TORONTO EVENT– Ofra Harnoy and Anton Kuerti
One very special event marked the beginning of a more focused outreach by Willowbank to the Greater Toronto area. Despite its increasing national and international reputation, Willowbank is a young program which remains largely unknown in the Toronto area.
Two internationally renowned Canadian musicians, cellist Ofra Harnoy, and pianist Anton Kuerti, gave a benefit concert for Willowbank in September. The event was hosted by Willowbank Board member Amanda Young and took place at the Rosedale home of Margaret and Robert MacLellan. This landmark event was Ofra Harnoy’s first return to performance after a more than ten year absence from the stage, and also marked the first time these two had performed together. It was an unforgettable evening of exquisite music and then conversation over dinner. In introducing the music, Anton Kuerti made the remark that the reason he supported Willowbank was that he loved taking historic artifacts, in his case musical scores from the past, and bringing them alive for a modern audience. He felt Willowbank was dedicated to the same pursuit, and he was right – there could hardly have been a more apt description of Willowbank’s mission.
The event introduced new friends to the Willowbank circle. The Toronto outreach program will continue in 2012 with the emphasis on creating a large Friends of Willowbank presence in the area.
At the same time, outreach to the Buffalo urban area is proceeding. Willowbank Foundation U.S.A. Board member Bob Skerker is developing a series of invitations to introduce Willowbank to a number of people in the cultural, academic and heritage communities in Buffalo.