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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Luminato bypasses Toronto media in hooking up with New York Times for star interviews

By John Terauds on March 12, 2013

Luminato CEO Janice Price and artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt prefer the New York Times to local media (Luminato photo).
Luminato CEO Janice Price and artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt prefer the New York Times to local media (Luminato photo).

Despite many wonderful moments spent at its events since its inception, to me the Luminato festival has often felt disconnected from the Toronto I know and love — more intent on impressing others rather than being an expression of the city’s arts and culture. An announcement by the festival this afternoon that it has teamed up with The New York Times confirmed my suspicions.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

On the other hand, I may be suffering from small-mindedness.

During this year’s Luminato festival in June, journalists from the Times will be in Toronto to publicly interview the big names, including Atom Egoyan, at the Isabel Bader Theatre. These interviews will be streamed live around the world on the TimesTalks platform.

The official announcement isn’t taking place in Toronto, but in New York City on Friday (March 15), “prior to that evening’s sold-out TimesTalks featuring performance artist Marina Abramovic speaking about her work and the future of performance art with New York Times culture reporter Patricia Cohen.”

Abramovic will be presenting the North American premiere of her performance piece The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic at the St Lawrence Centre’s Bluma Appel Theatre from June 14 to 17.

(To catch the live stream of the Friday’s announcement and interview, click here.)

“Over the past six seasons the Luminato Festival has been dedicated to curating a program of internationally important work by both national and international artists,” said Luminato CEO Janice Price in today’s press releas. “This collaboration with The New York Times will allow us to tell the story of the artistic premieres and creations presented by Luminato to the most ardent arts consumers in the world — the readers of The New York Times. It is a transformative opportunity for the Festival to share our program through The New York Times, to both arts lovers who will travel to Toronto to see the work and those who will enjoy it through the online streaming option.”

Also in the press release, Luminato artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt added:  “It is a dream come true working with The New York Times, one of the greatest newspapers in the world. Apart from the fact that working with the team of TimesTalks is a pure joy, the amazing online platform that The New York Times has created is truly at the forefront of the future of journalism and Luminato also strives to define what the future of festivals will look like. The collaboration will assist in spreading the news of Luminato around the world and I cannot wait to welcome The New York Times in Toronto in June.”

The following TimesTalks will take place at Luminato in June in the Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St W. Tickets will be $35 when they go on sale in mid-April at luminato.com:

June 15, 2p.m.:  Film and stage actor, Willem Dafoe with avant-garde director and visionary, Robert Wilson with writer and former New York Times arts critic John Rockwell;
June 15, 6 p.m.:  Architects Liz Diller and Charles Renfro (Diller Scofidio + Renfro) with New York Times culture reporter Robin Pogrebin;
June 16, 2 p.m.:  Film and stage director, Atom Egoyan with New York Times culture reporter Dan Wakin;
June 16, 6 p.m.:  Artists from the Luminato Joni Mitchell concert at Massey Hall, with New York Times chief pop music critic Jon Pareles

“Luminato Festival is the international multi-arts festival for people open to having art change their outlook on the world,” says the festival’s boilerplate at the bottom of its press releases. “When the unexpected meets the transformative, that’s a Luminato moment.”

Today’s Luminato moment for me feels like a message that our theatre writers — people like Kelly Nestruck and Richard Ouzounian and Glenn Sumi — and  pop writers like my dear ex-colleagues Ben Rayner and Greg Quill are somehow not ideal participants of events taking place in our city frankly has me dumbstruck.

And if you think I’m being provincial, don’t pull your punches.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
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