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Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre presents the return of Summer Music in the Garden concert series


TORONTO, Wednesday, May 31, 2023 Harbourfront Centre has just announced the return of its beloved annual concert series, Summer Music in the Garden (SMIG), featuring 18 free concerts in the Toronto Music Garden on most Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer, from June 21 to August 27, 2023. Featuring a wide variety of musical styles from emerging and established artists, audiences can enjoy a mix of high-energy dance to contemplative classical set in an idyllic, lakeside venue. The 22nd season launches with a special concert featuring Canada’s first Inuk professional classical singer, Deantha Edmunds, on Wednesday, June 21, in honour of Indigenous Peoples Day. SMIG is curated by Gregory Oh, an acclaimed Toronto-based pianist, conductor and teacher, with the support of Associate Curator Rebecca Cuddy, a Canadian/Indigenous (Métis) Mezzo-Soprano who has sung across Canada, the U.K. and Europe.

“Down by the lake, under a magical urban willow – with beats, bows, strings, voices, and blows – Summer Music in the Garden tells the musical stories of Toronto’s kaleidoscope of citizens,” says Gregory Oh, Curator of SMIG. “This year’s season is particularly compelling, with one of SMIG’s most diverse line-ups, from Arabic jazz and Brazilian forró to contemporary classical and soul, gospel and blues, and a long list of exciting debuts, including JUNO Award-nominated Aline Morales, Dora Mavor Moore Award winner Beau Dixon and Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated Morgan Toney, among many other incredible talents.”

“Music-making is the medicine that feeds our hearts and minds,” adds Rebecca Cuddy, Associate Curator of SMIG. “We invite audiences to join us in celebrating the incomparable artistry of these performers, to be nourished by their expressions of musical influence and cultural pride in this intimate and joyful outdoor setting.”

This year’s outdoor music series features a comprehensive line-up of free, accessible performances featuring a variety of musical disciplines – the majority of whom will make their SMIG debuts. Debut highlights include:

  • ●  Contemporary Indigenous classical concert from Inuk singer Deantha Edmunds, who shares selections from her most recent album, Connections.
  • ●  Arabic jazz from musician Ahmed Moneka, who shares his life and journey in art from Baghdad to Toronto, showcasing Iraqi melody mixed with African groove and rhythm.
  • ●  Soul, gospel, blues, reggae and jazz from music director, singer, keyboardist and harmonica player Beau Dixon, who highlights the influence African American music had on Western civilization during the Freedom Movement and civil rights era.
  • ●  Traditional forró, a percussive rhythm and dance genre from Brazil, performed by Juno


Award-nominated Aline Morales, who incorporates global folkloric and jazz elements with vintage Tropicália and Brazilian pop as a bandleader and instrumentalist.

● Traditional fiddle music from Mi’kmaq fiddler and singer Morgan Toney, who brings together the fiery fiddling of Cape Breton Island with the old songs of the Mi’kmaq People on the artist’s award-nominated debut album, First Flight.

As part of Summer Music in the Garden, audiences are invited to experience free guided tours of the Toronto Music Garden, hosted by Toronto Botanical Garden volunteers on most Wednesdays at 11am and Thursdays at 5:30pm, from June 7 to September 27, 2023.

To view the full program line-up and Toronto Music Garden tour schedule, visit HarbourfrontCentre.com. SUMMER MUSIC IN THE GARDEN 2023:


Deantha Edmunds
Wednesday, June 21 at 7pm Contemporary Indigenous Classical

Canada’s first Inuk professional classical singer, Deantha Edmunds, will share selections from her most recent album, Connections, with lyrics and songs written by Edmunds and then arranged for string quartet accompaniment. Songs are in English with some Inuktitut and some spoken word.

Up Next

National Youth Orchestra of Canada Sunday, June 25 at 4pm
Western Classical

Internationally renowned as an incubator for Canada’s best orchestral talent, NYO Canada brings their best and brightest for a concert of chamber music from the next generation of Canada’s orchestras.

Music in the Garden

Thursday, June 29 at 7pm Western Classical

Baroque music at its finest. Experience this intimate chamber concert featuring members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in tribute to Tafelmusik’s Music Director, Emerita Jeanne Lamon, who passed away in June 2021.

From Baghdad to Toronto

Moneka Arabic Jazz / Ahmed Moneka Sunday, July 2 at 4pm
Arabic Jazz

Moneka Arabic Jazz is a project reflecting Ahmed Moneka’s journey and culture to the Toronto music scene, mingling the “maqam” style of Arabic musical skills he learned growing up in Baghdad, Iraq, with African groove and rhythm that he inherited from his African descendants.

First Flight: Morgan Toney and Keith Mullins

Morgan Toney and Keith Mullins Thursday, July 6 at 7pm Mi’kmaltic

Mi’kmaq fiddler and singer Morgan Toney brings together the fiery fiddling of Cape Breton Island with the old songs of the Mi’kmaq People – some dating as far back as 500 years – with brilliance and heart. He will perform excerpts from his award-winning debut album, First Flight.

Freedom 2.0: Black Music That Shaped The Dream Of America

Beau Dixon
Sunday, July 9 at 4pm Soul/Gospel/Blues/R&B/Reggae

Beau Dixon presents an exciting and intimate concert exploring the triumphant sounds of blues, gospel, reggae, soul and jazz and African American music’s influence on Western civilization during the Freedom Movement and civil rights era. Narrated through song and text, you will hear the works of musicians, poets and activists.

Putting It Together: In Concert

The Musical Stage Company Thursday, July 20 at 7pm Musical Theatre

From Canada’s largest and leading charitable musical theatre company comes a concert that takes a deep dive into the musicals currently in development at The Musical Stage Company. Delve into the hearts and minds of characters as they yearn for something more. A celebration of hopes, wishes and wants, Putting It Together: In Concert will give everyone permission to dream big and discover new powerhouse ballads from some of our country’s brightest composers and lyricists.

Towards A New Day: The Eastern Sunrise Ensemble

Naghmeh Farahmand Sunday, July 23 at 4pm Iranian Music

Drawing upon the rich tradition of thousands of years of musical history, the Eastern Sunrise Ensemble is led by Iranian classical percussionist Naghmeh Farahmand. It seeks to give space for the talents and voices of women from Iran and other nations who may not yet have the rights to free artistic expression in their own countries.

It’s All Love

Lori Cullen
Thursday, July 27 at 7pm Artfolk

JUNO Award-nominated songwriter Lori Cullen, musician and visual artist Kurt Swinghammer and producer and bassist Chris Gartner come together for a rich set of music infused with folk and jazz.

If There Were No Opposites

Nick Fraser Quartet (featuring Tony Malaby) Sunday, July 30 at 4pm
New Jazz/Improvised Music

Acclaimed Toronto-based drummer and composer Nick Fraser leads this outstanding jazz quartet featuring New York saxophonist Tony Malaby, and string players, Andrew Downing and Rob Clutton. The quartet will perform selections from their fourth album If There Were No Opposites.


Aline Morales
Thursday, August 3 at 7pm Brazilian Traditional/Forró

Aline Morales will perform classic forró tunes and unique compositions from her band members. Forró is an integral part of the culture of the Northeastern Region of Brazil, encompassing various dance types, as well as several different musical genres.

Songs for a Summer Garden

Opus 8
Sunday, August 6 at 4pm Eclectic Choral

Opus 8 comprises eight of Toronto’s finest ensemble singers, dedicated to musical excellence in the pursuit of sharing the best choral music with the broadest audience possible, with repertoire ranging from the soundworlds of Benjamin Britten and Clemens non Papa to arrangements of Carly Rae Jepsen and the Spice Girls.

Courses of Rivers – Music for Two Guitars

Thursday, August 10 at 7pm Contemporary Classical

One of North America’s leading guitar ensembles, ChromaDuo – featuring Tracy Anne Smith and Rob MacDonald – will feature four new works written for the duo over the past two years, including Dale Kavanagh’s “The Ghost of Peggy Cove,” Amy Brandon’s “plesiosynchronous,” Leo Brouwer’s “The Circle Game (after Margaret Atwood),” and Sergio Assad’s “Dyens en trois temps.”

Songs from the Nile and Afrika

Waleed Abdulhamid
Sunday, August 13 at 4pm Rhythms of Africa, Roots of Jazz

Waleed Abdulhamid is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, music and film producer, known for his striking vocals, innovative bass technique and his speed and precision on percussion.

The Wellspring of Bach

Erika Raum and Family Thursday, August 17 at 7pm Classical/Folk


Canada’s quintessential violinist Erika Raum interprets the dances of Bach on solo violin. As members of her family later join her, the spirit of dance flows into more contemporary but equally familiar sounds.

Raging for Change

Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers Sunday, August 20 at 4pm
North American Taiko

Throughout their powerful performance, the womxn of Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers show their strength and vulnerability through the modern interpretation of traditional Japanese taiko drumming.

Coup de Foudre

Brandi Disterheft
Thursday, August 24 at 7pm Jazz

JUNO Award-winning bassist, singer and composer Brandi Disterheft takes us through an evening of standards and original compositions, all delivered in her powerful, compelling style.

A Meeting Place: Hasheel x Yanchan x Anton

Sunday, August 27 at 4pm Indian Classical Jazz

Join Hindustani classical flautist and singer Hasheel, Carnatic mridangam player and hip hop producer Yanchan, and Balkan composer Anton Apostolov, as they deliver a meditative yet energizing acoustic set by the waterfront.

About Harbourfront Centre (HarbourfrontCentre.com)
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. We champion contemporary Canadian artists throughout their careers, presenting them alongside international artists and fostering national and international artistic exchange between disciplines and cultures.


Dates: Price: Venues:


Harbourfront Centre presents Summer Music in the Garden

June 21–August 27, 2023 FREE

Toronto Music Garden 479 Queens Quay West Toronto, ON


Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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