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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 16:44

Art of Time Ensemble with Brent Carver

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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This Friday, Feb. 24th at Toronto’s Koerner’s Hall

By Dennis Kucherawy

To paraphrase Jeremy Brown, Toronto’s late, great media maven and bon vivant, stop reading… right now!  I want you to immediately go to your phone or computer and order tickets to a concert this Friday you will never forget!


That’s the essence of what Jeremy, my friend, told his Classics 96 listeners in the late 1990s, reviewing actor/singer Brent Carver’s first cabaret at Harbourfront’s Premiere Dance Theatre, as it was then named. His review was uncharacteristically effusive.

The charismatic Tony Award-winning star of Broadway and London’s West End has this kind of effect on audiences everywhere.

Years later, in May 2015, Carver returned to Harbourfront to sing with Toronto’s imaginative Art of Time Ensemble under the direction of Andrew Burashko.  It was an unforgettable concert, a magical evening of song that cannot help but be re-created when they reunite this Friday evening, Feb. 24th at Toronto’s Koerner Hall.

Following Toronto, British Columbia-born and raised Carver and company will take their concert to Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre March 2nd to 5th. then to the Stratford Festival June 24th as part of its Forum Showcase.  (Carver is part of Stratford’s 2017 company, starring in “Twelfth Night” and “School for Scandal.”)

“Rich embroideries upon the original songs”

The program will feature songs, the Ensemble’s press material says, “from a wide variety of styles and genres, from Broadway to the cafés of Paris, and from the American Songbook to pop music of the Sixties by such composers as Jacques Brel, Leonard Cohen, Kander & Ebb, Lennon & McCartney and many more.”

Some of Canada’s “top composers from a variety of different musical perspectives” wrote new arrangements the Ensemble describes as “rich embroideries upon the original songs.”

The classical and jazz musicians of the Ensemble will consist of Andrew Burashko, piano; Benjamin Bowman, violin; Peter Lutek, saxophone; Joseph Phillips, bass, Rob Piltch, guitar; and Rachel Pomedli.

Their May 2015 concert ranged from Carver’s gorgeous, heartfelt rending of Noel Coward’s plaintive “If Love Were All” to the Beatles’ silly and light-hearted “Honey Pie.”  Another highlight… and personal favorite… was Joe Jackson’s Faustian “The Man Who Wrote Danny Boy,” which Carver transformed into a hauntingly dramatic… and ultimately heartbreaking… one-man play.

Other memorable songs were Carver’s passionate rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Take this Waltz,” Janis Ian’s “In the Winter” and a medley of the traditional “Minstrel Boy” that segued into Elton John’s remembrance of sacrifice “Ocean’s Away.”

That was then, Friday is now.  What you can always expect from Brent and the Art of Time ensemble is songs you may never heard of before or familiar ones given delightfully… and dramatically… clever and delightful new arrangements by our best.

Visit Song & Script:

Brent Carver is featured on several CDs. Among them are the original Broadway cast recordings of "Kiss of the Spider Woman" with Chita Rivera and "Parade." All are available from Song & Script. Songbooks for these musicals are also available.

About The Art of Time Ensemble:

Led by Artistic Director Andrew Burashko, the Art of Time Ensemble transforms the way people experience music. Fusing

high art and popular culture in concerts that juxtapose the best of each genre, Art of Time entertains as it enlightens, revealing the universal qualities that lie at the heart of all great music.

Andrew Burashko formed Art of Time Ensemble in 1998 with the support of a small group of like-minded musicians and prominent figures in dance, theatre and other art forms, beginning with one-off concerts to small but enthusiastic audiences. Word quickly spread through Toronto's cultural scene. Today, Art of Time works with the best Canadian artists in the performing arts, film and literature, and noteworthy international musicians.

Among the artists with whom the Ensemble have worked are: writers Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje; choreographers Peggy Baker, James Kudelka and David Earle; dancers Rebekah Rimsay, Michael Sean Marye, and Piotr Stancyzk; singers Madeleine Peyroux, Jackie Richardson, Steven Page and Sarah Slean; actors Tom McCamus, R.H. Thomson, Ted Dykstra, Lucy Peacock and Julian Richings; and filmmakers Peter Mettler and Tess Girard.

Featured musicians have included Branford Marsalis, Gavin Bryars, Jonathan Goldsmith, Rachel Mercer, Benjamin Bowman (concertmaster of the American Ballet Theatre), Stephen Sitarski (concertmaster of Esprit Orchestra), Roman Borys (Gryphon Trio), Steven Dann (soloist and former principal violist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony and the National Arts Centre orchestra), Thomas Wiebe (soloist, cellist for the Duke Trio and Professor at the University of Western Ontario); Phil Dwyer (renowned composer, arranger and saxophonist) and Rob Piltch (the great Canadian guitarist and former member of Blood Sweat and Tears).

Ticket information:

Phone 416-408-0208

Visit Box Office:  273, Bloor St. W.

Visit online:  performancercmusic.ca

(Box office and ticketing management by the Royal Conservatory)

To contact the Art of Time Ensemble Office:

Phone: 647-344-2254, or visit:

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By Dennis Kucherawy

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 16:54
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