The journey from wretched weather to heavenly music.
Here is a personal message from the festival’s founder and artistic director:

How exactly did the Collingwood Summer Music Festival come about?

It all started with a snow blizzard, ironically!

I first learned of this beautiful region, nestled among the idyllic, scenic views of Georgian Bay and the splendid, mountainous backdrop of Blue Mountain, from my parents who retired to the area in 2017.

Classically-trained as a concert pianist, I quickly jumped onto the local music scene. On April 14, 2018, I offered to perform a fundraiser for the Barbara Weider House in Collingwood, a special shelter that provides housing for homeless youth.

Little did anyone know at the time that jolly old St. Nicholas had ordered an intensive snow storm precisely on the very day of the concert, which brought the entire town to a standstill. The organizers had decided it would be wise to cancel the concert and reschedule it for a later date, in order to maximize audience attendance.

I greatly looked forward to returning to the area and the growing anticipation became stronger day by day. By the summertime, what was supposed to be one fundraising event had inevitably turned into two full-fledged events: a solo piano recital opened by the local Bay Youth Ensemble at All Saints’ Anglican Church and a duo recital together with a talented local musician Keiko Yoden-Kuepfer at the original location, Trinity United Church.

The energy, dynamism and strong community spirit of the audience was undeniable at both events.

I thought to myself…
Why settle for one concert, when the community was clearly yearning to have two or three, or more?
…and so the seeds for the summer festival concept were successfully planted.

Why a Classical Music Festival?

The idea of running a classical music festival has long been a dream and passion of mine. Chamber music ensembles have some of the richest selection of repertoire available at their disposition. A high quality live performance of such music can stir our emotions and genuinely nurture our souls. The eclectic mixture of classical, world and jazz music of the Collingwood Summer Music Festival provides a summer entertainment option second to none.

Although the first year of any enterprise is always a major experiment, we are super-excited to watch how this festival will blossom in future years, together with its ever-growing network of community supporters. The future holds a great deal in store and is destined to include workshops for young, aspiring musicians; lectures and presentations on music-related topics; an increasing number of post-concert gala receptions; and much, much more!

We hope you enjoy every minute of the festival experience – the many valuable memories to come and the passionate community efforts of everyone involved: staff, board members, directors, sponsors & donors, partners, technical personnel, administrative personnel and countless volunteers.


Daniel Vnukowski

History of the Collingwood Music Festival

Collingwood, Ontario was once host to the “Collingwood Music Festival”, founded by Mr. Douglas Nadler in 1999, which ran from 2001-2011 and joined the list of top 100 festivals in Ontario in 2008 (compiled by “Festivals and Events Ontario”). The festival was a successful recipient of numerous grants from Heritage Canada and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, while featuring some of Canada’s finest musicians & ensembles such as the Elmer Iseler Singers, Nathaniel Dett Chorale, The Canadian Brass Quartetto Gelato and The Nylons, among others. During one performance, Elizabeth May had shared the stage with the Nylons!

Highlights of the previous festival included pre-seasonal events such as round table discussions with Environmental Groups, Youth Concerts featuring outstanding young talents from the Georgian Bay area and an emerging artists series. About a third of the concerts were dedicated to world music and included on-stage discussions of similarities between culture as opposed to differences. For example, Chinese musicians spoke with Tibetan musicians or intersections were made between Arabic and Jewish musicians. Jazz was featured in about 10% of the concerts.

Collingwood Music Festival
115 Hurontario St. Suite 200
Collingwood, ON
L9Y 2L9

Office: (705) 416-1317

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