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Massey Hall at 122

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Each year, as the moments and memories pile up, we like to take a minute to recognize and thank the incredible and dedicated staff, crew, patrons, artists, and community of leaders who help make Massey Hall so magical – night after night.

Over the past year, among countless happenings, we welcomed over 200,000 people through its famous red doors including more than 1800 students from 44 different GTA schools and community groups at Share the Music workshops and CONTINUE READING >

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Kathleen Battle: Songs that Move

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On May 29, multiple Grammy-winner Kathleen Battle returns to Roy Thomson Hall for the first time since 2008. Her performance will feature the spirituals that have appeared in her repertoire for years, garnering wide acclaim, but which take on special meaning when brought together under the banner of Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey, a special afternoon of song featuring acclaimed pianist Joel A. Martin and Toronto’s own national treasure, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale.

That Battle returns to the Hall is cause for celebration. CONTINUE READING >

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Jazz Stories at Massey Hall

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Here at Soundboard, it’s difficult to drop the word ‘jazz’ without referring to a particular night in Massey Hall history: May 15, 1953, the night of what’s come to be known – and, occasionally, the name under which the recording of that night has been released – The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever.
The Quintet, as the band became known, comprised five of jazz’s top talents, gathered for the first and only time: Charlie “Bird” Parker (sax), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Bud Powell (piano), Charles Mingus (bass) and Max Roach (drums). This legendary concert has, in the decades since, done much to remind us that you can’t spell “history” without “story.”
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Abida Parveen: Transcending Boundaries

Abida Parveen by Mobeen Ansari

 Photo: Mobeen Ansari

A pioneering artist in a form long dominated by males, Abida Parveen is one of the most prominent and influential Sufi musicians of our time. She has transformed the tradition of Sufi singing and inspired a folk, and feminist, renaissance, influencing countless musicians – from Pakistani rockers to Björk (who remixed one of her tunes). But though she is a part of a very specific tradition, her work transcends boundaries, linking her to great artists across the musical landscape.

Which is why the specifics shouldn’t get in the way of digging in to her music. Like the best art, it’s not about language, or what, exactly, the definition of “Sufi music” might be. As the BBC put it in an album review, “it’s clear that the best devotional music (whether Gregorian Chant, John Coltrane or Le Mystere de Voix Bulgares) has a power to communicate across racial and denominational divides.”And Parveen’s performances are nothing if not a physical and musical demonstration of that power: Both performer (who’s admitted to hallucinating while in the thralls of the music) and audiences (often sent into literal swaying rapture) become transported.

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Hayden: Everything I Long For Turns Twenty

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In 1996, an understated clearing of the throat not only kicked off the debut album by the then-twenty something Paul Hayden Desser, but announced the arrival of a unique talent and voice. With subtlety, simplicity, depth and a haunting quality that is no less affecting 20 years later, Everything I Long For is a classic record.

The upcoming 20th Anniversary Celebration of Everything I Long For is a unique opportunity to revisit the album’s songs with Hayden – many of which he stopped performing in the wake of the album’s release.

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