A rare treat for Brockville

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Andrew Shaw will make his triumphant return to Brockville Saturday, and he'll be “taking no prisoners.”

Shaw, who grew up in Brockville, is the chief executive officer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which performs at the Brockville Arts Centre Saturday night.

It's a rare treat for Brockvillians, as the arts centre rarely plays host to an orchestra as large as the TSO's roughly 90-person contingent.

“I can guarantee a visceral experience for everybody who is there,” said Shaw, describing the second-half Shostakovich symphony as “a full orchestra and taking no prisoners.”

The TSO event is the “Grand Gala Closing Concert” of the Brockville Concert Association's fall classical series, and a fitting close to the venerable volunteer group's 65th season.

“Personally, it's very meaningful for me because my mother (Shirley Shaw) was president of the Brockville Concert Association for many, many years,” said Andrew Shaw.

Bringing the TSO to Brockville is an expensive endeavour, one made possible because the orchestra was already planning to be on the road for an exchange with its counterparts in Montreal and Ottawa, said Shaw.

He is looking forward to the TSO playing the arts centre.

“The hall can just barely accommodate the orchestra,” he said.

The program to which the Brockville audience will be treated is the same one the TSO is performing in Montreal, Ottawa and at its home, Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall.

TSO concertmaster Jonathan Crow said that program begins with the Overture to Mikhail Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila, followed by Beethoven's Triple Concerto, in which he will be the violin soloist.

The triple concerto for violin, cello and piano is the other major highlight of the program, a heroic, uplifting piece that is a wonder to watch in performance, said Crow.

“It's such a powerful effort,” he said, describing the interaction between the three soloists.

“There's a lot going on to see and to hear.”

The second half will be taken up by Dmitri Shostakovich's 12th Symphony, The Year of 1917, a piece as monumental, in its own way for the 20th century, as the Beethoven concerto.

“He's forward-looking, but his music has a lot of history in it,” said Crow.

Even in an age when all the world's great symphonies, and all the world's great orchestras, are only a few clicks away on YouTube, no technological wonder can replicate the authenticity of being in the hall while a full orchestra performs.

Still, said Crow, YouTube has its benefits. He is increasingly meeting people who come to the concerts after hearing a piece, and getting to know it, on YouTube.

“I think, in a way, YouTube can become almost an educational tool,” said Crow.



WHAT: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Gala Closing Concert of the Brockville Concert Association's 65th season;

WHEN:  Saturday November 17,7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Brockville Arts Centre;

TICKETS: $40 (adults); $10 (Students). Prices do not include HST. Students under 18 are admitted free.  Ticket prices include a pre-concert chat from 6:30 to 7 p.m. between TSO music director Peter Oundjian and former radio host Eric Friesen.

For more information, call 613-342-7122, or visit www.brockvilleartscentre.com online.



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