Quoolibet Journalist and pianist: two takes by Allan Pulker The Music Garden Outdoor concerts are unique to summer. The rest of the year, of necessity, music-making moves indoors. A venue at which to experience outdoor music-making at its best in Toronto is the Music Garden, where Toronto musician and journalist, Tamara Bernstein, has organized a fascinating series of 21 concerts from June 26 to September 18. The Music Garden, Tamara said, is a very special place. "There is something magical about it. When you're there you drop the expectations· you have in a regular concert venue and the music and the place come together in an entirely new way. One evening there during a concert I felt an extraordinary sense of peace. At that moment I fell in love with it." How does she decide whom to invite to perform? Her two fundamental criteria, she told me , are eclecticism and quality . Something that soon became apparent in our conversation was that she was enthusiastic about every single performer or ensemble. She was particularly excited about Shira Kammen, one of the best medieval string players in the world today , who will perform on August 14. Tamara also tries to bring at least one artist from Quebec. This summer there are several: bassoonist, Mathieu Lussier is part of Musica.Franca which performs on July 7. On July 14 accordionist, Daniel Tho non and singer, Dominique Dupire will perform some of the many songs inspired by Paris in a concert named after "Le temps des cerises." Tamara also likes to introduce at least one promising young artist: this summer she has invited young Quebec marimbist, Anne-Julie Caron, to perform on 18 Geo.ll ~ D Shira Kammen and Kathleen Kajioka August 4. String quartets work surprisingly well in the Music Garden: she has woven a mini-series of four string quartets into the mix . Another theme that adds to the eclectic nature of the series is the classical music of non-western cultures. That theme will be anchored by a mini-series called "Mediterranean Voices" along with the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble on August 18 , traditional North Indian music on August 21, and South Asian music on August 25. Saxophonist, David Mott, will relate to the ambient sounds of the environment on July 28, and on August 11 a performance including both music and dance, commissioned for the occasion by Harbourfront, will have its premiere. On September 8 TSO principal cellist, Winona Zelenka, will perform one of J.S. Bach's cello suites at dusk, bringing us back so to speak to the origins of the Music Garden, the design of which originated in Bach's First Cello Suite. So , even if life, work or lack of money conspire to keep you in the city this summer, it is still possible to experience the essence of a summer music festival right here in the city, thanks to Tamara Bernstein and Harbourfront's Music Garden. Peter Longworth Peter Longworth is well known as a collaborative pianist of great sensitivity and considerable technical ~ & Co. Limited CONSERVATORS & PURVEYO RS OF Fine & Rare Violins 201 Church St., Toronto, ON. MSB IY7 Tel: 416-363-0093 • Fax: 4 16-363-0053 Email: ghcl @idirect.com www.georgeheinl.com Canada's foremost violin experts. Proud of our heritage. Excited abou t the future. resources, and as a founding member of the Duke Trio. Over the years he is a veteran summer music festival performer, with a genius for connecting quickly with the music, or the person or people he is with . On stage, before a single note is played, he seems to be questioning the moment, seeking the connection with it. "I see festivals as the opportunity for confirmation of our belief that in this day and age what we do is important and relevant. To see people lining up around the block at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival is a tremendous affirmation." Peter's most extensive experience with summer music festivals has been with the Ottawa Festival, in which he has participated since either 1996 or 1997. He went there originally as the pianist of the Duke Trio, but once there, has been given lots of other assignments by festival director, Julian Armour. Just last summer he was involved in eleven different performances. "It is wild," he mused, "going non-stop from performance to rehearsal to performance, often racing to get to a performance in the company of the people who are going to be your audience! By the second week you're functioning on pure adrenalin." However, the musicians don't complain about being overworked or about having to play in the stifling heat of overcrowded and not air-conditioned churches- not surprising, since the Festival provides an opportunity to play with musicians from many other places, to makt; enduring personal and professional connections and to measure yourself against the work of others as well as your own from previous years. Julian Armour knows very well how to keep his musicians happy. For example, one year he gave Peter an opportunity to perform a solo recital , and when Peter lobbied to perform Paul Hindemith's Peter Longwonh sonatas for orchestral instruments, he listened, and this summer they're on the program. Peter had some interesting observations on the Ottawa Festival's relationship with its community. "People in Ottawa are proud of it." It seems to be a reminder of what it means to be part of a community. It has an intensity and a fervour that are part of the way it is connected." Back in February I quoted Toronto's poet laureate, Giorgio di Cicco's comment that "Toronto has succeeded at just about everything except looking glamorous to itself . .. a city's attraction to its own uniqueness ... the conviction that there is a style of creativity that can only be done here." It sounds as if Ottawa with the help of Julian Armour and the Chamber Music Festival is succeeding in doing just this. While Peter will be performing several times this summer at the Ottawa Festival, he will be involved with several other festivals as well. At the time of writing, for example, he is participating in the Kairos Chamber Music Festival in SageCliffe, Washington. He will also be playing with violinist and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert master, Mark Fewer on July 29 at the Collingwood Music Festival and in September he will be performing at the Sweetwater Festival in Owen Sound. Looking a little beyond the summer, Peter will be performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto# 4 with John Barnum's Huronia Symphony Orchestra on October 23. • Dave Snider Music Centre 3225 Yon ge St. PH (416) 483-5 82 5 eMai 1: snidermusic@ snidermus ic.com www .snidermusic.com One of Toronto's Oldest Music Stores ... With The Best Selection of Pop, Jazz & Broadway Sheet Music in the city -For Beginners and Professionals- Come in and browse over 25,000 sheet music publications. We have a wide array of Woodwind, Brass, Keyboards, Guitars and Accessories. Music Lessons offered on site.
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