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   

FEATURE | The Icing on the Choral Conductor’s Cake

April 27, 2018

Jenny Crober and I are chatting over the phone. She’s in New York City with several of the choristers from VOCA Chorus of Toronto and the Achill Choral Society from Orangeville. They’ve spent the last few days rehearsing with James Meaders, the associate artistic director of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) and composer-superstar Ola Gjeilo...

CONCERT REPORT | Always Singing: The Guelph Chamber Choir bids farewell to Gerald Neufeld

April 04, 2018

“Thank you for bringing us great music,” said Nicole Neufeld in a heartwarming onstage tribute to her father’s 36 years of work with the Guelph Chamber Choir. Gerald Neufeld is stepping down as artistic director of the Guelph Chamber Choir, having led it for 36 of its 38 years...

PRIMER | Breathing Is Optional: The Relentless Work Of Singing The Bach Mass In B Minor

March 30, 2018

I love Bach, but he writes in a very instrumental way — even for the voice; and you have no time to Breathe,” says Francine Labelle, a Tafelmusik Chamber Choir Soprano...

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...

FEATURE | St. Mike’s Springtime Messiah Sets Momentous Challenge

March 29, 2018

It happens every time after the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel’s Messiah. There are always audience members in tears – profoundly affected by the art and majesty of the music. There are not many other major works that have this effect, and probably none that are so beloved in Toronto...

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...