Journalism

Musical Journalism

Brian Chang has been involved with choral music as a singer, administrator, and conductor for over a decade. In 2015 he started writing for the Wholenote Magazine as its resident Choral Scene columnist; providing news and insight on choral music to a 30,000-print circulation. In 2016 he became a regular contributor with Ludwig Van Toronto, formerly Musical Toronto. Capable of writing blog-style quick reads, in-depth interviews, editorials, and features, Brian's work always seeks to illuminate the reader with new angles, authoritative voice, and a creative edge. 

*Ludwig van Toronto is a member of the National Newsmedia Council   

CHORAL SCENE | Music and Storytelling

March 29, 2018

Emotion is at the core of every musical performance and storytelling is at the heart of emotion. Sometimes the stories can be esoteric, sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they challenge us to find them. There is an extra dimension that conductors put into their concerts when programming songs that tell a story to evoke certain feelings...

PRIMER | Lydia Adams On Building For Success At The Amadeus Choir Conductor’s Workshop

March 24, 2018

Lydia Adams is a powerhouse of choral conducting in Canada. A strong proponent of Canadian and female composers, Adams is best known for her work with two ensembles: the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto and the Elmer Iseler Singers. Adams brings her significant conducting weight to bear as she leads a conductors workshop this month...

PRIMER | The Mississauga Symphony Orchestra: A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away...

March 22, 2018

The opening crawl of the Star Wars films has the same music for all eight Episodes. The iconic trumpet and brass fanfare ignites emotions and feelings amongst movie-goers like few other pieces ever have, and probably ever will. John Williams has had the privilege to write all eight scores over the last 40 years...

ISSUES | What U of T's Director Of Choral Activities Means For Choral Music In Canada

March 12, 2018

Conductors are often thought of as wizards, holding a wand and casting spells. It doesn’t help that a lot of the incantations are often in mysterious foreign languages. Any good conductor could be a wizard casting spells to create good music. But, behind the furious arm waving you see on stage is careful and thoughtful musicality and intention, deep connection of cognition and muscular movement, and many, many years of refinement in training programs, the hallmark of which is a solid college or university program...

PRIMER | Soundstreams Sonic Ripples Through The Water Passion

March 06, 2018

Water Passion demands something of you. It also demands a fair amount from the musicians. The percussionists are elbow deep in the water for a good portion of the concert, the soprano must display virtuosity at the top of her range, and the choir plays stones. You have to take in the full theatre of the spectacle that Tan Dun has assembled...

CHORAL SCENE | Sacred Music Aplenty!

March 02, 2018

The opening Kyrie of the Bach Mass in B Minor is one of the hardest starts of any major work for a choir; with no starting pitch, the precisely placed hard “K” prior to any other sound, and careful phrasing that starts right away – the opening has much to say about how the rest of the performance will play out...

SCRUTINY | Orpheus Choir of Toronto Shines Northern Light On Ēriks Ešenvalds

February 28, 2018

The Latvian community of Toronto was out in force to support the visit of their compatriot Ēriks Ešenvalds and his works being presented by the Orpheus Choir of Toronto. Part of Latvia’s official centenary celebrations, the concert featured the Canadian premiere of Nordic Light Symphony...

PRIMER | Power Up Gospel Music Festival — "Your music friends are forever friends"

February 24, 2018

“Thump thump. Thump thump,” Nicole Sinclair-Anderson says with a smile as the room fills with nervous laughter. She’s looking for a lead soloist in her “The Art of Vocal Style” workshop. Everyone’s eyes immediately go to the floor. Maura McGroarty, my high school music teacher who I haven’t seen in years, sticks her hand up and gets up to the front of the room. “How Great is Our God” comes through her deep mezzo and the room erupts with cheers and hollers as the nervousness melts away and transforms into something much more impactful. This is gospel music — people coming together through music to find joy...

ON THE RADAR | The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Heads Down The Yellow Brick Road

February 13, 2018

“The Wizard of Oz is one of the most difficult movies I have worked on”, says conductor Emil de Cou. Having spent 20 years conducting film scores, he is no stranger to film music or the Wiz. He was the first to do a live concert format of the Wizard of Oz at (American) National Symphony Orchestra Wolf Trap, the American national park devoted to music, in 2006...

CHORAL SCENE | Going Big: From Willan to Bach

February 01, 2018

There are some big and unique choral experiences this month. There’s a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Healey Willan’s death, the combined forces of choirs from the University of Toronto and York University, a rare performance premiere for Tafelmusik and a new interpretation of Bach’s St Matthew Passion...