Blythwood Winds is one of Toronto's most sought-after wind ensembles. Founded in 2010, the wind quintet performs at many of Toronto's musical and cultural venues including the Canadian Music Centre, the Music Gallery, Gallery 345, Array Space, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Above all else, Blythwood Winds is committed to the performance of Canadian music. The group was featured in 2015 on the JUNOfest Classical Nominees’ Showcase presented by CBC Music with the Canadian Music Centre in Hamilton, Ontario where they performed Jacques Hétu's Quintette, Op. 13. That spring, the quintet gave a concert at the Music Gallery featuring world premieres by Toronto based composers Kevin Lau and William Rowson. In 2016, Blythwood hosted Hogtown Roundup 2: Toronto Graffiti at Toronto’s Heliconian Hall, premiering newly composed music by Jason Doell, Elisha Denburg, and Bekah Simms. Last spring, they presented a concert of music by female composers, Voices of Canadian Women, highlighted by a premiere by Anna Höstman. In March 2018, they present another all-Canadian concert featuring a newly commissioned work by Canadian composer Emilie LeBel, and the Ontario premiere of Greg Harrison's Techno/Self.
In December, Blythwood collaborated with Canadian jazz trumpeter Suresh Singaratnum for a holiday concert at the McMichael Gallery Art Collection. During the summers they are often invited to perform in concerts series including the Toronto Music Garden, Music at St. James Park, and Music at Mount Pleasant.
Blythwood Winds has a fruitful relationship with the Canadian Music Centre including performances of music by Canadian composers Norman Sherman, Elisha Denburg, and Alan Heard. The quintet has also been involved with the CMC's OPUS Testing, a co-presentation with Musica Reflecta in which the group premiered pieces by Toronto composers for wind quintet and narrator inspired by popular Russian fables. They remounted the Fables in November 2015 for New Music 101, an educational concert series that combined performance and discussion in Toronto Public Libraries. As well as its live performances, Blythwood Winds is featured on the Canadian Music Centre's digital audio archive CentreStreams, with recordings in 2013 of previously unrecorded works by Toronto composers James Gayfer, and other CMC Associate Composers.
This ensemble is a founding member of Wind Quintet International – a network established to promote the production and sharing of contemporary wind quintet repertoire – with the launch of Our Canada: Forecasting the Canadian Wind. The project showcases new works by five Canadian composers in collaboration with five quintets involving free public workshops and multiple performances across the country.
In addition to its dedication to presenting the works of Canadian contemporary music, Blythwood Winds is passionate about spreading music to all audiences, performing its own arrangements of symphonic repertoire, holiday music, and movie soundtracks at many Toronto bars and restaurants.
Blythwood Winds are: Timothy Crouch, flute; Elizabeth Eccleston, oboe; Anthony Thompson, clarinet; Kevin Harris, bassoon; Curtis Vander Hyden, horn
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21ST, @ 8PM (HELICONIAN HALL, 35 HAZELTON AVE.)
Each year Blythwood Winds works to promote, create, and perform contemporary Canadian repertoire by living composers. This March, we return to Toronto's Heliconian Hall for the third year in a row for a concert of new Canadian music for wind quintet. The program will feature Paul Suchan's Winter Music (2013), Jordan Pal's Inclinations (2009), Montreal composer Mathieu Lussier's popular Dos Tropicos! (2001), and repeat performances of previous Blythwood commissions including Kevin Lau's Living Miniatures (2015) and Anna Höstman's Float (2017).
Highlighting this program will be the world premiere of a newly commissioned wind quintet by Emilie LeBel, Haareis auf Morschem Holz (hair ice on rotten wood), and the Ontario premiere of Greg Harrison's Techno/Self (2018), commissioned by Halifax-based quintet, Fifth Wind.
Advance Tickets: $15/Door $20
FRIDAY JUNE 8TH, 2018 @ 7:30PM (TRANZAC CLUB, 292 BRUNSWICK AVE.)
The last hundred years brought a host of diverse developments in musical style. In western art music, these were most notably marked first by a rejection of conventional harmony, and later a return to tonality. We selected this ambitious program to showcase superstar pieces of the 20th Century repertoire that we’ve been dying to play for years!
Featured will be the folk music influences in the Brazilian Choro-inspired quintet by Heitor Villa-Lobos, and the Moravian dances in Leoš Janáček’s Mládí. In contrast, experience the fierce modernity of Arvo Pӓrt’s early work Quintettino, the formal rigour, dramatic vitality, and avant-garde techniques used by Karel Husa to evoke birdsong in his Five Poems, and the entrancing minimalist “new simplicity” of Walden, by Hans Abrahamsen.
THURSDAY, JULY 26TH, 2018 @ 7PM (TORONTO MUSIC GARDEN, 479 QUEENS QUAY WEST)
SUMMER MUSIC IN THE GARDEN
Blythwood Winds makes its second appearance this coming July at the Toronto Music Garden as part of the Summer Music in the Garden concert series. The program will include Elliott Carter's Woodwind Quintet (1948), Abigail Richardson-Schulte's Emerge, Alan Menken's classic music from Beauty and the Beast.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH, 2017 @ 7PM (DAKOTA TAVERN, 249 OSSINGTON AVE.)
Presented by ClassyAF, the Blythwood Winds are again blasting off to a galaxy far, far away to perform an epic suite of music from the flick that started it all, Star Wars Episode IV: A NEW HOPE. Arranged for wind quintet by our very own horn player, Curtis Vander Hyden, this music will transport you through John Williams' fantastic score that shaped the entire genre.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10TH, 2017 @ 2PM (MCMICHAEL GALLERY, 10365 ISLINGTON AVE., KLEINBURG, ON)
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FAMILY SUNDAY
Presented as part of the McMichael Gallery's Happy Holidays Family Sunday, vocalist Joanna Majoko, pianist Stu Harrison, and Blythwood Winds join trumpeter/composer Suresh Singaratnam for an afternoon concert of winter holiday classics, along with the world premiere of a new Christmas song to celebrate #Canada150+
Take in art, music, and fun for the whole family at Canada's premiere art collection.
Free with admission to the McMichael Gallery.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24TH, 2018 @ 8PM (FREE TIMES CAFE, 320 COLLEGE ST.)
Guarantee seats by reserving a table for dinner 6:30-7:30pm: (416) 967-1078.
BLYTHWOOD STRIKES BACK
Our fabulous horn player, Curtis Vander Hyden has been busy preparing the next episode of John Williams' epic space opera film score, arranging music from everyone's beloved dark chapter, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. Hear the music from the wintry Battle of Hoth, the unrelenting Imperial March, journey to the Dagobah system with Yoda's theme, experience the wrenching asteroid field chase, Han and Leia's sweeping love theme and much more! We'll also perform new Simpsons medley arranged by our bassoonist, Kevin Harris. Fun for everyone in Free Times Cafe's casual music venue.
FRIDAY, MARCH 2ND, 2018 @ 1PM, CANADIAN MUSIC CENTRE - TORONTO (20 SAINT JOSEPH ST.)
FORECASTING THE CANADIAN WIND - TORONTO WORKSHOP WITH DANIEL JANKE
As part of Wind Quintet International's project, Our Canada: Forecasting the Canadian Wind, Blythwood Winds first workshop with composer Daniel Janke hosted by the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto.
Watch the archived live stream here:
SUNDAY, DEC. 11TH, 2016 @ 8PM (FREE TIMES CAFE, 320 COLLEGE ST.)
The Blythwood Winds are blasting off to a galaxy far, far away to perform music from Star Wars, including an epic suite of music from the flick that started it all, Star Wars Episode IV: A NEW HOPE. But maybe outer space and epic storylines aren't your thing - never fear! We will also be performing arrangements of holiday favourites to get everyone in the mood for friends, family, and good cheer. We're especially excited that this concert features never-before heard arrangements by our talented horn player, Curtis Vander Hyden.
The fun all happens Sunday, December 11th at Free Times Cafe at 8pm - admission is PWYC! Drink, be merry, and blast off with the Blythwood Winds. To guarantee your seat, make a dinner reservation between 6:30-7:30pm (416-967-1078).
SATURDAY, JUNE 10TH, 2017 @ 8PM (HELICONIAN HALL, 35 HAZELTON AVE.)
VOICES OF CANADIAN WOMEN
Blythwood Winds, champions of Canadian new music for wind quintet, celebrate the diverse output of Canada’s women composers with VOICES OF CANADIAN WOMEN, Saturday, June 10th at 8pm at Heliconian Hall.
This captivating exploration will feature Float, a world premiere by Anna Höstman specially commissioned for this concert. The program also spotlights selections from both established and emerging Canadian women composers, including Norma Beecroft’s Images, Linda Catlin Smith’s Hemstitch, Elizabeth Raum’s King Lear Fantasy, Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s Emerge, Bekah Simms’ The Formula (previously commissioned and premiered by the Blythwood Winds at Hogtown Roundup: Toronto Graffiti in 2016), and Ana Sokolović’s Chansons à boire.
Special guest performer: Cheryl Duvall, piano.
SATURDAY, JULY 29TH, 2017 @ 5PM (MOUNT PLEASANT CEMETERY, 375 MOUNT PLEASANT RD.)
MUSIC AT MOUNT PLEASANT: HOT (EARLY EVENING) IN THE CITY
That's right, your favourite woodwind quintet is ready to present a fun-filled show - FREE to the public.
Join the Blythwood Winds for a free, relaxed performance this Saturday as part of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery Music Series!
"La Nouvelle Orleans" by Lalo Schifrin
King Lear Fantasy by Canadian composer Elizabeth Raum
Serenade in D Major (movements 5 and 6) by Johannes Brahms
Wind Quintet no. 3 (movement 3) by David Maslanka
Dos Tropicos! by Mathieu Lussier
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6TH, 2015 @ 8PM, FREE TIMES CAFE (320 COLLEGE ST)
POP GOES THE DISNEY
Enjoy classic film music from Disney and beyond. This concert features the fabulous arrangements of our talented horn player Curtis Vander Hyden. Come down to Free Times Cafe and enjoy live music, have a drink, and maybe even sing along!
NEW MUSIC 101: WHAT'S IN A FABLE?
Explore the dramatic and humorous side of timeless fables! The Blythwood Winds and narrator Alex Eddington perform several pieces by local composers. This program was developed through Musica Reflecta’s Opus: Testing workshop.
*The Toronto New Music Alliance presents the fifth annual New Music 101 series, "Exploring Boundaries of Sound and Performance." Hosted by David Perlman, editor-in-chief of The WholeNote, sessions combine performance, presentation and discussion.
MONDAY, MARCH 7TH, 2016 @ 8PM, THE TRANZAC (292 BRUNSWICK AVE)
THE NEW WORLD (IN FOUR ACTS)
North America is a place of countless diverse identities, but all of them are inextricably linked in some way to the legacy of Europe’s colonization of the continent. This concert examines four vastly different musical voices born in a sense from this common legacy.
Join us for Paquito d’Rivera’s Afro-Cuban take on the wind quintet in Aires Tropicalis, intellectual complexity tinged with humour and jazz in Elliott Carter’s Wind Quintet, a humorous poke at some of the greatest works of musical history in Arne Running's Aria and Quodlibet, and Canada's own John Estacio's vibrant and appealing Sinfonietta, written for five musicians in this great nation's capital.
THURSDAY, APRIL 7TH, 2016 @ 8PM, ARRAY SPACE (155 WALNUT AVE)
This program explores the musical geography of continental Europe, contrasting old-school German romanticism with the French school of the early 20th century. Both Germany and France are represented by one composer who was an undisputed master of their craft, and a skilled but lesser-known composer with related influences. Music featured at this performance is Robert Schumann's Rhenish Symphony (movement I, arr. Vander Hyden), August Klughardt's Quintett, Marcel Bitsch's Sonatine, and the witty Quintet No. 1 by Jean Françaix
SUNDAY, JUNE 12TH, 2016 @ 3PM, HELICONIAN HALL (35 HAZELTON AVE)
Each year Blythwood Winds premieres newly composed Canadian works for woodwind quintet on its Hogtown Roundup series.
This coming season we revisit what makes this city tick with Hogtown Roundup: Toronto Graffiti on June 12th, 2016 at Heliconian Hall! We are excited to announce that this concert will be co-curated by Elisha Denburg, co-Artistic Director of the Toy Piano Composers and General Manager of the Canadian League of Composers. Along with a new commission from Denburg, we will be featuring premieres of works by Jason Doell, Bekah Simms, and Alex Eddington. There will be multidisciplinary elements to this performance with a focus on local graffiti and street art.
SATURDAY, JULY 30TH, 2016 5PM @ MOUNT PLEASANT (375 MOUNT PLEASANT RD)
MUSIC AT MOUNT PLEASANT featuring works by Elliot Carter, Harry Freedman and Paul Hindemith
THURSDAY, AUGUST 4TH, 2016 7PM @ ST. JAMES PARK (120 KING ST E)
MUSIC IN ST. JAMES PARK featuring works by Elliot Carter, Harry Freedman, Paul Hindemith, Paquito d'Rivera, Alan Menken, and John Williams