• By: OLM Staff

Free Chamberfest concerts at Ottawa City Hall

Photo credit: Marie-Andrée Blais

Ottawa Chamberfest is presenting a series of three free concerts at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, starting on Tuesday, April 16th. The City Series is an opportunity to spend the noon hour hearing outstanding musical talent perform a wide variety of lively repertoire.

meagan&amy, more specifically violinist Amy Hillis and pianist Meagan Milatz, are a dynamic musical duo from Saskatchewan who met at the prestigious Schulich School of Music of McGill University. They are a unique blend of musical perspectives and strengths, combining Milatz’s interest in the (more antique keyboard) fortepiano and Hillis’s passion for contemporary repertoire. These layered perspectives make for unconventional and bold concert programming, the likes of which their audience will hear in their April 16th recital.

meagan&amy were awarded the first ever "Pan-Canadian Partnership" recital tour by Jeunesses Musicales, Debut Atlantic and Prairie Debut, spanning over 40 different Canadian cities as part of the 2019-2020 season. Recent performance highlights include a recital at the Festival International de Lanaudière, and a national broadcast of their complete recital on CBC's In Concert.  

meagan&amy’s performance takes place at City Hall on Tuesday, April 16th at 12h00 and features violin sonatas by Mozart, Debussy, and Canadian composers David McIntryre and André Mathieu.

meagan&amy (photo credit: Étienne Gautier)

The Canadian Guitar Quartet is comprised of Julien Bisaillon, Renaud Côté-Giguère, Bruno Roussel, and Louis Trépanier.

Since its formation in 1999, the Canadian Guitar Quartet has toured extensively in North and South America, from one standing ovation to the next, establishing a reputation as one of the finest guitar ensembles in the world. The CGQ has appeared with orchestras across Canada, and has recorded three critically acclaimed CDs. The quartet’s first concert at the famed 92nd Street Y in New York, part of the Art of the Guitar series, received a rave review by Don Witter Jr. of the New York Classical Guitar Society: “The Canadian Guitar Quartet made one of the greatest New York City Debuts of any artistic ensemble in decades … STUNNING!!!” (Writer’s note: Wow, and that from a really tough crowd!).

There isn’t exactly an abundance of repertoire for guitar quartet when compared to other chamber ensembles, so groups like the Canadian rely on the commission of new works and transcriptions of older stuff. I asked Louis Trépanier about the opportunities and hazards of transcription:

“Regarding the adaptability of a string quartet to a guitar quartet, the general answer is they don’t usually work that well. The string quartet’s reliance on the beautiful sustain of bowed notes really doesn’t translate well to the world of plucked strings. That’s why piano music usually finds a home more easily in the guitar world. However, in a few cases, a particular string quartet (or some of its movements) focuses on faster moving notes, i.e. many more bow strokes. Then they can work. It’s kind of like comedy. You can’t miss with good material.”

The CGQ’s upcoming concert on Tuesday, April 23rd at noon will be no laughing matter, but does promise great music-making in a programme of commissions and transcriptions by past and current members, including works by Brahms, Ravel, Patrick Roux, Renaud Côté-Giguère, and Beethoven.

Chamberfest’s City Series concludes with a choral concert. Robert Filion leads the renowned student ensemble Chorale De La Salle just before their departure for Italy to compete on the international stage. The concert takes place at Ottawa City Hall on Tuesday, May 7th at noon.