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Free concerts and dance performances with three world premieres at the Toronto Music Garden, June 29 to September 14

TORONTO, Tuesday, June 3, 2008—The popular Summer Music in the Garden series returns to the Toronto Music Garden with a new season of free classical music and dance all summer long! Summer Music in the Garden showcases an eclectic array of music and dance performances that complement the beauty and calm of the Toronto Music Garden, and the music of composer Johann Sebastian Bach that inspired it. From June 29 to September 14, Summer Music in the Garden presents 20 free outdoor concerts and dance performances with over 90 performers over the course of the summer, taking place on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. and on most Sundays at 4 p.m. The popular free guided garden tours led by volunteers from the Toronto Botanical Garden return for another season, taking place on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. from June 4 to September 24, and on Thursdays before every concert at 5:30 p.m. from July 3 to September 11. Self-guided audio tours are also available for a nominal fee. Admission to the park and all its programming is free.

The programmes that takes place in the Toronto Music Garden are produced by Harbourfront Centre in partnership with City of Toronto Department of Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Summer Music in the Garden is curated for Harbourfront Centre by Artistic Director, Tamara Bernstein, and made possible through the generosity of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Toronto Culture, and Margaret and Jim Fleck.

The Toronto Music Garden is a City of Toronto park, located on the city’s picturesque waterfront at 475 Queens Quay West (on the water’s edge side), between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. It is wheelchair-accessible and open year-round. For information on the Toronto Music Garden and its current programmes, the public can call Harbourfront Centre, 416-973-4000 or visit For information on other City of Toronto parks and gardens, the public can call 416-338-0338 or visit

Summer Music in the Garden 2008 Highlights
The 2008 season of Summer Music in the Garden opens on Sunday, June 29 with music for cello ensemble—a tribute to the venue, which interprets Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello into garden design. This year, Paul Widner (director), Garrett Knecht, Peter Cosbey and Alastair Eng present an eclectic program to launch the concert series.

Three exciting world premieres takes place this year at the Toronto Music Garden. There are two music-dance works: one from Hari Krishnan, the artistic director of inDANCE (Five Gods, Two Kings and the Frog Princess on August 17) and one by Keiko Kitano/Aki Takahashi (Yanagi: Spirit of the Willow Tree on September 11), both commissioned by Harbourfront Centre specifically for presentation in the Toronto Music Garden. Both pieces take their inspiration, in part, from mythology and legend: inDANCE from South Asian mythology; Kitano/Takahasi from Japanese tales about female spirits that appear under willow trees. The world premiere of a string quartet written by U.S. composer Liam Wade for the Cecilia Quartet takes place on August 14.

There are many performers making their debut this year at the Toronto Music Garden: SamulNori Canada (Korean drumming), July 6; dancer-choreographer Keiko Kitano, August 28 and September 11; inDANCE (August 17); The Queen’s (Quay) Trumpeters (July 3); baroque cornettist Kiri Tollaksen and dulcian player Dominic Teresi with Folia (July 27); Rosetta String Trio: violinist Abigail Karr, violist Sarah Darling and cellist Kate Bennett Haynes, September 14; soprano Meredith Hall and guitarist Bernard Farley (July 13); pipa player Wen Zhao (August 24); and soprano Brooke Dufton, pianist Rachad Feizoullaev, and woodwind player Colin Maier (August 10).

From June to September 2008, Borders is part of an ongoing focus on ideas in programming at Harbourfront Centre. (See page 6 for additional information). Tamara Bernstein, artistic director of Summer Music in the Garden comments, “Borders: such a homey, straightforward concept for a garden! But the Toronto Music Garden is not just any garden. Nestled between city and lake, it dissolves the borders between music and landscape, transforming Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello into a magical space. The borders theme resonates through many of this summer’s concerts too. The Kirby String Quartet (July 31) performs classics that pushed the aesthetic boundaries of their day; Lucas Harris and Wen Zhao (August 24) cross musical borders to bring together two instruments (European lute and Chinese pipa) with a common ancestor; Aruna Narayan (August 21) keeps venerable South Asian musical traditions alive even while breaking down barriers as a female sarangi virtuoso. And Orfea (August 10) retells the pan-cultural myth of the hero/heroine who breaches the ultimate border in order to bring a loved one back from the realm of the dead—a theme echoed by those ancient symbols of departed souls: the monarch butterflies who grace the Garden in late summer on their great, mysterious migration.”

All concerts are approximately one hour long and take place weather permitting. Concerts are cancelled inclement or rainy weather.

Sunday, June 29 at 4 p.m.
In a Toronto Music Garden tradition, four of Toronto’s finest cellists perform music from Bach to Zappa. Ensemble director Paul Widner is joined by Peter Cosbey, Alastair Eng and Garrett Knecht.

Thursday, July 3 at 7 p.m.
Fanfares by the Lake
You may know them from Tafelmusik, but tonight they are The Queen’s (Quay) Trumpeters: John Thiessen, Norman Engel and Andras Molnar and baroque timpanist Edward Reifel. Performing on an array of period instruments, they take us on a glittering tour, from the renaissance courts of England to the great cathedrals of Venice and onwards to the present.

Sunday July 6 at 4 p.m.
Dancing Drums of Korea
SamulNori Canada celebrates nature’s rhythms with high-energy, traditional Korean drumming. With guests Han-Soo Jung, p’iri (bamboo reed flute) and So-Sun Suh, hae-geum (Korean fiddle).

Thursday, July 10 at 7 p.m.
The Secret of the Good Life: The Chaconne’s Dance to Fame
Violinist Geneviève Gilardeau, Lucas Harris (lute, theorbo, baroque guitar) and cellist Kate Bennett Haynes take us on a toe-tapping journey, on period instruments, through the evolution of the chaconne: from its origins as an illicit dance in 16th century Mexico through to its apotheosis as a virtuoso variation form in the High Baroque. Find out why Miguel de Cervantes claimed “The secret of the good life is hidden in the dance of the chaconne.”

Sunday. July 13 at 4 p.m.
Down by the Sally Gardens: Songs of Summer, Nature, Love and Loss
Visit a sidewalk café in Paris, climb a mountain with a Japanese Empress, fish for squid off the coast of Newfoundland. Soprano Meredith Hall and guitarist Bernard Farley present an eclectic and beguiling program of folk, classical and popular songs. With works by Schubert, Ned Rorem, Jayme Ovalle, Robert Burns, Yoshinao Nakada, Kozaburo Hirai, and Bernard Farley.

Thursday July 17 at 7 p.m.
The Sunniest of All Keys
The Windermere String Quartet presents two takes on the key of C Major: Haydn’s Quartet Op. 20 No. 2 (the “Sun” Quartets) and Mozart’s Dissonance Quartet, K. 465. Performed on period instruments by Rona Goldensher and Geneviève Gilardeau (violins), Anthony Rapoport (viola), and Laura Jones (cello).

Sunday July 20 at 4 p.m.
Strong Winds and Occasional Thunder
NOT a weather forecast! The superb brass and percussion sections of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada present a delightful, varied program that showcases Canada’s outstanding young artists.

Thursday July 24 at 7 p.m.
Percussion in a Suitcase
Find out what happens when a percussionist—the spectacular Aiyun Huang of Montreal—creates a program for which all the instruments fit into her suitcase. Music by Matthew Burtner, Alvin Lucier, Javier Alvarez, Roberto Sierra, Georges Aperghis, and John Adams.

Sunday, July 27 at 4 p.m.
Blowing/Bowing in the Wind
Folia returns with a concert featuring two of the most unusual and beloved instruments of the 17th century—the cornetto, once considered the instrument closest to the human voice, and the dulcian, ancestor of the bassoon. Kiri Tollaksen, North America’s foremost cornettist, joins Toronto’s own dulcian virtuoso, Dominic Teresi. Baroque violinist Linda Melsted and harpsichordist Borys Medicky complete the dream team for this programme of glorious music from 17th century Italy and Germany. Presented with the generous support of the Toronto Early Music Centre.

Thursday July 31 at 7 p.m.
Radical Masters: Unconventional Works by Mozart, Bartok and Beethoven
The charismatic Kirby String Quartet performs works that push the boundaries of their day: Bartok’s Quartet No. 3, Beethoven’s Quartet Op.135, and selections from Mozart’s sublime Quartet in E flat Major, K.428. Performed by Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman (violins), Max Mandel (viola), and Carina Reeves (cello).

Thursday, August 7 at 7 p.m.
Persian Music for a Summer Night
Pirouz Yousefian and Farzad Yousefian return with more spellbinding traditional and original music on the santur—a Persian hammer dulcimer of ancient origin—and Middle Eastern percussion.

Sunday August 10 at 4 p.m.
In this touching adaptation for the whole family of the ancient Orfeo myth, a little girl shoulders her golden harp and journeys to the Underworld to bring her beloved grandfather back to life. Along the way we hear music from 400 years of opera, including Monteverdi, Mozart and Offenbach. Written by Greg Robic and baritone Lawrence Cotton. Performed by Cotton, Brooke Dufton (soprano), Rachad Feizoullaev (keyboard), and Colin Maier (woodwinds).

Thursday, August 14 at 7 p.m.
Cecilia String Quartet
The globe-trotting Cecilias, now based in San Diego, return to perform Schumann's passionate yet intimate Quartet No. 3, and give the world premiere of a quartet written for them by Liam Wade. Violinists Sarah Nematallah and Min-Jeong Koh, violist Caitlin Boyle, and cellist Rebecca Wenham.

Sunday August 17 at 4 p.m.
Five Gods, Two Kings and the Frog Princess
inDANCE, under artistic director Hari Krishnan, presents the world premiere of an exciting work for 10 dancers and six musicians that fuses traditional and contemporary approaches to Bharatanatyam dance. Commissioned by Harbourfront Centre for the Toronto Music Garden.

Thursday, August 21 at 7 p.m.
Evening Ragas in the Garden
Aruna Narayan returns with her eloquent and virtuosic interpretations of North India ragas, performed on the 40-string sarangi with Vineet Vyas, tabla, and Akshay Kalle, tanpura.

Sunday, August 24 at 4 p.m.
A Tale of Two Lutes
Two musical cousins—the European lute and the Chinese pipa—meet and converse as the renowned baroque lutenist Lucas Harris and pipa virtuosa Wen Zhao bring their respective traditions together.

Thursday, August 28 at 7 p.m.
Mizu to Ki no Uta (Voices of Wood and Water)
Nagata Shachu taiko ensemble (formerly known as Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble) drum in the change of season with exuberant music rooted in ancient spiritual practices, revitalized with a contemporary vision. With special guest dancer-choreographer Keiko Kitano.

Thursday, September 4 at 7 p.m.
Bach at Dusk
Winona Zelenka performs the piece that inspired the Toronto Music Garden: Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello. Note: Half-hour concert due to early sunset.

Thursday, September 11 at 7 p.m.
Soul/Saule-Mates: Reflections under the willow tree
On a date that invites reflection, cellist Shauna Rolston performs Soulmate for solo cello, by Chan Ka Nin; choreographer-dancer Keiko Kitano and composer-musician Aki Takahashi present the world premiere of Yanagi: Spirit of the Willow Tree—a piece inspired by Japanese tales of ghosts and willow trees (saule, in French). Yanagi is commissioned by Harbourfront Centre for performance beneath the Toronto Music Garden’s weeping willow. Note: Half-hour concert due to early sunset.

Sunday, September 14 at 4 p.m.
Your Eyes Have Their Silence
The acclaimed Rosetta String Trio bring the season to a magnificent close with Schubert and Mozart, music from the Renaissance, and Your Eyes Have Their Silence, a piece written for them by contemporary U.S. composer Christopher Hossfeld. Performed by Abigail Karr (violin), Sarah Darling (viola), and Kate Bennett Haynes (cello).

Guided tours begin at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays: June 4, 11, 18, 25; July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; August 6, 13, 20, 27; September 3, 10, 17, 24.
Pre-concert guided tours begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays: July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; August 7, 14, 21, 28; September 4, 11.
The popular garden tours return for another season! Discover the spectacular parade of seasonal blooms while learning about the garden’s unique design and history. The two-acre Toronto Music Garden contains a spectacular array of flowering trees, shrubs and perennials. Visitors are invited to take a free 45-minute walking tour led by Toronto Botanical Garden volunteer guides. Tours start in the west end of the garden in the Prelude section. Self-guided 70-minute audio tours (English only) hosted by Yo-Yo Ma and Julie Moir Messervy are also available for a rental fee of $5 at the Marina Quay West office, 539 Queens Quay West (daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

The Toronto Music Garden is considered by many to be the jewel of the City of Toronto’s park system. A unique and magical venue, the Toronto Music Garden is the only garden/park in the world known to be directly inspired by a specific piece of music—Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello.

The Toronto Music Garden was conceived by internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and designed by Boston-based Garden Designer Julie Moir Messervy. It consists of six contiguous sections, each of which corresponds to one of the six movements of the Bach Suite (Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett and Gigue), where each movement is poetically reflected through landscape and flora.

The Toronto Music Garden opened in 1999; concerts have been held there every summer since 2000. Since 2001, the concerts have been produced by Harbourfront Centre in partnership with City of Toronto, under the artistic direction of Tamara Bernstein. The Garden itself is lovingly maintained by City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, as well as volunteers.

The Toronto Music Garden, located on Queens Quay West at the foot of Spadina Avenue, is easy to reach by public transit. From Spadina Station take the 510 (Union Station) streetcar south. From Union Station take the Harbourfront LRT (509 or 510 streetcar) going west from inside Union Station. Call the Toronto Transit Commission at 416-393-4636 for transit information.

FOCUS: Borders
Harbourfront Centre travels beyond Borders. Is the world smaller than you think? What would a world without borders look like? Can culture be a universal language? What are the limits of your personal space? From June to September, Harbourfront Centre wants you to read between the lines and consider borders through all of our programming—borders within countries, borders within relationships, open borders, psychological borders, shifting borders and more. Harbourfront Centre—culture without borders.


Media Contact:
Linda Liontis
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