LSM Newswire

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Annual Black Creek Summer Music Festival in Toronto








Toronto, ON (February 23, 2011) – Beginning on June 4, 2011, with Plácido Domingo in concert, and with such renowned artists as James Taylor, Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jonesand the London Symphony Orchestra to follow, the new BlackCreek Summer Music Festival will launch its inaugural season at the Rexall Centre on the grounds of York University in Toronto. The 2011 season spans 14 weeks, from June to September, and includes a wide array of programs by some of the most revered names in pop and jazz, along with rousing symphonic evenings, Broadway showstoppers, world music and iconic country artists, all performing “under the stars.”

“The Rexall Centre, with its ideal octagonal amphitheatre configuration, has been re-imagined as a brilliant new concert venue,” commented Kevin Albrecht, CEO of iSport Concerts Ltd. and the BlackCreek Limited Partnership, producers of the Festival. “It will offer excellent sightlines; state-of-the-art lighting, video, and sound design; and, most importantly, an intimate connection to the stage. The BlackCreek festival will provide a superior entertainment experience; one that is affordable, offers accessible programs from a wide-ranging menu and has been designed to appeal to music lovers of all generations and from all walks of life.”

The BlackCreek Summer Music Festival is intended to become an important cultural destination for the city of Toronto, southern Ontario, and the Golden Horseshoe region. “The arts are a vital part of the everyday experience, and the outdoor summer music festival, in particular, is an essential highlight of the urban lifestyle in cities like Chicago with Ravinia, in Washington, D.C. with Wolf Trap, and in Los Angeles with the Hollywood Bowl,” stated Jeff Melanson, Cultural Advisor to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. “But despite its vast size, Toronto — with some 8 million people living in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area centered around the GTA— has not, until now, seized the opportunity to create a large scale, outdoor summer destination for audiences to see and hear an eclectic mix of the world’s leading musicians, singers and entertainers. BlackCreek changes that dynamic and at the highest level of artistry. This is a private sector initiative and an unparalleled opportunity for all of us. I for one cannot wait until opening night.”

BlackCreek’s artistic advisors and programming directors have been working for the better part of one year to create a stellar line-up for the inaugural season, and at the same time cultivate long-term relationships with artists and their managers for the years to come. The internationally esteemed conductor, Lorin Maazel has been signed to a three-year contract as Artistic Advisor, Classical Programming. Marvin Hamlisch–the multiple Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning composer and pops conductor– has been engaged to serve as BlackCreek’s Artistic Advisor for Broadway and Pops concert presentations.

Opening night on June 4 will offer a concert by revered tenor, Plácido Domingo — making his first Toronto appearance in over a decade — and special guest soprano, Sondra Radvanovsky, internationally-acclaimed star of the Metropolitan Opera, accompanied by the BlackCreek Festival Orchestra and the BlackCreek Festival Chorus. Tickets for the Plácido Domingo concert, which are expected to be in high demand, will go on sale on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 10:00 a.m., and can be purchased online at or by calling 1-888-860-7888.

An annual summer residency by Lorin Maazel, has been established that will bring the maestro’s Virginia-basedCastleton Festival Orchestra to Toronto as part of its expanding international profile. The Castleton series of two concerts will include an evening of music inspired by Shakespeare, highlighted by Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring narration by Academy Award®-winners, Dame Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons. There will also be an evening devoted to music from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Bizet’s Carmen, the latter starring mezzo, Denyce Graves.

BlackCreek will also host an exceptional series of three concerts by the illustrious London Symphony Orchestra, which has not performed a classical program in Toronto since 1980. The series of three concerts, all conducted by Lorin Maazel, will begin with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with vocal soloists Adrianne Pieczonka, Ekaterina Metlova, Richard Margison and German bass René Pape (making his Canadian debut), along with the BlackCreek Festival Chorus. The second concert will be an evening of Russian composers and other favourites, with excerpts from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Gounod’s Faust and Verdi’s Don Carlo featuring René Pape, along with the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition. The third LSO concert will offer an all-American program featuring Gershwin’s Piano Concerto and An American in Paris, as well as James Earl Jones narrating Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait.

The BlackCreek Summer Music Festival will also offer performances by outstanding musical entertainers from the worlds of pop, jazz, country and beyond. June 25th will bring an intimate evening with the quintessential James Taylor and his legendary band. The great troubadour and singer/songwriter’s warm baritone is among the most recognized voices in popular music and his guitar playing has established its own standard. He has been at it for decades: transforming introspective meditations into lyrics, melodies and harmonies that comfort and reassure the listener with the sense that these sometimes painful, sometimes celebratory moments are a part of life, shared by us all.

On July 2nd Grammy-award winning vocalists and jazz legends, Diana Krall and Tony Bennett, will perform American popular standards in an evening that is sure to delight music fans of all ages. The two first toured together in August 2000; but this will be the first time these two artists have appeared together in Toronto. Bennett’s elegant and incomparable performances have never gone out of style, and in the 1990s, a new generation discovered and embraced the acclaimed songster following several appearances on MTV. One of the leading ladies in jazz, Canadian pianist and vocalist Diana Krall is steeped in the history of jazz and the pop music of earlier decades. She possesses an extraordinary talent for creating music that speaks personally to every individual who hears her perform.

For BlackCreek’s premiere season, Marvin Hamlisch will conduct The BlackCreek Festival Orchestra and Chorus in an evening of “The Very, Very Best of Broadway,” starring Tony Award-winners Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell, returning to Toronto for the first time since their Broadway triumph in Ragtime, together with Martin Short and other Broadway leading ladies and gentlemen to be announced shortly.

In addition to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Castleton Festival Orchestra, the BlackCreek Festival Orchestraand BlackCreek Festival Chorus, directed by Robert Cooper, will perform at select concerts, including the June 4 opening night. One of Canada’s foremost choral conductors, Robert Cooper is currently Artistic Director of Chorus Niagara, Orpheus Choir of Toronto, the Opera in Concert Chorus, and conducts the Faculty of Music Women’s Chorus, University of Toronto.

Additional artists and concert programming will be announced in the weeks to come.


Situated on the campus of York University, adjacent to the Black Creek Conservation Area, the Rexall Centre was built in 2004 as the main tennis venue of the Canada Masters tournament and is also the home of the Toronto offices of Tennis Canada and the Ontario Tennis Association. “The Rexall Centre is excited to host Toronto’s next great entertainment attraction, the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival,” said Michael S. Downey, President and CEO of Tennis Canada. “We can’t wait to demonstrate the versatility of our facility in staging world class concerts. With rental proceeds benefitting our mission to grow tennis in Canada, tennis players around the country should also be very pleased that another form of live entertainment is coming to our tennis centre.”

For the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival concerts, the amphitheatre will seat between 11,000 and 14,000 spectators — including 41 private luxury boxes — depending upon seat and stage configuration for the individual performances. The seating design of the octagon-shaped amphitheatre and the size of the stage give the Rexall Centre an appreciable intimacy not typically found in other such outdoor settings. It forges a deep performance connection between artists and audience.

The open-view stage has been designed by celebrated architect and acoustician, Mark Fisher, who has designed some of the most memorable rock concerts ever staged, including The Wall for Pink Floyd, every Rolling Stones show since 1989, and every U2 concert since 1992. Based in London, England, Mr. Fisher has also designed the theatre, scenery and acrobatic effects for Cirque du Soleil’s at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The venue will be highly congenial to symphony orchestras, while state-of-the-art lighting (for both the stage itself, as well as ambient lighting of the venue), along with up to six jumbo video monitors and sound reinforcement by top acousticians, will ensure that audiences can savour the music being performed from any seat. An extensive acoustical test in June, 2010, produced extraordinary results: the sound was evenly balanced throughout the venue at decibel levels in the low 80s, making it possible to hear with great clarity the assembly of instruments and voices in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, for example.

There are some 7000 parking spots in close proximity to the facility and concertgoers will be serviced with park-and-ride shuttle buses between the parking lots and amphitheatre. The venue is also served by public transportation with new subway construction now underway on the new York Spadina line connecting to the downtown city core. A new stop is planned for 2014 that will deliver patrons a mere 230 meters from the venue. A wide array of inviting dining options for all tastes and budgets will be available at the BlackCreek concerts.


Saturday, June 4

Plácido Domingo, Sondra Radvanovsky and the BlackCreek Festival Orchestra and Chorus. Vocal superstarPlácido Domingo will provide a thrilling launch to the BlackCreek Festival. He is universally considered one of the greatest tenors of all time…and one of the greatest classical crossover artists. As one of the Three Tenors, his voice has brought pleasure to millions around the globe. His album sales worldwide are in excess of 100 million copies. Winner of 10 Grammys and 2 Latin Grammys, he is known as “the King of Opera.” This will be his first Toronto appearance in over a decade.

Joining Plácido Domingo will be special guest, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, one of the leading vocal artists on the international scene today and recognized as one of the foremost Verdi sopranos of her generation. Ms. Radvanovsky has performed in every major opera house in the world, including Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and numerous others.

Ms. Radvanovsky has partnered Plácido Domingo many times on international operatic stages — but never before in Toronto. When she sings with him at the Opening Night of the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival, listeners are guaranteed a sumptuous feast of opera duets and arias.

Saturday, June 25

James Taylor (with special guest to be announced). James Taylor is known as America’s troubadour. His songs and sentiments embody the art of songwriting in its most fundamental form. Over the course of his illustrious career, he has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, five Grammys, as well as the Century Award, Billboard magazine’s highest accolade for creative achievement. As the authentic voice of America’s heartland, he has influenced music lovers of all generations.

Wednesday, June 29

Lorin Maazel conducting the Castleton Festival Orchestra with the Castleton Festival Chorus and vocal soloists, in music inspired by Shakespeare: Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Dame Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons reciting Shakespeare’s verses; and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.

Saturday, July 2

Diana Krall and Tony Bennett with Orchestra. Diana Krall is a jewel in the world of contemporary jazz and a Canadian musical treasure. From sultry Latin grooves to beloved classic jazz standards, this multiple award-winning pianist and singer is disarmingly intimate, utterly soulful and hypnotically sensual.

Tony Bennett, the 15-time Grammy award winner, is celebrated as the “singer’s singer.” With worldwide record sales in the millions, his talent reaches out across borders and generations. Singer, painter, writer, Kennedy Center Honoree, Emmy Award-winner and recipient of Billboard magazine’s elite Century Award, his vocals touch the heart.

Saturday, July 9

“The Very, Very Best of Broadway” — Marvin Hamlisch, musical director; starring Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Martin Short, with the BlackCreek Festival Orchestra and Chorus and other Broadway leading ladies and gentlemen to be announced.

Friday, July 22

Lorin Maazel conducts the Castleton Festival Opera, vocal soloists and Orchestra in music from two of the most popular of all operas. Act One will be highlights in concert version from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Act Two will be orchestral interludes and highlights in concert version from Act IV of Carmen, with Denyce Graves in the title role.

Saturday, August 27

Lorin Maazel conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and 80-voice BlackCreek Festival Chorus in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with vocal soloists Adrianne Pieczonka, soprano; Ekaterina Metlova, mezzo; Richard Margison, tenor; and René Pape, bass (in his Canadian debut).

Monday, August 29

Lorin Maazel conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and the BlackCreek Festival Chorus, with bass René Pape as soloist. Mr. Pape will be heard in the Coronation Scene from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and music from Verdi’sDon Carlo. The concert ends with the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition.

Tuesday, August 30

Lorin Maazel conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in an all-American program, including Gershwin’s Piano Concerto with Pascal Rogé and An American in Paris. Legendary actor James Earl Jones narrates Copland’s Lincoln Portrait.

Additional artists and concert programming will be announced in the weeks to come.


LORIN MAAZEL Artistic Advisor, Classical Programming

For over five decades, Lorin Maazel has established himself as one of the world’s most esteemed and sought-after virtuoso conductors. A second-generation American born in Paris, he began violin lessons at age five and conducting lessons at age seven. His prodigious talent as a conductor quickly revealed itself, and before the age of 15 he had conducted most of the major American orchestras, including the NBC Symphony at Arturo Toscanini’s invitation.

Maestro Maazel has served as Music Director of some of the most important orchestras and opera companies in the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Vienna State Opera. He has conducted more than 150 orchestras in no fewer than 5,000 opera and concert performances, has made over 300 recordings, and been awarded 10 Grands Prix du Disques. His close association with the Vienna Philharmonic includes 11 internationally televised New Year’s Day Concerts from Vienna.

On September 1, 2012, he will become Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic. He continues as the first Music Director of the spectacular Santiago Calatrava-designed opera house in Valencia, Spain, and as the founder and Artistic Director of the Castleton Festival in Virginia.

MARVIN HAMLISCH Artistic Advisor, Broadway and Pops Concert Programming

Marvin Hamlisch’s life in music is notable for its great versatility as well as substance. As a composer, he has won virtually every major award that exists: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards. His ground-breaking Broadway musical, A Chorus Line, received the Pulitzer Prize.

Marvin Hamlisch is the composer of more than 40 motion picture scores, including his Oscar-winning score and song forThe Way We Were and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting, for which he received a third Oscar. His prolific output of film scores includes original compositions and/or musical adaptations for Sophie’s Choice, Ordinary People, The Swimmer, Three Men and a Baby, Ice Castles, Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Save the Tiger, and his most recent, The Informant, starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Marvin Hamlisch holds the position of Principal Pops Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, Seattle Symphony and San Diego Symphony.

Mr. Hamlisch was Musical Director and arranger of Barbra Streisand’s 1994 concert tour of the U.S. and England, as well as the television special, Barbra Streisand: The Concert (for which he received two of his Emmys). He is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Queens College (where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree). He believes in the power of music to bring people together. “Music can make a difference. There is a global nature to music, which has the potential to bring all people together. Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can.”



The BlackCreek Summer Music Festival is pleased to feature a web-based computerized ticket purchasing system provided by Outbox Technology whereby tickets are sold by the venue directly. Ticket purchasers simply click on an artist profile on the BlackCreek website and they are immediately directed to an easy to use ticketing page that allows them to select tickets based on an interactive seating chart showing available locations and price levels.

Outbox Technology’s intuitive, innovative and ground-breaking platform manages and processes multi-language and multi-currency world-wide ticket sales for Cirque du Soleil, as well the Montreal Canadiens, the Bell Centre in Montreal, and the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Outbox recently entered into a partnership with AEG Entertainment, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment presenters in the world, to provide the ticketing software for over 100 arenas and venues worldwide beginning in June 2011.

Fredric Rosen, Outbox’s co-CEO and the former builder and CEO of Ticketmaster, commented that “I am excited about launching our ticketing service in Toronto with the BlackCreek Festival. Our system will provide patrons with secure, reliable and easy access to all of the great concerts that have been assembled for the inaugural season, as well as for those in the years to follow.” He added that “with Outbox, the transaction resides with the venue; and the venue is the destination and the brand. It’s the best customer service experience that can be offered and we look forward to forging a long-term relationship with the client.”

Tickets for the Placido Domingo concert will go on sale on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 1-888-860-7888. The BlackCreek Summer Music Festival Box Office at the Rexall Centre will open for single-ticket sales on Saturday, May 7, 2011, with box office hours from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Groups of 14 or more may receive discounts on single-ticket prices for select concerts. For further information please contact




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