Through its biennial festival and year-round programming, Ashkenaz showcases the work of leading contemporary artists from Canada and around the world working in music, film, theatre, dance, literature, craft and visual arts.
The Ashkenaz Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious showcases of Jewish music and culture anywhere in the world. Since 1995, the festival has taken place biennially at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto’s premier venue for the presentation of world and folk culture and for the meeting of diverse communities through the arts. Originally founded as a showcase for Klezmer and Yiddish music and culture, the Ashkenaz Festival has evolved over the years into an eclectic showcase of global Jewish art and culture, encompassing not merely the traditions of eastern Europe, but also Sephardic, Mizrachi and Israeli culture, and all manner of cross-cultural fusion. The Festival is offered 90% free to the public and attracts a multicultural audience of over 60,000 people. Nowhere else in the world does so large and diverse an audience come together to experience Jewish cultural arts. Though strongly focused on music, Ashkenaz is a multidisciplinary festival, including dance, theatre, film, literature and talk, visual arts, and kids/family programs. Ashkenaz usually features over 80 performances and 200+ individual artists, hailing from across Canada and around the world. Over the years, Ashkenaz has presented artists from over 25 countries and 6 continents.