Agassiz Chamber Music Festival

Something different for music lovers

When people think music festivals, it’s usually folk, country or rock that come to mind. But what about a chamber music festival?

The Agassiz Chamber Music Festival aims to introduce (or re-introduce) music lovers to this art form that involves only four instruments – a grouping originally designed to fit into a palace chamber or large room. 

“In many ways, chamber music is a very intimate experience. It’s not like sitting in the Concert Hall with 2,000 others listening to the WSO. Eckhardt-Gramatté (Hall) seats around 200, and the audience truly has the feeling of experiencing the music in a chamber – a salon,” Reid Harrison, the general manager of the festival, says.

But Agassiz goes further in differentiating the chamber music experience by bringing together artists from around the world with local musicians to create one-of-a-kind performances.

The festival will “create ensembles for one occasion only,” Harrison says. “Each concert during the festival will have different combinations of musicians playing together, usually for the first time and very often for the last time.”  

The 2017 festival features 13 artists from Canada, the United States, the U.K. and local Manitoba musicians.

A unique event this year is called The Listening Booth, where cellist Leanne Zacharias performs for one audience member only.

“(It’s) another way of exploring the idea of a recital. In this case, reducing the performance space and making it the ultimate intimate performance experience,” Harrison says.

The Agassiz Chamber Music Festival is also extending its reach by offering those under 29 a special reduced rate of $29 for the week. 

“That gives the potential for a lot of music played by world-class artists for a small cost,” Harrison says.

WHEN June 9 to 16

WHERE Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, University of Winnipeg

$$$ $29 to $105 for festival passes, free to $30 for individual performances

DON'T MISS The Listening Booth, 20-minute cello performances for one audience member at a time


Published in Volume 71, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 1, 2017)

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