Stratford Summer Music
Performers from Austria, Switzerland, Israel and the USA join Canadians for the sixth season of Stratford Summer Music
More than 250 musicians to perform this summer
Stratford, Ont… Stratford Summer Music, now in its sixth season, presents an array of concerts, recitals and events including a unique celebration of the music and life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of his birth. The festival also features indoor and outdoor performances by a number of international classical and world music artists as well as up-and-coming young Canadian performers. Stratford Summer Music runs from Monday, July 24 to Sunday, August 13, 2006 in venues around downtown Stratford.
"We are proud to be offering a rich and diverse season that celebrates the genius of Mozart as well as the talents of more than 250 musicians from Canada, Austria, Israel, Switzerland and USA," says John A. Miller, Artistic Producer, Stratford Summer Music.
On Monday, July 24 at 8:00 p.m. the season kicks off with a gala evening concert along the Avon River and the traditional Stockie Stars in the Sky fireworks to Bert Carričre’s Music for a Midsummer’s Night, specially commissioned as the official signature music for Stratford Summer Music. Free.
The tradition of free outdoor concerts continues on July 26 at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by the 95-piece Landwehr Band of Fribourg, Switzerland: European champions complete with alpine horns and yodellers to reflect their national character. This presentation by one of the world’s most accomplished and most traveled concert bands will be set on the parkland behind the main Stratford Festival Theatre.
The genius of Mozart will be honoured through concerts, workshops, lectures and even a touring exhibition. The Schonbrunn Palace Marionette Theatre from Vienna will perform highlights from The Magic Flute and a second program of Mozart and Strauss vignettes titled Eine Kleine Nachtmusik from July 27 - 30 at 11:15 a.m. in Stratford City Hall; this Austrian company will also hold Marionette Workshops for adults and children. Another program for families is Mozart for Kids, a free show with delightful musical excerpts selected and performed by soprano Barbara Dunn-Prosser on Saturday, August 12 at 2:00 p.m. in Stratford City Hall.
Heribert Metzger, senior organist of Salzburg Cathedral, Austria, is featured in three 9:30 a.m. recitals at Knox Presbyterian Church, 142 Ontario Street from Wednesday, July 26 to Saturday, July 29. Dr. Metzger will also conduct the Summer Music Organ Academy’s master classes with five young Canadian organists, daily at 2:00 p.m.. Recital tickets are $30; master classes are free.
The Vancouver Chamber Choir, Canada’s outstanding professional vocal ensemble, return to Stratford under the direction of their founder/conductor, Jon Washburn, for four concerts of two different programs beginning on Thursday, August 3 at 11:15 a.m. in Stratford’s City Hall. Of special note is their first program, a world premiere performance of The Translation of Emily, created by Bill Richardson, one of Canada’s foremost raconteurs, and narrated by Stratford actress Lally Cadeau. This program unveils the secret life of the British spinster, Emily Anderson, who was a spy in the Middle East during World War II but whose love and real life’s work was the translation of Mozart’s correspondence into English. Tickets are $30.
William Littler, the Toronto Star’s Critic Emeritus, delivers the annual Harry Somers Lecture, this year focusing on the place of composers and titled Who Needs Mozart?. This lecture will be presented on Thursday, August 3 at 11:15 a.m. in Stratford City Hall and admission is free. A selection of Dr. Somers’ music, which annually opens this lecture, will be sung this year by the Vancouver Chamber Choir.
In the third week of the festival’s classical programming at the City Hall Auditorium (August 10 – 13), concerts will be performed by The Avon Mozart Orchestra, Summer Music String Quartet and the newly formed Lakewinds Octet who will present their world premiere performance bringing together woodwind musicians from eight orchestras around the Great Lakes. Tickets are $30.
Avoca Restaurant, one of Stratford’s newest dining establishments, will be the home of the Mozart Café where an exhibition, Mozart The Enlightenment: An Experiment, will document the composer’s life. The café will host afternoon coffee in the Viennese tradition, with Sachertorte and other special treats including live music. The exhibition is a series of panels with photos, personal notes and artifacts researched and prepared by the Austrian government. A number of these panels will also be on display in store windows throughout downtown Stratford as Summer Music invites its home community to live up to the theme, "Paint the town Mozart!".
The Maureen Forrester Young Canadian Artists Recitals present two concerts by emerging talents. Philip Chiu, pianist, will appear on Wednesday, August 2 in a solo recital at 11:15 a.m. and the Rocca String Quartet, four young musicians from Saskatchewan and Ontario, perform on Wednesday, August 9 at 11:15 a.m. in Stratford’s City Hall. Tickets are $30.
Canadian and international world music artists will entertain audiences on the CTV MusicBarge on the Avon River daily at 12:30 p.m.. The first week features award-winning Autorickshaw, a Toronto-based ensemble integrating South Asian sounds with jazz and other forms of popular music; this group performs from July 27 to July 30. Week Two brings the Latin sounds of Herencia Latina, now based in London, Ontario. The series concludes with the klezmer traditions of Beyond the Pale ("Best Instrumental Group" Canadian Folk Music Awards, 2005) (August 9, 10, 11) and the Yiddish Swingtet (August 12). The Perth County Pipe Band concludes the MusicBarge series on Sunday, August 13. Free.
After-Theatre Cabarets at The Church Restaurant, 70 Brunswick St. will feature Ladies of the Stratford Festival’s acting companies, with three different cabarets starring Barbara Fulton and her special guest Kyle Blair; a trio of young actresses calling themselves The Starlets; and Sheila McCarthy with her special friends and surprise guests. Performances throughout the three weeks begin nightly at 11:30 p.m.. Tickets are $35.
The sixth season of Stratford Summer Music concludes with a grand finale of Mozart Masterpieces including The Great Mass in C Minor on Sunday, August 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Knox Presbyterian Church. Performers include L’orchestre de la francophonie canadienne conducted by Jean-Phillippe Tremblay; the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir; Alexandre Da Costa, violin; and vocal soloists: baritone Theodore Baerg, sopranos Catherine Green and Irena Welhasch, and tenor Joseph Schnur. The organist will be Christopher Dawes. Introducing this program is Howard Dyck, host of Choral Concerts and Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on CBC Radio Two. Admission is pay-what-you-can.
The new Stratford Summer Music was launched in 2001 by Stratford resident and cultural entrepreneur John Miller who wanted to enhance artistic experiences at Stratford by offering music programming before and after the play performances. Mr. Miller had formerly been the manager of Canadian artists such as the Orford String Quartet and Executive Director of The Glenn Gould Foundation.
Stratford Summer Music runs from Monday, July 24 until Sunday, August 13, 2006. Admission to outdoor events is free. Tickets for most concerts are $30 or $35 and can be purchased through the Stratford Festival box office by calling 519-273-1600 or 1-800-567-1600.
Among the significant national corporate donors already identified for this season are CTV, Season Sponsor and supporter of the free MusicBarge series; Sun Life Financial, patron of the festival’s magazine; Austrian Airlines, international travel provider, along with Austrian Tourism; Scotiabank, opening night sponsor; McDonald’s Restaurants, patron of the Marionette Theatre programming; Royal Bank Financial and The RBC Foundation, sponsors of the closing concert; Maple Leaf Foods; and Yamaha Music Canada, official supplier of pianos for the festival. Notable among the key local sponsors are Arden Park Hotel, Rundles Restaurant and The Church Restaurant, Gary Stockie Chev Olds, Culliton Brothers Limited and Stratford Motor Products. In addition to the essential individual and family donors, most of whom are from Stratford and south-western Ontario, government support comes from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, City of Stratford and the Government of Austria through its Embassy in Ottawa.
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