Wednesday, June 19, 2024

New Artistic Director Excited For Leith Summer Festival 2024

The new Artistic Director of the Leith Summer Festival is excited for this year’s festival events.

I am thrilled to be serving as the new Artistic Director of the Leith Summer Festival. I have been enchanted by the Leith Historic Church for over 25 years. There is a magic to the acoustic there and performing concerts in this space has been a highlight of my summers with the Penderecki String Quartet. I always experience a remarkable glow reverberating off the church’s 1865 wood, and the intimacy of the venue sees the eager Leith audiences nearly encircling the performers in shared reverie of great music. This historic church is an absolute gem in Leith, tucked away beside the Tom Tomson graveyard in the dreamy landscape of Grey County with its winding roads leading us away from our normal hustle and bustle,” said Jeremy Bell, Leith Summer Festival Artistic Director.

This summer Leith will be the hub of an international array of acclaimed musicians. Kicking off the festival on June 22 is a fun night mixing classical and pop, Western and Indian musics with Bell’s own quartet, the Pendereckis, and the Indo jazz funk band Autorickshaw from Toronto. Reuniting with this dynamic trio is always a blast. You will be mesmerized by their lead singer Suba Sankaran, the flying fingers of Ed Hanley on tabla, and Dylan Bell’s beatbox mouthing.

July brings the New Zealand String Quartet and the Swiss Piano Trio to North America. What a lucky coup to have them in Leith while on tour. The New Zealanders are exceptional artists with a warm and uncanny way of connecting to one another on stage. They have been performing around the world for 30 years and their program of Shostakovich and Debussy on July 7 will show them at their zenith. The Swiss Piano Trio have established themselves as one of the leading piano trios in Europe. So if you can’t go to London to hear them in Wigmore Hall, then come to Leith on July 27 where they perform Dvorak’s beloved Dumky Trio.

On August 11, former KW Symphony concertmaster Bénédicte Lauzière teams up with pianist Angela Park in a recital program they have been performing frequently this season. The program includes virtuosic and lush works by Saint-Saëns and Chausson. Bell says that he has admired Bénédicte’s silky burnished tone for many years. She is a Juilliard grad and winner of the 2014 Prix d’Europe. Angela Park is on faculty at Western University, and you will love the fluidity and poetry she brings to the keyboard.

The festival concludes on August 24 with Stewart Goodyear, Canada’s preeminent ambassador to the international piano stage. Proclaimed “a phenomenon” by the Los Angeles Times and “one of the best pianists of his generation” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart’s radiant genius will leave you astonished and transported. His program includes Beethoven’s Appassionata and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Stewart stunned the music world in 2012 by performing all 32 Beethoven sonatas from memory in one day at the Toronto Luminato Festival. He has since recorded all sonatas and concertos of Beethoven. Stewart is also a brilliant composer (the PSQ recorded his piano quintet recently), so expect to hear at least one encore penned by Stewart.

Tickets can be purchased at the Roxy Theatre Box Office, 251 – 9th St. E., Owen Sound, 519-371-2833, or roxytheatre.ca. Season Pass $200, single tickets $45, students $15, or at the church door before the performance

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