LSM Newswire

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stratford Summer Music announces ninth season programming

A Portrait of Isabel Bayrakdarian, the Canadian premiere performances of American organist Cameron Carpenter, the complete Brahms piano quartets, and musical lectures by the conductor of the sovereign’s personal choir, The Chapel Royal of St. James’s Palace, London, are among highlights of the ninth season of Stratford Summer Music.

The 2009 season, dubbed Stratford’s other Festival , will run over four weeks, from Monday, July 20 to Sunday, August 16, said the festival’s Artistic Producer, John A. Miller, at a launch in Stratford’s Balzac‘s Coffee Roastery, a site chosen because it will host three free presentations of J.S.Bach’s Coffee Cantata. (August 14, 15, 16) “Could there be a more appropriate place than Balzac’s to produce a work which the great composer himself wrote for Zimmerman’s Coffee House in Leipzig in 1733?”, said Miller.

A Portrait of Isabel Bayrakdarian includes a solo recital with pianist Serouj Kradjian; an evening of Tangos based on her Juno-nominated disc Tango Notturno as a fund-raising dinner cabaret at The Church Restaurant; a master class for female voices; a concert of Armenian heritage music sung with The Elmer Iseler Singers; and Operatic Fireworks, Rossini arias sung with the one hundred member National Youth Orchestra of Canada. July 24-31.

Cameron Carpenter, hailed as The Maverick of the Organ, will play three concerts at Knox Church including an all-Bach program and Organsmic Fireworks with some of his own compo-sitions. A video camera trained on his feet and projected onto a large screen will enable audi-ences to see Carpenter’s dexterity with the organ’s pedals. July 30, 31, August 1.

Made in Canada, the piano quartet comprised of four exciting Canadian women each of whom is distinguished in her own musical career - Judy Kang, violin, Sharon Wei, viola, Denise Djokic, cello, and Angela Park, piano – will present the three Brahms piano quartets and short works by Anton Dvorak in a series titled Masterpieces of the Classical Repertoire. August 7, 8, 9.

“As the world celebrates 2009 as an anniversary year for Henry Purcell, George Frideric Handel and Felix Mendelssohn,” said Miller, “it’s also interesting to note that all three composers either sang in, or wrote music for, The Chapel Royal Choir in their own days. Who better, then, to deliver musical lectures on these great individuals than Andrew Gant, who directs this choir today in London, England,” the Artistic Producer remarked. The Guelph-based choral ensemble Tactus will be Dr. Gant’s demonstration choir singing musical illustrations for the three lectures. July 23, 24, 25.

Saturday Night Live Cabarets, presented as after-theatre shows at The Church Restaurant, will feature Stratford Shakespeare Festival actresses Barbara Fulton and Chilina Kennedy in their own shows, with an iconic Stratford musician and actor, Cedric Smith, completing the trio with his own cabaret show, A Stratford Conspiracy on August 15.

Building on last summer’s successful jazz weekends at Pazzo Ristorante, the ninth season will focus on jazz guitar and feature Celso Machado (Brazilian jazz), Tony Quarrington with vocalist Julie Michels, Michael Occhipinti’s Sicilian Jazz Project and, from Newfoundland, the Duane Andrews Duo (gypsy jazz). Jazz sets begin at 9pm every Friday and Saturday night during the music festival with tickets and advance reservations available directly from Pazzo. (519 273-6666).

Two annual presentations will welcome distinguished Canadians. The Maureen Forrester Next Generation Canadian Artists concert will feature National Arts Centre Orchestra trumpeter Amy Horvey in a presentation titled Queen of the Music Boxes on July 29. The Harry Somers Lecture will be delivered by psychiatrist Dr. David Goldbloom on Creativity, Mental Health and Mental Illness on August 5.

Twenty-three, free, noontime concerts from the floating stage, The MusicBarge, will, for the first time, include male and female barbershop quartets and be the inspiration for the 2009 festival poster image, The Composers Quartet, where Bach, Brahms, Mozart and Harry Somers find themselves in artist Eric Beddoes’ creation as barber-shoppers singing along the Avon River.

Weekend musical scenarios known as Guerrilla Music will again erupt unexpectedly on down-town streets each Saturday and Sunday and a huge outdoor celebration, The OLG Bluegrass Blowout, will celebrate Ontario’s Simcoe Day holiday on August 3 with groups such as the Creaking Tree String Quartet, Oh Susanna, Lickin’ Good Fried and Foggy Hogtown Boys.

On Sunday night, August 16 this ninth season will conclude with The RBC Festival Finale, a concert titled Legacy of Hope: A Salute to America and featuring The Nathaniel Dett Chorale singing repertoire from its Washington appearances at the Martin Luther King Day celebrations and the inauguration of President Barack Obama last January. Jazz vocalist Jackie Richardson, pianist Andrew Craig, the St. Marys Festival Youth Signers and Hon. Lincoln Alexander, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will also participate in this program.

With half its performances and events free or by donation, Stratford Summer Music continues to set its prices up to $35 in the hopes of repeating its 2008 successes when visitors from across Canada, from 18 American states and seven other foreign nations attended the music festival.

Tickets go on sale May 21 at 519 273-1600 or 1-866-288-4313.

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