Second-year music director Danielle Lisboa leads the volunteer-based Orchestra Toronto, which has been wooing ears with tightly spun symphonic works for nearly 60 years. The 80-piece ensemble reassembles in February, providing concertgoers respite from cold-weather blues and panhandling snowmen with "Winter Tales," a collection of fiery, accessible compositions from several legendary composers. Lars-Erik Larsson's The Winter's Tale sets the show in motion before giving way to a quartet of classics, including Chris Meyer's In Memoriam Henryk Gorecki and Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suite no. 2. To start the afternoon, attendees can pop into a pre-concert chat, where Clasical 96.3 FM personality Alexa Petrenko will discuss the day's set and explain how violins maintain such curvy physiques. Recognized among Canada's elite venues, George Weston Recital Hall creates an acoustical cocoon with painstakingly insulated walls and retractable curtains and panels that can be rearranged for optimal sound.
The largest soft-seat theatre in Canada, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is perhaps most famous for its overhanging marquee outside. The diagonal canopy and its snake-like rows of lights were restored to their original form in 2010, along with the facility’s wood, brass, and marble accents. Inside the lobby, York Wilson’s mural, The Seven Lively Arts, fills eyes with fractured, panoramic representations of various artistic media, from slanted musical staffs to menacing Greek theatre masks.
Shiatsu and LaStone therapist of Transense Healing Arts Holistic Centre employs two distinct therapy treatments to help clients reduce pain and discomfort. She uses her knuckles, thumbs, palms, knees, and elbows as instruments of relaxation, drawing from shiatsu techniques and Japanese-style acupressure to pinpoint and expunge stress. Alternatively, she uses heated basalt rocks formed from volcanic lava during LaStone therapy, loosening up knotted muscles.
Her experience stems back to the Aveda Institute in Victoria, B.C., where she graduated from in 1998 in esthetics. Since 2000, she has added LaStone therapy to her repertoire, which allows her to stimulated the autonomic nervous system and increase oxygen in the body. Her subsequent interest in shiatsu led her to Shiatsu School of Canada, which enables her to continue her journey of educational growth through her daily practice.
The resident instrumentalists at Artscape Wychwood Barns, the Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble makes good use of the surprisingly effective acoustics of the renovated warehouse it calls home. Dedicated to the works of modern and contemporary artists, the ensemble works closely with composers and builds their programs around 20th and 21st century artists. Not just classical artists either—the group has not only worked with Yo-Yo Ma, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Canadian Opera Company, but also with Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, and Richard Reed Perry of the Arcade Fire.
Constructed in 1934 in the Spanish-mission style, the San Jose Civic has played host to a star-studded lineup of performers—including The Who, who kicked off its first U.S. tour on the Civic's venerable stage. The building's elegant, dual-level exterior and softy lit tower recall bygone days of conquistadors, and the remodeled auditorium's armrests and cup holders keep chalices of gold comfortably upright.
Orchestral Zeppelin unleashes a full serving of symphonic Led, fusing eminent rock 'n' roll anthems such as "Immigrant Song" and "Stairway to Heaven" with the sophisticated measures of a 20-piece orchestra. Head-bangers and classical backers alike ally behind the unified banner strung from ear-to-ear by frontman Michael White and his band of veteran rockers, who have rattled amplifiers since 1977 with both original tunes and Zeppelin covers. Composed of budding musicians and cellos that only need to shave once per week, the Symphony of Rock Youth Orchestra accompanies the wailing vocals and fiery licks with aggressive, tightly spun arrangements, and a multimedia visual experience allows multiple senses to simultaneously get the Led out. The all-age performance also represents a model opportunity to introduce young fans to new musical experiences, whether that be the inspired guitar riffs of the 1970s or the cordial, slow-moving mosh-pits that spring up at most symphony concerts.