Printable brochure of 2019 lineup IRF19 Brochure
Digital copy of our 2019 Season IRF19 Program Final
She is something of a wandering minstrel, with six solo albums and many interesting collaborations along the way. A speaker of French, Spanish, and German, her early recordings focused on European cabaret, but one of her most unique talents is the ability to blend a variety of languages and musical genres seamlessly together in her concerts, and completely embody whatever style she is singing at any given moment.
She just completed a six year stint as a Resident Artist at Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company. Her responsibilities there included conducting, teaching, mentoring young artists, producing, curating and performing in festivals, and developing new work.
She will be joined on stage with Andrew Downing and Robert Kortgaard. Here is their invitation
Andrew Downing is a Toronto based double bass player, cellist, composer and educator born in London, Ontario in 1973. He plays primarily in the creative jazz scene in Canada, but also performs classical chamber music, improvised music, folk and roots music, and world music. He practices the unusual craft of tuning his bass in fifths an octave lower than a cello. His teachers include Jack Winn, Dave Young, Don Thompson, Shauna Rolston and Joel Quarrington.
His own projects span a wide variety of styles and practices. Most recently, he has begun a collaboration in İstanbul, Turkey with ud (Turkish lute) player Güç Başar Gülle that incorporates Ottoman Classical music in a collection of new compositions for ud, cello, percussion and kaval (a Turkish folk instrument). Their first album Anahtar will be released in October of 2013. He also has a collaborative multi-media project with Canadian songwriter John Southworth and visual artist Yesim Tosuner called Easterween featuring songs written by John and arranged by Andrew for his 7-piece chamber ensemble. He also leads his chamber-jazz ensemble Melodeon, which plays live scores for silent films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Phantom of the Opera (with choir), Maciste in Hell, Impossible Voyage and The Shock.
As a composer, Andrew has written pieces for Nordic Folk group Ensemble Polaris, banjo player Jayme Stone, The Vancouver Bach Choir, Ensemble Meduse, Toca Loca and The Prince George Symphony, and has written arrangements for Patricia O’Callaghan, The Gryphon Trio, The Annex Quartet and The Art of Time Ensemble.
He has won two Juno awards, one for his own recording Blow The House Down with his former group Great Uncles of the Revolution, and one with the Vancouver-based group Zubot and Dawson. He has also won two West Coast Music Awards, a Socan Award, and the Grand Prix de Jazz from the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Andrew currently teaches double bass, composition and improvisation at the University of Toronto and has taught at Wilfred Laurier University, the Banff Centre’s Jazz Workshop and the Creative Music Workshop in Halifax.
Pianist Robert Kortgaard was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. He completed his Bachelor and Master’s degrees at the Juilliard School in New York City. As a recipient of arts awards from the Canada Council, he furthered his musical studies in Italy and England.
Mr. Kortgaard has performed as a soloist with major Canadian orchestras and has given recitals throughout Canada and the United States, as well as in England, Finland, Portugal, Italy, Indonesia, the Czech Republic, China and Japan. He is a favorite collaborator of many of Canada’s finest instrumental soloists, vocalists and chamber groups. His performances are frequently heard on CBC Radio, and he has recorded for the Centrediscs, Marquis Classics/EMI, CBC Records, Teldec and ATMA Classique labels.
Mr. Kortgaard is Artistic Director of the Indian River Festival on Prince Edward Island (IRF has been nominated “Event of the Year” by the East Coast Music Awards), and the Leith Summer Music Festival in Ontario. He was musician-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick from l993-l998, and has given piano masterclasses at universities and festivals in Canada, Indonesia and China.
Mr. Kortgaard has performed with sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian, Sumi Jo, Jane Archibald, Adrianne Pieczonka and Measha Brueggergosman, mezzo soprano Susan Platts, violinist Joshua Bell, and with Peter Tiefenbach and prima ballerina Veronica Tennant on a production entitled “Invitation to the Dance”. He has recorded French and German Cabaret programmes with mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell for CBC Records. His CD with soprano Wendy Nielsen was nominated for both Juno and East Coast Music Awards. Recent engagements include tours with flutist Susan Hoeppner, cabaret artist Patricia O’Callaghan. baritone Brett Polegato, renowned music theatre actress/singer Rebecca Caine and several performances of duo piano repertoire with Peter Tiefenbach. A CD of the music of Olivier Messiaen, recorded with soprano Suzie LeBlanc, was released on the ATMA Classiques label and has received an Opus Award for best recording of contemporary music.
He has had the privilege of serving as a touring guitarist and backing vocalist for many of Canada’s best artists including Big Sugar, The Trews, Tim Chaisson, In Flight Safety, and Andy Brown. After 11 years as a side musician, he focussed on a platform of his own, a place to vocalize his personal experiences. Not to compete with the career that he had enjoyed but to compliment it. As a result, he began to write and record an EP, and “Warhorses” was born.
The word “Warhorses” embodies power, relentlessness, determination, and hope.
Don Amero is a powerful stylist, Juno nominee, and engaging storyteller from Manitoba. His latest album, Refined, is giving genuine music fans a taste of the real deal, as he melts Canadian hearts from coast to coast.
With silky vocals, a lovable stage presence, and a soulful sound that’s been likened to Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, and Jack Johnson, he brings his own brand of percussion‐style guitar play and delightful approachability to every performance.
Don’s first four albums generated nine national and international awards, as well as one Juno nomination in 2013 and two in 2016.
His tireless work ethic, talent, ambition, and determination have also made him an inspiration to Aboriginal youth.
New Brunswick based bluegrass darlings have charmed the East Coast with the release of their debut album “So It Goes” and now the quirky duo is taking on the world with their upcoming album, “I Go Where You Go”.
From high energy foot stompers and traditional folk, husband and wife duo John and Lisa McLaggan have layered the tunes with memorable melodies, gorgeous harmonies, and Lisa’s unique washboard /bass drum /tin can setup.
They have performed extensively throughout Canada and Eastern United States.
A port city is a place where cultures and histories collide, where goods and ideas are imported and absorbed into the local bloodstream. The trio of celebrated Nova Scotian songwriters who now call themselves Port Cities honour that tradition. Their chosen name isn’t just indicative of where they’re from (the harbour hamlet of Cape Breton) but what they do: fuse divergent styles and experiences into a singular roots-rock sound.
Port Cities is a collaboration six years in the making. The trio first crossed paths in 2011 at a songwriter’s workshop hosted by Gordie Sampson, the Nova Scotia native who has become one of the most in-demand writers and producers in Nashville.
A fast-rising star in the Canadian music scene, she has been receiving accolades for her unique vocal ability that stresses subtlety and grace.
A deep passion for the music of classic vocalists like Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald led Barbra to pursue a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at the University of Toronto. Shortly after graduating, Barbra was runner-up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. A seasoned live act on the Canadian club and festival circuit, she has performed in both intimate clubs and prestigious theatres.
She has captivated audiences across North America with her warmth and was a 2017 Juno nominee for “Best vocal album”.
See her invitation
“THE GREAT ESCAPE” is ECMA award-winning Meaghan Blanchard’s fourth album. The songs are strong, at times deeply personal, and sown throughout are the narratives of men and women who have rumbled with profound universal themes: self-doubt, fear and hope for a better way of living.
She has toured extensively across Canada and the UK, and has even showcased her music stateside at the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, MO. She has performed for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and played 47 shows in 15 days at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Since relocating in 2013, Ontario native Nick Doneff has become a staple within the PEI music community as a busy sideman for island favourites such as Nudie and Liam Corcoran. In 2017, Music PEI presented him with the “Musician of the Year” award for his stage and studio work. Doneff is now emerging as an original act known for his earnest songwriting and magnetic live performances. His debut record has been met with glowing reviews and international airplay. The song Old Dog was featured on CBC’s flagship arts and culture program, Q, where host Tom Power described him as a cross between John Prine and Joel Plaskett.
Nick Doneff is a talented musician, multi-instrumentalist and multiple Music PEI award nominee with a self-titled album.
Join Nick and ECMA award winning Island singer / songwriter and multi Music PEI award wins, Meaghan Blanchard, for an evening of song, stories and her exclusive pre-release concert for her album “The Great Escape”.
Dennis Ellsworth and Kinley Dowling are an Island duo who have been friends and musical collaborators for years. They will share music from their recent debut album, which has received multiple Music PEI award nominations.
Presented in partnership with Music PEI and the PEI Potato Growers
The Sweet Lowdown (Miriam Sonstenes, fiddle; Amanda Blied, guitar; Tad Ruszel, mandolin) offer original acoustic roots music. You’ll hear influences as far-ranging as Celtic jigs, Appalachian fiddling and contemporary pop. Drawing from these influences, yet not beholden, they blaze a new trail with original songwriting and innovative instrumental arrangements.
Join Music PEI’s 2018 Songwriter of the year, Alicia Toner, with a blend of roots, country, rock and Americana and Justin Nozuka, award winning Canadian folk, soul, rock singer/songwriter with millions of YouTube views, for an afternoon of fantastic songs and stories.
Their debut album, “In The Battle Years”, garnered Hillburn an East Coast Music Award last year. With soaring harmonies and densely-layered arrangements, this folk-rooted band’s sound is unique. Having just released their 2nd album, “The Wilder Beyond”, the band has promised a special IRF premiere performance!