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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 9, No. 9

Celebrations of Music in Ontario !

by Marielle Leroux / June 5, 2004

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A number of festivals add to the delights of summer throughout Ontario. Here is a sample of the exciting events designed to charm audiences' ears.

The 11th edition of the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival will be held July 24-August 7 and present the public with an amazing choice of 110 concerts. For those who like their concerts in the morning as well as those who like them late in the evening, the festival will have events in store.

The opening concert will feature the Empire Brass, while the closing concert will offer some of the festival's greatest hits and features, such as soprano Donna Brown, mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, the Gryphon Trio, and many more.

Among other artists invited to perform in the Festival are the Tokyo String Quartet, the Beaux Arts Trio, soprano Emma Kirkby, violinist James Ehnes, countertenor Daniel Taylor, and pianist Marc-André Hamelin. Chamber music will also be celebrated at the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival (July 26-August 18), where internationally renowned artists will perform daily; and at the Alexandria Festival (June 27-August 1), which will present concerts every Sunday in a century-old barn near Alexandria. The Toronto Chamber Music Festival (July 2-4) is returning for a second year with beautiful concerts presented in an intimate setting at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

The Elora Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with a Silver Jubilee program (July 9-August 1). The opening night features the Elora Festival Singers and soloists conducted by Noel Edison performing Beethoven's celebrated Ninth Symphony. The Elora Festival Singers are considered one of the world's finest professional chamber choirs and form the principal vocal ensemble for the Elora Festival. The public will also have the opportunity of discovering their talent in Orff's Carmina Burana and Verdi's Requiem. Guest artists of the festival include Les Violons du Roy (which will perform a program of music from Spain and South America), the Toronto Consort (in a program entitled Shakespeare's Songbook), the Russian Cossack State Dance Company, soprano Emma Kirkby, countertenor Daniel Taylor, as well as pianists Michael Kaeshammer and André Laplante.

On August 1, audiences may join those who helped create 25 years of terrific festivals in the Jubilee Festival Barbecue, right after the final concert, "The Church in Songs."

The Festival of the Sound (July 16-August 8) is also celebrating its silver anniversary. Audiences can witness how music created by the greatest composers and the splendour of Georgian Bay unite in Parry Sound. For the grand opening, the Huntsville Festival Orchestra has been invited to perform Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 and will be joined by young pianist David Jalbert in the Grieg Piano Concerto. The next day is a day-long concert marathon with more than 25 musicians performing more than 25 works in celebration of the Festival's 25th anniversary season. Among the guest artists are pianists André Laplante, Rian de Waal, and Richard Raymond, baritone Russell Braun, violinists Moshe Hammer and James Ehnes, trombonist Alain Trudel, and accordionist Joseph Petric. An evening to remember should be a cruise on the ship Island Queen, which takes a wandering three-hour route through the spectacular scenery of the 30,000 Islands. The music is to be performed on the lower deck of the Island Queen and heard throughout the ship. This year, the cruises take audiences around the world with the music of the Caribbean, the Danube and Mississippi rivers, and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

Summer is also the occasion to wander outside. Why not rejuvenate oneself by breathing in fresh air perfumed by flowers while listening to superb music? The Toronto Music Garden series (June 24-August 12) returns for its fifth year with outstanding free outdoor concerts and dance performances in a relaxing atmosphere by the water. Performances by world-renowned Canadian artists will take place on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons in the Toronto Music Garden. The eclectic programs will regale audiences with classical music from Western and non-Western traditions, going from Mozart to North Indian Ragas and from Telemann to Taiko drumming along with new music and dance.

Of course, audiences will also hear music by the Toronto Music Garden's guiding spirit, JS Bach, whether it's on original instruments or in arrangements for bassoon or marimba. The Toronto Music Garden is a unique creation inspired by JS Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major for Unaccompanied Cello. Each of the garden's six sections corresponds to a movement of Bach's Suite: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett and Gigue. Various tours are available to explore the two-acre site, which contains many flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials.

The Brott Summer Music Festival (July 10-August 19) will enchant Hamilton and its region with magnificent musical events. The National Academy Orchestra is the orchestra in residence for the acclaimed festival. Boris Brott is to direct the opening concert in tribute to Tchaikovsky, which will feature dancer Chan Hon Goh. Orchestra and dancers will also be part of the closing concert entitled Viva Carmina! Opera lovers take note of the concert performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni by the York University opera program.

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington is the chosen setting to appreciate jazz with the Michael Kaeshammer Trio, or chamber music with the National Academy Chamber Players and pianist Valerie Tryon. Other guest artists of the Festival include cellist Amanda Forsyth, violinists Lindsey Deutsch and Lara St John, as well as singer Michael Burgess.

Check our complete listing for Internet addresses and more suggestions!

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