Elora Festival 2013 Summer Concert Series

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By Jared Davison

For 34 years now, The Elora Festival has been bringing the world’s best musicians and performers to the village of Elora for an internationally acclaimed annual summer music event.

Founded in 1979 by a visionary group of Elora residents, this festive celebration of song runs for 4 weeks every summer and attracts capacity crowds from across the province of Ontario.

The Elora Festival has something for everyone; from large-scale classical works for choir and orchestra to flamenco, jazz, folk and rock. This summer’s series of concerts features Leahy, Steven Page, Steve Bell, The Jorge Miguel Flamenco Ensemble and Brass Transit comfortably nestled between performances of Bach, Handel, Beethoven and other classical greats.

The JUNO and GRAMMY-nominated Elora Festival Singers are the principle choral ensemble of the Festival. Living up to their international applaud, the singers will be showcasing their craft this summer during performances of Verdi’s Requiem, Benjamin Britten’s choral works, sacred Baltic a cappella music, Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic operetta The Mikado, Handel’s Acis & Galatea, and many others.

Guest artists are an integral component of the Elora Festival’s diverse programming, bringing ensembles and soloists to Elora this summer from Moscow, New Zealand and elsewhere. The 2013 concert series features The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with Isabel Bayrakdarian, a soprano of Armenian heritage who, aside from her fame in classical circles, has lent her angelic voice to Canadian electronic group, Delerium, as well as The Lord of the Ring’s award-winning soundtrack.

Performing at the Festival’s preeminent venue, the Gambrel Barn, The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra will be taking the audience on a journey from 13th-century Europe to 21st-century America with works by Ravel, Kradjian, Sayat-Nova and selections from their recent CD release of works by Philip Glass.

Intimate settings have always played an important role in the appeal of the Elora Festival, and the long-standing arrangement with St. John’s Church is no exception. This summer we will see the New Zealand String Quartet demonstrating their masterful interpretations of works by Brahms and contemporary New Zealand composer, Jack Body, in this quaint church turned performance venue.

Also appearing at St. John’s Church this season is the extraordinary Moscow String Quartet. Performing works by Borodin, Schnittke and Shostakovich, these passionate promoters of 20th Century music will surely be one of the Festival highlights.

Not only does the Festival’s 2013 season feature well-established artists such as internationally renowned Acadian soprano, Suzie LeBlanc, but also provides a platform for emerging artists who are quickly becoming recognized for their vibrancy and skill. 23-year-old pianist, Sheng Cai, will be performing works by Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff, and the Fung Chiu Piano Duo will be on stage with Canadian voice-actor, Colin Fox, during a playful interpretation of works by Mendelssohn, Bernstein and Prokofiev.

And speaking of playful, New York’s Sonic Escape will be delighting Festival attendees with their storytelling antics, humour and audience participation this summer. These Juilliard graduates with backgrounds in acting, singing and dancing bring their mastery of flute, violin and cello to St. John’s Church in what will surely be a much talked about programme entitled Circle the Sea.

Of course, a festival of this magnitude would not be complete without a bombastic performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Joining the Elora Festival Singers in this monumental undertaking are pianists James Bourne and Michel Ross, as well as Toronto’s TorQ Percussion Quartet.

The four-week festival launches July 12th and culminates August 4th with a medley of songs from the music-theatre repertoire during the aptly-titled Show Tunes at the Gambrel Barn with pianist James Bourne and The Elora Festival Singers.

Discover why music-lovers from across the province come to the alluring village of Elora every summer. Visit www.elorafestival.com for a complete listing of concerts and to purchase tickets.