This post comes in response to a fantastic request from one of my students. The request was for some suggestions about places to go hear great trumpet playing in person in Toronto, and I had some general ideas, but no specifics to offer. The unfortunate reality is that for people in the performing arts (among many others), there’s still a long way to go for work and life to return to what it was like before COVID-19, so while I might normally have known about some things coming up, in this case, I really didn’t have a ready answer.

However, there’s no time like the present, so I took a look at some of my go-to concert venues, and found a few great options.

The Toronto Symphony is a fantastic orchestra, and one we’re really lucky to have here as a part of our musical community. Not all orchestral concert programs feature the trumpet prominently (really, trumpets are often like the kickers in American football – very important for short, infrequent periods of time), but the performances this week (March 23rd, 24th, and 26th) of Sibelius’s 5th and 7th Symphonies which are some of my favourites, and have some really glorious moments for the trumpets, and the whole brass section.

Here’s a link to what might be my favourite performance of Sibelius’s 5th Symphony, and you can take a listen and see if it tickles your fancy:

If you’re interested in seeing the TSO, here’s the page for these performances:

Changing gears, we’re also lucky to have a fantastic jazz scene in Toronto, and there are some great things coming up. It’s somewhat unusual to have a small jazz group featuring two trumpet players, but the Brian O’Kane / Kevin Turcotte quintet does just that. Both are excellent players, and I’m sure it will be a great night of music. (As a quick point of interest, if you’ve seen the Chet Baker biopic Born To Be Blue, you’ve already heard Kevin Turcotte, as he recorded the the solo trumpet parts for Chet Baker.)

If you’re interested, here’s a link:

Brian O’Kane/Kevin Turcotte Quintet

I’m aiming to use this space to post some periodic updates about notable performances I’d like to make my students aware of, so keep an eye out for further posts on this theme, and don’t hesitate let me know if there’s something you’re particularly interested in. Getting to go out and experience great music in person has been taken away from us for a long, hard time, so hopefully this can be the start of things getting back to how we’d like them to be.

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