8 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 10 - July/August 2008

Father Lindsay,Festival

Father Lindsay,Festival deLanaudiereThree years ago, inWholeNote you called theAmphitheatre deLanaudiere "a place unlikeany other. " Can yousay more?If you go to the Tanglewoodor Ravinia Festivals,they have nice settings,but none of theseplaces have a natural amphitheatrelike Lanaudiere.People are on the lawn,and the audience doesn'thave a good view of what's happening onstage, whereas at Lanaudiere, we have anatural amphitheatre, slanted, so not only doyou have an excellent view under the roof,but on the lawn you have a good view ofeverything happening on stage. Also, theacoustics are exceptional. We have artistsfrom all over the world that have been comingto this festival for years and years forthe acoustics. I remember a famous basssinger from the Metropolitan Opera, PaulPliscka, who has sung at music festivalsaround the world-he says, "I've done themall, in Europe and America, and this place iswhere the sound is different. Usually singingoutdoors is overwhelming ... becausethere is not the resonance of a concert hallor music room. Singing outdoors takes a lotof effort. At Lanaudiere I can sing in a veryrelaxed and natural manner."Before 1989, the festival was held onlyin different small churches in the area, andat the cathedral in Joliette. Now we have theamphitheatre, still in very good conditionafter 18 years, and still have the smallchurches for events such as recitals andchamber music.Does it get easier or harder with time?I've been doing this since ... always. I startedstudying music at the age of five, and as ateenager I was already accompanying andorganizing concerts for friends. And at theage of 25, I became the person in charge ofthe Jeunesse Musicales du Canada, the NationalYouth Orchestra. I was in charge ofthe NYO in the Lanaudiere area. Being incharge of the NYO, I organized classicalmusic concerts here in the region of Joliette,to which ballet, theatre, and other forms ofdance were later added. And then later on Ibecame in charge of the school of music atthe Joliette seminary. In 1967 I founded theCamp musical de Lanaudiere, a trainingcentre for youth of 8-17. This camp stillexists, and this summer it is training 500students over 2 months. I had the idea forthe Festival de Lanaudiere in 1963, aftervisiting the famous Salzburg and Beyreuthfestivals in Europe. I thought that if thesesmall cities can have important festivals,why can't Joliette have a similar festival? SoWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMLanaudiere 's natural outdoor amphitheatreI started the Festival de Lanaudiere in 1978.As time went on, my job as director followeda very natural path. Progression wasvery gradual-not effortless, but still verynatural and continuous. I am 80 years oldthis year, and because of my age I need torely more on my team-there are currentlyeight employees full time at the festival. Alot of the legwork is being shifted to myteam.I'm assuming that to some extent touringartists choose themselves based on availability.But there is also a great artistic aspectto your job. Can you talk about that?When you want to attract European artistsespecially, if they are not on tour in NorthAmerica it is very difficult to bring them infor a one-night stand. So naturally we workwith other classical music festivals in NorthAmerica, exchange ideas and collaborate, andwe will all choose a particular artist so that atour will fly. The tour is very similar everyyear for the musicians we bring in fromEurope-they go to the Lincoln Centre, Tanglewood,Ravinia, and the Hollywood Bowlin Los Angeles. And here. To Joliette.But there's more to it than just itinerarymaking.The festival has a very clear visionstatement: we balance accessibility by programmingknown works with original andlesser-known works. We sometimes premiereCanadian works, as we did last summer andwe will doing again this summer, whichinvolves taking a risk. Classical music is nota very popular art form, so we have to workwith a limited budget. We can't afford tolose money and go overboard , so we balancetop notch soloists and upcoming artists.There are artists on the brink of becominginternational stars, but after a while they arecaught up in Europe and don't come toNorth America anymore, so we try to getthem to come to Lanaudiere before theybecome too famous! July is downtime forEuropean musicians, but it's our big time, sowe have to count on the touring musicians.Lanaudiere in one sentence?Simply put, the Lanaudiere festival is themost important classical music festival inCanada. To elaborate, we are the only festivalthat is on the list of large-scale touringJ UL Y 1 - S EPT 7 2008

European orchestras. Very few smaller festivalscan afford to bring in what we can. Forexample, this year we have a 30-piece baroqueensemble-Freiburg Baroque Orchestra,from Freiburg, Germany, performing anall Mozart concert with famed baritone ChristianGerhaher. Last summer we had PaavoJarvi, the conductor in charge of the CincinnatiOrchestra, at Lanaudiere for a completeBeethoven symphony cycle, with theDeustche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen,another orchestra from Germany.In 2005, you told us that "the festival wasborn of a dream". Did you dream that after30 years it would be this?The festival has the same mission and visiongoing into its 3 lst year as when it started,everything has been done with a great senseof continuity, a tradition of excellence, andafter 30 years the same enthusiasm. Thesense of continuity is important to emphasize.My heart is in the essence of whatclassical music is and that means the musicitself. I don't see any compromise in thequality that we are programming currently. Iam very open to renewing the way it is presented,however. For example, this summer,our production of Holst's The Planets willbe accompanied by projections of imagesfrom NASA on a giant screen and a narratorcommenting on the images. I am not againstrenewing the way things are presented withoutcompromising on the quality of the festival.The big challenge nowadays is to get theyounger audience to be interested in classicalmusic when they aren't exposed to it at anearly age in school or in their families. Duringthe summer children and youth are usuallyaway with their families or are busy withsummer activities. So we offer free admissionfor children under 12. And our ArtisticAmbassador Alain Lefevre is very dedicatedto youngsters and tours schools every yearinitiating youth to classical music.Beyond the huge time commitment to Festivalde Lanaudiere, what do you do (the rest ofthe year)?I am also the director of the Camp musicalde Lanaudiere. I direct a choir in Joliette,and I attend daily mass.Eco-Arts in Canada'sHaliburton HighlandsJohn Miller, Stratford Summer MusicSeems like everything out there musically inthe summer is labelled "-Jest" or ''festival".You don't.We must be the only festival in Canadawhich does its damnest not to be known as afestival, because when one says "festival"and "Stratford", one naturally thinks of ourdrama colleagues. So, we at Stratford SummerMusic work hard to market ourselveswithout the "f' word - our name simply sayswhere, when and what. Yet, having saidthat, there is one major lesson I've learnedfrom watching the Stratford Festival closelyover many years. What made the S.F. 's 14years under Richard Monette's direction suchwinners has been variety. Like Monette, Ishamelessly want to admit that people havewidely differing tastes. Just as the StratfordFestival annually offers more plays by au-J ULY 1 - SEPT 7 2008thors other than Shakespeare than by the bardhimself, we are presenting programming thatis more than Bach and Shostakovich. We'vegot Bilodeau, Cheung, Hatch, Richards andSchafer - and they're all Canadians!In my Canadian Music Centre days weused to worry about ghettoizing contemporarycomposers. Here I'm not segmentingclassical musicians and composers but rathersetting their performances among jazz, musictheatre, bands, children's music, even atouch of r/r as with our August Civic Holidaysalute to musical traditions and celebratedartists from this very community.How did it start?A few influences came together to lead me tostart Summer Music. I've always felt thatmusic should be an integral part of the Stratfordcultural experience, all the more sobecause music and the visual arts were seenby the founders of the Festival as complementaryto theatre.During the 14 years I was executive directorof The Glenn Gould Foundation, therewere always inquiries - most often international-about Gould and his days as the directorof classical music, and a performer, inStratford in the 1950s and '60s. This cityand its music history seemed always to bewith me. Then in December 1993, my partnerand I bought a house here as our weekendhome to be out of Toronto. On movingday, December 16, I arrived in Stratford,WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COMHALIBURTONFOREST &WIW UJ'li B.Uli~Yl:Ll11Jl1D11

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