Music rings out crisp and clear in the month of May as the Montreal Chamber Music Festival celebrates its 19th edition, May 8-31, with 22 concerts of both innovative, international-level chamber music and smoking-hot jazz…
An immersive musical experience awaits at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival’s main concerts, held at the restored and opulent St. George’s Church, at the corner of Peel St. and de la Gauchetière in downtown Montreal. The festival opens on May 8 with works by Schumann and Fauré played by celebrated Canadian pianist André Laplante, on stage with soprano Karina Gauvin and the Dover Quartet, who will debut their interpretation of Canadian composer Vivian Fung’s String Quartet No. 3, which won them the Canadian Commission Prize for the best performance of a newly commissioned work at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition – as a bonus, Fung gives a pre-concert conference earlier in the evening.
Canada’s Great Pianists come out to play on May 13 and every Tuesday night thereafter, beginning with Quebec’s own André Laplante in an evening of Ravel and Liszt, followed up the next week by a Soirée Viennoise by Angela Cheng, and Jon Kimura Parker’s Quebec premiere of his transcription of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for solo piano on May 27 – Kimura Parker plays the next night with violinists Martin Beaver and Barry Shiffman alongside cellist and Festival Founder Denis Brott in a Soirée Romantique.
As expected, Beethoven gets his due at the festival in a concert called Bravo Beethoven on May 22, and what would a chamber music festival be without Vivaldi’s Four Seasons? This time Vivaldi gets a twist as Canadian violinist Martin Beaver leads the way while interspersing the classic with Tango master Astor Piazzolla’s inspired version, Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, on May 29. Mozart gets plenty of love throughout the festival and especially in the festival’s closing concert of Mozart’s Complete Concertos for Violin, fittingly titled J’adore Mozart, by star violinist Cho-Liang Lin – on his 1715 Stradivarius “Titian” – and the Festival Strings.
The festival’s Jazz Series begins May 9 with American jazz vocalist Kurt Elling’s 1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project, an homage to New York City that sees Elling and his four-piece band take us back in time in a masterful and contemporary way. Hear Jens Lindemann and his golden trumpet in two concerts: the first with world-renowned trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, pianist Kristian Alexandrov and percussionist Thomas Lang, and a second show featuring soprano Shannon Mercer, a string quintet lead by Montreal Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Andrew Wan, and a rare performance on the Casavant organ of St. George’s Church, played by Erik Reinart. Klezmer Jazz vocalist Vira Lozinsky goes solo as part of the Israel Connection series (which also features chamber music concerts by violinists Itamar Zorman and Giora Schmidt, pianist Inon Barnatan and cellist Denis Brott), and the guitar-centric Stochelo Rosenberg Trio closes the jazzy side of the festival with an evening of Gypsy Jazz and the music of Django Reinhardt.
New to the festival this year is Bach’s Lunch, a series of free outdoor concerts May 27-30. Held at St. George’s Church from 12:10 pm to 1:00 pm each day, the violin concerts feature works by Bach and other great composers and showcase the talented winners of the Musical Instruments Bank Competition and the highly-prestigious string instruments they’ve been awarded to play. And right before the festival, April 23 to May 7, watch for 10 more free concerts as part of the Concerts dans les rues series at the Espace Culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme inside Place des Arts.
Montreal Chamber Music Festival, May 8-31, 2014