beethoven and his contemporaries.
Feb. 24: Celebrating the Flute: Doris Dungan and string ensemble perform a delightful Baroque/Classic mix. Flute concerti by Telemann, Blavet, C.P.E. Bach; J.S. Bach: Partita for solo flute; Boccherini: Quartet for flute and strings.
Highlights of Consortium‘s past season included Songs of Passion from Around the World, a lyrical programme of music performed by two well-loved local performers, trumpeter Merrie Klazek and pianist Heather Morrison. Toronto’s acclaimed Vesuvius Ensemble, with charismatic Italian tenor Francesco Pellegrino, presented something completely different, performing beguiling traditional music from Naples and Southern Italy on some very unusual instruments.
The dynamic, award-winning Cecilia String Quartet brilliantly performed a delectable programme of Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, the musical highlight of the season.
The audience, appreciating the opportunity to hear chamber musicians of such distinction, gave forth with enthusiastic cheers at the end. Oboe soloist Colleen Kennedy was magnificent in the annual mostly-Italian Baroque concert of concertos with string ensemble back-up.
The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra appeared as Consortium‘s guests for the fourth year, in music written by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schubert as teenagers. January brought the exhilarating A Night in Madrid with guitarist Joseph Roy and strings.
This Spanish-flavoured concert drew in the largest crowd of the season, and the ending, a wild Fandango, absolutely electrified the audience.
The season concluded with a return to Consortium‘s roots, with music for Baroque flute, strings and harpsichord.
Elizabeth Ganiatsos is Artistic Director of Consortium Aurora Borealis.