Stratford Summer Music Festival
Stratford Summer Music is an annual multi-week music festival set in outdoor and indoor venues in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Led by Artistic Producer John A. Miller, the festival hosts performances by Canadian and international artists over a three- to five-week period in July and August. The festival brings a variety of genres to its stages, including jazz, blues, folk, opera, country, innovative instrumental, orchestral, classical and world music. Annual festival features include: BargeMusic, Jazz at Pazzo, Saturday Night Cabarets at the Church Restaurant, Maureen Forrester Young Canadian Artists, and Harry Somers Music & Lecture. Notable artists that have performed at the festival include pianists Jan Lisiecki and Simone Dinnerstein, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and the Annex String Quartet.
An earlier festival by the same name operated in Stratford from 1980 to 1984. The festival was founded by pianist Peter Elyakim Taussig who was its first artistic director. John A. Miller, the current Artistic Producer, was the original general manager. The festival rose rapidly to prominence in its first two seasons, headlining such international artists as Elly Ameling, Sarah Vaughan, Philip Entremont, Leonard Rose, and The Canadian Brass. In 1983 conductor Boris Brott was appointed artistic director.
The festival’s 10th anniversary season presents 108 events over five weeks, from July 19 to August 22, 2010 and will be dedicated to the famed Canadian contralto, Maureen Forrester (1930-2010). The program includes many of the musicians and ensembles most favoured by audiences over the past decade. Among them are: tenor Ben Heppner, the Langley Ukulele Ensemble, Quartetto Gelato, The Boys Guard Band from Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, the Made in Canada Piano Quartet, the Korean Jeng-Yi Drummers, the Cajun band Swamperella, and the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus.
The Stratford Summer Music Festival also features concert series in collaboration with local restaurants and cafes:
- Pazzo Ristorante Bar & Pizzeria holds performances by five of Canada’s greatest living jazz legends, Guido Basso with Mike Murley Trio, Peter Appleyard with Neil Swainson and Bernie Senensky, Gene Di Novi, Phil Nimmons with David Braid, and Dave Young with Robi Botos.
- Rundles Restaurant features cellist Winona Zelenka, who will perform six Bach solo cello suites one of the world’s most valuable instruments, the Guarnerius/Starker (1707) cello.
- The Church Restaurant hosts Saturday Night Cabarets starring Stratford Shakespeare Festival actors Bruce Dow, Sean Cullen, Michael Therriault, plus two shows with stars of the past decade’s cabarets and emerging music theatre performers of the next.
- Balzac’s Coffee Roastery serves up hilarity with J.S. Bach’s Coffee Cantata as well as a parody of the original work by J.S. Bawk (aka Peter Tiefenbach), titled The Cappuccino Cantata.
Additionally, this season’s Stratford Summer Music will see the world premiere of Peter Hatch’s techno-opera, MyAudia: The Return of the Pied People. The performance takes place on the streets of Stratford’s City Centre and addresses current environmental problems through music and drama.
Reflecting the festival’s aim to present live, world-class music at accessible pricing, approximately half of the festival’s concerts are free or by donation, with paid events ranging from $10–$40.
- Stratford Summer Music official website