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Harbourfront Centre's Summer Music in the Garden Returns to the Toronto Music Garden with Free Concerts, Dance Performances and Tours

TORONTO, ON (May 31, 2010)Harbourfront Centre’s Summer Music in the Garden returns to the Toronto Music Garden with another season of free performances and popular garden tours. Summer Music in the Garden 2010 will see the return of many favourite performers from the past 10 seasons, while more than 47 artists will make their debuts.

From Thursday, July 1 through Sunday, September 19, Summer Music in the Garden presents 20 free outdoor concerts involving more than 88 artists.

The concerts take place Thursday evenings at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. (weather permitting). Free tours of the Toronto Music Garden, led by volunteers from the Toronto Botanical Garden, commence June 2 and take place Wednesdays at 11 a.m. through September 29, and on Thursdays before every concert at 5:30 p.m. from July 1 through September 19. Admission to the park is always free and open to all ages, including tours and concerts.

Visitors to the garden can also take an audio tour, with commentary from the Toronto Music Garden’s designers Yo-Yo Ma and Julie Moir Messervy. Hand-held audio players are available for $6 at Harbourfront Centre’s Marina Quay West office, 539 Queens Quay West.

The annual Summer Music in the Garden series and guided tours are produced by Harbourfront Centre in partnership with City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, with the generous support of Toronto Culture, and Margaret and Jim Fleck, George Dembroski, David Graham, Sandra and Jim Pitblado, and William and Phyllis Waters. Summer Music in the Garden is curated for Harbourfront Centre by artistic director Tamara Bernstein, who celebrates her 10th year of concert programming in 2010.

The Toronto Music Garden is a City of Toronto park, located on the waterfront at 475 Queens Quay West (on the water’s edge side), between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. The Garden is wheelchair-accessible and open year-round. For information on current programmes, the public can call Harbourfront Centre, 416-973-4000 or visit For information on City of Toronto parks and gardens, the public can call 311 or visit

Please note: All concerts are approximately one hour long (except where noted) and take place weather permitting. Concerts are cancelled in the event of inclement weather.

Songs Across the Waters
Thurs., July 1, 7 p.m.
To open the season, and to celebrate Canada Day, the Ahkwesasne Women Singers share traditional songs, in Mohawk language, that reflect Mohawk women’s spirituality, world view, humour and life experience. Plus: the world premiere of Agamiing (On the Shore), a new work by Barbara Croall for traditional native percussion, cedar flutes, voice and clarinet, over a background of field recordings. Agamiing was commissioned by Harbourfront Centre for the Toronto Music Garden, and will be performed by the composer and Peter Stoll.

Fermate il Passo (“Stay a moment, passer-by!”)
Sun., July 4, 4 p.m.
In 15th-century Italy, on the cusp of the Renaissance and Baroque, poetry meets music, and opera is born – or at least, conceived! Accompanying herself on the five-stringed viola d’arco, Italian early music luminary VivaBiancaLuna Biffi sings a universal tale of love: its euphoria and torments; its ultimate triumph over adversity. Co-produced with Istituo Italiano di Cultura and in co-operation with Montreal Baroque.

Look Back in Tenderness: Brahms on Love and Life
Thurs., July 8, 7 p.m.
From the end of the 19th century, and near the end of the composer’s life, a great song without words from Brahms: his beloved Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 115, performed by clarinetist Jerome Summers and the Madawaska String Quartet: Rebecca van der Post and Sarah Fraser Raff, violins; Anna Redekop, viola; Amber Ghent, cello.

Does this Drum Make My Brass Look Big?
Sun., July 11, 4 p.m.
The superb brass and percussion sections of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada give their annual, highly anticipated performance at the Toronto Music Garden.

Four Hands, Twenty-Nine Strings
Thurs., July 15, 7 p.m.
Playing an array of period instruments, violinist Linda Melsted and guitarist Terry McKenna romp their way through music from the 17th to the 20th century: old English dance tunes, an opera overture, a steamy tango, and more! Works by Gluck, Niccola Matteis, Maximo Diego Pujol and Pierre Porro.

Dance Tunes Without Borders
Thurs., July 22, 7 p.m.
Juno-winning banjoist Jayme Stone, fiddler Mike Barnett, guitarist Grant Gordy and bass player Greg Garrison perform music based on folk dances from around the world: reels, rachenitsas, strathspeys and sambas from Sweden, Scotland, Brazil, Bulgaria, North America – and Bach.

Divertissements for a Summer Day
Sun., July 25, 4 p.m.
The Liberty Village Wind Trio performs Ibert’s Cinq Pièces en Trio, Tansman’s Suite pour Trio d'Anches, Villa Lobos’ Duo for Oboe and Bassoon, Milhaud’s Suite d'Après Corrette, and Jean Françaix’s Divertissement. Caitlin Broms-Jacobs, oboe; Alexandra Eastly, bassoon; Shauna McDonald, clarinet.

The Road to Kashgar
Thurs., July 29, 7 p.m.
Vancouver’s Orchid Ensemble presents a program inspired by the rhythms, modes and character of the many lands and cultural traditions found along the Silk Road. Along with ancient melodies of Chinese, Indian, Jewish, and Central Asian origins, they’ll play music by B.C. composers Lan Tung, Moshe Denburg and Mark Armanini. Lan Tung: erhu, vocal, percussion; Haiqiong Deng: zheng, percussion; Jonathan Bernard: marimba, percussion. Co-produced with Small World Music.

Nagata Shachu: Unplugged!
Thurs. Aug. 5, 7 p.m.
This thrilling Toronto-based Japanese music ensemble will perform a selection of original works from its extensive repertoire. From their thunderous taiko drums to the delicate shamisen and bamboo flutes, Nagata Shachu will take you on a musical journey through Japan.

The King’s Feast: Dilemma Tales from Around the World
Sun., Aug. 8, 4 p.m.
Join storyteller Dan Yashinsky, Zimbabwean mbira master Rainos Mutamba and jazz and klezmer guitarist Brian Katz as they play music, dance, and tell stories filled with guessing-games, riddles, and dilemmas to challenge and delight every listener.

Inspired by Cremona
Thurs., Aug. 12, 7 p.m.
As instrument-makers of 17th-century Italy turned out violins of unsurpassed beauty, the local composers dreamed up bold new music to feature the instrument. Catch the excitement and passion as baroque violinists Patricia Ahern and Linda Melsted, harpsichordist Borys Medicky, and lutenist Lucas Harris perform music by Carlo Farina, Tarquinio Merula and Dario Castello.

Dancing with Dvoák
Sun., Aug. 15, 4 p.m.
The Cecilia String Quartet returns to perform Dvoák’s Waltz Op. 54 No. 1 in A Major and String Quartet No. 13 in G Major, Op. 106, topped off by Brahms’s beloved Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor. Min-Jeong Koh and Sarah Nematallah, violins; Caitlin Boyle, viola, and Rebecca Wenham, cello.

Ragas for a Summer Evening
Thurs., Aug. 19, 7 p.m.
Sarangi virtuosa Aruna Narayan invokes the spiritual dimensions of twilight
through North Indian ragas for this time of day. With Vineet Vyas, tabla, and Akshay Kalle, tanpura.

Masque of the Garden
Sun., Aug. 22 , 4 p.m.
Musicians of the Toronto Masque Theatre join with actor Derek Boyes and baroque dancer Dorothea Ventura in a program celebrating summer, life, and the Music Garden itself, including dances which inspired the six sections of the garden.

Able was I ere I heard Abel
Thurs., Aug. 26, 7 p.m.
Viola da gambist Justin Haynes and baroque cellist Kate Haynes present a tribute to the 18th century's last great gamba virtuoso, Carl Friedrich Abel, in a program that might have been heard at the famous Bach-Abel concert series in 1770s London. Music by Haydn, Abel, Christoph Schaffrath and more.

Accordions – Unleashed!
Sun., Aug. 29, 4 p.m.
Five accordion virtuosi – Ina Henning, Eugene Laskiewicz, Joseph Macerollo, Kimberley Pritchard and Alexander Sevastian – rock the garden with a program of solos and ensembles -- including Bach's Concerto for Four Harpsichords.

Bach at Dusk
Thurs., Sept. 2, 7 p.m.
Winona Zelenka concludes her six-year odyssey through Bach’s Suites for solo cello with the dark, dramatic Suite No. 5 in C Minor, written for unconventionally tuned cello. Note: short concert (approx. 30 minutes) due to early sunset.

Tales of Love, Murder and (Other) Nonsense
Thurs., Sept. 9, 7 p.m.
The brilliant young mezzo-soprano Marta Herman performs 20th-century music by Brian Elias and Harry Freedman, interspersed with Elizabethan lute songs, with guitar accompaniment. Note: short concert (approx. 30 minutes) due to early sunset.

Mozart Un-Locked
Sun., Sept. 12, 4 p.m.
The Rosetta Trio presents sublime string music separated by 150 years: a 17th century suite by Matthew Locke, and Mozart's Divertimento for String Trio in Eb Major, K.563. Performed on period instruments by Abigail Karr, violin; Sarah Darling, viola, and Kate Bennett Haynes, cello. They are joined by lutenist Lucas Harris in the Locke.

Shauna and Friends
Sun., Sept. 19, 4 p.m.
Renowned Canadian cellist Shauna Rolston and outstanding student cellists from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music brings the season to a close with music by Elgar, Massenet, Kreisler and others, arranged for solo, duo and cello ensemble.

The Toronto Music Garden is one of Toronto’s most enchanting locations. The Garden was conceived by internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and designed by Boston-based landscape artist Julie Moir Messervy. Its design interprets Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for Unaccompanied Cello, with each dance movement within the suite corresponding to a different section of the Garden: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett and Gigue. The Toronto Music Garden is the only garden/park in the world known to be directly inspired by a specific piece of music. In tribute to the garden’s anniversary, author and landscape designer Messervy has released The Toronto Music Garden: Inspired by Bach in partnership with the City of Toronto and Margaret and Jim Fleck, available at Harbourfront Centre’s BOUNTY Contemporary Craft Design or through For more information on the book, call Valerie Croswell at 416-392-9470 or email

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 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.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on the 10-acre site it operates in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.


Media Contact: Cary Mignault, 416-973-4655 or

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