Works by Dvořák, Mahler, Sokolović and Tanzer.

The Picton (Ontario) region will be the enchanting backdrop for the launch of the 2011-12 season devoted to Ana Sokolović: five of her works will be performed by as many ensembles, and in the space of only a few days. Why? Sokolović will be the guest of honour for this year’s Prince Edward County Music Festival, which for the past 8 years has provided the public with an upclose view of today’s music.

One challenge facing the festival, pianist and artistic director Stéphane Lemelin explains, is to create a receptive environment for new works by audience members who are not necessarily connoisseurs. How By framing these works with more well-known pieces—from the Classic and Romantic eras, for example — that are somehow related to them. But that’s not all. Each year the festival chooses a composer-in-residence who attends performances of his or her works and also meets with the audience. “As the festival unfolds,” explains Lemelin, “a relationship congeals between the composer and audience. As a result of interaction with the composer, listeners enter into his or her world and learn to love the music.”

The festival’s artistic director has had Ana Sokolović in his sights for several years, not only because of the richness and great variety of her music, but also because of the way she integrates Serbian folk elements in her works. Sokolović forms a line with composers more likely to find inspiration in the traditional music of their country. The play of associations between her music and that of the past is not only entirely natural; it’s also particularly stimulating. An ideal context for discovering Ana Sokolović’s music!