Saturday, July 18, 2015

Music Festivals in Ontario Round Two

As promised a couple of weeks ago in this space, I'm offering up today another round of the many music festivals either already underway or just about to get underway in Ontario that are worth the drive.  There are many more, of course, some of which are listed on the Calendar page of my website at  But here is a sampling of what's available both far and near this month.

Close to home, I mentioned Music Niagara in my last post on music festivals, but I did want to touch here on a big concert they have coming up this Monday evening at 7:30 pm at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  They scored a bit of a coup with the Buffalo Philharmonic coming to Shaw, conducted by their Music Director JoAnn Falletta.  The BPO occasionally crosses the Niagara River to perform in Canada, but it has been a few years since their last appearance, as I recall, so here is a great chance to hear a great orchestra in your own backyard.

The BPO performed at the Canalside park area in Buffalo on Thursday evening, a free open-air concert tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder, conducted by the Niagara Symphony Music Director Bradley Thachuk, and from what I heard the concert was a great success.  The Shaw concert will be indoors, of course, and I can imagine how they'll sound in the Shaw Festival Theatre.  Want to go?  Go to to find out more.

Meantime just over the Niagara River, the 2015 season of Artpark concerts is in full swing in Lewiston, New York.  Artpark has had a troubled history the last few years with funding cutbacks and such, but they seem to be on the rebound, and this season appears to be a stellar one for the venerable institution.

The popular Tuesdays in the Park series continues with The Australian Pink Floyd Show this coming Tuesday evening, Grace Potter on July 28th and the "Wheels of Soul" 2015 Summer Tour making an appearance August 4th.  The series continues throughout August with CCR & America, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Doobie Brothers and The J. Geils Band rounding out the season.

Other nights at Artpark will see a production of Peter Pan on the MainStage from July 30th through to August 7th and the Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival running August 28th to 29th.

Lots more coming up at Artpark as well, and you can find out more by going to

Down in Hamilton, the Brott Music Festival is already in full swing as well, with blues singer Rita Chiarelli performing at the Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum tomorrow evening at 7; a production of Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville comes up July 23rd at the McIntyre Performing Arts Centre at Mohawk College; and on the 26th there will be a Pan Am Closing Fireworks Concert starring Terra Lightfoot on the Hamilton Harbourfront beginning at 9 pm.

In August, Brott Music presents a joint venture with the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, as Boris and the National Academy Orchestra present music by Beethoven at the Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts up in Parry Sound on August 9th.  The Grand Finale Choral Spectacular on August 13th returns to Hamilton with present Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and the ever-popular Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.

More information and tickets to the Brott Music Festival can be had by going to

Down in Stratford, the venerable theatre festival is not the only game in town much of the summer.  The annual Stratford Summer Music series runs for six weeks with no less than 100 musical events running from July 20th to August 30th.  There's an opening night fireworks show with music along the Avon River on Monday evening at 9:15 to kick things off.

This is one of the most ambitious music festivals around, with barge concerts many afternoons, park events, waterfront events, and lots of indoor concerts as well.  They also programme the events at rather unusual times in order to fit everything in.  For example, there is a concert of The Sacred Music of R. Murray Schafer at St. James Church beginning at 10 pm on August 7th, and there are even R. Murray Schafer concerts for three consecutive mornings entitled Music for an Avon Morning.  These will be held on Tom Patterson Island down at the Avon River from August 7th to the  9th at 7 am, if you can believe it.

There are brunches, lectures and more throughout the festival, and you can find out more by going to

Finally, I mentioned the Festival of the Sound joint venture with the Brott Music Festival this year; the Festival of the Sound runs from this weekend through to August 9th, with most concerts and events taking place at the beautiful Charles W. Stockey Centre in Parry Sound.  There are also summer music cruises aboard the Island Queen and the Chippewa, and some recitals in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

Highlights include a full day of music by Brahms on July 22nd, with three concerts entitled The Young Composer, The Middle Years and The Master, all featuring the great music of Brahms.  Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear presents the music of Beethoven on the afternoon of August 7th, and the Toronto All-Star Big Band performs on the evening of August 2nd.

The Parry Sound area is beautiful anytime of year, but with all this great music in the summer months, why not take a break and head up north?  For more information, go to

As mentioned there are lots of other music festivals coming up as well, and all these and many other events are all listed in detail on the Calendar page of my website at for real one-stop shopping.

Have a great weekend!

July 18th, 2015.

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