Harbourfront Centre announces the anticipated return of the beloved Summer Music in the Garden series with 18 FREE, in-person concerts at the Toronto Music Garden from June 21 – August 28, 2022, on most Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm. Under the new curatorial direction of Gregory Oh, Summer Music in the Garden’s vast lineup features the presentation of five commissioned new works from emerging and celebrated artists from across Canada and around the globe, eight concerts of Western classical music, performances by 53 artists who will make their Music Garden debuts, coupled with music presentations from the Philippines, Sápmi, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Turkey, India, Australia, Germany and the Oneida Nation of the Thames, in southwestern Ontario. Summer Music in the Garden will also present Nordic artists as part of Nordic Bridges, the year-long national initiative highlighting contemporary Nordic arts and culture. Free guided tours of the Toronto Music Garden will also take place between June and September on most Wednesdays at 11am and on Thursdays at 5:30pm.
“The 2022 season of Summer Music in the Garden encompasses sounds from near and afar; sounds that are comfortingly familiar and thrillingly unexpected,” says Gregory Oh, Curator of Summer Music in the Garden. “In my first season of programming, I am delighted to present audiences with an eclectic assortment of new and exciting artists from around the globe and across an incredible range of musical styles from classical and baroque, electronica and folk, to jazz, global fusion, Taiko drumming and Indigenous song and dance.”
“Harbourfront Centre's landmark summer event has welcomed thousands of local and global artists and patrons to the Toronto Music Garden since 2001, and yet, the return to in-person concerts this year feels particularly invigorating after an extended absence,” adds Nathalie Bonjour, Harbourfront Centre’s Director, Performing Arts. “We look forward to reuniting with loyal audiences and welcoming newcomers to Summer Music in the Garden’s season of mind-opening, genre-bending music that has something to please every taste.”
All Summer Music in the Garden concerts are free and take place at the Toronto Music Garden. To learn more about the full lineup, visit harbourfrontcentre.com/series/summer-music-in-the-garden.
The complete 2022 Summer in the Garden series includes:
Gifts from the Creator
The Ukwehuwe Connection (Oneida Nation of the Thames)
June 21 from 7–8pm (Special Tuesday concert for Indigenous Peoples’ Day)
What does it mean when we acknowledge the nations upon whose traditional lands we are standing? Oneida Nation group, The Ukwehuwe Connection, will offer us a cultural sharing on National Indigenous Peoples’ Day and an opportunity to make a meaningful and deeper connection to the history of this land. Through song and dance, they highlight the culture of the Haudenosaunee people.
Baroque and Beyond
Tafelmusik (Canada, Toronto)
June 26 from 4–5pm
Experience the beauty of the music of the past with this intimate chamber concert featuring members of the Tafelmusik Orchestra.This program, presented with introductions from the musicians, features music connected to Tafelmusik’s Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon, who passed away in June 2021.
Raging for Change
Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers (Canada, Toronto)
June 30 from 7–8pm
Formed in 1998, Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers (RAW) carry on the diasporic Taiko tradition that grew out of Asian American and Asian Canadian mobilization in the ‘60s and ‘70s. One of the few all-Asian, all-womxn Taiko drumming groups in the world, RAW exists as a critical response and challenge to both systemic and internalized oppression. RAW plays large Taiko drums as creative resistance for social change, carving space for self-expression, education and community building.
Pantayo (Canada, Toronto)
July 3 from 4–5pm
Pantayo is an all-women kulintang ensemble. They combine percussive metallophones and drums from the kulintang tradition of Southern Philippines with electronic and synth-based grooves. The result is thoroughly original and completely captivating sounds transformed through the lived experiences of queer diasporic Filipinas.
Yoiking and Grooving - Includes a World Premiere
Nordic spotlight, part of Nordic Bridges
July 7 from 7–8pm
VILDÁ is an original blend of Indigenous Sámi yoiks, grooving rhythms and improvisation. Inspired by the Sámi people's connection to nature, pop music and Finnish folk tradition, the result is a unique dialogue that takes the listener on a fascinating journey to the Sámi land and the vast landscapes under the arctic hills and frosty winds.
VILDÁ’s debut album Vildaluodda - Wildprint (Bafe’s Factory, 2019) has gained great reviews internationally and was listed as one of the best albums of 2019 by Songlines magazine. Since then, the band has toured in Scandinavia, Canada, Spain, the UK, France and Bulgaria.
Métis Voices - Includes a World Premiere
Rebecca Cuddy with the Wood and Wire Quartet (Canada, Ontario)
July 10 from 4–5pm
This program explores manifestations of Métis identity from the early 1800s to the present. Mezzo-soprano Rebecca Cuddy and the Wood and Wire Quartet perform music by T. Patrick Carrabré, Ian Cusson and Neil Weisensel, charting the complex challenges the Métis face in their struggle for recognition as a unique people.
Kongero Folk’Appella - Includes a World Premiere
Nordic spotlight, part of Nordic Bridges
July 14 from 7–8pm
With their voices moving together in tight harmony or intertwining in a whirling tempo, the highly acclaimed “Folk’appella” vocal group, Kongero, draws traditional Swedish music out of the past and into the present, taking the listener on a fabulous Scandinavian folk musical journey. Offering blue notes and an astonishing vocal polyphony, the sound is groovy, powerful and intimate.
The Plight of Small Wonders - Includes a World Premiere
Penderecki String Quartet (Canada, Waterloo)
July 21 from 4–5pm
Experience great quartet music from the past 400 years from one of Canada’s most celebrated chamber ensembles. This concert of Penderecki String Quartet (PSW) gems includes the premiere of acclaimed Toronto composer Alice Ho’s new work “The Plight of Small Wonders,” the JUNO award-winning “Lament in the Trampled Garden” by Marjan Mozetich, as well as Krysztof Penderecki’s mercurial final string quartet.
The Tuning of the World: Celebrating R. Murray Schafer
The Rosebud Quartet: Sanya Eng, Stuart Laughton (Ontario, Canada) and Christian Bök (Australia).
July 24 from 4–5pm
When R. Murray Schafer passed away in 2021, Canada arguably lost its most important composer. His music and thoughts, ideas and writings proved to be infectious, transformative, dangerous, sacred, irreverent and breathtaking. Friends, new and old, gather to lift his sounds from the ground into the air and across the water.
Castles in the Sand
Angela Schwarzkopf with Kaili Maimets (Canada, Toronto)
July 28 from 7–8pm
Angela Schwarzkopf weaves storytelling and lyricism into the ringing strings of her harp. She commences the program with selections from her 2020 classical music JUNO award-winning album, detach, including Kevin Lau’s Castles in the Sand. For the second part of the program, she will be joined by the silvery murmurs of flautist Kaili Maimets, with whom she forms The Topaz Duo. They will play selections from their recently released album, lumena.
Waltzes, Tangos, and a Minuet
Bryan Cheng (Canada, Ottawa)
August 4 from 7–8pm
The 24-year-old cellist Bryan Cheng is fast-becoming internationally renowned, having already won second prize and Audience Choice at the Geneva International Music Competition. His Toronto solo recital debut includes an energetic program that pays homage to the magical intersection of music, dance and nature that is the Music Garden. Cheng will perform masterworks and rarely-heard gems through the voice of the prized ‘Bonjour’ Stradivarius cello from the year 1696 (on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank) of the cello repertoire, spanning four continents and three centuries. The program will culminate in Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Suite No. 1 for Solo Cello,” the piece that inspired Yo-Yo Ma to create the Toronto Music Garden in 1999.
Allison Au Trio (Canada, Toronto)
August 7 from 4–5pm
Allison Au is a JUNO award-winning saxophonist, composer and arranger. Winner of the 2017 Montreal Jazz Festival TD Grand Prix de Jazz, the 2017 Halifax Jazz Festival Sting Ray Rising Star Award and a 2017 Finalist for Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award, Au was also recognized by SFJAZZ’s 2018 list of "10 Rising Instrumentalists You Should Know.”
This performance showcases Allison Au (alto saxophone) in a paired down and intimate musical setting. Featuring Dan Fortin (bass) and Ernesto Cervini (drums), the trio will perform a repertoire of curated original compositions and standard jazz classics.
To the Power of Two - Includes a World Premiere
Nordic Spotlight, part of Nordic Bridges
VC2 (Canada, Toronto. Jakob Kullberg is Danish)
August 11 from 7–8pm
With their fresh approach and willingness to try anything (twice), the VC2 cello duo presents a program of 21st-century works, including music by Kelly-Marie Murphy (Final Glimpse, previously commissioned by Harbourfront Centre in 2019), Kati Agocs, Chris Paul Harman and a brand new Harbourfront Centre commission by Danish cellist/composer Jakob Kullberg (a Nordic Spotlight).
Shaped by Music
Quatuor Despax (Canada, Quebec)
August 14 from 4–5pm
This all-sibling quartet from Quebec takes us through some of the music that brought them together, shaped them and made them the musical force they are today. The program will finish with the piece that their late father, the conductor and composer Emmanuel Despax, wrote for them in 2005.
Turkwaz (Canada, Toronto)
August 18 from 7–8pm
From mysterious Sufi devotional love songs to Arabic verses, Turkish folk tunes, and rousing Thracian dance music, each of the four members of Turkwaz bring their distinct vocals, instruments and unique cultural experiences. The love and respect for the traditions they draw from are evident, but they are not afraid to arrange the tunes in new and unexpected ways to give them a fresh spin.
Autorickshaw with Trichy Sankaran (Canada, Toronto)
August 21 from 4–5pm
Autorickshaw is a three-time JUNO-nominated genre-bending, post-fusion powerhouse renowned for its blend of Indian classical music, jazz, pop and live-looping technology. Celebrating the musical life and legacy of master drummer Trichy Sankaran, Autorickshaw Trio presents a program of world-fusion music with deep roots in India alongside the master drummer himself. Their unique sound showcases the sultry, sophisticated vocals of Suba Sankaran, anchored by the rapid-fire bass lines and beatboxing of Dylan Bell over a bed of intense tabla grooves by Ed Hanley. The group’s distinctive sound could only come from musicians with deep roots in India and the West. The group has toured Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Nepal and India.
Taktus (Canada, Toronto)
August 25 from 7–8pm
Taktus is a Canadian marimba duo known for its fresh and unstarched classical and contemporary music interpretations. This concert, their first live performance since the release of their acclaimed album Mirrored Glass in 2020, will feature the bright, playful melodies of Ann Southam’s music, contrasted by the darker harmonies of Phillip Glass and the wind-up meditations of Aphex Twin.
Songs in Time of War
PhoeNX Ensemble feature Lawrence Wiliford (Canada, Toronto)
August 28 from 4–5pm
PhoeNX Ensemble and soloist Lawrence Wiliford join together to bring a new cross-cultural offering of Alec Roth’s profoundly moving Songs in Time of War, breathing new life into the poetry of Du Fu as set by Vikram Seth. Through music and song, we see a world in which conflict, turmoil and war are experienced personally by Du Fu himself. Stories of family, friends, neighbours, strangers, seasons, skies and stars are delivered with deep honesty, compassion, love and beauty.
Accessibility: The Toronto Music Garden is a wheelchair-accessible park, and SMIG concerts include four reserved spots for wheelchair seating, as required. These performances take place in a park, so they are inherently relaxed performances by nature (no stark lighting changes, the audience is free to come and go, the audience may eat and drink, etc.). However, they are not “Relaxed Performances” as the sound is not altered, nor is there a chill-out space provided.
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About Harbourfront Centre
Harbourfront Centre is a leading international centre for contemporary arts, culture and ideas, and a registered, charitable not-for-profit cultural organization operating a 10-acre campus on Toronto’s central waterfront. Harbourfront Centre provides year-round programming 52 weeks a year, seven days a week, supporting a wide range of artists and communities. We inspire audiences and visitors with a breadth of bold, ambitious and engaging experiences, and champion contemporary Canadian artists throughout their careers, presenting them alongside international artists, and fostering national and international artistic exchange between disciplines and cultures.