2014 These 2 Groups Show You How to Live Operatically

August 26, 2014 | Brent

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The Toy Piano Composers and the Bicycle Opera Project are at the forefront of a playful (and entrepreneurial) wave of new contemporary music in Toronto. The two groups kick off the fall New Music 101 series on 7 pm  Monday, September 8 at the new Hinton Learning Theatre on the third floor of Toronto Reference Library.

Both groups have pushed composition and performance into new territories with the stories they tell, and the way the music is presented. Together, they are among the most vivid representations of the expansive energy of Toronto’s music scene.

Here's a clip from founding composer Elisha Denburg's "The Hipster Grifter":


In six seasons of concerts, the Toy Piano Composers have built a cult following: They have a passionate audience that grows each year (Anytime folks show up at your concerts wearing your merch you know you are doing something right!)

Led by Artistic Directors Monica Pearce, Chris Thornborrow, and Elisha Denburg, the collective brings together distinct voices. Their upcoming season begins with Pandora’s Box, an evening of inventions, oddities, and hidden treasures in collaboration with visiting American composer Anthony T. Marasco.

They follow up with a new edition of their successful To Be Announced project which pairs five emerging composers with the Toy Piano ensemble. Here are some clips from last year's show:


In addition, the collective is writing music for two exciting Toronto groups: TorQ Percussion Quartet, and Cellophone (a cello and  saxophone duo).

Bicycle Opera Project on Stage
Members of the Bicycle Opera Project on stage.

The Bicycle Opera Project has just wrapped up its third Ontario tour. As the group's name suggests, the trip was made with all performers biking between cities. (There is also an excellent CBC profile.) Soprano, and Artistic Director Larissa Koniuk has taken great strides in bringing Canadian opera to new audiences, and doing it in a way that challenges the performer, invites new listeners, and plays with the medium of opera itself.

The Bicycle Opera Project (or "BOP" ) has also set the standard for environmentally conscious touring: they had audience members use a stationary bike to generate power for the projector used during performances!


The Bicycle Opera Project has collaborated with memebers of the Toy Piano Composers before, with scenes that capture the operatic quality of everyday life. Imagine what these two groups will accomplish together!

Please join us for this FREE program at the Hinton Learning Theatre on the third floor of the Toronto Reference Library on Monday, September 8, 2014.



This is just the first of three exciting events this season. Visit the New Music 101 Facebook page for more news and upcoming concerts: