Friday, August 5, 2011

What's Classical? at Harbourfront, August 5-7

Harbourfront, Toronto - August 5 to 7, 2011

Toronto - Guest Artistic Director Andrew Burashko of the Art of Time Ensemble with the staff of Harbourfront Centre have programmed a festival that goes well beyond the normal concepts of classical music to create an event that is unlike any other. Exploring influences from popular music and traditions from Western Europe to Latin America, from the Middle East to the Far East, the festival re-defines how we see classical music.

Here are some of the highlights:

An Evening of Tango: Quartango
Friday, Aug. 5, 8 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Quartango is a group of highly accomplished Montreal musicians bound by their shared passion for the tango. They perform a program of music by Astor Piazolla and other luminaries of the tango nuevo.

An Evening of Tango: Art of Time Ensemble
Friday, Aug. 5, 9:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

One of Canada’s most innovative music ensembles comprised of pop, classical and jazz musicians, Art of Time Ensemble, performs a program of tangos taken from pop, jazz and classical worlds.

Joe Trio
Saturday, Aug. 6, 2 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Joe Trio is not your average piano trio. Their repertoire includes classics (from Papa Haydn to Uncle Shostakovich), new works by contemporary composers and their own arrangements of popular, jazz and rock tunes. Joe Trio leaves audiences with a new appreciation for classical music.

Now & Then: Music from the Middle East: Bassam Bishara
Saturday, Aug. 6, 2 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Bassam Bishara kicks off Saturday with a musical experience that explores the heritage of the Middle East.

The Story of Babar the Elephant Narrated by Steven Page
Saturday, Aug. 6, 3 p.m. & Sunday, Aug. 7, 3 p.m. (Brigantine Room)

The Story of Babar the Elephant is a classic French children's story created by Jean de Brunhoff in 1931. In 1940, French composer Francis Poulenc was challenged by his daughter to play The Story of Babar on piano, much like Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf  yet with subtle differences. Poulenc improvised a piece of classical music that is fantastically entertaining set to the words of Jean de Brunhoff. With Steven Page as narrator, Babar comes to life with a new energy.

Now & Then: Music from the Middle East: Doula
Saturday, Aug. 6, 4 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Sufi Devotional Love Songs by Doula are featured in a performance of ancient Arabic music with a new world spirit. Maryem Tollar and Roula Said take you on a journey into the heart of the Muwashah tradition. Doula will be joined by guest percussionists Naghmeh Farahmand (pictured below) and Hamasseh Daneshzad (Sarv Ensemble).

Sarah Slean
Saturday, Aug. 6, 9:30p.m. (Westjet Stage)

Over the course of her 12-year career, Sarah Slean (pictured) has made six albums, starred in short films and a movie musical, published two volumes of poetry, held exhibitions of her paintings and shared the stage with four of the country's leading orchestras. She has been nominated for two Geminis, three Junos, and her records have been released in over 10 countries worldwide.

Now & Then: Music from South Asia: Classical India 3
Sunday, Aug. 7, 1:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Samidha Joglekar doing vocals, Ravi Naimpally playing the tabla and George Koller playing the dilruba perform traditional ragas (classical Indian melodies).

Now & Then: Music from South Asia: East/West Fusion
Sunday, Aug. 7, 3:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

The South Asian influence continues in East/West Fusion, which is a blend of eastern ornamented melodies that soar over western harmonies on a mixed bed of eastern and western rhythm, including a Beatles medley, performed by George Koller (bass, voice, sitar, dilruba), Ravi Naimpally, Samidha Joglekar, Pat Murray (voice), and Sundar Viswanathan (saxophone/composer).

Joe Trio’s Carl Stalling Lecture and Performance
Sunday, Aug. 7, time TBA (Studio Theatre)

In this one-hour lecture and performance, Joe Trio (pictured) explores the work of “Looney Tunes” composer Carl Stalling (1891-1972), who was the expert at adjusting musical style changes according to cartoon movement.

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