The late composer John Weinzweig, who would have turned 100 years old in March, is being remembered with a weekend of free musical events at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music to be followed by a yearlong series of events across Canada.
Weinzweig is being honoured for his musical innovation, his passionate mentorship of students such as R. Murray Schafer and Harry Somers, his energetic advocacy for Canadian music, and his legacy as a founder of the Canadian League of Composers and Canadian Music Centre.
A free evening of music curated by Soundstreams artistic director Lawrence Cherney features the combined talents of conductor Victor Feldbrill, pianist Serouj Kradjian, soprano Shannon Mercer, flutist Robert Aitken, harpist Judy Loman, bassoonist Bianca Chambul, double bassist James Van Demark and the Guelph Chamber Choir. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen’s Park, March 8, 8 p.m.
A day of free lectures and lecture-recitals exploring Weinzweig’s influence and contemporaries is offered on March 9, and the Cecilia String Quartet perform a free lunchtime performance on March 11. Also on that day, a commemorative plaque for the former Weinzweig family home is set to be unveiled as part of the City of Toronto’s Legacy Project. For more details, visit www.johnweinzweig.com.
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Jacob and Jack: Teatron Toronto Jewish Theatre presents Jacob and Jack, a comedy by James Sherman that the Chicago Sun-Times called “a beguiling comic love letter to the American theatre and its Yiddish roots.” In this theatrical farce, Jacob is the grandfather whom Jack honours with a theatrical tribute; afterward, in his dressing room, Jack confronts certain challenges as an actor and husband while Jacob is shown having problems of his own, 75 years in the past.
Toronto Centre for the Arts, Studio Theatre, 5040 Yonge St. Feb. 27 to March 10. Tickets are variously priced from $19 (preview) to $48. 416-781-5527, www.teatrontheatre.com
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Koffler Musician in Residence: Koffler Centre of the Arts and Ashkenaz Foundation present the exclusive artist residency of acclaimed, genre-defying musician, artist and educator Simja Dujov. The Buenos Aires-based artist blends Latin musical traditions with his eastern European Jewish roots and mashes in electro-klezmer, Balkan, Gypsy punk and other musical morsels. Dujov presents master classes, workshops and participates in other educational and musical activities from Feb. 17 to March 1.
He also performs a concert with friends at the Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W., Feb. 27, 8 p.m. $10, $12, $15. www.kofflerarts.org
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Jewish Jazz for Purim: Friends of Yiddish presents A Freylekhn Purim with Jewish Jazz featuring Jordan Klapman and Sharon Smith. Guests $10. Beth Tikvah Synagogue, 3080 Bayview Ave. (between Sheppard and Finch avenues). Sunday Feb. 17, 2 p.m. RSVP by Feb. 13 to Sandy, 416-458-1440 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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New in Print: Toronto-area dentist Lawrence L. Gaum, whose family came from Belarus via Cape Breton (where he was born), has published a collection of autobiographical stories and sketches titled Living Life and Saying Goodbye.
The author of a previous book of family history titled From Belarus to Cape Breton and Beyond, Gaum’s focus continues to be family history, and the present collection includes many stories about relatives from Glace Bay. This diverse assortment is subtitled “Stories that take you far away… and bring you home again.” Kudos to Gaum for recording his often-funny reminiscences for the benefit of his grandchildren and their descendants, friends and other interested readers.
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Arts in Brief
• Critic Kevin Courrier continues his series Woody Allen Past and Present with a discussion (with film clips) of Husbands and Wives, Bullets Over Broadway, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Sweet and Lowdown, Everyone Says I Love You, Match Point, Vicki Christina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris. $12 drop-in, students $6. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Monday, Feb. 11, 7 to 9 p.m. email@example.com, 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
• Spectrum Music and Al Green Theatre present Love, Loneliness and the Spaces Between, a Valentine’s Day-themed concert with Jessica Stuart and the Spectrum house band. Inspired by prose and poetry ranging from The Little Prince to Of Poor Bertolt Brecht. $15, $10. Miles Nadal JCC, Al Green Theatre. Wednesday, Feb. 13, 8 p.m.
• Active Seniors and Boomers presents Jordan Klapman, pianist and music historian presenting a performance-program on Hollywood’s Oscar-winning Jewish songs and composers. Between 1932 and 2010, Jewish songwriters won virtually half of the Oscars for Best Song, composing some of the most beloved music of the last century. Klapman takes a fascinating look at the songs and the lives of composers and lyricists such as Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Frank Loesser, Lerner and Loewe, and Burt Bacharach. $3 includes light refreshments. Miles Nadal JCC, Feb. 14, 1:30 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
• Hart House Theatre presents Martin Sherman’s play Bent, a bold, intimate look at the homosexual victims of the Nazi regime, terrorized and forced to wear pink triangles just as Jews wore yellow stars. $25, $15, $10. Hart House Circle, University of Toronto, March 1 to 9. 416-978-8849, www.uofttix.ca