Stratford Summer Music announces spectacular, piano and Glenn Gould-centric July and August

17-year-old piano sensation Jan Lisiecki will present three solo recitals at Stratford Summer Music this year.

Using the 80th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth as his excuse, Stratford Summer Music artistic producer John Miller today unveiled a spectactular summer season, featuring several notable pianists, as well as a long list of other classical and more popular concert guests — including Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra — for its 12th season, which kicks off on July 16, and runs almost to the end of August.

“This year we take a major leap to present the most renowned names and series we have ever offered,” said Miller, the music festival’s founder, in a press release.  “We’re adding a week and offering several special programs in tribute to Glenn Gould who would have celebrated his 80th birthday this year and who, in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, was a strong proponent of the place of music among the arts in our city.”

Here are the details from today’s release:

Canadian piano sensation Jan Lisiecki — who is all of 17 — will present three recitals (July 19, 20, 21) in the first week’s piano series.  The celebrated Canadian duo – Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt – will personally perform a concert version of their music drama and huge Canadian hit, Two Pianos, Four Hands (July 22) as the climax to the first week.

Organ Week, traditionally the second week of the festival, will feature three young Canadian organists, each in tribute to Gould the organist, and each performing a portion of the only organ work Mr. Gould ever recorded, Bach’s Art of Fugue. Andrew Adair (originally from Stratford), July 26; Sarah Svendsen (New Glasgow, Nova Scotia), July 27 and Ryan Jackson (originally from Bracebridge, and now Assistant Organist, Christ Church United Methodist, New York City).

In August, The BMO International Piano Series will present four of the world’s preeminent pianists in full-length recitals on Wednesday afternoons: Simone Dinnerstein (USA), August 1; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (France), August 8; David Jalbert (Canada), August 15; and Gabriela Montero (Venezuela), August 22.

In its first Stratford Summer Music residency, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor and baritone Tyler Duncan will perform two concerts (August 18, 19) with music from the cantatas of Bach.

In the newly added sixth week, the spotlight shines on three young Canadian pianists whom Miller personally selected for their potential: Sheng Cai (August 23); Lucas Porter (August 24) and 13-year old Annie Zhou (August 25).

The National Youth Orchestra of Canada will play a free outdoor concert to mark Opening Night on July 16 in Lower Queens Park. The evening’s climax will be double-barrelled as the NYOC plays Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with sound effects.

Young people will be invited to take part in School of Rawk presented by one of Canada’s coolest trios, Speed Control from Whitehorse, Yukon.  From August 20-24, School of Rawk is a fun, interactive workshop open to everyone who loves old-fashioned rock’n’roll.

The brunch concert series at Rundles Restaurant will feature George Meanwell in six different weekend shows based on songs about travel between July 21 through August 26.

The will be jazz at the Church Restaurant, this year celebrating the music of Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana, with special guests, The Heavyweights Brass Band (August 24).

Thirteen different ensembles will appear on Stratford Summer Music’s outdoor MusicBarge, from the country’n’western Divorcees of New Brunswick, to the Scottish folk music of The Paul McKenna Band, to the Bells in Motion handbell choir from the U.S. midwest, to the Home Cookin’ Dixieland Band, the Antler River Project and the London Fire Fighters Pipe Band from southwestern Ontario.

Four other notable events are:

  • A salute to the Queen’s Diamond Jubliee, with the displaying of a copy of Canada’s new official portrait of Her Majesty, a public conversation about this work with the artist, Phil Richards and Lloyd Robertson (Stratford Summer Music’s Honorary President), and a special Music of the Coronation concert to relive the sounds and images of June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey. (August 11, 12).
  • Three illustrated lectures by CBC radio host, Robert Harris, based on his popular series, Music that Changed the World  (August 2, 3, 4)
  • The festival will also mark the launch of a new book by freelance Toronto music critic and composer Colin Eatock, Remembering Glenn Gould: Twenty Interviews with People Who Knew Him, following the afternoon performance of the Goldberg Variations by Canadian pianist, David Jalbert (August 15).
  • And Stratford storefront will display The Hunstein Variations, portraits of Glenn Gould taken by his favourite photographer, Don Hunstein of New York.

Details of the 2012 schedule, including performers’ repertoire, dates, locations, ticket prices and discounts for series tickets are available online at

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