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Festival Artistic Director Robert Kortgaard celebrates 20 years

The 2018 season at Indian River Festival marks a special anniversary of a relationship that is an important part of Robert Kortgaard’s professional and personal life. Twenty years ago, Kortgaard became the Artistic Director of the Festival, which started as a classical summer series, in St. Marys’ Church in Indian River.

“It truly does seem like only yesterday that I came for those first few concerts with wonderful musical colleagues, all those years ago,” said Robert from his home in Toronto. “I have such vivid memories of how things began, and with the kindness and dedication of countless people through the years, we have developed a truly great organization that means a great deal to me, to the many devoted music lovers who have given their time and talent, and to the ever expanding audience members who love the IRF experience.

The Festival’s programming has evolved over the years to include folk, jazz, blues, roots and other genres, but still stays true to it’s promise to deliver world class music.

“I’m proud of what we have created, how we’ve learned and grown year by year, and how we came to recognize that what we are doing in our beautiful venue on the country road on gentle PEI, is an amazing achievement,” says Kortgaard.

The Festival, now in it’s 23rd year has become more than a classical series of summer concerts. It now includes folk, jazz, blues, roots, classical, choral, traditional and contemporary music. IRF has received many accolades throughout the years including a 2018 nomination for Best Festival (medium size) in Canada from Live Music Canada Awards, which will be presented during Canadian Music Week in Toronto in May.

Indian River has also received a nomination for Festival of the Year from Music PEI Award for Achievement in Classical Music, as well as several ECMA nominations for event and venue of the year. IRF has twice been named in the Globe and Mail as one of the best small summer classical music festivals in Canada, and as one of the top summer classical music festival’s in Canada by CBC Music.

This year’s lineup includes Sarah Slean, the Atlantic String Machine, Michael Kaeshammer, The Sirens, Lennie Gallant, Amanda Jackson, Mike Biggar, Payadora Tango Ensemble, Chris Norman, Trio Tangere, Justin Nozuka, The Sweet Lowdown, Marc Djokic & Isabel Bayrakdarian, Dave Carroll, Dennis & Kinley, The Ennis Sisters, Alicia Toner, Hillsburn, Ensemble Made in Canada, Nick Doneff, Meaghan Blanchard and more.

All summer concerts takes place in St. Mary’s Church on Hamilton Road in Indian River and doors open one hour prior to concert time. 

The 2018 season starts with a special open house on June 8 at 1 pm, which is free. All are welcome to attend.

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