5 Dec

The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival

The 2nd annual Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival, with artistic director Renee Rosnes at the helm, will feature top jazz artists from both Canada and the United States in collaborative, once-in-a-lifetime performances. The festival runs from Friday, February 15, 2019, through Sunday, February 17, 2019, and is supported by Presenting Sponsor TD Bank Group as one of TD’s Signature Black History Month events.

Friday, February 15, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra featuring Ingrid Jensen 

With Tara Davidson, Allison Au, Joel Miller, Kelly Jefferson, Perry White, Brian O’Kane, Jason Logue, Lina Allemano, Rebecca Hennessy, William Carn, Kelsley Grant, Terry Promane, Christian Overton, Gary Versace, Lorne Lofsky, Jon Maharaj, Jon Wikan

Venue: Niagara United Mennonite Church, 1775 Niagara Stone Road,
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival opens with the JUNO Award-winning Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra, featuring trumpeter Ingrid Jensen. Christine Jensen is a force in Canadian music, both a major voice on the saxophone and a lauded composer with two JUNO Awards to her credit. JazzTimes stated, “Jensen’s formidable orchestra is the glistening sunlight, the tranquillity and force of the ocean, and the majestic trees that her music imagines.” Hear an extraordinary evening of pure Canadian jazz that will spotlight Christine’s sister Ingrid, who is also an inventive, prolific talent. The band is brimming with many Canadian jazz stars including trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy, saxophonists Allison Au and Kelly Jefferson, trombonist William Carn, and guitarist Lorne Lofsky, among many others.

A highlight of the evening is sure to be the world premiere of Christine Jensen’s composition in tribute to Oscar PetersonSomething In His Smile, commissioned by the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival.

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 1:00p.m
Lecture & Performance by Bill Charlap – George Gershwin: The Blues and the American Soul

Venue: Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street,
St. Catharines, Ontario

“Jazz is the voice of the American soul,” declared George Gershwin in 1926. Acclaimed GRAMMY award-winning pianist Bill Charlap is not only recognized as one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists, he is also a renowned educator and enchanting story-teller. Charlap will discuss and demonstrate the important influence of jazz and the blues in George Gershwin’s music during this free afternoon event.

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 8:00 p.m.
Singin’ & Swingin’: A Jazz Summit

Joe Lovano, Jeremy Pelt, Niki Haris, Renee Rosnes, Russell Malone, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash

Venue: Partridge Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street,
St. Catharines, Ontario

Saturday evening’s concert, Singin’ & Swingin’: A Jazz Summit, is a rare opportunity to hear seven modern masters, each one a virtuoso, create music together. GRAMMY award winner Joe Lovano is a creative genius and, arguably, the leading tenor sax titan of our time. Vocalist Niki Haris is gifted with a stunning vocal instrument of sweeping emotional range, and her style is always imbued with the blues. As the daughter of jazz piano great Gene Harris, who was greatly admired by and a friend of Oscar Peterson, Niki’s jazz roots run deep. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt is a technical marvel who can caress a ballad and execute a fiery solo with equal aplomb, and the charismatic Russell Malone plays the guitar with an infectious swing that embraces the entire history of jazz. Having toured and recorded together for over 25 years, pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash are a rhythm section dream team that brings telepathic interplay and swinging momentum to the bandstand.

Sunday February 17, 2019 – 1:00 p.m.
Music with No Borders 

Kenny Barron, Kirk MacDonald, Reg Schwager, Neil Swainson, Lewis Nash

Venue: Stratus Vineyards, 2059 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Music with No Borders features an incredible once-in-a-lifetime concert showcasing the exquisite pianism of NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron with top echelon players from both Canada and the United States. Recognized around the world as a master of performance and composition, Barron is joined by tenor saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, guitarist Reg Schwager and bassist Neil Swainson, all of whom are enjoying major league careers, and are currently at the peak of their powers.

With more than thirty years of playing and recording with the greatest Canadian and international jazz musicians, MacDonald has established himself as a leader, composer and educator, whose impact on Canada’s younger generation of musicians will be felt for many years to come. Schwager is beloved by artists and audiences alike for his melodic, swinging guitar playing and vast knowledge of jazz repertoire. He has toured extensively with Diana Krall and Robi Botos. Swainson is well-known throughout Canada and the United States, having spent many years touring with George Shearing, Woody Shaw, and other jazz greats. He is one of Canada’s most sought-after bassists. Driving the band behind the drums will be Lewis Nash, one of the most tasteful and swinging drummers of our time. This will be a true celebration of the democracy that is jazz and a historical meeting of five brilliant musical minds.

Sunday, February 17, 2019 – 6:30 p.m.
Canadian Jazz Master Awards Gala Dinner

Venue: Stratus Vineyards, 2059 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Under the auspices of the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival, the annual Canadian Jazz Master Awards (CJMA) was founded to celebrate and honour Canadian jazz musicians of the highest artistic excellence who are deserving of national recognition. Each year two awards are presented, to one living and one past legend of Canadian jazz. Nominees are reviewed and chosen by a rotating advisory panel of 15 jazz experts from across Canada. The artists who receive the most votes by the panel in each of the two categories become the recipients of a CJMA. In February 2018 the first awards were given to guitarist Ed Bickert and the family of trombonist/composer/arranger Rob McConnell.

This year’s honorees are two jazz legends. The 2019 Canadian Jazz Master Awards will be presented to clarinettist, composer, and educator Phil Nimmons and to the family of influential trumpeter and composer, Kenny Wheeler.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this 2019 lineup of the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival,” comments Artistic Director Renee Rosnes. “Every concert will be filled with unforgettable performances by some of the greatest jazz musicians alive today.” Rosnes curates OPIJF in collaboration with Kelly Peterson, Artistic Producer, who adds, “This is an opportunity to hear groups of musicians who don’t usually play together, concerts you will not hear anywhere else.”

Peterson and Rosnes work alongside Executive Producers Christine Mori and Alexis Spieldenner of Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts.

Ticket Information

Single tickets range from $55-$100. “Under 30” ticket discounts available. Prices exclude HST and service fees. Save up to 20% on tickets with a 3-Day Festival Pass.

Tickets and 3-Day Festival Passes will be available for purchase Wednesday, November 21, 2018.

About the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival 

The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival(OPIJF), one of Canada’s most anticipated winter music events, is named for the internationally renowned Canadian jazz giant. It was created to present the essence of jazz and the sound of swing. Oscar Peterson dedicated his life to music with intense vitality: music which encompasses the entire living history of jazz, and the OPIJF represents the same unshakable excellence and integrity for which he was known. It is the mission of the OPIJF to showcase and celebrate world-class Canadian talent performing alongside American and international artists, thereby ensuring the future of jazz in Canada. Under the expert guidance of Artistic Director Renee Rosnes and Artistic Producer Kelly Peterson, this annual festival provides a unique opportunity to hear rare combinations of musicians and individual stars, in performance. The OPIJF is produced by Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts in partnership with The Estate of Oscar Peterson. Celebrate the past, the present, and the future — all at the same time.


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