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Harbourfront Centre’s Summer Music in the Garden series returns for a12th season on June 30, 2011, with Free Concerts and Tours

TORONTO, ON (May 18, 2011) Harbourfront Centre’s Summer Music in the Garden returns to the Toronto Music Garden with a 12th season of free performances and popular garden tours. The 2011 series will host many of the favourite performers from the previous 11 seasons, while others will make their debuts. From June 30 through September 18, Summer Music in the Garden presents 17 free outdoor concerts that feature more than 58 artists.

The Artistic Director of Summer Music in the Garden is Tamara Bernstein, who celebrates her 11th year of concert programming in 2011. The programming once again shows the vast range of riches found within the categories of classical and traditional music. The classical offerings range from Carl Loewe’s Quatuor spirituel, inspired by the Biblical Psalms, to a program of South Asian music inspired by the Sanskrit word “maya” (illusion), to Belonging, in which Toronto composer Chan Ka Nin finds a way of making the humble accordion “belong” with a discriminating string quartet. Traditional concerts traverse several musical continents, from the high-octane Quebecois group Genticorum, to ancient songs to the Madonna from southern Italy, to Japanese taiko drums.

Concerts take place Thursdays 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 June 30 through September 18. Admission to the park is always free and open to all ages, including tours and concerts. Visitors to the garden can also enjoy 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 tours are produced by Harbourfront Centre in partnership with City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, with the generous support of Toronto Culture, TD Bank Group, in addition to support from Margaret & Jim Fleck, George & Katharine Dembroski, David Graham, KM Hunter Charitable Foundation, Michael & Sonja Koerner, Judy & Wil Matthews, Sandra & Jim Pitblado, Ben Saskin and William & Phyllis Waters.

The Toronto Music Garden is a City of Toronto park, located on the waterfront at 475 Queens Quay West, between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. The Garden is wheelchair-accessible and open year-round. For information on current programmes and to check on concert status, 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.

Nagez, rameurs!
June 30, 7 p.m.
Quebec’s award-winning Genticorum gets toes tapping with passionate interpretations of traditional French-Canadian music.

‘O solo il mio violoncello!
Elinor Frey, cello
July 3, 4 p.m.
The brilliant, Montreal-based cellist Elinor Frey performs music by Italian cellist-composers from the Baroque, as well as powerful solos by Giovanni Sollima (b. 1962) and Canada’s Chris Paul Harman.

Subhajyoti Guha and friends
July 7, 7 p.m.
In partnership with Small World Music. A South Asian percussion and violin ensemble perform a concert that takes its inspiration from the Sanskrit word “maya”, meaning “illusion.”

Labours of Love: Visionary works for string quartet
Cecilia String Quartet
July 14, 7 p.m.
Canada’s award-winning Cecilia String Quartet returns to the Music Garden with music by Mozart, Beethoven and Piazzolla.

'With joy and light encircled'
Kevin Skelton and friends
July 17, 4 p.m.
Radiant and fiery chamber music from the German Baroque, featuring intimate sacred cantatas and instrumental works by Telemann and Schütz performed by Kevin Skelton, Alison Melville, Olivier Fortin and Thomas Baeté.

Drumming on the Brightside
TorQ Percussion Quartet
July 24, 4 p.m.
Take a riveting rhythmic journey from American minimalism to the Middle East.

Soft-voiced hero
Sharon Lee and friends
July 28, 7 p.m.
Music for string trio and oboe by Mozart, Beethoven and Britten performed by Sharon Lee, Marcin Swoboda, Judith Manger and Caitlin Broms-Jacobs.

Reed Blowout in the Music Garden
Aug. 7, 7 p.m.
Two reed virtuosi – clarinetist Kornel Wolak and accordionist Joseph Macerollo – team up for an entertaining, sometimes dramatic, musical reunion of these two distant relatives of the reed family. The programme will include Gioacchino Rossini’s brilliant Introduction,Theme and Variations, and the world premiere of Quay Quodlibet by Toronto composer Norbert Palej, commissioned by Harbourfront Centre for the Toronto Music Garden.

Music from the Back Row
Quartico brass
Aug. 14, 4 p.m.
Four outstanding brass players step forward to perform great music written for low brass quartet.

Mountain High, River Flow... (without end)
Orchid Ensemble
Aug. 18, 7 p.m.
Vancouver’s Juno-nominated Orchid Ensemble performs repertoire inspired by mountains and rivers.

The Root is One
Shiraz Ensemble
Aug. 21, 4 p.m.
The Shiraz Ensemble takes Persian Classical music in new directions, exploring the roots of ancient melodic modes and rhythms found in different regions of Iran and in ancient Persian poetry.

Nagata Shachu
Aug. 25, 7 pm
Toronto's exhilarating taiko ensemble Nagata Shachu makes its much-anticipated annual appearance.

Quatuor spirituel
Windermere String Quartet
Aug. 28, 4 p.m.
The Windermere String Quartet returns with sublime music by Haydn, Loewe and Schubert, on period instruments.

“Under Starry Sky”
Sept. 1, 7pm
Chanteuse extraordinaire Beth Anne Cole sings songs of Night and Nature composed by herself, Kurt Weill, Gilles Vigneault, Nino Rota and others, accompanied by the exciting young guitarist Rob MacDonald.

Bach at Dusk
Kate Bennett Haynes, Baroque cello
Sept. 8, 7 p.m.
Baroque cellist Kate Bennett Haynes inaugurates a cycle of Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello with the Suite No. 1 in G Major – the piece that inspired the Music Garden.

Ton Beau Quartet and Ina Henning
Sept. 11, 4 p.m.
Toronto’s Ton Beau string quartet and accordionist Ina Henning perform music by Mozart, Rameau and Chan Ka Nin.

I canti a Maria
Vesuvius Ensemble
Sept. 18, 4 p.m.
The Vesuvius Ensemble makes its Music Garden debut, and closes the 2011 season, with passionate traditional songs to the Madonna from the regions surrounding Naples.

The Toronto Music Garden is one of Toronto’s most enchanting public park 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 movement of the suite corresponding in both name and spirit to a different section of the Music Garden: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett and Gigue. We know of no other public garden in the world that reflects a specific piece of music in this way. In the garden’s 10th anniversary year, Messervy released The Toronto Music Garden: Inspired by Bach in partnership with the City of Toronto and Margaret and Jim Fleck. The book is available at The Centre Shop at Harbourfront Centre 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.

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 westbound Harbourfront LRT (509 or 510 streetcar). 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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