Photography by Alex Heidbuechel
To become a premier international music festival that elevates the creative spirit of both artist and audience
To transform communities through the power of music and to present the world's finest Canadian and international artists in innovative, inspiring multi-sensory concert experiences in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the surrounding Niagara wine country
About Bravo Niagara!
Founded in 2014 by mother-daughter team Christine Mori and Alexis Spieldenner, Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts is a not-for-profit registered charity dedicated to creating extraordinary concert experiences in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the surrounding Niagara Region. Bravo Niagara! features the world’s leading Canadian and international musicians, as well as rising young stars. Programming spans a range of musical genres from classical to jazz, world music to pop. Past artists include GRAMMY and 11-time JUNO-winning violinist James Ehnes, jazz icon Molly Johnson, superstar soprano Measha Brueggergosman, piano phenom Jan Lisiecki and more! View the full list of past Bravo Niagara! artists here.
Since its founding, Bravo Niagara! has gained a prominent role in the cultural landscape of the Niagara Region by creating a niche for exceptional festivals and concert experiences of the highest quality - particularly during the shoulder and off-seasons. Bravo Niagara! recognizes the potential of the arts to stimulate cultural and economic vitality and has positioned itself to complement full year cultural opportunities throughout the Niagara Region.
Bravo Niagara! produces an annual Spring into Music Series, Voices of Freedom Festival, and most recently the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival.
The Spring into Music Series features premier jazz and classical artists, as well as rising young stars, in venues ranging from heritages buildings to modern wineries which are repurposed into one-of-a-kind concert spaces.
The Voices of Freedom Festival celebrates Niagara's significant Black history and fosters intercultural dialogue through musical performances, symposia, and community outreach initiatives. The inaugural festival was endorsed by the UNESCO Slave Route Project. Further in connection to the festival, Bravo Niagara!'s executive director Alexis Spieldenner received the Lincoln M. Alexander Award at Queen's Park in 2017.
The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival is the world’s first (and only!) jazz festival bearing the name of Canada’s greatest jazz artist and is dedicated to honouring and celebrating his legacy of excellence. Led by Artistic Director Renee Rosnes, Artistic Producer Kelly Peterson, and Executive Producer Bravo Niagara!, this festival is not intended to simply present concerts in tribute to Oscar Peterson, but rather to truly present jazz, showcasing the rich history and the future of the music Oscar loved. The first annual festival took place February 16-18, 2018.
Bravo Niagara! performances are innovative, passionate and profound, and appeal to a wide demographic audience. Performances are offered in traditional concert halls and non-traditional venues ranging from intimate wineries to heritage buildings unique to Niagara. In this way, both seasoned and new concertgoers can experience the art and music in all its power, bringing new energy to the conventional concert experience and ensuring the longevity of live music for future generations.
Bravo Niagara! has also presented several Canadian and Ontario debuts, such as the Ontario debut of the Ehnes Quartet, Canadian solo debut of Emily Bear and Brandon Goldberg, and Ontario debut of Richard Bona.
Now recognized as a burgeoning international festival, Bravo Niagara! attracts thousands of local Niagara residents and tourists from around the world. We offer once-in-a-lifetime concert experiences and create a "symphony of the senses" by featuring the world’s leading musicians while showcasing the spectacular wines, local culinary experiences, natural beauty, and historic riches of the Niagara Region.
With the support of our corporate sponsors, government supporters, community partners, and loyal patrons, Bravo Niagara! continues to strive towards its vision of becoming a premier international music festival that elevates the creative spirit of both artist and audience.
What people are saying...
"Music festival gives a reason to say Bravo Niagara!"
— William Littler, Toronto Star
"This was that kind of jazz festival - the Bordeaux-sipping, dreamy ballads kind, something of lovely social fantasy not far in spirit from that evoked by the "dear gentle folk of Newport," as sung in That's Jazz by Bing Crosby in the 1956 film High Society. In broader terms, here was a reminder of jazz's golden afterglow in the 1960s and early 70s, when the music still made money, when compact festivals from Newport, R.I., to Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera, were well-curated at the start."
— Peter Goddard, The Globe and Mail
"A grand festival to celebrate the genius of Oscar Peterson"
— Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
"...what a festival should be about, the discovery and celebration of genuine artistry"
— William Littler, Toronto Star
"I commend the Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts and all supporters, performers and volunteers for celebrating this vital part of our heritage, and I am proud of our government’s support to this superb event."
— The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
"A mother-daughter venture off to a strong start."
— Toronto Star
"I wish to congratulate you for your initiative which will showcase the musical interactions generated by the slave trade and slavery. This festival will pay tribute to the resistance and resilience of Enslaved People and highlight their contribution to modern societies. Your project is in line with the UNESCO Slave Route project’s objectives and will contribute to the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024)."
— Ali Moussa-Iye, Chief, History and Memory for Dialogue Section, UNESCO
"It is my distinct pleasure to join Ontarians in celebrating these remarkable recipients of the Lincoln M. Alexander Award. These young leaders have demonstrated commitment, creativity, and dedication to social justice as they lead the way towards an ever more inclusive society that is accepting of diversity. In this special year for Canada, I encourage everyone to look to their example as we continue working hard to break down barriers."
— The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
(Ontario Media Release re: Executive Director Alexis Spieldenner, recipient of Lincoln M. Alexander Award)
"I am convinced that Bravo Niagara! possesses all of the essential components to create a successful event: a market niche, a desirable destination, a clear narrative, natural partners in the community and an abundant supply of top-quality programming possibilities. Within a few years, Bravo Niagara! could become one of the most important arts and lifestyles festivals in Canada."
— Charles Letourneau, Executive Producer of Festival Napa Valley