Beyond Borders – 2019 Toronto Summer Music Festival

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Beyond Borders

2019 Toronto Summer Music Festival celebrates

cross-cultural influences and collaborations

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TORONTO, ONTARIO – From July 11 to August 3, 2019, the Toronto Summer Music Festival explores and celebrates the cross-cultural influences that have pervaded classical music from the times of Mozart and Mahler, right up to the composers of today.

“Toronto is one of the most diverse cities on the planet.  I am thrilled that this year’s theme Beyond Borders, reflects the cross-cultural dialogue we all value so highly.   We welcome the world to our festival!” said Jonathan Crow, Artistic Director of Toronto Summer Music.

The 2019 festival showcases an outstanding group of artists including soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, pianist Jon Kimura Parker, renowned countertenor Daniel Taylor, pianist Angela Hewitt performing Bach’s beloved Goldberg Variations, the acclaimed Dover Quartet, The Art of Time Ensemble with Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Slean, the Rolston String Quartet, conductor Gemma New, and world premieres by celebrated Canadian composers Alexina Louie and Christos Hatzis. Festival passes are on sale starting March 5; single tickets go on sale March 19, 2019.

Toronto Summer Music Festival 2019 Mainstage Concerts

Opening Night: Beyond Borders

Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

A stellar lineup of talent serves up a rich banquet of exotic cross-cultural music to give the Festival and its “Beyond Borders” theme a spectacular launch. Hosted by Tom Allen, the evening includes performances by pianist Jon Kimura Parker, violinist Kerson Leong, pianist Steven Philcox, and the New Orford String Quartet. World-renowned Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka channels the lush, aching nostalgia of Strauss’s compelling final work, Vier letzte Lieder and demonstrates her stunning versatility through Ravel’s charming Greek folksongs Cinq mélodies populaires grecques. Additional selections displaying a variety of well-known tunes include Spanish composer Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20, a soulful and vivacious tribute to the astonishing virtuoso technique of Gypsy/Romani fiddlers; and Selections for violin and piano by Austria’s master violinist, Fritz Kreisler. The program also includes Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major, K. 331, and a dramatic piano tone poem, Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 by Chopin, Poland’s master composer.

Celebrating 10 Years

Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall 

The New Orford String Quartet celebrates its tenth anniversary with a remarkable and far-reaching program beginning with a quartet by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, String Quartet No. 34 in D Major, Op. 20. This is followed by the world premiere of a new work by Greek-born Canadian composer Christos Hatzis, String Quartet No. 5 “The Transmuting”. Rounding out the bill is Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3, the last of the three string quartets that Count Razumovsky, the Russian ambassador in Vienna, commissioned from Beethoven in 1806. Early audiences found them challenging, but with time the “Razumovsky” quartets came to be recognized as visionary masterworks.

Crossings: In the Footsteps of the Griot

Monday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

For five years, the musicians of Montréal’s middle eastern/early music group, Constantinople, have been touring the stages of the world with Ablaye Cissoko, a West African storyteller, known as a griot. This ongoing collaboration has produced captivating new works, the fruit of dialogue and communion between the four artists. Their TSM program crosses land and sea, from the East to the New World by way of Africa. 

Griffey & Jones in Recital

Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall 

Four-time Grammy Award-winning American tenor Anthony Dean Griffey and acclaimed pianist Warren Jones perform an outstanding recital featuring music of English and American composers including Dowland, Ives, and Beach. Griffey has captured critical and popular acclaim on the opera, concert, and recital stages around the world through a combination of a beautiful and powerful lyric tenor voice and superb musicianship.

Dover Quartet

Wednesday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

Cheered for their “expert musicianship, razor-sharp ensemble, deep musical feeling and a palpable commitment to communication” by the Chicago Tribune, the Dover Quartet plays a meaty and substantial program of music by composers from England, Hungary and Bohemia (Czech Republic) – all of which have strong links to the USA. England’s Benjamin Britten composed his highly inventive first quartet, String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25, in 1941, while living in California. Hungarian master Béla Bartók created the intense, one-movement Quartet No. 3 in 1927 and dedicated it to the Musical Society Fund of Philadelphia. Czech composer Antonín Dvořák spent three years in America as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. He took his first summer vacation in Spillville, Iowa, a town of 300 Czech immigrants where he was surrounded by his home culture. He composed the beloved “American” Quartet, with its echoes of earthy Czech folk music, in just 15 days.

Voices Across the Atlantic

Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer

Daniel Taylor – one of the most sought-after countertenors in the world with more than 100 CD recordings to his credit – presides as vocalist and conductor over this concert with TSM Academy Vocal Fellows and Steven Philcox on harpsichord. The program boldly crosses national borders and spans centuries of music and texts – from the enchanting madrigals of the seventeenth-century Italian master, Claudio Monteverdi, through the lovely Vocal Quartets of German composer Johannes Brahms, to two of Benjamin Britten’s fascinating Canticles, Still falls the rain and The Journey of the Magi. American composer Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach is a warmly emotional setting for voice and strings of a mid-nineteenth-century poem by English author Matthew Arnold.  Following the performance, the audience is invited to meet the artists for a celebratory reception. 

Charles Richard-Hamelin

Friday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall 

Renowned Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin displays the brilliant skills that won him the silver medal and the Krystian Zimerman Prize (for the best performance of a sonata) at the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. His solo selections begin with a suite of sharply-etched miniatures by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3, followed by a proudly Polish work by Chopin, Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante in E-flat Major, Op. 22. Joined by members of the Dover Quartet, Richard-Hamelin concludes the program with Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25. Its rousing finale, a spicy “Hungarian Rhapsody”, is an audience favourite. 


Monday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Montréal’s ensemble Kleztory presents an engaging program reflecting an old musical tradition from the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe: Klezmer. This program explores how Klezmer music has evolved over the years, from when Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants first came into contact with American jazz between 1880-1924, to the klezmer revival of the 1970s, to the twenty-first century’s return to the pre-jazz traditions of the genre.

Rolston String Quartet

Tuesday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Lula Lounge

The award-winning Rolston String Quartet presents a program of great music in a totally casual and sociable venue. The ensemble was formed in 2013 at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity’s Chamber Music Residency and since then has won numerous competitions and awards including first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition (2016), and the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award (2017). They have recently performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, in Philadelphia, Houston, and other major centres.

Beyond Perception

Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

This unique semi-staged performance by the Toronto-based ensemble Collectif deals with ghost stories from around the world, and takes an exciting look at how people across the globe experience the paranormal. The repertoire includes selections from Mahler’s famous song cycle Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children), brand new Canadian folk arrangements, and other spooky tales.

From Franz Schubert to Freddie Mercury

Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

Art of Time Ensemble partners with vocalist and modern-day Renaissance woman Sarah Slean and singer-songwriter John Southworth for this concert as part of its twentieth-season celebrations. Over her twenty-year career, Slean has published two volumes of poetry, starred in short films and a movie musical, penned two string quartets, held numerous exhibitions of her paintings, and shared the stage with 10 of the country’s professional orchestras. Classically trained from the age of five, she routinely collaborates with cutting-edge contemporary classical ensembles and has been invited to sing world premieres by Canada’s leading living composers. A perfect complement to Slean’s velvety alto is the gritty brilliance of English-Canadian singer-songwriter John Southworth, a long-time collaborator of hers, a mainstay of the Art of Time Ensemble, and a hauntingly beautiful vocal vehicle for these unique crossover arrangements of classical masterworks.

TSM Late Night

Thursday, July 25 at 10:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

Beethoven’s masterful “late” string quartets are his final and most prophetic works. Once Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony had been premiered in 1824, he created no further works on a grand, public scale. His five Late Quartets occupy a world of their own: grippingly forward-looking, highly personal. They are intimate in scale but broad in scope and meaning. TSM Artistic Director Jonathan Crow and three TSM Academy Fellows perform the most carefree of the Late Quartets, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat Major, Op. 130 and the magnificent original finale, the Grosse Fugue, Op. 133.

Souvenir de Florence

Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

Infrequently heard but decidedly worthwhile works by major composers make up this appealing program including Tchaikovsky’s compact Pezzo Capriccioso, Op. 62 and the luxurious String Sextet in D minor, Op. 70 which he composed in 1890, while visiting one of his favourite cities, Florence, Italy – hence the subtitle, “Souvenir de Florence”. As well, the program includes Ukrainian/Russian composer Prokofiev’s sunny Five Melodies for violin and piano, Op. 35-bis, written in California, and Claude Debussy’s first and only Piano Trio in G Major, a melodious work he wrote while living in Italy, that falls comfortably within the Romantic French school of composers such as Fauré. This concert features violinists Jonathan Crow and Jennifer Koh, violist Beth Guterman, cellists Julie Albers and Yegor Dyachkov and pianist Philip Chiu.

Europe and the New World

Monday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

TSM Artistic Director Jonathan Crow and pianist Philip Chiu join forces for an artfully varied trans-Atlantic concert by German, Belgian/French, and American composers. The beloved Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major by Belgian-born composer César Franck balances passion with graceful lyricism. American composer John Corigliano wrote the dynamic Sonata for Violin and Piano for his father, John Corigliano Sr., who served with distinction as Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. Brahms composed Sonatensatz – his earliest piece for violin and piano – as an homage to the revered violinist Joseph Joachim. Master violinist Jascha Heifetz enriched the instrument’s repertoire with dozens of delightful (and sometimes fiercely difficult!) arrangements and transcriptions. Heifetz’s Porgy and Bess Suite features affectionate versions of many of the finest and most familiar melodies from George Gershwin’s popular opera.

Angela Hewitt

Tuesday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

Celebrated Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has earned international acclaim for her many superlative recordings and live concerts. She performs a broad repertoire, from Couperin to Messiaen, but she is perhaps known best for her Bach. For this concert she will perform Bach’s magnificent Goldberg Variations. Celebrated author and storyteller Madeleine Thien will give a not-to-be-missed pre-concert chat in the Koerner Hall lobby.

Ensemble Made in Canada

Wednesday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

This elegant program of music from Austria, France, and Canada includes Mozart’s masterful Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major, K. 493, and Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1, in C minor, Op. 15, a work infused with humour and warmth. Ensemble Made in Canada’s Mosaïque Project features a newly commissioned suite of piano quartets by 14 Canadian composers, each inspired by a particular region of Canada. Selections from the project will be performed at this concert.  

Song of the Earth

Thursday, August 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall

This concert brings together some of Canada’s leading musical forces for a thrilling performance of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219 which bears the quasi-Middle Eastern or “Turkish” style that was popular in his day, and Mahler’s soul-stirring  Das Lied von der Erde for voices and instruments (Schoenberg/Riehn arrangement for chamber ensemble). Conductor Gemma New leads performances by mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, tenor Mario Bahg and violinist Jonathan Crow

Mendelssohn Octet

Friday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall

The evening begins with Mendelssohn’s beautifully polished Octet for Strings in E-flat major, Op. 20. The Octet is true chamber music; each of the eight parts is a separate and indispensable component of the whole. The program includes Cowell’s Homage to Iran, Sarasate’s Introduction et Tarantelle, Op.43., and the world premiere of a new work by Alexina Louie, one of Canadaʼs most sought after composers and winner of two JUNO Awards, commissioned by Toronto Summer Music. Ms Louie has written for many of the countryʼs leading soloists, chamber ensembles, new music groups, and orchestras, and her works have become part of the standard repertoire. This concert features violinists Jennifer Frautschi, Elissa Lee, Aaron Schwebel and Barry Shiffman, violist Hsin-Yu Huang, cellists Desmond Hoebig and Emmanuelle Beaulieu-Bergeron, flutist Kelly Zimba, clarinettist Eric Abramovitz, pianist Philip Chiu, bassist Joel Quarrington and percussionist Charles Settle.


Since 2010, Toronto Summer Music has run an Academy Program concurrently with the festival, which offers exceptionally gifted chamber musicians and singers 18-35 years old a full scholarship to study with the festival’s international guest artists. At the festival’s reGENERATION Concerts TSM Academy Fellows are joined by their Mentors to perform compelling chamber music repertoire and art song masterpieces in Walter Hall. 

Saturday, July 13 at 1 PM, 4 PM and 7:30 PM  Art Song & Chamber Music

Saturday, July 20 at 1 PM, 4 PM and 7:30 PM  Art Song & Chamber Music

Saturday, July 27 at 1 PM Source and Inspiration –  ”Where the 19th century meets the 21st…The Dvořák Piano Quintet and the contemporary pop songs it inspired”

Source and Inspiration features singer/songwriters Sarah Slean, John Southworth, and the Rolston String Quartet, performing re-imagined versions of Dvořák’s piano quintet.  This special TSM performance is the culmination of a month-long mentorship of early composers and songwriters in Banff coupled with a three day residency at TSM with Sarah Slean and John Southworth, and composer-arrangers Rob Piltch and Christos Hatzis.   

Saturday, July 27 at 4 PM and 7:30 PM  Chamber Music

Saturday, August 3 at 7:30 PM  TSM Finale featuring performances by TSM Artists, Academy Fellows, and Community Academy participants.

FREE TSM Festival Events

Toronto Summer Music will offer the following FREE events as part of the 2019 Festival: 

NEW: Xenia Concert – a one-hour concert specially designed for families with children on the autism spectrum and children with accessibility issues.

TSM Kids Concerts – engaging one-hour concerts specially designed for children ages 5-12.

SHUFFLE Hour – casual, hour-long concerts featuring Festival artists and next-generation stars.

TSM Connect – daytime events that provide opportunities to connect with TSM musicians, learn about the festival theme and gain insights into the world of classical music.

Academy Concerts – popular lunchtime concerts that showcase gifted young performers from the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival guest artists. Full programming details for these free events will be announced in June. 

Ticket & Venue Information

Festival Passes are on sale as of March 5, 2019. 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-$90) will be on sale as of March 19, 2019. To purchase single tickets visit, 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 Festival activities call 416-408-0208 or visit 

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), Church of the Redeemer (162 Bloor Street West) or Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas Street West).

2019 TSM Festival Supporters

Toronto Summer Music gratefully acknowledges support of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Arts Foundation, Toronto Arts Council, Azrieli Foundation, TD Bank, Deloitte, JCIC Asset Management Inc., BMO Financial Group, RBC Emerging Artists Project, CIBC, Sheffield Moving, PricewaterhouseCoopers, First National Financial LP, Power Corporation of Canada, B Espresso Bar, Remenyi House of Music, TELUS Centre for Performing and Learning, University of Toronto Faculty of Music, Classical 96.3 FM, Toronto Life, The Wholenote, Ballyhoo Push Pin Media, and the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville.


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