In 1994, the idea of a chamber music festival in Ottawa came to life to remedy the meager availability of live classical music during the summer months and fill the city’s churches with splendid sounds. Ottawa Chamberfest started life as the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival with 22 concerts in two churches and was an immediate hit. Growing steadily over the years, the 2011 edition of Ottawa Chamberfest presented almost 100 concerts, attracting over 80,000 listeners and is the largest chamber music festival of its kind in the world.
The members of the Juno award-winning Gryphon Trio (cellist Roman Borys, violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon and pianist Jamie Parker) are the Artistic Programming Directors for Ottawa Chamberfest.
Among those who performed in the 2011 edition of the festival were Jan Lisiecki, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Simone Dinnerstein, Marc-André Hamelin, Julie Nesrallah, Yehonatan Berick, National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Swingle Singers, Nexus (ensemble), Trio con Brio Copenhagen, New Zealand String Quartet, TorQ Percussion Quartet and more.
Past performers include Paul Merkelo, Patrick Wedd, Guy Fouquet, Musica Camerata, Stéphane Lemelin, the Borodin String Quartet, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Tokyo String Quartet, Martin Beaver, Penderecki Quartet, Paul Stewart, Martin Chalifour, Monica Whicher, Jennifer Swartz, and Gino Quilico,Quartango, Neil Gripp, Richard Raymond, the St. Lawrence Quartet, Mayumi Seiler, Keller Quartet, and Adaskin String Trio.
Although the concerts are primarily traditional classical music, the scope has evolved to include music by pop and jazz composers and also music from non-European countries. The concerts of a typical day would have several different types of music. For Ottawa Chamberfest 2011, performances are divided into several Concert Series.
- Chamber Chat - Lecture series.
- Music at Noon - Music at lunch.
- New Music Now - Show casing new and emerging artists.
- Meet the Artist - Meet several performers up close and personal.
- Bring the Kids - Free shows for children. Interactive and fun.
- 3PM Series - Afternoon shows
- The Siskind Concerts - Nightly shows dedicated to Jacob Siskind, music critic and arts patron.
- Market Soirées - Evening Shows with a focus on an intimate musical experience.
- Alfresco Concerts and Guerilla Gigs - Free outdoor concerts at Rideau Hall and other undisclosed locations.
- Late Night at the Kildare - Hosted by Saint Brigid's Church (Ottawa), a nightly series featuring a diverse set of performers.
- Festival Gala Series - 3 high profile performances at Dominion-Chalmers United Church.
- Dominion-Chalmers United Church
- Rideau Hall
- Beechwood Cemetery
- Saint Brigid's Church (Ottawa)
- Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist (Ottawa)
Apart from the annual summer festival, which is the Ottawa Chamber Music Society's major event, the Society also organizes activities throughout the year. The Concert Series takes place from fall to spring offering approximately six concerts per season. There is also the Family Music Fair - a free day of musical activities for all to enjoy. An annual online auction raises money for the Society's operations.
- Ottawa Chamberfest official website
- Ottawa Chamberfest Facebook Page
- Ottawa Chamberfest Twitter Feed
- Ottawa Chamberfest YouTube Channel
- Ottawa Festivals Network
- Gryphon Trio
- Review of Ottawa Chamberfest 2011