7 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 10 - July/August 2005

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EARLY . Music Case for

EARLY . Music Case for an early music festival by Frank Nakashima W hy can't we have an early music festival here in Toronto? Is it too hot? Not enough interest? Lack of funding? There's certainly plenty of local talent in the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Aradia Baroque Ensemble, the Toronto Consort, L'Intemporel, Sine Nomine Ensemble for Medieval Music, Musick's Hand-maid, and Moresca. to name a few, and I know that there are many in the United States and Europe who would love to come to Toronto to perform . We have already had many highly successful jazz, blues , and choral music festivals. There have been many fine film, theatre, even street festivals. When there's good reason to celebrate, everyone loves a party! Do we have to have another SARS outbreak in order to justify an urban early music festival? Okay , it's summer holidays, people travel out of town, visit relatives, spend time at the cottage. But of two early music festivals happening just recently- Montreal Baroque Festival and the Grand River Baroque Festival - one at least was urban. Other upcoming early festivals (see below) also retlect this mix. Musique Royale (www. in Nova Scotia, London Early Music Festival (www in southwestern Ontario, Vancouver Early Music Festival (www . , and Festival International de Musique de Lameque (www. on Lameque Island, New Brunswick. Even with incentives to travel out of town, an urban summer early music festival can thrive. Take the Boston Early Music Festival (, for instance. Since 1980, this festival has attracted many people from around the world - instrument makers, mus-ic publishers, service organizations, schools and universities, craftspeople, musicians, scholars - to participate in SY!TIPOSia, masterclasses, demonstration recitals, and concerts. In 1997, under the artistic direction of Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs, the Festival began a project to produce what was felt to be the most important examples of undiscovered Baroque operas. Johann Mattheson's "Boris Goudenow", written in 17 tO, was the extraordinary rediscovery which was the world premiere operatic centerpiece of this year's festival held in June. Okay, so this is the best and biggest example of what I mean by an early music festival. I'm not expecting miracles. Now that's not to say that early music isn 't represented at all around here . At the Elora Festival (www ., Les Voix Baroques present a program of the music of Alessandro Scarlatti (July 10); the Elora Festival Singers, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, perform great anthems of Henry Purcell (July 17). Summer in Toronto wouldn' t be the same without the free one-hour Music Garden series on the waterfront between Bathurst and Spadina. One The Boston Early Music Festival's two artistic directors, Paul O'Dette (jar left) and Stephen Stubbs (3rdfrom left) as part of early music ensemble Tragicomedia. The group regularly performs in the Boston Festival, most recently on Saturday, June 18th at Boston 's Jordan Hall. Qther members are Alexander Weimann (2nd from left) and Erin Headley (jar right) . particularly unusual presentation involves Shira Kammen and Kathleen Kajioka performing on medieval vielles , Baroque violin and Arabic violin (August 14). Don't forget your sunblock. Much to my surprise, I notice that Michael Franklin and Jennifer Francisco have organized a fun Renaissance dance music concert in association with the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival (July 10 at noon). They have assembled some of the Toronto's finest early music performers to form a Renaissance dance band called " Musical Banquet" and will present a one hour free concert on the Scotiabank Big Band Stage on Yonge Street at St. Clair. This band features Christopher Verrette (violin), Joelle Morton (viola da gamba), John Edwards (lute), Shawn Spicer (cornetto), Domenic Teres'i {dulcian), Mike Franklin (recorder a nd shawm), and Jennifer Francisco (percussion), who together offer a rich and varied musical menu of sounds from Renaissance Europe. Isn't that tasty? For more information about the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival see the website: http : //www.toro n special_ events/streetfestlindex. htm Oops, I digress. Like I said, isn't it about time we have our own early music festival? Frank T. Nakashima ( is the President of the Toronto Early Music Centre, a non-profit charitable organization which promotes the appreciation of historicallyinformed performances of early music Opera. Song. Chamber Music. Violins, violas, cellos, and bows Complete line of strings and accessories Expert repairs and rehairs Canada's largest stock of string music Fast mail order service Tickets: , stud/ sen. Festival Passes: For t ickets and festival passes, call {519) 661 -5120 For more infonnation, visit

Czech University Choir of Pardubice (VUS) is one of the leading choral groups in the Czech Republic. Membership of the choir consists of university students and alsq a few choir-singing enthusiasts. The choir performs on a regular basis with professional orchestras; their performance is choreographed ·and enriched by costumes. Here in Canada, the ensemble will perform works of A. Dvorak, L. Janacek, A. Ramirez, A.L. Webber, B. Bacharach, D. Ellington and others. VUS has participated in numerous choir competitions. and famous festi vals in European countries, such as Italy (200 I), Germany (2002), and France (2004). This year, the choir is celebrating its 55th anniversary with their visit to Canada. They will participate in the "Festiva/500" in St. John's ,NF and will perform in Toronto and in Niagara Falls between July 13th and July 17th 2005 . ::;,, 'lw ~·· ;JRIBUTE: THOMAS TALtlS c, . ;:~ • ·=

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