Canadian rock legends Rheostatics reunite at the AGO for three performances inspired by the Group of Seven

Musicians Kevin Hearn and Hugh Marsh and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier join band for rare performance of iconic album Music Inspired by the Group of Seven

TORONTO — In celebration of its upcoming exhibition Picturing the Americas and its vast collection of Canadian art, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) presents RHEOSTATICS with Kevin Hearn: Music Inspired by the Group of Seven. Reuniting for the first time in eight years—35 years after it first formed—the iconic Canadian band returns to the AGO’s Walker Court for three intimate performances on Sept. 4, 5 and 6, 2015. This fall marks the 20th anniversary of the album Music Inspired by the Group of Seven, originally released in 1995, and the band—featuring Dave Bidini, Don Kerr, Martin Tielli and Tim Vesely with special guests Kevin Hearn and violinist Hugh Marsh—will perform the album in its entirety. Adding a groundbreaking visual element to the performance, Genie Award–winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier have created an immersive video backdrop featuring archival photos, film clips and original footage of the Group of Seven.

Tickets for RHEOSTATICS with Kevin Hearn: Music Inspired by the Group of Seven are $65 for floor access and $25 for partial view. Advance tickets go on sale to the general public on April 21, at 9 a.m. at A select number of tickets will be available for AGO members as part of an exclusive members pre-sale on April 20 at 9 a.m. Tickets will be available for purchase online only, exclusively through Ticketfly. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., and performances are at 9 p.m. With a capacity of 500 guests per performance, tickets are expected to sell quickly.

Concert tickets include admission to Picturing the Americas in addition to the AGO’s outstanding collection of Canadian art, which includes one of the world’s most extensive collections of works by the Group of Seven.

“The AGO is the site of the Group of Seven’s first exhibition, and bringing Rheostatics back together at this moment, when we are talking about Canada in new and exciting ways, feels essential and timely,” says Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art. “Music Inspired by the Group of Seven was a provocative statement when it was first performed at the National Gallery of Canada, and it remains just as relevant 20 years later. The members of Rheostatics are artists whose desire to push boundaries is matched by their ability to remain true to exploring fundamental ideas of Canadianness. We are really looking forward to welcoming them and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier into the Gallery—it feels right.”

Rheostatics went on to perform the album—originally commissioned in 1995 by the National Gallery of Canada to coincide with its exhibition The Group of Seven: Art for a Nation—in museums across Canada, including a stop at the AGO in 1996. The upcoming performances mark the first time the band has performed all of Music Inspired by the Group of Seven live since 1996.

"After travelling across Canada the last few years, I became aware of this album's hold—it now seems bigger than the band itself,” says Dave Bidini. “When fans in Haida Gwaii told me they used to have gatherings where communities would play it over and over, it seemed like the right time to think about calling the players together and staging it again. It couldn't happen anywhere other than the AGO, the ancestral home of the Group of Seven and the pounding heartbeat of art and life in our city."

Featuring more than 115 paintings from 12 countries, including several iconic works by the Group of Seven, Picturing the Americas will be on view at the AGO until Sept. 7, 2015. Developed jointly through an innovative partnership between the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Painting the Americas is the first exhibition to consider Canadian painting in a hemispheric context. Following its debut, the exhibition will travel to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., and the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, in Brazil, just prior to the opening of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Pinocoteca do Estado de Sao Paolo and the Terra Foundation for American art, which is also recognized for its generous support.

Lead Sponsor: Yamana Gold Inc.

Generously supported by:  Terra Foundation for American Art

Government Partner:  Government of Ontario

Media Partner: NOW Magazine

Generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council 

Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts 


For more than three decades, Etobicoke's legendary Rheostatics have mapped new frontiers across Canada, embracing the nation that bore them and reinterpreting its grandeur, danger and breadth in music of startling variety and indisputable beauty. The band has remained fiercely loyal to a unique vision that is entirely dependent upon the alchemical interaction of its members, and that distinguishes Rheostatics from bands of other mettle. The band has released 13 albums since 1987¬¬—only one a major label release, which speaks to its independent spirit, tenacity and mutual, though not unchallenged, commitment. For 35 years, the Rheos have plundered the Canadian mythos to become a kind of bedrock myth themselves. For more information, visit

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

Feb. 7 – May 10, 2015: Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time

April 11 – Aug. 9, 2015: From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia

June 20 – Sept. 20, 2015: Picturing the Americas

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For high-resolution images and other press inquiries, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403, [email protected]

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364, [email protected]

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