Stratford Summer Music stages an annual summer music festival of diverse musical experiences of superior quality, to celebrate music and to enhance the reputation of the Stratford region as an exceptional home for all the arts.
Stratford Summer Music mission statement

Stratford Summer Music, an annual multi-week music festival that presents 100 events featuring 350+ artists, is set in indoor and outdoor venues throughout downtown Stratford, Ontario. With an artistic vision to produce, to the highest standards possible, an annual program of diverse and exciting musical performances by local, provincial, national and international artists and to provide the widest possible range of musical genres on our stages, Stratford Summer Music exposes audiences to a standard of musical excellence difficult to find outside large urban centres.

Mark Fewer

Mark Fewer, Artistic Director

photo by Scott Wishart

Violinist Mark Fewer leads a multi-disciplined life in music. Violin soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, artistic director, conductor, arranger, teacher, jazz violinist, recording artist and occasional radio host, he has performed worldwide to great critical acclaim. Described as “intrepid” (The Globe and Mail), “genre-bending” (National Post), “profound” (The WholeNote), and “freaky good”(The Gazette), he has performed around the world in halls such as Carnegie, Wigmore and Salle Pleyel, and is equally at home in recital venues such as Bartok House (Budapest) to Le Poisson Rouge (NYC) to The Forum (Taipei).

As a soloist, he has performed with the symphonies of Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Quebec, San Francisco and Melbourne, as well as groups such as the Fodens-Richardson Brass Band (UK), the Zapp Quartet (Amsterdam), and the McGill Percussion Ensemble.

As a conductor he has directed I Musici de Montreal, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, the Newfoundland Sinfonia, the McGill Baroque Orchestra and the choir Capella Antica.

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    As a conductor he has directed I Musici de Montreal, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, the Newfoundland Sinfonia, the McGill Baroque Orchestra and the choir Capella Antica.

    Mr. Fewer’s discography includes collections of works by such varied musical voices as the baroque gypsy Giovanni Pandolfi (released on the Smithsonian’s prestigious Friends of Music label, it has been a best-seller at the museum since 2009), the American “Bad Boy of Music” George Antheil (with pianist John Novacek, it is regularly used as soundtrack material for the cult American hit tv series “American Horror Theater – Freak Show”), jazz great Phil Dwyer (Changing Seasons, a work written expressly for Mr. Fewer showcasing his unique talents in both classical and jazz idioms, it won the 2012 Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and was an iTunes bestseller), and Bramwell Tovey (Nine Daies Wander, winner of two UK Brass Band Record of the Year awards, the piece has Mr. Fewer reciting famous lines of Shakespeare while re-enacting the publicity stunt of comedic actor William Kemp in 1600). Other recordings include the Violin and Piano Sonatas of Johannes Brahms (with pianist Peter Longworth), and the Jazz Sonata of Bohuslav Martinu (with Art of Time director Andrew Burashko, piano). His latest recording of the Six Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord Obbligato by J. S. Bach was released on the new LEAF MUSIC label. 2018 will see the online record release of his own music, written to be performed alongside American street poet Idris Goodwin’s “The Body In Crisis”. Also forthcoming are recordings of the Mozart Piano Quartets (using Thomas Jefferson’s violin), Schubert’s Trout Quintet with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, and the complete String Sonatas of Rossini.

    Over the next three seasons, he will premiere new violin works by composers Bramwell Tovey, David Braid, Drew Jurecka, Matthias Maute, Richard Mascall, John Novacek, Alissa Cheung, Michi Wiancko, Atar Arad and others. As a collaborator, Mr. Fewer has been violinist with the Duke Piano Trio for more than twenty years, a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players for 13 and was, until recently, violinist with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. He has shared the classical stage with performers such as Edgar Meyer, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Leon Fleisher, Elizabeth Wallfisch, James Campbell, Anssi Kartuunen and others, and the jazz stage with Dave Young, Phil Dwyer, Jim Vivian, Jodi Proznick, Brad Turner, Gene DiNovi and Pekka Kuusisto. In 2016 he was a featured soloist with Stevie Wonder and his band during the Songs in the Key of Life tour. Mr. Fewer has been a dedicated teacher for 20 years, having been on the faculties of the Glenn Gould School, the University of Toronto, McGill University, and recently as Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University. He has taught during the summers at the Domaine Forget for more than 18 years, as well as having taught at the Banff Centre, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, NYO Canada, the Vancouver Academy of Music, the Dresden Hochschule, the Australian Youth Orchestra, the University of British Columbia, the University of California Santa Barbara, Arizona State University and others. His students have distinguished themselves by winning positions in major ensembles and orchestras in North America and Europe, including the Handel & Haydn Society (concertmaster), the Montreal Symphony, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, the Danish Philharmonic and others. He began a new appointment as William Dawson Scholar at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in 2015 where he taught violin, baroque violin, chamber music and string improvisation. He is the founding Artistic Director of the SweetWater Music Festival, which celebrates its 16th season in September of 2019. He became the Artistic Director of Stratford Summer Music in October of 2018.

John A. Miller, Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus

For the past 34 years John Miller has devoted his considerable energies to matters cultural by developing a specialization in Canadian arts and artists and, in particular, a keen knowledge of music by and about Canadians.

After positions in education and politics, John’s arts career began in 1980 when he accepted a position with the Stratford Festival in the Marketing Department.

From Stratford Mr. Miller moved to Toronto to become National Director of The Canadian Music Centre where, for five years, he headed a network of offices and staff who administered the nation’s support for the music of our classical and avant-garde composers and where a permanent national home for their work – Chalmers House – was built.

In 1986 he opened his own arts management company to work with such distinguished clients as the Orford String Quartet and with private philanthropic, corporate and government bodies.

From 1989-2004 Mr. Miller was Executive Director of the foundation which promotes the artistry and the ideas of Canada’s greatest cultural figure, Glenn Gould.  In this role he oversaw a world-wide network of contacts in the recording, media and performance fields where Glenn Gould’s accomplishments are still treasured.  As Executive Director he led the organisation’s projects such as The Glenn Gould Prize and its international outreach programs such as the Friends of Glenn Gould society.

After being encouraged by a 1993 invitation from the Stratford’s mayor to bring back summertime music, John’s dream came to reality with the first season of the new Stratford Summer Music in 2001.

In its 2011 survey of North American summer music festivals, the respected British music journal, Gramophone, named Stratford Summer Music one of the top festivals on the continent and the only Canadian festival to make the distinguished designation of being in its top twelve summer music sites.

On Canada Day, 2014 the City of Stratford awarded John its ultimate honour – the naming and placing of his star at the heart of the city – where his name joins other prominent arts figures such as Glenn Gould, Loreena McKennitt and Christopher Plummer in this public recognition program.

SSM 2018 Annual Report

SSM 2019 Annual Report