International Musicians, Scholars Gather for Guelph Jazz Festival

September 06, 2012 - News Release

The Guelph Jazz Festival — started by a University of Guelph professor 19 years ago — runs this week, with workshops and concerts being held on campus and in downtown Guelph.

The five-day event will include ticketed concerts, free concerts in Market Square in downtown Guelph, and an evening of music and art installations called Nuit Blanche on Sept. 8.

Artists are coming from South Africa, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Israel, India, the United States, Brazil and other parts of Canada.

“This year’s festival promises to be as exciting as the remarkably adventurous, groundbreaking and award-winning festival that preceded it,” said U of G English professor Ajay Heble, who started the Guelph Jazz Festival in 1994 and serves as its artistic director.

Parts of this year’s festival will honour John Coltrane, with numerous performers connected to the late American jazz saxophonist and composer or presenting reinterpretations of his work.

The headliner of the 2012 festival is Abdullah Ibrahim, a South African pianist and composer formerly known as Dollar Brand. Ibrahim, a protégé of Duke Ellington and Coltrane, will perform Saturday and take part in an on-stage interview Friday.

The festival begins Sept. 5 with the U of G-hosted colloquium — two days of workshops, interviews and concerts by visiting musicians — at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC). Ibrahim will be interviewed during the colloquium Friday at 3 p.m. Read more

The Coltrane tributes start Friday, 8 p.m., at the River Run Centre. An 11-piece ensemble of Toronto-based artists led by Jeremy Strachan will perform Coltrane’s Ascension, and California-based Rova Orkestrova will showcase a new version of Electric Ascension.

“Lucky for us, we’ll hear Coltrane’s music twice in one evening,” Heble said.

Other festival highlights include Ibrahim’s solo performance at the River Run Centre Saturday at 8 p.m.

Free concerts will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. at Market Square in downtown Guelph.

On Saturday, Nuit Blanche, a popular offshoot of the festival, will feature performances and installations from dusk till dawn at downtown locations.

A complete schedule and information are available online.

The Guelph Jazz Festival has become a world-class venue for jazz performance and education. It has been hailed as among the most visionary musical events in Canada and received the prestigious Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for the Arts and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts administered by the Ontario Arts Council.

U of G sponsors include the schools of Fine Art and Music, Languages and Literatures, and English and Theatre Studies, the MSAC and the Central Student Association.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or

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