Julian Armour’s Music & Beyond Festival: A Jewel Among All that Sparkles in Ottawa.
Think of the classical music scene in the Capital and there is one name that seems to embody it: Julian Armour. He is gracious, generous and inspiring and one incredible festival organizer. Armour, like a festival’s superhero, uses his powers for good and has been at the helm of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, president of The Ottawa Festival Network and is the founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Music and Beyond. He was the well-deserved winner of this year’s Friends of Canadian Music Award, presented annually by the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre honouring artists “who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to Canadian composers and their music.”
This year was the festival’s second year and Music and Beyond really does just that by linking music to other artistic and creative disciplines, incorporating physical and mental well being. For example, included in the festival’s schedule are opportunities to attend pre-concert yoga and tai chi – get limber, in tune and tone up! The innovative approach is attracting audiences from across Canada and the globe.
This year’s line-up had a fantastic array of diverse performers over the course of the ten day festival. The July 7 opening concert, at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, had stage and screen superstar Christopher Plummer headlining a Shakespeare-themed evening. Julian Armour commissioned a piece by Robert Rival (Ottawa based composer) that was combined with Plummer’s performance of excerpts from The Tempest. The performance included The Jupiter String Quartet; The Music and Beyond Festival Orchestra; Marie Bérard; Julian Armour and Andrew Tunis. CBC Radio was there to capture the event.
The festival included a staggering 80 plus concerts showcased orchestras, choirs, bands and wind ensembles, baroque groups and smaller ensembles, all exploring connections with other forms of cultural disciplines including visual art, drama, poetry, dance, film, architecture, science, food and wine.
Check out Ottawa Life online at www.ottawalife.com for an interview with Julian Armour.