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Summer rendezvous at the Toronto Music Garden with free concerts and garden tours!

TORONTO, May 11, 2004 – The Toronto Music Garden series returns with another exciting season showcasing outstanding free outdoor concerts by Canadian musicians and dancers and the ever popular Garden tours. The eclectic Summer Music in the Garden series will regale audiences with classical music from western and non-western traditions, along with new music and dance. From Mozart to North Indian Ragas; from Telemann to Taiko drumming, there will be something for everyone at the Toronto Music Garden this summer. From June to September visitors can relax and enjoy the Garden in bloom through self-guided audio tours or join in the Garden tours led by the Toronto Botanical Garden volunteers. Returning for a fifth season, the Toronto Music Garden programmes are presented by Harbourfront Centre in partnership with the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation.

This year, over 70 outstanding musicians and dancers perform in the Summer Music in the Garden series. Artists making their Toronto Music Garden debut include The Little Pear Garden Collective; cellist Shauna Rolston and dancer Peggy Baker, and the concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company orchestra: violinist Marie Bérard. The True North Brass Quintet also makes its Toronto Music Garden debut, aptly, with a special Canada Day programme; the internationally renowned Yiddish singer Adrienne Cooper, from New York City, joins pianist Marilyn Lerner in an unusual programme of songs by and about women.

Music Garden favourites returning this season include the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company; the charismatic clarinetist Lori Freedman; erhu virtuoso George Gao; The Madawaska and The Kirby String Quartets, and Arabic master musician George Sawa. Double bassist Peter Pavlovsky brings another delightful children’s programme, this time in collaboration with percussionist Rick Sacks and The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s piccolo player, Camille Watts.

New music will once again form an integral part of the Summer Music in the Garden series. The brilliant young percussionist Aiyun Huang performs contemporary “percussion theatre pieces” by Rzewski, Alvarez and Aperghis; Lori Freedman teams up with flutist Jean Derome for an evening of 21st-century improvision. Ms. Freedman returns later in the season to give the world premiere of a new work for solo clarinet by Montreal composer Ana Sokolovic, commissioned by The Canada Council for the Arts and written for the Toronto Music Garden. On the same program, accordionist Tiina Kiik and saxophonist David Mott will premiere a new work by Mott, inspired by Bach’s Musical Offering and commissioned by Harbourfront Centre.

And of course audiences will hear music by The Toronto Music Garden’s guiding spirit – J.S. Bach – whether it’s on original instruments or in arrangements for basson or marimba.

The Toronto Music Garden is a unique creation, inspired by J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for Unaccompanied Cello. Each of the garden’s six sections corresponds to a movement of Bach’s Suite: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett and Gigue. Various tours are available to explore the two-acre site which contains many flowering trees, shrubs and perennials. Free 45-minute walking tour led by the Toronto Botanical Garden volunteer guides, or 70-minute self-guided audio tours 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 of the Garden for a rental fee of $5. Guided tours take place June and September, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. and July and August, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. New this year, pre-concert tours on Thursdays at 6 p.m. starting on June 24. Group tours can be booked through the Toronto Botanical Garden directly at 416-397-1366. Please note that individual tours are free, but groups tours are $5 per person.

The annual Summer Music in the Garden series is programmed for Harbourfront Centre under the artistic direction of Tamara Bernstein. The complete concert schedule is as follows:

Thursday, June 24, 7 p.m.
Cello Voce – An evening of songs by Manuel de Falla and Leonard Bernstein, dances by Bela Bartok and Johann Sebastian Bach, performed in lush arrangements for cello ensemble by Desirée Abbey, Ingunn Benediktsson, Eric Han, Peter Cosbey and director Roberta Janzen.

Sunday, June 27 at 4 p.m.
Tales From the Emperor’s Garden – The Little Pear Garden Collective presents two tales of garden rendez-vous from Peking Opera repertoire. William Lau, Sheng Li and Xu Feng Ze play a tipsy concubine, a beautiful mistress and a witty maid; erhu virtuoso George Gao leads an ensemble of Chinese instruments.

Thursday, July 1 at 7 p.m.
True North Brass Quintet presents a Canada Day celebration with music and stories from the True North performed by Raymond Tizzard and Barton Woomert, trumpets; Joan Watson, french horn; Alastair Kay, trombone; and Scott Irvine, tuba.

Sunday, July 4 at 4 p.m.
Marimba virtuosi Nicholas Coulter and Graham Hargrove perform music by Mozart, Scarlatti, Rameau and more.

Thursday, July 8 at 7 pm.
Musique Actuelle – 21st-century improvisations by two electrifying musicians from Montreal: Lori Freedman, clarinets, and Jean Derome, flutes and saxophones.

Thursday, July 15 at 7 p.m.
An evening of Ragas with Aditya Verma, sarod, Subhajyoti Guha, tabla. Virtuosic improvisations in the intricate rhythms and melodies of classical North Indian music.

Sunday, July 18 at 4 p.m.
Make it a Double (Reed that is) – Fraser Jackson, bassoons and Joseph Salvalaggio, oboe, perform a wide-range programme, including music by Bach, Schulhoff, Rodriguez and Hatzis.

Thursday, July 22 at 7 p.m.
West meets (Middle) East I – Violinist Kathleen Kajioka and friends present music from early Baroque Italy and the Arab world as well as original compositions. With Ben Grossman, percussion and hurdy-gurdy; Levon Ichkanian, oud; and Terry McKenna, lute.

Sunday, July 25 at 4 p.m.
West meets (Middle) East II – Alfarabius Ensemble traces connecting threads that connect the music of medieval Europe and the Ottoman and Arabic worlds. Performed on ancient and traditional instruments by George Sawa, Suzanne Myers-Sawa, Andrea Budgey, Randall Rosenfeld and Nabil Shehadeh.

Thursday, July 29 at 7 p.m.
Froyen: Women in Yiddish Song – Internationally renowned Yiddish singer and songwriter from New York city Adrienne Cooper and pianist Marilyn Lerner perform an unusual repertoire of Yiddish songs by and about women, including original work and traditional tunes.

Thursday, August 5 at 7 p.m.
The Kirby Quartet – An exciting new Canadian string quartet performs music by Mozart, Beethoven and Ligeti. Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman, violins; Max Mandel, viola; and Carina Reeves, cello.

Sunday, August 8 at 4 p.m.
White Man Sleeps – The Madawaska String Quartet performs folk inspired music by Kevin Volans, Beethoven, Jose Evangelista and Silvestre Revueltas. Rebecca van der Post and Sarah Fraser Raff, violins; Anna Redekop, viola; and Meran Currie-Roberts, cello.

Thursday, August 12 at 7 p.m.
Re-Percussions I: Aiyun Huang in concert – One of the world’s most brilliant young percussionists performs music by Bach and contemporary “percussion theatre works” by Rzewski, Alvarez and Aperghis.

Sunday, August 15 at 4 p.m.
Re-Percussions II: Toronto Tabla Ensemble – A celebration of India’s Independence Day with the joyous rhythms of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble.

Thursday, August 19 at 7 p.m.
Re-Percussions III: Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble – The Toronto-based Taiko ensemble brings ancient Japanese drumming traditions into the 21st century.

Sunday, August 22 at 4 p.m.
Two outstanding string players from the Canadian Opera Company – concertmaster Marie Bérard and cellist Roberta Janzen – perform duos and solos by Schulhoff, Glière, Bach and Biber.

Thursday, August 26 at 7 p.m.
Reed Rebels – Lori Freedman, clarinets; Tiina Kiik, accordion; and David Mott, saxophone. The evening of composed and improvised music includes the world premieres of two new works both written for the Toronto Music Garden. Ms. Freedman will perform a new work for solo clarinet by Montreal composer Ana Sokolovic, commissioned with the assistance of The Canada Council for the Arts. This season’s Harbourfront Centre commission is by local artist David Mott. The new work, composed for accordion and saxophone is inspired by J.S. Bach’s Musical Offering.

Sunday, August 29 at 4 p.m.
Kids Compose – Young audience members create a new piece with double bassist Peter Pavlovsky, percussionist Rick Sacks and flautist Camille Watts.

Thursday, September 2 at 7 p.m.
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company brings passionate flamenco dance to the Toronto Music Garden. With guest vocalist José Luis Peréz and guitarist Dominique Soulard, both from Montreal.

Sunday, September 12 at 4 p.m.
For the season finale, dancer-choreographer Peggy Baker joins cellist Shauna Rolston in a program including The Transparent Recital by choreographer Tedd Robinson to music by Bach.

From April to September follow the Cultural Collisions icon and explore cultural collisions through globalization, emerging identities and the fusion of artistic ideas as demonstrated throughout various Harbourfront Centre programmes and events.

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

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