How Classical Music Fits Into Toronto’s Musical Culture
Lifestyle One-on-one with Toronto Summer Music Festival’s artistic director about Toronto’s musical culture.
British Columbia native Jonathan Crow has lived in Toronto for the past five seasons as Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has performed throughout North America, South America, and Europe, recorded for several labels, and currently teaches young musicians how to play the classical violin.
Mediaplanet: Being a classical violinist has no doubt taken you on an exciting life adventure. Where did your love of music begin?
Jonathan Crow: I started playing violin in the Suzuki program, and what I first loved was the whole social aspect and getting to perform with my friends from a young age. When we think of sports we always think team and having the chance to work together for a communal goal. Playing in a string quartet or an orchestra is very similar, and just as rewarding.
MP: Has your favourite genre always been classical?
JC: I’ve loved many kinds of music, but early violin training is almost always classical, as this foundation makes it easier to branch out later in life to other fields. While I love jazz, I’ve never had much time to expand my horizons beyond the classical field, as I still have so much to learn with the repertoire I’m focusing on. I really envy people who can seamlessly move back and forth between genres.
MP: How would you describe Ontario’s music scene?
JC: I feel lucky to live in a province as vibrant and multicultural as Ontario. On any given night there are dozens of events ranging from opera, symphony concerts, and small jazz performances at great local venues to pop-up concerts in people’s homes, all performed by musicians influenced by different cultures from across the globe!
MP: What is it about playing in Toronto that makes it so special?
JC: Toronto is one of the world’s great cities. Just like New York, London, and the great cultural capitals across the globe, Toronto is beginning to take its place on the world stage as a destination city, and a place that people come to perform to show that they are world-class.