Banff Centre’s Mountainside Summer Season kicks off with world premiere of Calgary Old Trout Puppet Workshop’s Ghost Opera on May 24

BANFF, AB, March 20, 2019 – Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Mountainside Summer Season kicks off on May 24 with two extraordinary performances: Ghost Opera produced by Calgary’s Old Trout Puppet Workshop and Mînowin by British Columbia’s Dancers of the Damelahamid. With more than 26 ticketed shows, and over 100 free events, Banff Centre is the place to experience multi-disciplinary art in the Canadian Rockies this summer. Tickets for all shows and events go on sale on March 20 at noon at

With a focus on Alberta artists this summer, audiences will experience a world premiere from the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, an open rehearsal of new material from Alberta Ballet, and a crowd-pleasing concert with jazz great Jens Lindemann.

Audiences will love Banff Centre’s live music outdoors in the Shaw Amphitheatre; groundbreaking opera productions; contemporary dance performances; readings from our resident writers; new and exciting works by leading Canadian composers; jazz performances nearly every night in August; visual art from across the country; sneak-peaks into our Indigenous Arts residencies; and, on Labour Day weekend, the extraordinary Banff International String Quartet Competition which showcases some of the greatest classical music talent from around the world.  

“We’re proud to present this bold, and exciting program to audiences at our beautiful campus in the Canadian Rockies. We are putting an emphasis on Alberta this summer with major performances and workshops from the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, Alberta Ballet, and Jens Lindemann,” said Howard R. Jang, Vice President of Arts and Leadership at Banff Centre. “We’re also offering some of the most cutting edge work in the world with fascinating projects by visual artist Carmen Papalia, Dora Award-winning opera director Joel Ivany, co-Artistic Directors of Summer Music Steven Schick and Claire Chase, who have commissioned 6 new works, and our very own jazz great Vijay Iyer, who will present concerts with extraordinary alumni and participants throughout  August.” 

Summer Highlights 

Mountainside Live outdoor concert series in the Shaw Amphitheatre 
Wrapped with a spectacular 360-degree view of Banff's mountain ranges, where people wear hiking boots to our outdoor concert hall, Banff Centre’s Shaw Amphitheatre is truly majestic. Experience seven unforgettable musical performances in Canada’s favorite open air concert venue in the heart of Banff National Park. Mountainside Live kicks off with two of Canada’s greatest Indigenous singer songwriters Susan Aglukark and Leela Gilday (June 30); annual Banff favorite, Blue Rodeo (July 7); Canadian indie pop band, Alvvays (July 13); Order of Canada recipient and trumpet soloist, Jens Lindemann (July 21); folk musicians, Frazey Ford and Hawksley Workman (July 27); two-time Grammy Award winner and song-writing legend, John Prine (August 8); and Toronto-based guitarist and musical gun-for-hire, Bahamas (August 11). 

Mountainside Art presents Guidelines by Carmen Papalia with Heather Kai Smith
Vancouver based-artists Carmen Papalia and Heather Kai Smith collaborate on an animation and series of works on paper that visually interpret the concept of Open Access. Papalia identifies as a non-visual learner, a term he prefers to the more institutional diagnostic term “legally blind”, and is one of Canada’s leading artists working to open up arts organizations to a new understanding of access. Emphasizing what Papalia understands an institution's social accessibility, the concept of Open Access advocates for the artist's understanding of "accessibility as social practice" – a temporary experience that requires a relational approach to mutual care. See the exhibition Guidelines at Walter Phillips Gallery from June 15 – August 25. 

Mountainside Opera presents crowd pleaser #OperaPub, No One’s Safe, and Silent Light 
With the thrill of five Dora Awards for last year’s production of Orphée+, Joel Ivany returns as Director of Opera in the 21 Century at Banff Centre this summer. The season kicks off with #OperaPub (June 7 + 14) at the Banff Legion. Hear some of Canada’s next great opera singers sing arias and duets from your favourite operas, and all from the comfort of your bar stool.

Experience a murder mystery of operatic proportions in No One’s Safe (June 27, 28 + 29). Follow a character as you wind your way through the forest outside Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists Studios and the lives of the Marshall family to solve a murder mystery. Featuring participants from Banff Centre’s Opera in the 21 Century training program and an all-Canadian creative team with a new composition by Juno Award-winning Nicole Lizée. 

Don’t miss a special workshop performance of Silent Light (July 4, 5 + 6), a new opera based on the film Stellet Licht by Carlos Reygadas. Set within a Mennonite community in northern Mexico, the opera follows a pious husband and father whose strongly held spiritual obligation to his marriage, family, and community is put to the test when he falls in love with another woman. Featuring music by Paola Prestini and libretto by Royce Vavrek. 

Mountainside Concerts
For the final season of their tenure, Co-Artistic Directors of Summer Music at Banff Centre, Claire Chase and Steven Schick continue their commitment to the creation of new repertory for a new generation with six Banff Centre-commissioned works. Hear new compositions from Yvette Janine-Jackson, Alvin Lucier, Miya Masaoka, Paul Wiancko, Suzanne Farrin, and Natacha Diels performed by Summer Music program participants alongside faculty and guest artists. The program also includes not-to-be-missed faculty recitals by International Contemporary Ensemble, Peter Evans, Matana Roberts, Mazz Swift, Miya Masaoka, Wilfrido Terrazas, JACK Quartet, Parker Quartet, Eybler Quartet, Bozzini String Quartet, and Auto-Schediasms by Tyshawn Sorey

Mountainside Dance
As an Alberta-based arts organization with national and international reach, Banff Centre’s first priority is to support Alberta-based artists. Nationally renowned choreographer and artistic director of Alberta Ballet, Jean Grand-Maître will present a workshop of one of his major productions for the 2019-20 season, Frankenstein, which will be free to the public in an open rehearsal on July 27. Banff Centre Director of Dance, Emily Molnar will present an evening of works from the Los Angeles contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC on July 12, and the world premiere of Epilogos by Vancouver-based choreographer Shay Kuebler and Radical System Art on July 18. 

Mountainside Readings
Susan Orlean, Rogers Communications Chair in Literary Journalism at Banff Centre, will present several talks with leading writers and journalists this summer including Rebecca Skloot (July 17) and William Finnegan (July 24). Orlean is a staff writer and author with the New Yorker who recently published The Library Book in 2018. She is in her second summer season at Banff Centre. 

Mountainside Jazz and Creative Music
Artistic Director, Vijay Iyer, and Co-Artistic Director, Tyshawn Sorey, lead world renowned faculty and participants through an exploration of jazz and creative music with three Saturday showcases that should not be missed on August 10, 17, and 23 in the Margaret Greenham Theatre. Free concerts will be available over the course of the program as emerging musicians from the Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music perform with their internationally acclaimed mentors in evenings of experimentation.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach.