Women are in the spotlight at this year’s Syrinx Concert Series and this Sunday it’s the turn of Toronto’s own Anastasia Rizikov, a talented young player bent on distinguishing herself beyond the international competition circuit.
Rizikov ducks the word prodigy but what else to call a young pianist who completed her Royal Conservatory exams at age eight and started competing in adult competitions at age 12? She has captured her share of first prize titles in Italy, Spain, the U.S., Canada and Ukraine. And while she’s grateful for the notoriety, Rizikov, now 16, says she’d like to get off the competition train.
“They’re very stressful,” she says. “You can either have a great result or a huge blow and that can equate with a lot of trauma. We’ll just have to wait and see which turns life will take. I might get a tremendous opportunity or it might never come.”
It was mighty cold on Ashbridges Bay yesterday but the sun was out and so were lots of families, enjoying Family Day and inspecting the Winter Stations public art installations constructed around existing lifeguard stands.
Loosely modelled on Winnipeg’s Warming Huts competition, Winter Stations is the brainchild of local architects Ted Merrick (Ferris + Associates), Roland Rom Colthoff (RAW Design) and Justin Ridgeway (Curio).
“We got more than 200 submissions from all over the world,” says Merrick. “They were very well conceived and considered proposals. It was most impressive, although maybe not so easy for the people on the jury.”
Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon was one of the jurors and chief organizers: “My fellow jurors were calling me Gandhi because I was approving and kind about all the entries,” she joked. “We were supposed to divide the submissions into likes and dislikes and my likes pile was way too high!”
Inspired by Valentine’s Day, Bad Dog Theatre is laying its comic reputation on the line Fridays in February with a show called Hookup, “sort of the opposite of romance” confirms director Paul Bates, above, far right.
I spoke to Bates backstage last week while thunderous cheers and laughter rang out from the backroom theatre space as the weekly Globehead comedy contest was playing out ahead of Hookup‘s 9:30 pm start. For $12 plus the cost of a drink, it was a great night out.
The six-member cast, plus Bates, chooses two singles from the audience and grills them for details about their lives, then uses the backstory to improvise a careening, side-splitting show that can literally go anywhere.
Black History Month kicks up its heels at Harbourfront Centre Theatre this weekend with Queens Calling, “a celebration of sisterhood from eight diverse female choreographers.”
Jasmyn Fyffe, pictured (photo by Christopher Cushman), is bringing an excerpt of Pulse, a show she debuted last month at the Next Stage Theatre Festival. Fyffe’s piece is a soulful, contemporary montage danced to music sung by Sam Cooke and Gladys Knight after some reworking by the choreographer’s musical collaborator, Toronto’s Robert Kingsbury.
Fyffe is delighted to be on the program: “A lot of choreographers are male so the fact that we’re eight Black, female choreographers makes the show unique right off the bat. I think it will be a terrific showcase.”
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche may be months and months away but the planning is already in overdrive. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Toronto’s all-night contemporary art extravaganza, producers have recruited photographer/arts leader Che Kothari (above) to curate a special program called 10 for 10th, a partnership with 10 of the city’s leading arts institutions (logos pictured). Submissions for this exciting addition to Scotiabank Nuit Blanche close February 17 so think fast and apply now!
Kothari’s theme for the exhibition is Memory Lane, a direction that extends to the vast number of independent projects that will dot the city on the night of October 3, 2015. Watch this video outlining Kothari’s curatorial vision.