York’s resident talent showcased during Fine Arts Festival

The third annual York Fine Arts Festival, running March 11 to 31, showcases the resident talent in one of North America’s premier centres for professional training in the arts.

Like York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, the festival encompasses all the arts, from theatre and dance productions to visual arts, design and multimedia exhibitions, film screenings and classical, jazz and world music concerts. Featuring 40 public events over three weeks, the festival packs excitement, entertainment and inspiration – plus the chance to talent-spot the next wave of outstanding young artists and performers.

Right: The York University Concert and Chamber Choirs

The festival kicks off with an aural and visual feast. Baroque Magnificence (March 11) offers a selection of 17th-century choral gems performed by the York University Chamber Choir and Chamber orchestra under the baton of Lisette Canton.

The talents of more than 200 up-and-coming visual artists are showcased in Brainstorm, the annual open house exhibition of the Visual Arts Department (March 12) and the graduate student exhibition Under Construction (March 11-14, reception March 12), curated by York alumnus Stuart Reid (BFA ’86), director of Owen Sound’s Tom Thomson Art Gallery.

The World Music Festival (March 12-16) spotlights global musical traditions in eight different concerts, from West African drums and classical Chinese orchestra to steelpan, flamenco and Balkan music. It is followed by the Jazz Festival (March 17-20), featuring performances by the York University Jazz Orchestra led by Al Henderson and Mike Cadó, four jazz choirs, and small jazz ensembles directed by the likes of Mike Murley, Lorne Lofsky, Kelly Jefferson and Mark Eisenman.

Right: The York Dance Ensemble

The York Dance Ensemble heats up the stage with Vivid Variations: re/creating classics (March 13-15), a collection of vintage and bold new works by David Earle, Darcey Callison, Susan Lee, Susan Cash and Sashar Zarif (MA ’07). Hard on their dancing heels comes Celestial Navigation (March 26-29), a two-part program premiering original works exploring the symbolism of the cosmos created by 11 rising young choreographers, plus renowned indie mover Julia Sasso’s new ensemble piece, bigBANG, set on 30 heavenly bodies.

Theatre @ York brings cosmic forces back to earth (and water) with Mary Zimmerman’s brilliantly inventive Tony Award-winning play Metamorphoses (March 16-22), based on the myths of the Roman poet Ovid. York’s magical take on these classic tales of gods and goddesses run amok features some of Canada’s hottest young stage talent, directed by groundbreaking Siminovitch Prize-winner, York theatre alumna Jillian Keiley.

Right: Jillian Keiley

The action moves to the big screen with York Shorts (March 20), a showcase screening of recent productions by graduate film students.

Rounding out the festival program is a wide array of other exhibitions and performances, including shows of graphic design, print media, time-based art and stage design, and ragtime, R&B and symphony orchestra concerts. the York University Symphony Orchestra’s Concert of Soloists will take place March 27 and the Wind Symphony on March 30. The festival culminates with two major choral events: a spirited performance by the York University Gospel Choir (March 28), led by Karen Burke, with special guest, multiple-Grammy Award-winner Carvin Winans, and the joined forces and voices of the York University Concert and Chamber Choirs in Carl Orff’s Catulli Carmina (March 31).

Visit the Faculty of Fine Arts Festival Web site for more information on all the events.