2013 Banff Summer Arts Festival showcases a great season of culture in the mountains

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Banff, Alberta, May 15, 2013 -- With one of the most brilliant careers in classical ballet, one that included countless principal roles with the Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and White Oak Dance Project, Mikhail Baryshnikov branched into choreography, and acting on the stage and in movies and television. On July 27, Baryshnikov will be in Banff as part of the Heather and N. Murray Edwards Legendary Leaders Series, in conversation onstage by Globe and Mail columnist Ian Brown, a highlight of the 2013 Banff Summer Arts Festival at Banff Centre, the Canadian Rockies’ biggest cultural celebration.   

This summer, audiences in Banff can plan their Rockies weekends around a packed schedule of indoor and outdoor cultural performances and exhibitions that extends from June 14 through August 24, from contemporary dance to indie rock to Indigenous arts to mainstage opera, film, new media, literary readings, and art installation. Come to Banff for the weekend, stay the week, and see the best in original art on the stage and in the galleries, much of it created at Banff Centre.  

There are plenty of venues to see some great indie, pop, and rock music through the summer. Serena Ryder will be on the temporary stage at the Parks Admin Grounds in Banff on June 22 as part of Performance in the Park, with Said the Whale and Coeur de Pirate. The season in the spectacular outdoor Shaw Amphitheatre kicks off June 30 with a bill including indie band Zeus, local faves The Eerie Green and Elk Run and Riot, and hip-hop artist Classified. In the licensed underground Club venue, Cold Specks is onstage July 18 and 19, Danny Michel performs with Belize band The Garifuna Collective July 24, and Austin’s Shakey Graves plays August 11.  

Back outside in the Shaw Amphitheatre, catch the popular Canadian roots rock band Blue Rodeo July 6, Feist August 7 with openers Snowblink, and the gritty roots duo Whitehorse August 18 with openers Wool on Wolves.  

The Festival features headliners from the opera stage, including the spectacular soprano Measha Brueggergosman, who will sing outdoors in the Shaw Amphitheatre on July 13, bringing new music, and standards from her latest album, I’ve Got a Crush on You. The rising star Philippe Sly, a grand prize winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, is in the Rolston Recital Hall July 17, and Canadian-born opera star Ben Heppner, recognized as the finest dramatic tenor in the world today, will be in recital August 4. The opera season wraps up with Benjamin Britten’s contemporary story Owen Wingrave, produced in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and directed by Kelly Robinson.  

There’s a full season of music ahead, with series throughout the summer of percussion, chamber music, brass, and orchestra. Highlights include percussion works by Iannis Xenakis and John Cage in late June, and a program of Beethoven August 3 and 4 with Honens Piano Competition laureate Pavel Koleshnikov and conductor Lior Shambadal. Vancouver-based choreographer Donald Sales returns to Banff in July to create new work as winner of the Clifford E. Lee Award in choreography, for the Dance Masters company, which presents classical and contemporary ballet July 23 to 26.  

Later in the summer, the Centre’s seasonal company that comes together for Indigenous Dance performs new work August 23 and 24, following July 11 and 12 concerts by vocalists as part of the Diverse as This Land series. This summer the series features Australian singer-songwriter Emma Donovan, and Juno Award-winning singer Elisapie Isaac.  

The Literary Journalism series runs through July, including conversation between Ian Brown and long-time New Yorker contributor Calvin Trillin July 10, and winners of the CBC Canada Writes nonfiction award July 25. In the Walter Phillips Gallery, artists including Ragnar Kjartansson, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, and Francis Alÿs are featured in Pleinairism, curated by Kitty Scott. And audiences can wrap up a cultural summer in the mountains with the week-long Banff International String Quartet Competition, which kicks off August 26.  

Created out of the year-round artistic enterprise at Banff Centre, the Banff Summer Arts Festival is designed to appeal to all ages and all cultural interests, with large-scale mainstage shows, intimate club gigs, lots of literary and visual arts content, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the gorgeous surroundings of the Canadian Rockies.

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About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Banff Centre exists to inspire artists and leaders to make their unique contribution to society. Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs at Banff Centre every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, Banff Centre provides the support needed to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. Moving forward, the Centre will disseminate art and ideas developed in Banff through initiatives in digital, web, radio, and broadcast media.