Department of Music closes out fall term with more than a dozen concerts

The fall term comes to a glorious crescendo in the Department of Music, which is presenting more than a dozen concerts, including gospel, classical music and jazz, packed into two weeks. With a wide-ranging schedule of daytime and evening shows – many free of charge – it’s a fabulous opportunity to support rising young artists and celebrate the diverse talent in York’s Department of Music.

The York University Symphony Orchestra takes centre stage Nov. 26 with a program showcasing some of the greatest hits of the symphonic repertoire composed at the cusp of the 20th century. Directed by Professor Mark Chambers, the playbill includes the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Sibelius’symphonic poem Finlandia, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor Op. 95 and Chaminade’s Concertino for Flute. This ticketed concert takes place at 7:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall.

Right: Mark Chambers

The York University Gospel Choir, directed by gospel powerhouse Professor Karen Burke, will lift your spirits with the power of the most inspirational gospel anthems of yesterday and today in ticketed concerts Nov. 27 and 28 at 7:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall. The 100-voice choir, backed by a rhythm section led by Corey Butler, will be joined by special guest, acclaimed saxophonist Mike Murley, the coordinator of the Music Department’s jazz studies area. The program includes works by Kirk Whalum, Joe Pace, Kirk Franklin and Hezekiah Walker – composers Burke describes as the “Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin of the gospel world."

Left: Karen Burke

The York University Wind Symphony, directed by Professor William Thomas breezes into the Tribute Communities Rectial Hall Nov. 29 for a ticketed concert at 3pm. The program features three works by Australian composer Percy Grainger (1882-1961): the classic Irish Tune from County Derry as well as selected movements fromhis lesser-known Lincolnshire Posy and Down Longford Way. Also on the program are Alfred Reed’s A Jubilant Overture; the March from Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis; the beloved Variations on a Shaker Melody from Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring; and Bandancing by Jack Stamp.

Right: Mike Murley

The traditional end-of-term York University Jazz Festival features 15 large and small instrumental and vocal ensembles directed by leading lights of the Canadian jazz scene. With midday and evening performances running Dec. 1 to 4, the festival offers fans an opportunity to catch the next generation of jazz artists, right here on campus – and with no cover charge!

The Jazz Fest launches and concludes in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall (TCRH), with the majority of concerts taking place in the intimate, club-like setting of the Martin Family Lounge (MFL).

Dec. 1 features the York University Jazz Choirs directed by Mim Adams and Bob Hamper at 7:30pm (TCRH), followed by jazz combos directed by Frank Falco, Jim Vivian and Lorne Lofsky starting at 8:30pm (MFL).

Left: Al Henderson

On Dec. 2, vocal ensembles directed by Mike Cadó provide midday music for jazz lovers from 12:30 to 1:30pm (brown-baggers welcome!), with instrumental ensembles directed by Roy Patterson, Kelly Jefferson and Artie Roth taking turns on stage starting at 8pm (MFL).

Jazz vocal ensembles directed by Frank Falco step into the spotlight Dec. 3 from 12:30 to 1:30pm, with evening performances by small ensembles directed by Mark Eisenman and Kevin Turcotte starting at 8pm (MFL).

The festival’s grand finale on Dec. 4 at 7:30pm features the York University Jazz Orchestra led by Professors Al Henderson and Ron Westray (TCRH).

Right: Ron Westray

Other free midday concerts coming up are a show-stopping performance of soul and funk by the R&B Ensemble today from12:30 to 1:30pm (MFL) and a recital by young soloists in Professor Patricia Wait’s master class for woodwinds, partnered by pianist Susan Black on Dec. 7 from 12:30 to 1:30pm (TCRH).

For all ticketed events, admission is $15, or $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit the Fine Arts Box Office Web site or call 416-736-5888. 

For more information about concerts presented by the Music Department, visit or contact events coordinator Judy Karacs at 416-736-2100 ext. 22926.