It was an end of an era when John A. Miller announced last spring that he would be stepping down this season (2018) as Artistic Director of the Stratford Summer Music (SSM); a festival which Miller single-handedly put on the map as one of Canada’s premier music festival destinations.
After an extensive international search which began last fall, the SSM board has unanimously named renowned Canadian violinist Mark Fewer as Artistic Director Designate and will begin July 1, 2018.
Fewer will spend this summer working closely with Miller during the transition period after which he will take on the Artistic Director role full-time starting October 1, 2018.
“I am both honoured and delighted to be joining the vibrant team that is Stratford Summer Music as Artistic Director,” Fewer commented.
“There has never been a better time to be involved in music, and SSM encompasses virtually all of its many facets and expressions. I look forward to building on John Miller’s visionary leadership of the past 18 years and to continuing to make Stratford a destination for fine music lovers everywhere.”
Born in Newfoundland and trained in Toronto, London, and Budapest, Fewer has become one of Canada’s most ambitious and individual virtuoso violinists. Equally a home in genres such as classical, jazz and the avant-garde, he has made a name for himself as an intensely curious musician that doesn’t discriminate between genres.
Fewer became concertmaster under the baton of Bramwell Tovey at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 2004, but soon left the position after just four years to become Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University in Montreal.
A frequent recording artist and collaborator, Fewer won a Juno award for his collaboration with Phil Dwyer on the album, Changing Seasons.
Besides teaching, recording and performing, Fewer has shown a keen interest in music festivals. Between 2004-2009 he was the Artistic Director of the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax, and in 2004 became the founding Artistic Director of the SweetWater Music Festival in Owen Sound.
“A musician of renown, an accomplished arts leader, a great teacher, and a man of inspiring creative vision, Mark is superbly qualified to leverage and build on the success of SSM,” said Mary E. Hofstetter C.M., Chair of the Search Committee for the next Stratford Summer Music Artistic Director.
Miller wished Fewer great success in assuming the leadership for his first season beginning in 2019, and looks forward to “the fresh directions and growth he will bring to the music festival.”
Though Miller will be stepping back from his leadership role, he will be keeping close ties to the festival as Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of SSM.