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Music in Stratford

Stratford is Alive with Music...

What is life without music? Frankly, we couldn’t tell you. Here in Stratford, music is as much a part of life as the swans on The Avon. And we love all of it—from the sweet poetry of a Celtic songstress to operatic vocalists of the world stage to up-and-coming country, folk, and rock artists, we want all the music we can get.

Did you know that the legendary Duke Ellington dedicated “Sweet Thunder” to Stratford? And that one of Oscar Peterson’s career-making concerts was recorded here? Glenn Gould summered in and swooned over Stratford for many years, and Ben Heppner is a regular visitor.

In that classical vein, we’d like to note that Louis Applebaum and John Boyden represented Stratford on the world’s classical and opera stages—as do Roger Honeywell, James Westman, and Gary Relyea now.

In terms of contemporary music of all kinds, you’d might not know that Richard Manuel of The Band, and John Till, a key member of Janis Joplin’s band, were both born and raised in Stratford. The incomparable Loreena McKennitt, one of the world’s most eclectic and successful folk musicians, and Ali Matthews, an award-winning Christian artist, live and create in our town. And the tradition continues with new artists such as Dayna ManningEmm Gryner, and Graham Van Pelt. Juno winner Brian Dickinson credits his youth spent in Stratford as one of the reasons he's enjoying a successful career as a jazz pianist. In fact, Stratford's contemporary music scene is one of the most vibrant in Ontario.

Returning in 2020, you can take in SpringWorks: indie theatre and arts festival, featuring award-winning playwrights and actors, new works, dance, and cross-cultural and children's programming.

To sample more of the Stratford and Perth County music scene, visit Stratford's Music Scene.

“Stratford itself is the type of walkable wholesome town Rodgers and Hammerstein might write a musical about.”

- Amy Alipio, Associate Editor, National Geographic Traveler

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