Unique Musical Experiences in a Natural Setting.
- Westben announces an incredible artist lineup for its 18th summer season (July 2 - August 6, 2017). A celebration of Canada’s dreams.
- Both Brian Finley and Donna Bennett, Artistic Directors and Founders of Westben, have been awarded the Order of Canada in 2017!
The Westben Festival, an “umissable cultural getaway” (Toronto Life) focuses its Summer Season on Canada’s dreams in all their varied and glorious colours. “I love Canada. We live in a beautiful country, full of friendliness and diversity. I am proud that we are welcoming and interested in one another’s stories. And as the perfect reflection of that, I marvel at the incredible beauty that imbues this part of the world, from sea to sea to sea, with a dazzlingly unique specialness. To me, it sounds like Westben!” - Brian Finley, Artistic Director of Westben.
Westben offers up a multi-genre festival program once again, capturing performances of classical, jazz, folk, broadway, fiddle and fun! On the classical front, audiences will be treated to Canadian greats, including pianists Angela Hewitt and Jan Lisiecki to the Canadian Brass, the Rolston Quartet (winners of the 2016 Banff String Quartet Competition) and international tenor legend Michael Schade. Jazzers will be thrilled to hear two-time JUNO winner, Emilie-Claire Barlow while folk-fans will jump at the opportunity to hear 2017 JUNO Song-writer of the year nominee Donovan Woods! Keeping up the laughter, The Arrogant Worms will appear.
New at Westben this summer will be the unique one-of-a-kind experiences on offer: pianist Rashaan Allwood will interpret bird calls “impromptu” on a piano situation at a surprise outdoor location in Ferris Park, while a naturalist will guide adventurers on a bird-watching journey. While piano technician, Daniel Wiersma, will guide curious audiences into the heart of a Steinway - dismantling one on the spot. Recording Engineer Andy Thompson takes participants to the magic of the recording studio, recording and editing their own piano performances. Finally, if you have ears, a cellphone and an imagination, there is a wondrous opportunity to explore a new relationship with nature by learning and employing new techniques in listening to your surroundings in a guided experience by Parker Finley.
After starting the Westben Concerts at The Barn in 2000, it is a great honour that both of Westben’s founders , Donna Bennett and Brian Finley, have been appointed to the Order of Canada. “I am over the moon that it’s both Donna and me, that just speaks to the fact that what we’re being recognized for a real team effort and that is wonderfully worthwhile,” said Brian Finley. All of this happening in the same year that Canada turns 150, it is fitting that Westben will offer a FREE spectacular tribute to Canada’s future entitled ‘Canada Dreams’ on July 2 featuring an array of musicians ranging from Ojibwe drummer Jordan Mowat from Alderville, to the Westben Festival & Youth Choruses, to the Wakimi Wailers!
For more infomation contact Donna Bennett email@example.com or Elizabeth Bowman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 917-251-5882
FIRST-FRIDAY LUNCHTIME TICK-TALKS
At the Clock Tower Cultural Centre, 12 noon
Make sense out of what you hear! Join special guest artists for 60-minute chat-concerts designed to enlighten upcoming performances at The Barn. Free (pay-what-you-can), informal, fun, and fascinating! Join us at the Clock Tower Cultural Centre on the first Fridays of March, April and May at twelve noon. Bring your lunch and your curiosity!
Prelude to Preludes - Friday, March 3, 12 noon
BRIAN FINLEY – PIANO
What makes a Prelude a Prelude? In advance of the performance of his 13 Preludes to Canada (7:00 pm, July 20), Westben’s Artistic Director, pianist Brian Finley chats about and performs favourite Preludes of Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and, of course, some of his own!
Notes on Jazz- Friday, April 7, 12 noon
HOWARD BAER & PAUL GRECCO
“I think it’s jazz…” Trent Hills bassist Howard Baer and his jazz pianist buddy Paul Grecco to share notes about what makes jazz jazz. Howard appears in Lenni Stewart’s Social Club (August 3, 7 pm) and at the Westben Jazz Fringe Festival (August 4-6).
For the Birds - Friday, May 5, 12 noon
How do you make a piano sound like a bird? Pianist Rashaan Allwood visits the Clock Tower from Montreal to introduce the music and art that he will present later at The Barn in Bird Songs (7 pm, July 21).
Brian Barlow on Buddy Rich - June 2, 12 noon
What made Buddy Rich tick? Jazz drummer Brian Barlow illuminates the incredible life & times of fellow jazz drummer Buddy Rich and some of his favourite singers including Sammy Davis Jr. and Mel Tormé. (The Brian Barlow Big Band pays tribute to Buddy Rich & friends at “Big Band Buddies” at The Barn on August 5 at 2 pm.)