Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 16, 2023

By Kerry Doole

Approaching its 100th anniversary concert, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra looks back — and ahead

We can predict a prompt ovation after the conclusion of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony on Feb. 17 in Massey Hall, the heritage facility where the performing history of the TSO began, with a program including the same score, almost 100 years ago. But preferably not after the pianissimo close of the first movement. – Arthur Kaptainis, Globe and Mail

Ahead of a return to Massey Hall, TSO musicians recall strange odours and an imperfect ancestral home

If you can’t smell the memory, perhaps it never really happened at all. Speaking of her days performing at Toronto’s Massey Hall when the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was the historic venue’s main tenant, a violinist remembers walls that could not talk but would make their presence known anyway. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Toronto Symphony Orchestra scales new heights in impressive return to Carnegie Hall, ‘Everest of classical music’

Spanish violinist María Dueñas delivered a fiery rendition of Édouard Lalo’s “Symphonie Espagnole” in a concert of thoughtfully programmed works. – Joshua Chong, Toronto Star

The opera Salome inspires Atom Egoyan's new project

Canadian director Atom Egoyan is reuniting with actor Amanda Seyfried for an opera-set feature film. Seyfried stars in “Seven Veils” as a theatre director remounting her former mentor’s most famous work, the opera “Salome” by Richard Strauss. The film is written and directed by Egoyan, who says he was inspired by the experience of directing “Salome” for the Canadian Opera Company in 1996. – CP

Begonia — a beautiful delicate flower that’s a little rough around the edges

Winnipeg singer releases new LP, performs at Hamilton’s Mills Hardware Feb. 25, Graham Rockingham writes. – The Spectator

The Halluci Nation opens Toronto’s newest music venue, the TD Music Hall

“There’s not enough 500-seater rooms around. To see a new one opening is important for the music scene in general,” says Bear Witness.–  Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Birdsong music takes flight with a CD full of hope for mental health

Five years in the making, this collection of music by artists struggling with mental illness is ready for release. – Blair Crawford, Ottawa Citizen

Remembering an ambitious guitar amplifier company in Hamilton from the 1960s

It piqued my curiosity to find out more about the stories behind these largely forgotten gems from Hamilton history, writes Mark McNeil. –The Spectator

Ron Sexsmith is blue-sky thinking on the buoyant 'The Vivian Line'

Across 12 buoyant tracks and 32 effervescent minutes, the songwriter's latest includes about as much conflict and anguish as an episode of Ted Lasso. – Daniel Sylvester, Exclaim!


Five concerts and albums to carry you through until spring

On Feb. 5, the Grammy Awards ceremony emerged from its burrow and saw its shadow, which means five more weeks of music until the Juno Awards on March 13. With the help of the following concerts and albums, we might just make it. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Hybe buys 14.8% stake in K-Pop rival SM Entertainment for $334M

There is a lot of consolidation going on amongst the giants of the K-Pop industry. Earlier this week, we learned that South Korea-based Kakao Corp had acquired a 9.05% stake in K-Pop company SM Entertainment, in a deal worth ($173M). Now, another giant of the K-Pop world, HYBE, the company behind superstars BTS, is also taking a stake in SM Entertainment. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Hipgnosis invests in Timbaland's music marketplace Beatclub

Hipgnosis Song Management has partnered with, and made an investment in, Timbaland and Gary Marella-founded beat marketplace Beatclub. The deal grants producers and artists access to sample from its catalog. Financial terms of the investment, part of Beatclub’s series A-2 funding round, were not disclosed. – Mandy Dalugdug, MBW

Harry Styles sweeps male-dominated Brit awards with a quartet of wins

Fresh from Grammys triumph, the star towered over the British music industry’s annual bash, where 60% of winners were male.– Laura Snapes, The Guardian


The trouble with Harry Styles’ triumph at the Brits? His teen fans weren’t watching

It’s hard to argue with the uber-successful star carrying all before him. But attempts to lure younger viewers are doomed. – Alexis Petridis, The Observer

Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show was a hit-filled vision of red and white

On the night of Super Bowl LVII, music fans were gifted the first Rihanna performance in seven years. During the 13-minute halftime show, the Barbadian singer, actor, fashion designer and business person performed a medley from her catalogue of hits, spanning eight albums, including 2016′s Anti– AP

The sly dominance of Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show

On football’s biggest stage, Rihanna did it her way. – Pitchfork


My strange day with Bing’s new AI Chatbot

Microsoft’s chatty search interface was impressive. But it also served up glitches, ethical dilemmas—and talk of a mysterious “Sydney.” – Wired

Wet Leg recite Alex Turner’s BRITs acceptance speech as they win Best New Artist

"That rock’n’roll, eh?” – Rhian Daly, NME

Roger Waters says he's re-recording ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ — without Pink Floyd

“Because not enough people recognised what it’s about, what it was I was saying then," Waters said in an interview with The Telegraph. – Rolling Stone

After ticket flap, Springsteen’s fan magazine shutting down

A magazine and website that has served Bruce Springsteen’s fans for 43 years is shutting down, with its publisher writing that he’s been disillusioned by the debate over ticket prices for their hero’s current tour. – David Bauder, AP

Steve Albini on why he hates Steely Dan

Steve Albini has made it clear how he feels about Steely Dan. Posting on Twitter, the super producer announced that he “will always be the kind of punk that shits on Steely Dan… Christ the amount of human effort wasted to sound like an SNL band warm up.” He then proceeded to go back and forth, arguing with potential pro-Dan arguments. – Stereogum

The Scientists are back: ‘Old bands doing new stuff is kind of fraught’

The legendary Australian band are touring their first full-length album since breaking up in 1987. Frontman Kim Salmon talks about leaving behind ‘complete anarchy’ for a new sound. – Andrew Stafford, The Guardian

The Grammys call Dr. Dre an icon. Dee Barnes calls him an abuser

In this Rolling Stone exclusive, Barnes candidly reacts to Dre’s latest Grammy victory while looking back on the violence she says she experienced at his hands. – Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone

Black Belt Eagle Scout rediscovers the spiritual potential of home on new album ‘The Land, The Water, The Sky’

Katherine Paul’s third studio album was inspired by her journey home to Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Puget Sound, after 13 years in Portland. – Richie Assaly, Toronto Star

Grange makes appeal for ‘message music’

Classic songs, great performances, ‘One Love’ at Marley birthday concert. – Jamaica Gleaner

Take a beat at these museums exploring Black music history

Nashville's futuristic National Museum of African American Music sets the tone for Black History Month and beyond. – Thrillist

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award

Music News

Allison Russell Named Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year

The Nashville-based musician from Montreal has been having a huge year, including her first Grammy and her first Hot 100 appearance. Accepting the award on June 19 at the iHeartRadio Canada studio, she talked about her LGBTQ+ advocacy work and the importance of playing with underrepresented musicians.

It was a special Juneteenth for Allison Russell.

Not only did she serve as the special Toronto opener for Sarah McLachlan on the Canadian icon’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th anniversary tour, but she earned another big honour: Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

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