Travel Blog

7 May

Chamber music meets jazz this may in Montreal


The 18th season of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, May 9 to June 1, mixes international and local string quartets, the brilliance of Bach and several evenings of jazz, all in the stunning, acoustically pleasing St. George’s Church in historical Old Montreal…

World-class musicians and emerging artists rub shoulders at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, where the traditional music of the festival’s Classical Series is complemented by a Jazz Series, together proving that innovation, creativity and beautiful music remain at the heart of the festival. Opening night, marks a special occasion: for the first time ever, the Boston Chamber Music Society, led by Artistic Directors Marcus Thompson and Denis Brott, performs in Montreal. The following night, Montreal jazz legend, pianist Oliver Jones plays alongside musicians Eric Lagacé on bass and Jim Doxas on drums, with an opening set by bassist Brandi Disterheft and her quartet, all at St-George’s Church.

Further on the classical side, master cellist Colin Carr performs Schubert and more, while The Fine Arts Quartet and Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz and others offer a two-night performance dedicated to St. Saëns. May 22 marks the beginning of “Bach Week,” featuring solo Bach performances, the Brandenburg Concertos, the complete cello concertos and more, including jazz-Bach with the Swingle Singers. Enjoy two nights of French music with French pianist Jean-Philippe Collard and David Jalbert, and on May 30, The Emerson String Quartet performs with their new cellist Paul Watkins.

The festival also celebrates Camille Saint-Saëns via three concerts and talks by Oxford University Press author Sabina Ratner: the Fine Arts Quartet; Brazilian pianist Christina Ortiz; OSM Principal Trumpet Paul Merkelo, Principal Bass Ali Yazdanfar and up-and-coming star Annie Zhou. As well, winners of the triennial Instrument Bank Competition for emerging talents will perform on 18 unique violins and cellos, made by Stradivarius, Guarneri, Gagliano and other masters, from the Canadian collection.

The festival explores the overlap of genres with its Jazz Series: popular Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinheiro and his ensemble perform in Montreal for the first time; The Swingle Singers 50th Anniversary Celebration gets the party started with everything from their take on The Beatles to Debussy’s Clair de Lune, New York pianist Eldar Djangirov returns with a new album and many standards, and guitar duo The Assad Brothers with Grammy-winning clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera end the jazz portion of the fest on a Latin jazz note.

A double concert dedicated to Tchaikovsky’s chamber music closes the festival on June 1, including his first String Quartet, his Piano Trio, his Souvenir de Florence, the Scherzo from his 6th Symphony and his Serenade for Strings, featuring several festival artists in one big celebration of springtime-suited chamber music. And even before the festival begins, get a glimpse of the chamber-music spirit at free evening shows by brass quintet Frolic, at Place des Arts’ Espace culturel Georges-Émile Lapalme on May 7 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. For the full schedule of all the duos, trios and quintets on the program, see the Montreal Chamber Music Festival website.


Montreal Chamber Music Festival, May 9-June 1, 2013

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