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Arts & EventsClassical Lunch Breaks Return with Chamberfest City Series

Classical Lunch Breaks Return with Chamberfest City Series

Classical Lunch Breaks Return with Chamberfest City Series

All photos by Andre Gagne.

Classical music fans rejoice (or allegro or whatever you strings and harpsichord lovers do to make merry) because you no longer have to wait until the summer Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival to appease your classical cravings. Festival organizers are presenting the City Series shortly after noon on Thursdays in Ottawa’s City Hall and across the river at Galerie Montcalm in Gatineau.

Partnered with the City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau and Cistel, the City Series first launched in April of last year to include six weekly noon-hour shows.

“The purpose of the Chamberfest City Series is to showcase chamber musicians living and working in the National Capital Region,” says Colin McFarland, Education and Community Engagement Coordinator for the fest. “Performers include professional and amateur ensembles.”

What a better way to launch this year’s series than striking a giant gong that could probably be heard out in Kanata? Percussionists Jesse Stewart and Johannes Welsch provided those gathered (and a few bewildered City Hall staff and Winterlude tourists) to a unique use of various percussion instruments to start the festival with a bang on Thursday, February 11th. At one point, Welsch even used one of the buildings structural columns as an instrument to add to the aural experience. The show began with something you could meditate to on a Tibetan mountaintop and ended with a cacophony that brought city workers out of their offices to see what was vibrating their desktop coffee cups!

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Stewart took to Facebook later that day to express his appreciation to those who gathered.

“Thanks to everyone who came out--what an amazing turnout! Johannes and I had a great time.”

The series continued at the Galerie Montcalm on Thursday, February 18th with the Gatineau-based string quartet Quatuor Despax made up of brothers and sisters. Purists taken aback by the delicate sound of thunder at the series launch need not worry. Mendelssohn and Ravel would join them this time.

Some of the other noon shows in the coming weeks will include Canterbury High School performing traditional folk music and the UOttawa School of Music performing selections from West Side Story.

Admission is free. Allegro, indeed!

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