Summer festivals are one of the best things about this time of year, whether they’re indoors or out. I prefer a casual atmosphere to formal, which is why summer festivals are my favourite. Performers also love summer festivals, where they can do their thing in more comfortable clothing, and take in the sights in non-snowy weather. Many summer festivals also run seminars and classes for advanced music students to study, so a lot of performers are in residence for a few weeks, which is a welcome break from constant travel and jet lag. Here are a few classical and multi-genre events taking place throughout Ontario to look forward to as you plan your summer holiday.
June 7 – September 20
This multi-genre festival is set in the heart of Muskoka features a wide mix of music, theatre, dance, and visual arts in several venues and local, national, and international performers. Educational opportunities are available for students, too. This year’s lineup includes Bahamas, Kyung-A Lee, Bruce Cockburn, Huntsville: A Choral History, Unforgettable: The Music of Nat King Cole, Jim Cuddy Band, Queer Songbook Orchestra, Nuit Blanche North, Jill Barber, Jeremy Dutcher, Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, Colin James, and more.
June 27 – August 8
Brott Music Festival
Burlington & Hamilton
Concerts include “Fascinating Rhytthm”, “Let’s Go to the Opera!”, “PopOpera”, “La Boheme” and “Connoisseur Classics 2”, there’s something for everyone. Performers include Rachel Mercer, Adrian Anantawan, and others.
June 27 – September 15
Harbourfront Centre – Summer Music in the Garden
This year’s FREE festival boasts classical and world music in the form of Madawaska Quartet, Les Voix humaines viol, traditional Chinese and Korean instruments, TorQ Percussion, Voices from Eastern Europe, VC2, and Andrea Tyniec.
July 11 – August 3
Toronto Summer Music Festival
Toronto’s only summertime chamber music festival held at University of Toronto and Koerner Hall next door features New Orford String Quartet, Anthony Dean Griffey, Warren Jones, Charles Richard-Hamelin, Kleztory, Art of Time Ensemble, Angela Hewitt, and Ensemble Made in Canada, among others. TSM Academy Fellows perform, too.
July 12 – July 28
The Elora Festival kicks off with its Opening Night 40th Anniversary Gala and concludes with a 40th Anniversary Finale! Under the direction of Artistic Director and conductor Mark Vuorinen, this summer’s lineup features the Elora Singers, TorQ Percussion, Natalie MacMaster, Jane Archibald, the Laplante/Seiler/Carr Trio, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Measha Brueggergosman, and many others.
July 18 – August 11
Collingwood Summer Music Festival
A mix of classical and jazz, the CSMF will feature Daniel Wnukowski, the Elmer Iseler Singers, Mayumi Seiler, Gryphon Trio, Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley Duo, Trevor Copp, and others.
Festival of the Sound
July 19 – August 10
Artistic Director James Campbell has been running the Festival of the Sound since 1985, and over the decades has built up serious cred; the festival is about to celebrate its 40th season. Located at Parry Sound, this year’s line up includes a Canada Day Cruise before the July 19 Gala Opening Concert. Artists include Penderecki String Quartet, James Campbell, Russell Braun, Colin Ainsworth, Hannaford Silver Band, Gryphon Trio, Janina Fialkowska, Mark Fewer, and more, including a showing of the film “Celebration At Big Sur”.
Summer Opera Lyric Theatre
July 26 – August 4
This Toronto summer program offers audiences the chance to see budding young opera singers before they’re famous. The singers have the chance to work on role development and performing. Directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin, this summer’s productions are “Riders to the Sea”, “Gianni Schicci”, “EARNEST, The Importance of Being”, and La Traviata”. Check their site for updates.