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Luminato Festival artistic director returning to New York

Jörn Weisbrodt, artistic director of Toronto’s annual Luminato Festival, will be organizing the event one last time next June before he heads back to New York City.

Weisbrodt has been in charge of the multi-arts festival for the past four years, heading up this year’s 10-day lineup of events around the city, ending June 28.

The festival, which had its debut nine years ago, announced on Monday that Weisbrodt — who was born in Hamburg, Germany — is relocating to New York, where he shares a home with his husband, Montreal-raised singer-composer Rufus Wainwright.

The two married in August 2012 in Montauk, N.Y., and are raising a daughter, splitting their time between their Long Island home and a small apartment in Manhattan.

The pair moved to a rental in Toronto’s annex neighbourhood as Weisbrodt took on his new role with the festival. Wainwright sang to a crowd at David Pecaut Square as part of Luminato that same year.

“I have been, and continue to be extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given by the Luminato Festival team, the board, the donors, our artistic colleagues here in Toronto and across Canada, and the city itself in creating this festival,” Weisbrodt said in a statement.

From day one, I’ve been welcomed extremely openly and enthusiastically and I consider some of the things we’ve done at Luminato to be the finest of my career. I feel it is time for me to move on after these five memorable years,” he said.

Luminato features a diverse offering of performances, including dance, film, theatre and multimedia.

One of the most ambitious performances of the festival this past June was Apocalypsis, a music drama by R. Murray Schafer about the Earth’s demise and what comes next. Almost half of the 3,191 seats at the Sony Centre had to be taken out to accommodate some of the 1,000 performers involved in the production. In his first year as artistic director, Weisbrodt won acclaim for bringing to Toronto,  Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s legendary opera Einstein on the Beach.

CBC | Arts News