A Podcast Conversation With .. Koerner Hall's Mervon Mehta
One of Canada’s most unique concert series is Toronto's annual Koerner Hall Concert Season. The 2022-23 edition boasts a bumper crop of stars in many genres, as we learn from this chat with its illustrious program director.
By Bill King
As the summer season of outdoor concerts is coming back, we get a sense of normalcy returning. That lost connection with music and musicians hollowed out the inner soul. Virtual, although a quick fix became a noose around the public’s need for that live music event fix. Rarely do I see a Facebook live posting these days. Two years of lockdown and separation sees us casting off the past and meeting the new with anticipation and caution. Who knows what is stalking in the bushes when fall returns and we are back indoors? By most counts, we have learned to live with the unpredictable and adjust. Spring is a trial run, and we’ve done well. This brings us to one of Canada’s most unique concert series – the 2022.23 Koerner Hall Concert Season. I spoke with program director Mervon Mehta, who himself has a storied past, about what we can expect.
More on the series - from Mervon:
We have just announced 90+ concerts and events for next season. The calendar is full of exceptional artists who are VERY eager to get back on stage. I am particularly thrilled to have so many emerging Canadian artists on the bill alongside the best from around the world. Artists from 22 countries and six First Nations are represented and we will premiere over 30 new works. Listed below are some highlights.
We start this Koerner Hall concert season by honouring the lives and knowledge of Indigenous people with a special Truth & Reconciliation event featuring Tomson Highway, singer Rebecca Cuddy, Sarain Fox, and more.
This season’s jazz series is a celebration of great jazz composers in performances by Kellylee Evans and Jackie Richardson, Ravi Coltrane, Joshua Redman 3x3, Hilario Durán and David Virelles, Mingus Dynasty Band and MONK’estra Quartet.
Our Global Music concert series features Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha, legendary South African ensemble Soweto Gospel Choir, singer Somi, Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan joined by Syrian Canadian clarinetist Majd Sekkar, and there is more to discover.
Extraordinary classical concerts include Power Corporation Vocal Concerts, our piano concert series, chamber ensembles, and international string stars in recital, as well as performances by our world-renowned faculty and talented Glenn Gould School students. Some of the highlights include performances by Emerson String Quartet, Takács Quartet with Jeremy Denk, Fazil Say, Daniil Trifonov, Alisa Weilerstein, and so many more.
This year, our 21C Music Festival takes place in December and January with a spotlight on Kronos Quartet and fascinating performances by Jean-Michel Blais, Fred Hersch and Andrew McAnsh, Ian Cusson and Stewart Goodyear, tenor Karim Sulayman, Esprit Orchestra, Susan Hoeppner, The GGS New Music Ensemble, and more.
This season we are presenting not one, but two, gala concerts. Jan Lisiecki with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in October, and “Rhapsody and the Blues” with Jens Lindemann, Jon Kimura Parker, and the Yamaha All-Star Big Band in February.
Music Mix concerts feature the one and only Bruce Hornsby and concerts by Punch Brothers, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, The Shuffle Demons, and more.
The Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage concert series features a double-bill with Dominique Fils-Aimé and Allison Russell, and concerts with Jazzmeia Horn, Lisa Fischer with Ranky Tanky, Laila Biali and Friends, and Cécile McLorin Salvant.