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March, 2006 - Nr. 3


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Merkel: Equality

Kerry Stratton Conducts Canadian Debut Concert of
Vienna Concert-Verein
and Van Cliburn Gold Medalist

Thursday, April 6 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

Three dynamic musical forces unite Thursday, April 6 in Toronto, when Kerry Stratton conducts the Concert-Verein Orchestra of the famed Vienna Symphony, and Russian pianist Alexander Kobrin, gold medalist of the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Both Kobrin and the orchestra make their Canadian debuts, and their only joint appearance.

The performance, featuring the music of Mozart, Schubert and Malcolm Arnold, takes place Thursday, April 6, 2006, 8 p.m. in the George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge Street (North York City Centre subway). Tickets, $30, $60 and $90, are available at the theatre box office and from Ticketmaster, 416-870-8000 or A limited number of tickets is available without service charge, from the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, 416-362-1422.

More information is available from The concert is presented by International Touring Productions.

"Vienna plus Van Cliburn - you couldn’t ask for better!" exclaims Maestro Stratton. "We have players from one of the world’s very top orchestras, performing the finest music together with one of the most exciting piano talents to emerge in recent years."

Under the baton of Maestro Stratton, the orchestra performs repertoire that has captivated audiences throughout the world since its founding. The program includes Schubert’s "pearl of a symphony" - No. 5 in B flat, Malcolm Arnold’s witty Sinfonietta, Op. 48, and - with Alexander Kobrin - Mozart’s infectious and elegant Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat, K.449. Mr. Kobrin also performs Schumann’s solo Arabesque, Op. 18.

This is the second year that Kerry Stratton has toured a leading European orchestra in Canada. Last year, he brought the Sir Georg Solti Orchestra of Budapest to Toronto and nearby communities.


One of the most exciting piano talents to emerge in recent years, Alexander Kobrin enthralled audiences, critics, judges and Maestro Stratton at the Van Cliburn Competition last June, when at 25 he captured the Gold Medal. Critics from the U.S. and abroad hailed his "sensitive playing as well as a sparkling virtuoso display," and called him "a musician of intelligence and intensity who gets under the skin of the music."

Maestro Stratton secured the gold-medalist’s Canadian debut as part of the winner’s performance tour. Kobrin will cross the U.S. starting in February, and make his only Canadian stop in Toronto April 6.

Moscow-based Kobrin also won first prize in the 1999 Busoni Competition and was a top prize winner of both the 2000 Chopin and 2003 Hamamatsu Competitions. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, South America, and Asia. His winning Van Cliburn performances were recently released on a Harmonia Mundi CD.


Founded in 1987, the Vienna Concert-Verein is an ensemble of the world-famous Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Its conductors have included such international luminaries as Vladimir Fedosiev, Leopold Hager, Marcello Viotti, Claus Peter Flor and Krzystof Penderecki. This young orchestra devotes itself to both the cultivation of Austrian contemporary music and the classical Viennese orchestra tradition. It also plays 20th century works from other countries, such as Malcolm Arnold’s 1954 Sinfonietta, which was commissioned by England’s Boyd Neel Orchestra, and which will open the Toronto performance.

Its CD recordings reflect the artistic thrust of this chamber orchestra. They range from the first-ever releases of Joseph Haydn’s Notturni for the King of Naples and Michael Haydn’s Violin Concerto in A and Concerto in D Major for Two Trombones, to rarely performed works by Arnold Schonberg and by Austrian contemporary composers Gottfried von Einem, Rainer Bischof and Richard Dunser.

Since its foundation, the Vienna Concert-Verein has given many successful concerts in Europe, China, Hong Kong and Japan. In Canada, the Orchestra will also perform in other Southern Ontario centres.


Before bringing the Vienna Concert-Verein Orchestra to Canada, Kerry Stratton will make his debut with it in the Brahms Hall of the Concertverein in Vienna.

This year sees the Canadian conductor busier than ever, with his career taking him in many directions. Toronto will be the home to his new 21-piece Grand Salon, Canada’s Palm Court Orchestra, which debuts in March and will present salon and dance music of the 1920’s, ‘30s and ‘40s in concert.

Also upcoming are concerts and recording engagements in early 2006 in Germany and the Czech Republic, the Toronto Philharmonia’s Annual Viennese Ball at the Royal York Hotel, and summer concerts at the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, where he is founding music director. In May, he will host Music Capitals of Europe: On Tour With the Maestro, a journey to Vienna and Prague, and Budapest, where he will conduct the Sir Georg Solti Orchestra. (Details at

Maestro Stratton remains Conductor and Music Director of the Toronto Philharmonia, orchestra-in-residence at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, and Principal Guest Conductor with the Karlsbad Symphony of the Czech Republic. His recorded catalogue includes the world premiere recording of Liszt’s De Profundis, and music by Alan Hovhaness, as well as a CD of Slavic composers and a Dvorak disc. His promotion of Czech and Slovak culture earned him the Masaryk Award. A new, all-Brahms recording is scheduled in 2006 with the Nuremberg Symphony for Sony Korea.


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