Summer Solstice Festival 2019

Artistic Director and Department of Music instructor, Patricia Tao, reveals some of the exciting chamber music experiences at this year's event.

Erik Einsiedel - 12 June 2019

The 2019 Summer Solstice Music Festival kicks off this week, bringing internationally renowned chamber musicians to Edmonton for a series of chamber music concerts, master classes and special outreach events.

The festival also features Department of Music faculty members and accomplished cellists, Rafael Hoekman and Meran Currie-Roberts.

Now in its 12th year, the festival was created by pianist and U of A Department of Music faculty member, Patricia Tao, with support from the Edmonton Chamber Music Society. We caught up with Patricia to learn more!

ARTS NEWS: How many concerts will there be this year?

PATRICIA TAO: Three main concerts and two concerts at "alternative venues." Our concerts at the Yellowhead Brewery are especially popular and are curated to fit the venue. We have had really interesting programs throughout the years at this venue with many concerts featuring newly commissioned works.

AN: One of your "alternate venues" is the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA). What will be happening there?

PT: We're holding a noon concert at the AGA on June 18. This year it will feature Ensemble Made in Canada, a piano quartet from the Toronto area, performing short works that were commissioned from composers from every province and territory.

AN: We see that clarinetist, James Campbell, is performing. We remember seeing him here at the U of A earlier this year when you performed with him at his Chamber Music Masterworks with Clarinet concert.

PT: Yes! James is Canada's foremost clarinetist, and we're excited to have him at the festival this year. He's performing jazz arrangements done by his son, guitarist Graham Campbell. Violinist Mark Fewer, who is also a wonderful jazz violinist, will join him along with a few Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) members.

AN: Congratulations on the 12th anniversary of the festival! How did it all get started?

PT: I started this festival 12 years ago with the sponsorship and support of the Edmonton Chamber Music Society (which was founded over 65 years ago, also by U of A music faculty). There were no other summer classical music festivals in Edmonton at the time (except for the ESO's Symphony in the Sky) and we thought it would be a good idea to start something. Chamber music is my main area of creative activity, so researching the literature and inviting great artists to come to Edmonton was a natural way of extending my research.

Summer Solstice 2019 Trio Voce
Patricia Tao playing piano at Summer Solstice

AN: What's the best part about the Summer Solstice Music Festival?

PT: The Festival offers an incredible variety of music in four days, from standard works to lesser known gems and commissioned works, chamber music and a solo piano recital by world-renowned Canadian prizewinner in the Chopin competition. There is something for everyone!

For more information about the 2019 Summer Solstice Music Festival, including tickets, workshop and concert schedules, visit their official website.