Departing SweetWater Founding Artistic Director Promises Extra-Special Festival in 2019

                                                   July 15, 2019

 The 16th SweetWater Music Festival (September 20-22) is all about “Evolution”. This theme is fitting as founding Artistic Director Mark Fewer oversees his final Festival this year. In October, he’ll pass the baton to his successor, violinist Edwin Huizinga (who will also perform at SweetWater 2019). Audiences will once again enjoy classical, jazz, and contemporary music performed by some of the world’s top performers.  


“As I look back at the 16 years of being at the helm of SweetWater, we have indeed accomplished a lot. That said, there are a few things left on my ‘bucket list’,” admits Fewer. “We’re seeing the return of many of our friends from the past, and as always, some new friends to introduce to our audiences. I’m thrilled to present this lineup of music this September.”


Fewer has weaved “Evolution” throughout SweetWater 2019: the evolution of well-known classical standards along with the evolution of contemporary works into something new, and in some cases, totally different. He’s also throwing in a few musical treats for audiences that he’s wanted to do at SweetWater for many years.


SweetWater 2019 begins with an Opening Night Gala at the Historic Leith Church. The early music extravaganza, Everything Old is New Again, features world-famous countertenor Daniel Taylor, soprano Ellen McAteer, violinist Adrian Butterfield, flutist Rachel Brown, harpsichordist Kenneth Slowik, and Fewer. He’s especially excited about the concert programme, an evening of music by one composer, Handel (a SweetWater first).


“Everyone who knows The Messiah may not know the breadth of Handel’s output, and combination of beauty, virtuosity and variety in his musical pen is something that can enrich every listener.”


The Saturday Early Evening concert, Beginnings & Endings, returns to the Roxy Theatre. Audiences will be treated to a new version of multi-Juno winner David Braid’s LiuYang Fantasy (Lele’s Tune) for string and jazz quartets featuring Braid, Mike Murley, Mark Adams, and Joseph Phillips.


“It melds together sounds both old and new in a musical tapestry unlike anything else I’ve ever heard,” says Fewer.


Later percussionist Aiyun Huang and Fewer will perform a new work by Canadian composer Michael Oesterle. The concert will also throw a classic into the mix, Bach’s Sonata in B Minor for Flute and Harpsichord featuring Rachel Brown and Kenneth Slowik.


Back again is the always popular Saturday Late Night Jazz concert at Heartwood Hall. After Hours Once Again features SweetWater fav (and Fewer’s favourite jazz violinist) Drew Jurecka leading an all-star line-up including Graham Campbell performing jazz classics and more.


Reasons to Celebrate, the Sunday Matinee Finale at the Roxy, concludes SweetWater 2019 with a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria featuring the University of Toronto’s Schola Cantorum Choir (with Daniel Taylor and Ellen McAteer) all directed by Kenneth Slowik.


“This work cemented my love of baroque music for the rest of my life,” adds Fewer.


Plus, Fewer and Edwin Huizinga will join a full stage of amazing musicians performing Haydn’s String Quartet Opus 77, No 2 and much more. Fewer admits the finale will be highly-emotional.


“Saying goodbye isn’t easy to do, especially when connections run so deep and I have so many beautiful memories from our past Festivals.”


SweetWater again has free, interactive music events at the Harmony Centre on Saturday during Festival weekend. Family music fav Mozart for Munchkins (with Edwin Huzinga and Graham Campbell) followed by the always popular community play along Classical Jam (led by incoming AD Edwin Huizinga). The String Instrument Showcase Luthier Exhibit also runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It concludes with the Luthier Performance & Talk, featuring Fewer and CBC Radio host/producer and Globe and Mail music critic Robert Harris. He’ll also moderate a session with outgoing and incoming SweetWater Artistic Directors. 


Festival Passes and tickets are now on sale at the Roxy Theatre Box Office (call 519 371 2833) or online CLICK HERE. A limited number of Festival Passes (4 Concerts) are still available for $150. Single tickets range from $30 to $55 each. All student tickets are $10.


SweetWater 2019 is supported by Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, the Eva Leflar Foundation, The Medley Family, Murray & Ruth Cathcart, Bruce & Mary Hutchinson, the Municipality of Meaford, and Classical FM 102.9.


For more about SweetWater 2019, go to . Keep up on the latest SweetWater news via Facebook, Twitter (@SweetWaterNotes), and Instagram.