Thrilling concert by Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Kravis Center

Peter Oundjian
Palm Beach Daily News

Despite the damp, cold weather, the new year started warm and bright at the Kravis Center thanks to a thrilling concert by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Under the baton of Music Director Peter Oundjian, the group impressed for its precision, technical virtuosity and varied color palette.

The program started with John Estacio’s Wondrous Light. Part of the two-movement work Borealis, the lush, rhythmically driven work was performed with aplomb by the Toronto Symphony. Oundjian kept the ensemble tight, while at the same time infusing the work with a remarkable flexibility. The orchestra has to be commended for tackling contemporary music so brilliantly and one wishes they could have included the work’s first movement in the program.

But the soloist highlighted on Sunday’s concert was concertmaster Jonathan Crow, who had a prominent part in the program’s closing number, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Op. 35. A showcase piece for exceptional orchestras, it received a most memorable reading by Oundjian. The conductor built up the climaxes with utmost precision and tackled with similarly perfection the more lyrical passages, in which he made this gigantic suite sound like chamber music. There was a lot of risk taking in his use of rubato (rhythmic flexibility), but he knew his musicians could follow him nevertheless.

Read the rest of the review here