Our featured pianist and most enthusiastic supporter, Lukas Geniušas, made an impressive appearance with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) on December 7, in an all-Tchaikovsky programme conducted by Finnish guest-conductor John Storgårds. Musical Toronto had some wonderful things to say about the evening:

Montreal’s Le Devoir offers an enthusiastic review of Lukas Geniušas’ Pro Musica concert at Théâtre Maisonneuve.


Return to Baycrest

For this second visit in 12 months, Looking at the Stars delivered a chamber ensemble, comprising our featured artist, Lukas Geniušas, and two Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) principal musicians, Jonathan Crow (1st violin) and Joseph Johnson (cello). The stunning Baycrest atrium was packed – approximately 300 residents, caregivers, staff and guests enjoyed a brilliant one-hour performance by three outstanding musicians. The program included the works of Chopin, Haydn, Schubert, and Schumann. This international trio were at their best. Communication with residents, who included Aushwitz survivors, was short, but meaningful – few were able to speak easily. Clasped hands and personal eye contact with residents replaced verbal exchanges and family members and relatives expressed their appreciation on behalf of those who were unable to speak. These were very emotional interactions, and we are grateful for the opportunity to deliver these musical gifts to recipients who truly need this music in their lives.

First Anniversary Heliconian Hall Fundraiser

We had to do it, because we need to pay for the gifts we bring to our audiences. We could not have thought of a better way than to do it as we did it – ourselves. Approximately 75 supporters attended this fundraising recital in the delightful Heliconian Hall.  On behalf of the BCI inmates and Baycrest residents who have enjoyed Looking at the Stars concerts recently, we thank you for your contributions.

This was Lukas’ all Chopin evening. Our virtuoso was at his best and so was the audience. You could hear a pin drop during his performance. Founders and guests spoke warmly about the project, commemorating our first anniversary. We have a lot more to learn, but we will continue on this path. Sign up for our newsletter to receive advance announcements about future fundraising events.

Airline challenges couldn’t stop us from Looking at the Stars

BCI Minimum Institution – Lukas, who had missed his flight in Paris, had to rush to Gravenhurst directly from Pearson International. Fortunately, he and Dmitri were able to make a scheduled 30-minute stopover at the Minimum Chapel, where they engaged in a conversation with a group of inmates who had attended Lukas’s first performance at BCI in April and our first Event at Bath in December 2015 (!). As they could not attend the event starting at the adjacent institution, we decided we must at least make a stop and pay our respects for their continued interest in classical music and our initiative. Lukas answered numerous questions, signed the evening’s Event Program Cards and tested local keyboard to a rousing ovation by the inmates.

Ten minutes later we found ourselves at the BCI Medium Institution gym, where Lukas, who was wrestling with severe jet lag, presented his musical programme to an audience of about 120 inmates patiently awaiting on Lukas’ arrival and examining a Steinway grand piano that was delivered to the facility earlier in the morning. Attendees included our board members, Gwen Burrows and Larry Jackson, our possible future partner, Hassan Khan and our loyal supporter, Mr. Frank Verni. Lukas presented a program of works by Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Desyatnikov. Perhaps too serious a programme for the occasion and very demanding, but extremely well-received by the inmates, who enthusiastically spoke with Lukas during and after the performance. A lively conversational exchange was enjoyed by all in attendance; most importantly, by the inmates themselves. One large group conversation was in progress from the moment we entered the gym. One could feel, how the ice was melting…