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TORONTO -- May 23, 2006-- Summer Music in the Garden begins its seventh season of free outdoor performances featuring world-renown Canadian musicians, and popular Garden tours. Artistic director Tamara Bernstein has once again curated an imaginative series that showcases classical music from Western traditions, along with music originating from China, Japan, Persia and South Asia, as well as Middle Eastern and Yiddish cultures. The Garden tours, both scheduled and self-guided, explore the picturesque landscape literally set to music with the scheduled tours led by the Toronto Botanical Garden volunteer guides. The Toronto Music Garden programs are presented by Harbourfront Centre, in partnership with Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

“The Toronto Music Garden is one of the most magical places in Toronto throughout the year ,” says Ms Bernstein. “But to me it truly comes into its own each summer, when people of all ages, and from all walks of life, gather to enjoy live music in it – often in the company of equally enthusiastic songbirds.

“This year’s season is as eclectic as ever, but we’re putting a spotlight on brass and Baroque. Brass Tacks – the title of this four-concert series tips the hat to the picturesque sailboats often moored alongside the Music Garden – ranges from solo tuba (Karen Bulmer, July 23) to the mellow sound of 17th-century sackbutts (early trombones, Aug. 10), to a lively spoof on romantic opera presented by the virtuosi of Bellows And Brass (Aug. 27).

Faces of the Baroque shines a spotlight on the diverse styles traditionally lumped together as “Baroque” – Italian, French, English, Flemish, and German. This six-concert series culminates in two evenings of solo Bach – music that unites and reconciles all these musical currents, taking them to their highest summation. (August 31 and Sept. 7).

“Like a mature garden, classical music needs a balance of renewal and new life in order to thrive. Just as our inspired classical performers breathe new life into music of the past, others are bringing new creations to the Music Garden this summer. New works by Toronto composer Lesley Barber and Montreal-based Chris Paul Harman will receive their premieres at the Music Garden (September 17 and Aug. 31 respectively). And in a programme aptly called New buds on an old tree, New York singer Adrienne Cooper and pianist Marilyn Lerner perform contemporary settings of modern Yiddish Poetry. There will be spontaneous creation as well – a tribute to Bach’s own prodigious powers as an improviser: Lori Freedman (Aug. 24), as well as North Indian musician Aruna Narayan (July 06) extemporize new pieces that will survive only in the memory of the audience and performers.”

Over 60 performers appear throughout 21 concerts featuring more than 30different types of instruments in this year’s Summer Music in the Garden. The instruments include the santur and yangqin (Persian and Chinese hammer dulcimer respectively), sarangi (North Indian bowed instrument with 40 strings), sackbutts, wooden cornettos, theorbo (sumptuous Baroque lute with oversized bass strings), tombak (Persian goblet drum), shamisen (three-stringed, long-necked lute from Japan) and erhu (two-stringed bowed instrument from China).

Twenty-three artists make their Toronto Music Garden debut this summer, with eight performers coming from Quebec. The 2006 series also features two World Premieres: Winona Zelenka, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s principal ‘cellist, performs a new work for solo ‘cello by Chris Paul Harman, commissioned by Harbourfront Centre; the Kirby String Quartet premieres a new work by Lesley Barber. Bass clarinettist-improviser Lori Freedman will also spontaneously create three pieces, each responding to ideas put forward on stage by Canadian composers Allison Cameron, Chris Paul Harman and Martin Arnold (respectively).

Various Garden tours are available to explore the two-acre site which contains a spectacular array of flowering trees, shrubs and perennials. Guided tours take place from June to September on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and pre-concert tours starting June 30, on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. The free 45-minute guided tours are led by the Toronto Botanical Garden volunteers. Also available is a 70-minute self-guided audio tour hosted by Yo-Yo Ma and Garden Designer Julie Moir Messervy. The self-guided hand-held audio players can be picked up daily (from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) at the Marina Quay West office, just south west of the Garden for a rental fee of $5. Group tours can be booked through the Toronto Botanical Garden directly at 416-397-1366. Please note that individual tours are free, but group tours are $5 per person.

Concerts take place Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.. Concerts are cancelled in inclement or rainy weather. Admission to the park and all its programming is free.

The Toronto Music Garden is a City of Toronto park, located on the city’s waterfront at 475 Queens Quay West, between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. It is wheelchair-accessible and open year-round.

The Toronto Music Garden is a unique creation, inspired by J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Majorfor Unaccompanied Cello. Each of the Garden’s six sections corresponds to a movement of Bach’s Suite: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett and Gigue.


For information on the Toronto Music Garden and its upcoming events, the public can call 416-973-4000 or check the Harbourfront Centre website at .

For information about Toronto parks, check

Media contact: Bill Bobek; 416-973-4428;


Summer Music in the Garden series complete schedule:

Sunday June 25 at 4 pm.:

"From the fire and the snow"

South and north, passion and contemplation meet in this ’cello extravaganza, featuring music by Bach, Arvo Pärt, Villa-Lobos, Pink Martini and others and performed by ’cellists Roberta Janzen (director), Cherry Kim, Garrett Knecht and Liza McLellan. Guest percussionist for this performance is Dean Pomeroy.

Thursday June 29 at 7 p.m.:

Brass Tacks I: True North Brass

Five of Canada’s most dazzling brass virtuosi kick off the holiday weekend with made-in-Canada arrangements and original compositions. James Gardiner and Raymond Tizzard, trumpets; Joan Watson, French Horn, Alastair Kay, trombone and Scott Irvine, tuba.

Sunday July 02 at 4 p.m.:

Chaos and Eros - Faces of the Baroque

Earthquakes! Tempests! Contrabassoon! The Toronto-Montreal ensemble Musica Franca returns with bassoons, Baroque guitar and keyboards, to perform Italian-flavoured music of the French Baroque, including a suite from the great 18th century “World Music” hit: Rameau’s Les Indes galantes. Nadina Mackie Jackson and Mathieu Lussier, bassoons; Fraser Jackson, contrabassoon, Paul Jenkins, harpsichord and baroque organ; Sylvain Bergeron, baroque guitar. (Plus another bassoonist TBA)

Thursday July 06 at 7 p.m.:

An evening with Aruna Narayan

The Toronto-based virtuosa of the bowed, 40-string sarangi performs evening ragas, accompanied by tabla player Shubhjyoti Guha.

Thursday July 13 at 7 p.m.:

In the Company of Songbirds - Faces of the Baroque

Playing an array of recorders, baroque flutes and folk flutes, Alison Melville performs music from the 17th to 21st centuries inspired by birdsong.

Sunday July 16 at 4 p.m.:

Whispering Winds: Music for Yangqin

Vivian Xia performs Chinese and contemporary music for the Chinese hammer dulcimer (yangqin), composed and arranged by the performer and Canadian composer Mark Armanini. Vivian Xia will be joined by guest pipa player Xiao-mei He.

Thursday July 20 at 7 p.m.:

Naseem: Summer Breezes from the Persian Courts

Pirouz Yousefian, santur (Persian hammer dulcimer), and percussionist Farzad Yousefian perform classical Persian music and original compositions.

Sunday July 23 at 4 p.m.:

Brass Tacks II: Girl Meets Tuba

Karen Bulmer tells the story of her on-again off-again love affair with the orchestra’s largest brass instrument, and shows that there’s much more to life with a tuba than oom-pah-pah, in performances of music by Bach, Debussy, the Beatles and others.

Thursday July 27 at 7 p.m.:

A Garden of Flowers, East and West

Islamic and Christian cultures meet harmoniously as Alpharabius Ensemble presents songs inspired by love and filled with images of flowers, from Arabic lands and medieval Europe. Performed by Andrea Budgey, Suzanne Meyers-Sawa, Randall Rosenfeld, George Sawa and Bolbol Shehadeh.

Sunday July 30 at 4 p.m.:

Anne-Julie Caron, marimba

The sensational young Quebec marimbist performs music from Bach to ragtime, including the contemporary sounds of Keiko Abe, tango legend and Astor Piazzolla.

Thursday August 03 at 7 p.m.:

"Naye Kveytn af an Altn Boym" (New Buds on an Old Tree)
The sensational duo of New York singer Adrienne Cooper and pianist Marilyn Lerner return for an evening of contemporary Yiddish songs by Frank London, Beyle Schaechter Gottesman, Michael Alpert, Marilyn Lerner and others.

Thursday August 10 at 7 p.m.:

Brass Tacks III: “Like a ray of sunshine piercing the clouds”- Faces of the Baroque

Enjoy the sumptuous sounds of late Renaissance and early Baroque music, played on period cornettos, sackbutts (early trombones), recorders and dulcian by Matthew Jennejohn, Douglas Kirk, Dominique Lortie, Dan Stillman and Trevor Dicks.

Sunday August 13 at 4 p.m.:

"Words of Mercury, Songs of Apollo" - Faces of the Baroque

Baroque violinists Kathleen Kajioka and Christopher Verrette, lutenist Lucas Harris and ’cellists Rebecca Morton revel in the dazzling music of 17th-century Italy – the brave new world of the early Baroque. The programme includes music by Buonamente, Cima, Rossi, Matteis, Corelli, and Piccinini.

Thursday August 17 at 7 p.m.:

Heartbeat of Japan

Dynamic and festive drumming by the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble, featuring Japanese taiko drums, bamboo flutes and shamisen (three-stringed lute).

Sunday August 20 at 4 p.m.:

Cecilia Quartet

This award-winning young quartet -- violinists Sarah Nematallah and Sharon Lee, violist Caitlin Boyle and ’cellist Rebecca Wenham -- performs Brahms’ Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51 No.1 , and Another Little Piece of My Heart by Ottawa composer Kelly Marie Murphy.

Thursday August 24 at 7 p.m.:

“Compose Me”

Witness the on-the-spot creation of three new works for solo bass clarinet/clarinet. Three Canadian composers -- Allison Cameron, Chris Paul Harman and Martin Arnold – will each speak their ideas for a piece to improviser Lori Freedman, who will turn their words into instant music.

Sunday August 27 at 4 p.m.:

Brass Tacks IV: The Perfect Cake

Bellows and Brass -- trumpeter Guy Few, accordionist-narrator Joseph Petric and trombonist Eric Vaillancourt -- present their tongue-in-cheek take on romantic opera, enacted by “instrument-sock puppets.” Includes music by Puccini, Wagner and Verdi, put to purposes the composers never imagined in their wildest dreams.

Thursday August 31 at 7 p.m.:

Bach at Dusk I – plus Harman - Faces of the Baroque

Winona Zelenka, principal ’cellist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, returns to perform Bach’s Suite No. 6 in D Major for unaccompanied ’cello, and gives the world premiere of a new work by Canadian composer Chris Paul Harman, based on the music of J.S. Bach.

(Note: half-hour concert due to early sunset.)

Thursday September 07 at 7 p.m.:

Bach at Dusk II - Faces of the Baroque

The magnificent Baroque violinist Linda Melsted performs Bach’s profoundly expressive Sonata in C Major for unaccompanied violin.

(Note: half-hour concert due to early sunset.)

Sunday September 10 at 4 p.m.:

“Only in the enchanted land of song…”

Hear Franz Schubert’s String Quartet in A Minor, D. 804, and Haydn’s lyrical Quartet in C major, op. 9 no 1, performed on period instruments by the Windermere String Quartet: violinists Rona Goldensher and Geneviève Gilardeau, violist Anthony Rapoport and ’cellist Laura Jones.

Sunday September 17 at 4 p.m.:

Kirby String Quartet

Henry Purcell: Chacony in g minor, Z 730
Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet in G major, op.18 No.2
Benjamin Britten: Chacony from String Quartet No.2 in C

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Media contact: Bill Bobek; 416-973-4428;

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