The SPOGreatMusic Podcast Series: S01E04

Release Date: October 30, 2020

Beethoven’s life, his personality, his daily schedule, his favourite foods, and influences on his life and music will be discussed. We will examine what inspired and motivated Beethoven, leading him to create some of the most famous and popular classical music of all time. Included will be a discussion of his chamber music, including interviews with University of Toronto Music Professor Dr. Alexander Rapoport, SPO Music Director Ronald Royer, SPO Concertmaster Corey Gemmell, and pianists Alexander Panizza, Emily Rho, and Dr. Lisa Tahara.

Part 1 will focus on Beethoven’s early life and career, while Part 2 (November 13 release) will examine his mid to late work. Excerpts from the piano sonatas have been recorded by Alexander Panizza.


Dr. Alexander Rapoport, Beethoven Expert

Alexander Rapoport holds diplomas in composition and traditional composition from the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst (currently known as the Musik-Univbersität) in Vienna and Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees from the University of Toronto. His teachers and mentors include Augustin Kubizek, Karl Heinz Füssl, Oskar Morawetz, Lothar Klein and Derek Holman. He has received commissions for works in such diverse media as orchestral, choral and chamber music, film scores, incidental music for live theatre and musical comedy.

His principal compositions include works for Jamie Sommerville (Waldberauscht, 2016) Pamelia Stickney (Sonata for Theremin and Piano no. 1, 2014 and no. 2, 2018) The Talisker Players (And Hast Thou Glossed the Jabberwock? 2011, and The Pilgrimage of Henry Pyne, 2009), The Canadian Children’s Opera Company (Dragon in the Rocks, 2008), The Windermere Quartet (String Quartet no. 1, 2006 and no. 2, 2017), Valerie Tryon (Variations on a Theme of Chopin for Piano and Orchestra, 1999) and Judy Loman (Hymn to the Redeemer of the Nations, 1986).

Rapoport was Composer-in-Residence of the Talisker Players from 2001 to 2017. He is an associate professor, teaching stream, in composition and music theory at the University of Toronto.

Learn more about Alexander on his website


Emily Rho, Pianist

Pianist Emily Rho is an open-minded and sought-after musician based in Toronto, Canada. Forging a multi-faceted career of her own, she works as a pianist, artistic director, and educator.

 Alongside her performing career, Ms. Rho is the Co-director of Toronto’s Pocket Concerts, which presents high-quality chamber music concerts in intimate venues such as homes and workplaces all over Toronto. During the summer season, she is the General and Artistic Director of Caledon Music Festival in Caledon, Ontario featuring a weekend-long festival that combines great music, community, and nature.   

Most recently, Emily performed chamber music concerts at Toronto Summer Music Festival, Chamber Music @New Park (Ithaca, NY), The Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Lunenburg, NS), and the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (Brandon, MB), CBC Glenn Gould Studio, among others.  

Through speaking engagements, Ms. Rho shares her experience as an arts entrepreneur. She has been invited as a guest speaker at various workshops through McGill University, National Academy Orchestra, Artscape and University of Toronto, where she shares stories on how Pocket Concerts was built and operates.  

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Emily is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, The Glenn Gould School, and University of Toronto. She is a faculty member at The Royal Conservatory of Music, serves as an adjudicator for the Glenn Gould School’s Piano Department, and teaches privately.  

A natural extrovert, Emily also enjoys time outside of practicing by spending time with friends, training at a Muay Thai gym, and singing alto in Acquired Taste Choir, a group that was founded through Pocket Concerts for professional instrumentalists who are interested in singing. To learn more about Emily, and PocketConcerts, visit her website


Ronald Royer, Music Director, Conductor, Musician, Composer, Educator

To learn more about Ronald Royer, visit his all-new website


Dr. Lisa Tahara, Pianist

To learn more about Dr. Tahara, visit her website


Alexander Panizza, Pianist

To learn more about Alexander Panizza, visit his website


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