90th Birthday Celebration for Eli Kassner with music, food, wine and birthday cake!
On Saturday May 10, the Guitar Society will be presenting a very special evening honouring our founder Eli Kassner on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Eli will talk about his life, beginning with growing up in Vienna in the 1920s, the approaching storm of Nazism, his escape to Palestine, his experiences as a pioneer kibbutznik, his participation in the birth of Israel, and his passionate involvement with art, music, and theatre. Eli has been a witness to many of the most significant events in modern history.
He will talk about his passion for the classical guitar, the legendary personalities and performers he knew and considered friends, and the founding of the Guitar Society of Toronto in 1956. He subsequently established the first classical guitar programme at a university in North America, and brought guitar study to the Royal Conservatory of Music. Of course he will reminisce about the great international guitar festivals from 1975 to 1987, the first of their kind in the world.
Accompanying Eli's talk will be a slide presentation of photographs from every period of his life, and rare videos from the 1960s to the 1980s. Interspersed with all of this, there will be performances from some of Eli's past students, and others who have been significant in his life. These include Timothy Phelan, Vincea McClelland, James Lowrie, Markku Wainman, and a special surprise guest performer or two. We will finish with a performance by Tariq Harb of the first movement of the Toronto Concerto, which was commissioned by the Guitar Society from Leo Brouwer for Guitar '87, and premiered by John Williams.
For this event, we will not have regular concert seating, but will instead have tables set up. Hot appetizers and red and white wine will be served throughout the evening, as well as coffee, tea, pastries, and of course birthday cake.
Due to the seating arrangements, there will be only 90 tickets available.
Tickets for this special event will be only $75.00 per person. All food and refreshments included. We encourage you to register now, as the event is certain to sell out very quickly.
We are holding a raffle for the Complete RCA Album Collection of Julian Bream. This boxed set includes 40 CDs, 2 DVDs, and a 96-page hardcover book. Tickets $10 or 3 for $25. Draw will be held at May 10th event. If you are unable to attend, purchase your tickets on line, if you are the winner, we will ship.
On Saturday November 13, the Guitar Society held a special ceremony honoring Harold Levy's many contributions to the organization over the past few decades. Harold was president of the Society at two key moments in its history, in the late eighties/early nineties, and for the past five years. Current President Jack Silver and Artistic Director Jeff McFadden spoke of Harold's invaluable work in promoting and sustaining our beloved instrument. Harold was given a special plaque awarding him with a lifetime honorary membership in the Society for his services.
The Guitar Society of Toronto is proud to announce that five of its long-time volunteers received the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards for their continuing contribution to the organization. Honorees Eli Kassner (50 years), Ann Kassner (40 years), Harold Levy (25 years), Jack Silver (20 years) and Jeffrey McFadden (20 years) were recognized during a recent Guitar Society event.
On October 16th Eli Kassner, founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of The Guitar Society of Toronto, attended a ceremony presided over by The Honourable Bob Rae, where he was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.