Tag Archives: live concerts

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CANADA’S FIRST LADY OF THE GUITAR HOSTS TORONTO CHRISTMAS CONCERT

Over the past 35yrs, I’ve had the honour of attending concerts by (and even actually working with) some of the great music icons – Marvin Gaye, Mel Torme, Rod Stewart, Yanni, 60’s legends Connie Francis & Paul Anka, country stars Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and Clint Black…even my teenage super-crush, The Monkees. This past Saturday night, thanks to an invitation from Grammy-nominated and int’l multiple award-winning Canadian flutist & composer, Ron Korb, I was front and centre for a rare concert by LIONA BOYD, songwriter and classical guitarist extraordinaire! 20171125_214912…and she was in fine form! Here’s Liona with her protege, singer & guitarist Andrew Dolson (above centre) and Ron Korb (right).
Held in the spectacular St. Paul’s Trinity concert hall (below), the Mississauga Children’s Choir opened the show with some beautiful festive songs. Liona is a patron of the choir and it was a lovely start to the night.20171125_18544620171125_193110Sadly, we were instructed not to take any photos during the show, but the 2 sets included some of Ms. Boyd’s greatest hits from previous albums including her Christmas album, A Winter Fantasy, as well as music from her most recent release, No Remedy for Love.winter No+Remedy+for+Love+ALBUM+coverShe was accompanied by Ron on several numbers; he also performed solos from his previous albums. Ron Korb is one of Canada’s pre-eminent recording artists and composers who travels the world playing with some of the greatest symphony orchestras, performing for royalty and international heads of state. To learn more about Ron and hear his music, please visit his website: www.ronkorb.com

As soon as the concert finished and the artists took their bows, the audience was permitted a photo session which, being in the front row, allowed me close-up access to Ms. Boyd and her fellow musicians. Bravo! This was followed by an autograph session where CDs and books were available for sale (great Christmas pressies for music lovers)…20171125_220328 20171125_220534 20171125_220715Earlier this fall, I reviewed Ms. Boyd’s latest memoir, also titled No Remedy for Love, for The Rider newspaper and below is an extract. A great read with lots of juicy stories about Liona’s exciting life on stage and her personal tragedies and triumphs off stage. I definitely recommend the book…not just for music lovers or fans, it is a fabulous story that takes us inside the world of showbiz.

NO REMEDY FOR LOVE
A memoir by Liona Boyd
Dundurn Press (248 pages) $35.00 hardcover
She released her first memoir, In My Own Key, in 1998 which thrilled fans and became a bestseller; now Canada’s classical guitar icon, LIONA BOYD, strikes all the right chords once again with her recently published 2nd memoir, No Remedy for Love. The “First Lady of the Guitar” shares her loves, both romantic and musical, and offers great insight into the heart and mind of a consummate artist. She has performed around the world, sold millions of albums, won five Juno awards, serenaded heads of state and, for eight years, dated Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
We follow the journey of Boyd’s reinvention of her career after a six year period when she couldn’t play guitar due to suffering with the painful Musician’s Focal Dystonia, and we feel her pain when she suffers a serious fall and is alone, screaming for help that she thinks will never come, and are intrigued by her stories of longtime pen-pal Prince Phillip, a friendship that has lasted over 30 years. Her anecdotes are peppered with the names of close personal celebrity friends without any pretension, and the book features charming photos of Liona with Gordon Lightfoot, Ronnie Hawkins, Julio Iglesias, Leonard Cohen, Dan Hill and Pierre Trudeau. At the back of the book, you’ll find selected lyrics to many of Liona’s songs as well as album titles and song listings of her most recent recordings. The perfect gift for the music lover and proud Canadian on your Christmas list!9781459739925 (1)To learn more about Liona Boyd, her tour schedule and music/book sales, please visit: www.lionaboyd.com

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New Toronto music promoter to introduce Croatian superstar ANA RUCNER Sept. 27th

I’m thrilled to introduce my new client, Katica Visic, founder of Cronnexion Entertainment + Events, who specializes in world-renowned talent from her home country of Croatia.  Katica, or Kathy as she tells her Toronto friends to call her, is already teaching me so much about Zagreb and Dubrovnik (pictured below), and how the cities are vibrant, modern centres for the arts, education and commerce, not just picturesque quaint holiday spots that many of us still assume is the norm.

Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl fo the Adriatic and a World Heritage site.

Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, and a World Heritage site.

Zagreb

Zagreb

The new high-tech Zagreb arena for sports and entertainment

The new high-tech Zagreb Arena for sports and entertainment

I recently sat down with Kathy and asked her to share her story about launching her new music promotions company, the Sept. 27th concert with internationally renowned cellist Ana Rucner at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre, and about her future plans for introducing more talented Croatian artists to Canadian audiences.

What inspired you to bring in cellist Ana Rucner for a single concert in Toronto/Mississauga?
I am a proud Croatian and I enjoy sharing my love for my culture with others, to which my friends and colleagues will attest. The first time I heard Ana play, I was incredibly moved. She put my two loves together – Croatia and music. Her music sums up what it means to be Croatian and coincides with my company’s belief of “Sharing Our Culture with the World”. 

Ana Rucner

Ana Rucner

She may not be known to North American audiences but can you talk about Ana’s fame throughout Croatia and the rest of the world?
Her unique style has taken her all over the world and she has played in over 30 countries. Wherever she plays, she is always invited back. What’s interesting about Ana is her intense passion for the cello and for live performance. In her own words, she’s found an instrument that “breathes with her” and this is seen on stage through her spontaneous and energetic performances.

more cello pinkYou recently formed Cronnexion Entertainment & Events to produce Ana’s show and have plans to bring in other Croatian artists. How challenging has this new business launch been for you?
Although I’ve been involved in organizing concerts for many years, launching my own venture has been an exciting experience filled with steep learning curves. Growing a new business is a difficult and somewhat lonely journey but that being said, I have been given valuable assistance and guidance from numerous established entertainment organizations, a great publicist (I’m blushing) and have learned a lot more about the wonderful and enthusiastic Croatian community here in Toronto.

KATHY VISIC, Founder of Cronnexion Entertainment + Events

KATHY VISIC,  Founder of Cronnexion Entertainment + Events

So you’ve received support from the Ontario Croatian community – can you share some of the people/organizations who are offering assistance?
I’ve received a great deal of support and encouragement from the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Zagreb Tourist Board, as well as from the Croatian Embassy and the Consul General of Croatia in Mississauga.  I’m also very grateful to local Canadian-Croatian businesses and radio stations for their promotional efforts and so many of my friends who are sharing information about Ana’s concert via social media.

With so many summer music festivals and concerts featuring rock, hip-hop and country artists, do you think audiences are ready to embrace Ana’s more classical repertoire, especially with her adding many contemporary pieces played in her “rockstar-like” stage style?
Absolutely! Her repertoire is vast and her energetic stage presence makes it easy to engage audiences with her unique blend of classical, contemporary and world music.

Ana performing LIVE in Croatia

Ana performing LIVE in Croatia

How do we buy tickets for Ana’s concert?
All information plus the link to ticket purchasing is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/358031511056654/

Where can we hear/see Ana perform online prior to her concert in September?
Ana has lots of YouTube videos available online so I encourage everyone to log on and enjoy the music and the videos: www.youtube.com/user/AnaRucner

Coming up over the next 12-18 months, you have other exciting Croatian artists coming into Toronto – can you offer us any hints or tease us with names who these performers may be?
I am communicating with other artists and local venues, but have yet to finalize any dates. All I will say is that these artists are famous in the European pop/club music scene. Also, a full North American tour is being planned for Ana for 2016-17 so please follow me on social media to get the latest news.

How can we follow Cronnexion and Ana?
https://www.facebook.com/cronnexion
https://twitter.com/cronnexion
http://anarucner.com
https://www.facebook.com/ana.rucner?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/anarucner

Thanks to Kathy for inspiring me to research Croatia – here are a few sites that may interest YOU in learning more about this wonderful country:
Croatian National Tourist Board:  http://croatia.hr/en-GB/Homepage
Zagreb Tourist Board:  http://www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr/&lang=en
Croatian Embassy in Ottawa:  http://ca.mvep.hr/en/

Zagreb

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RON KORB PERFORMS @ STEINWAY PIANO GALLERY

What a great way for flautist/composer Ron Korb to end the month of July – with a special performance at the renowned Steinway Piano Gallery in Markham (just north of Toronto). Ron was joined on stage by the award-winning pianist/composer (and Steinway artist) Chris Donnelly, and accompanied on Chinese erhu by Xiaoqiu Lin.20150731_201616 20150731_191942If you’ve never been to the Steinway location in Markham, it’s definitely worth a quick trip to see some of the most extraordinary instruments, ranging from family-friendly uprights to concert grand pianos. Join me for a virtual stroll thru their showroom…..

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World-renowned musician Aidan Mason tickles the ivories

World-renowned musician Aidan Mason tickles the ivories

Piano consultant Janice Brisco (r) chats with guests

Piano consultant Janice Brisco (r) chats with guests

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20150731_185734Ron and Chris had a wonderful rehearsal in the afternoon (below), and they were so well taken care of by the Steinway team. Wish all venues had such accommodating crews.

DSC04679As the concert drew to a close, both Ron and Chris were presented with a special performance citation from the City of Markham by Regional Councillor (and BIG Ron Korb fan!) Nirmala Armstrong (below left) – joining them on stage is Steinway General Manager Alex Thomson (below right)

DSC04735Ron’s beautiful wife, Jade, handled videotaping duties (below) as well as being responsible for the stunning photography in Ron’s latest CD, Asia Beauty. She also handled all the CD sales last night…phew! That woman needs a vacation!

20150731_201650We then adjourned to the gallery for a reception, CD sales and a meet-n-greet with the stars…oh what a rush!

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full houseLovely to see some of the Canadian music icons and fellow artists who came out to support Ron and Chris. Below Liona Boyd…need I say more? Wow!20150731_204243And keyboardist and producer Lance Anderson played a few tunes while Nightingale Music founder, Caron Nightingale looked on (below). 20150731_210102

Lance soon drew a crowd including photographer David who I caught mid-shot!

Lance soon drew a crowd including photographer David who I snapped mid-shot!

Here's Aidan Mason again, with partner Margot Glatt

Here’s Aidan Mason again, with partner Margot Glatt

Sculptor/painter Olga Nabatova showed her stripes along with her friend, classical pianist  Helen Marinow

Sculptor/painter Olga Nabatova showed her stripes along with her friend, classical pianist Helen Marinow

Here are two friends and fans of Ron's - musician Wen Zhao (who played on Ron's Asia Beauty CD) with Grace Lau of Aqua Event Mgmn't

Here are two friends and fans of Ron’s – at left musician Wen Zhao (who played on Ron’s Asia Beauty CD) with Grace Lau of Aqua Event Mgmn’t on the right.

We all love Ron's super fan John Ota

We all love Ron’s super fan John Ota (above)

And here is Ron sandwiched between two fabulous ladies – Margaret Nightingale (left) & Caron on the right.

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More fans showed their love for our 2 stars of the night

More fans showed their love for our 2 stars of the night

Charming and knowledgeable piano consultant Phyllis Zhong (ctr) was joined by 2 friends

Charming and knowledgeable piano consultant Phyllis Zhong (ctr) was joined by 2 friends

But it was Phyllis's shoes that caught my attention. Painful? Yes. But worth it? You betcha!

But it was Phyllis’s shoes that caught my attention. Painful? Yes. But worth it? You betcha!

Here's Helen Li, VP of the new posh glossy magazine "Pure Luxury".

Here’s Helen Li, VP of the new posh glossy magazine “Pure Luxury”.

Alex worked hard all night with his staff, to make everyone feel welcome. Bravo, good show, Alex!

Alex worked hard all night with his staff to make everyone feel welcome. Bravo, Alex, good show!

And here's the "jewel in the crown" - the handcrafted Macassar Ebony Steinway grand, worth a cool qtr million! Everyone wanted to touch it, play it...and so they did!

And here’s the “jewel in the crown” – the handcrafted Macassar Ebony Steinway grand, worth a cool qtr million! Everyone wanted to touch it, play it…and so they did!

 

20150731_20560620150731_203648If you would like to learn more about Ron, please visit his website: www.ronkorb.com and if you would like to visit the Steinway Piano Gallery, check out their website at: www.steinwaytoronto.ca

A wonderful concert...thank you to Chris, Ron and Xiaoqiu

A wonderful concert…thank you to Chris, Ron and Xiaoqiu