2017 Toronto Summer Music Festival celebrates Canada’s Sesquicentennial

Canada 150!
July 13 to August 5, 2017

From July 13 to August 5, 2017, the Toronto Summer Music Festival explores the music of Canada and features some of the country’s renowned classical performers in celebration of Canada’s Sesquicentennial. In his first season as Artistic Director of Toronto Summer Music, Jonathan Crow has programmed a festival where the music of Canadian composers including R. Murray Schafer and Gary Kulesha, and new works by Carmen Braden and Jordan Pal, will be heard alongside repertoire from around the world that influenced Canada’s burgeoning musical scene.

The 2017 Festival showcases an outstanding roster of Canadian and international artists including superstar Canadian violinist James Ehnes, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, soprano Soile Isokoski, the Rolston String Quartet, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

“Music continues to play an integral role in defining what it means to be Canadian. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th, we reflect on the musical influences that have shaped our musical journey and we showcase some of today’s composers and performers who are leading us forward,” said Jonathan Crow, Artistic Director of Toronto Summer Music.

Festival passes are on sale starting March 8; single tickets go on sale March 15, 2017.

In addition to the mainstage concerts the 2017 Festival includes the following Free and Pay What You Can events:

  • FREE Kids Concerts
    New this year, the festival offers fun and engaging one-hour concerts specially designed to introduce children (ages 5-12) to classical music. These free concerts are held during the festival on Wednesday mornings at 10 AM in Walter Hall.
  • SHUFFLE Concerts
    An audience favourite, SHUFFLE Concerts are casual, hour-long concerts featuring Festival artists and next-generation stars. These Pay What You Can concerts take place Tuesdays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. at Yorkville’s Heliconian Hall (35 Hazelton Avenue).
  • FREE Festival Insider Events
    Festival Insider events are free behind-the-scenes offerings held Tuesdays through Fridays at 2 p.m. in the Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto (80 Queen’s Park).
  • FREE Public Masterclasses
    The general public is invited to observe as three internationally-renowned performers give masterclasses to emerging young artists during the 2017 Festival: violinist James Ehnes (July 16), soprano Soile Isokoski (July 23) and pianist Jane Coop(July 30).
  • FREE TSM Academy Concerts
    These popular lunchtime concerts in Yorkville’s Heliconian Hall showcase gifted young performers from the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival guest artists. Concerts take place at noon and run throughout the Festival.

Full programming details for the festival’s free and pay what you can events will be announced in June.

Toronto Summer Music Festival 2017 Schedule

Opening Night: St. Lawrence String Quartet
Thursday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

The Festival launches with a formidable recital by the world-class St. Lawrence String Quartet, praised by the New York Times for producing “A sound that has just about everything one wants from a quartet, most notably precision, warmth and an electricity that conveys the excitement of playing whatever is on their stands at the moment.” This recital showcases three superlative works from three vital periods in the history of the string quartet: Haydn’s warm and witty String Quartet No. 32 in C Major that exemplifies the first golden era; Beethoven’s extraordinary String Quartet No. 14, an early-romantic work cast in seven continuous, intensely varied movements; and the String Quartet No. 3 by the ever-inventive Canadian master
R. Murray Shafer.

Martin Beaver & Friends
Friday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Distinguished Canadian violinist Martin Beaver headlines this diverse program, joined by pianist Angela Park and St. Lawrence String Quartet violist Lesley Robertson and cellist Christopher Costanza. The evening begins with Mozart’s delectable Duo No. 1 for violin and viola in G Major, K.423 in which the composer wrings every possible drop of invention from the two string instruments. Beethoven’s Sonata No. 7 for piano and violin in C Minor provides a perfectly satisfying contrast to the Mozart Duo. The recital concludes with the tuneful Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 32 by Russian composer Anton Arensky, in the folk-flavoured style of his teacher, Tchaikovsky.

Saturday, July 15 at 1:00 p.m. at Walter Hall

This recital showcases outstanding young singers and pianists from the Toronto Summer Music’s 2017 Academy Art of Song Program.

Chamber Music reGENERATION
Saturday, July 15 at 4:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

TSM Academy Fellows, some of the most talented musicians of their generation, are joined by Academy mentors to perform compelling chamber music repertoire.

James Ehnes in Recital
Monday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

There’s nothing more demanding for violinists than an entire program of unaccompanied music. Canadian superstar James Ehnes, has proven time and time again, he is more than equal to the task. Praised for his “playing of phenomenal control, allied to musicianship of the highest order” by The Times of London, Ehnes brings his virtuosity to this recital which is bookended by two glorious works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Partita No. 1 in B Minor and Partita No. 2 in D Minor. Also on the program is the world premiere of Sonatina No. 4, Op. 375 “In Homage to J.S. Bach” by Austrian-born Canadian composer Barrie Cabena and composer Eugene Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3 in D Minor “Ballade”.

Soile Isokoski in Recital
Tuesday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski‘s voice has been described by The Guardian as “a glorious, full-bodied, sparkling soprano with the power to ride over the orchestra pit.” The celebrated soprano, who has sung at all the leading opera houses in Europe including the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, makes her TSM recital debut with pianist Martin Katz with an exciting program that showcases her artistry and includes a selection of songs by Finland’s supreme musical genius, Jean Sibelius. Also on the program are selections from Wolf’s Italian Songbook, Schumann’s Poems of Queen Mary Stuart, Three Ophelia Songsby R. Strauss, and Bernstein’s I Hate Music!

Bach Celebration
Wednesday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer

Three of Canada’s favourite violinists join forces for this special tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach. James Ehnes takes the spotlight for two magnificent solo concertos: the Violin Concerto in A Minor and the Violin Concerto in D Minor. He is joined by Jonathan Crow for the profound Double Concerto in D Minor, followed by a performance of the joyous Triple Concerto in D Major with Crow and Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Following the concert, the audience is invited to join the artists for a celebratory reception.

Mark Fewer Jazz Trio
Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Featuring the talents of Mark Fewer (violin), David Braid (piano) and Joseph Phillips (bass), the Mark Fewer Jazz Trio performs an evening of classic jazz including charts from Ellington and Strayhorn to Canadian works by Jan Jarcyzk, Jodi Proznick and Phil Dwyer.

Chamber Night in Canada
Friday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Five seasoned artists – Andrew Wan (violin), Mark Fewer (violin), David Harding(viola), Antonio Lysy (cello) and Stéphane Lemelin (piano) – pool their talents for this intriguing program. The evening begins with Mozart’s sunny String Quartet No. 4 in C Major, K. 157 and concludes with one of Dvořák’s most popular chamber works, the rich and genial Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major. Also on the program is the soulful Lamentations of Jeremiah by the esteemed Canadian composer Milton Barnes, and the world premiere of Octet by Juno-nominated composer Jordan Pal. The performance will include several TSM Academy Fellows. The world premiere of Octet is supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Saturday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m. at Walter Hall

This recital showcases outstanding young singers and pianists from the Toronto Summer Music’s 2017 Academy Art of Song Program.

Chamber Music reGENERATION
Saturday, July 22 at 4:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

TSM Academy Fellows, some of the most talented musicians of their generation, are joined by Academy mentors to perform compelling chamber music repertoire.

Rolston String Quartet
Monday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Winner of the prestigious 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition, Canada’s Rolston String Quartet performs their superb competition-winning program. The evening includes Ravel’s elegant String Quartet in F Major, his sole venture into the string quartet medium and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 8, Op. 59 No. 2 “Razumovsky”, the second of three that he composed on commission for Count Razumovsky incorporating a number of Russian folk songs with typical ingenuity. A Quartet by the gifted and highly imaginative Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri rounds out the bill.

National Youth Orchestra of Canada
Tuesday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall FREE

The Unsilent Project is a special Canada 150 signature project that tackles issues of Truth and Reconciliation. Jonathan Darlington conducts the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in this free performance, which will include works by Borodin and Strauss.

Dvořák Piano Trio
Wednesday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

There’s a deeply melodic Eastern European flavour to this attractive program with its repertoire by Czech, Hungarian and Czech/Canadian composers including Antonin Dvořák’s poignant Piano Trio in F Minor, Op. 65; Serenade by Hungarian composer Ernö Dohnányi; Sonata No. 3 for violin and piano in celebration of the centenary of one of Canada’s most recognized composers, Czech-born Oskar Morawetz; and Les Veuves (The Widows) by Canadian composer Uriel Vanchestein. This concert features violinists Jonathan Crow and Andrew Wan, violist Steven Dann, cellists Joseph Johnson and Desmond Hoebig, and pianist Angela Park.

A Night at the Opera
Thursday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

Mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, the host of CBC Radio 2’s morning show Tempo, is your guide to this sampling of favourite arias and ensembles from the operas of Puccini, Verdi, Mozart and more. The concert also features performances by TSM Academy alumnus soprano Danika Lorèn, tenor Andrew Haji, bass Gary Relyea, pianist Robert Kortgaard and violinist Nikki Chooi, recently appointed Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

String Extravaganza
Friday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Violinists Andrew Wan and Nikki Chooi, violist Steven Dann and cellists Desmond Hoebig and Joseph Johnson take the stage in this program anchored by one of the true masterworks of the chamber music repertoire, Schubert’s richly emotional and broadly proportioned String Quintet in C Major, D. 956. The evening also includes the String Trio by accomplished Canadian composer Gary Kulesha and Ravel’s Sonata for violin and cello, which the composer himself described as a turning point in his career.

Chamber Music reGENERATION
Saturday, July 29 at 4:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

TSM Academy Fellows, some of the most talented musicians of their generation, are joined by Academy mentors to perform compelling chamber music repertoire.

Jonathan Crow
Monday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

In this tribute to the two founding nations of Canada, TSM Artistic Director Jonathan Crow joins forces with pianist Philip Chiu for a program of French, English and English/Canadian pieces. The recital offers the opportunity to compare violin sonatas by the two most important French composers of the early twentieth century: Debussy’s crisp, neoclassical Sonata for violin and piano in G Minor, and Ravel’s jazz and blues-inspired Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano in G Major. Also on the program is Sonata No. 1 in E Minor by English-born composer Healey Willan, who immigrated to Canada in 1913 where he earned high distinction as a composer, teacher and organ soloist. Willan’s music follows traditional late-romantic models like Elgar, whose engaging violin miniatures, Selections for violin and piano, round out the evening.

TSO Chamber Soloists
Wednesday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Celebrated pianist Jane Coop, lauded as “an artist of unusual distinction” by the New York Daily News, is joined by several Toronto Symphony Orchestra soloists for a hearty evening of music. This concert features Debussy’s haunting “Syrinx” for flute solo, Mozart’s tart and refined Oboe Quartet in F Major, K. 370 and Brahms’ Horn Trio performed by Sara Jeffrey (oboe), Kelly Zimba (flute), Gabriel Radford(horn), Jonathan Crow (violin), Shane Kim (violin), Teng Li (viola), and Joseph Johnson (cello). Also on the bill is the premiere of a work by composer Carmen Braden of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

A Tribute to Anton Kuerti
Thursday, August 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Pianist Anton Kuerti, OC was born in Vienna and has lived in Canada for more than 50 years. Regarded as one of Canada’s finest musicians, he has won accolades for his insightful interpretations of such illustrious Austro-German composers as Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Schumann. This tribute features pianist Jane Coop performing in every piece, from the winsome solo Bagatelles, Op. 33 by Beethoven to the monumental Piano Quintet in F Minor by Brahms. Violist and former TSM Artistic Director Douglas McNabney joins mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell and Jane Coop for the deeply expressive Two Songs scored by Brahms for the fascinating combination of voice, viola and piano. The concert includes performances by violinists Barry Shiffman and Jonathan Crow, and cellist Joseph Johnson.

Last Night of the Festival, eh!
Friday, August 4 at 7:00 p.m. at Koerner Hall

Join us for a special flag-waving Canadian version of the BBC’s beloved annual Last Night of the Proms concert. Boris Brott conducts the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo and violinist Kerson Leong in a fun-filled audience-participation program featuring Québec composer Maxime Goulet’s delectable Symphonic Chocolates along with Proms favourites Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory, Arne’s Rule, Britannia! and Parry’s Jerusalem.

TSM Late Night Encore
Friday, August 4 at 10:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

Schubert composed his powerfully dramatic String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor known as “Death and the Maiden” at the age of 27, while recovering from a serious bout of ill health. This pillar of the chamber music repertoire will be performed by mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo, violinist Jonathan Crow and TSM Academy Fellows.

Saturday, August 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

The Festival’s closing night celebration will feature highlights from the TSM Academy programs.

Toronto Summer Music gratefully acknowledges the support of Canadian Heritage, The Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Arts Foundation, Toronto Arts Council, Metcalf Foundation, TD Bank, Jones Collombin Investment Counsel Inc., BMO Financial Group, RBC Emerging Artists Project, CIBC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AIMIA, Rheo Thompson Candies, Business For The Arts, Esther Gelber Fund, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, University of Toronto Faculty of Music, Classical 96.3 FM, Toronto Life, The Wholenote, and the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville.

Thank you to our 2017 Collaborative Artistic Partners: National Academy Orchestra of Canada, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and the Canadian Music Centre.

Ticket & Venue Information

Festival Passes ($343-$733) and Flex Passes (15-20% discount on 5 or more concerts) are on sale as of March 8, 2017. To purchase festival passes call 416-408-0208 or visit the Weston Family Box Office at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning (273 Bloor Street West).

Single tickets to the Festival concerts ($20-$80) will be on sale as of March 15, 2017. To purchase single tickets visit www.torontosummermusic.com, call 416-408-0208 or visit the Weston Family Box Office at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning (273 Bloor Street West). For information on all 2016 Festival activities call 416-408-0208 or visit www.torontosummermusic.com.

Festival mainstage performances take place at: Koerner Hall in the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning (273 Bloor Street West), Walter Hall at University of Toronto (80 Queen’s Park) or Church of the Redeemer (162 Bloor Street West).