by Virginia Munroe

It is with some sadness and a great deal of gratitude that the City of Toronto says goodbye to Luminato Artistic Director, Jorn Weisbrodt.  Weisbrodt enjoys an enviable international reputation in the Arts and Culture community.

He has been with the Festival for five seasons, having facilitated such remarkable cultural offerings as Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s acclaimed opera, Einstein on the Beach, R. Murray Schafer’s musical drama, Apocalypsis, the North American premiere of Robert LePage’s Playing Cards: SPADES and Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday tribute concert A Portrait in Song, among many, many others.

This year, Weisbrodt’s last with Luminato, he has been able to realize the vision of bringing the festival into one extraordinary, magical building – the Hearn Generating Station.

“I think one of the culminating factors of my last year as Artistic Director of Luminato was when I had the idea of bringing the entire festival into the Hearn Generating Station. This venue offers the potential to become one of the most potent Arts & Culture centres in North America.

“Given its waterfront location, the magnificence of its architecture and the huge variety of spaces within the structure, it has the potential to be home to a broad diversity of arts, entertainment and culture activities.

…we simply can’t separate things anymore…

“The festival now reflects 21st century values, and by that I mean that we are now multi-cultural rather than monolithic. Rather than simply having presentations that are inherently Anglo Saxon in nature, we wanted to have a space big enough to accommodate a broad diversity of world class offerings that included musical events like Rufus Does Judy, the TSO performing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and An American In Paris, The James Plays Trilogy, in addition to avant-garde dance like Monumental, as well as hip hop, club events, beer gardens, restaurants, installations and interactive events. There’s something for everyone, and it helps to present a more representative picture of our society as it exists today.

“We simply can’t separate things anymore. Many of the arts organizations have their own buildings, but really these things will all flourish as many more people participate according to their preferences and their means. Instead of each institution having its own audience which separates people, at Luminato we are bringing all kinds of people together to enjoy all kinds of experiences together. That better reflects the Canadian experience – especially in Toronto.

“So you have the whole spectrum of creative expression, not separated from one another, but all together in one space. The result is that each presentation brings their own audience, but then they move on to experience many other presentations; they all mix it up, learning from each other and furthering a common understanding.

…this year, my fifth and last, is the sum total of everything I have been working towards…

“It’s like a cultural tasting menu with ten or more courses, and you just have one after another until you get the whole idea. This year, my fifth and last, is the sum total of everything  I have been working towards – which is the idea of exhibiting adventurous art in adventurous spaces, helping to stretch the envelope for both artists and audiences.

“We have been on a journey around the city for years, and now the journey has led us home to the Hearn.”