Chamberfest: Concert series includes performances by Sir András Schiff, Christian Tetzlaff

Sir András Schiff headlines Chamberfest's concert series. Photo: Yutaka Suzuki

A rare appearance by the respected pianist Sir András Schiff leads Chamberfest’s winter concert series.

Schiff opens the six concert series on Oct. 23 and Dominion-Chalmers United Church. This year will feature two extra events which will be made available to concert series subscribers. These are an appearance by the Lemon Bucket Orkestra at De La Salle high school and a Christmas season presentation of Gerald Finzi’s In Terra Pax.

Also on the concert schedule are Tafelmusik under the baton of their brand new conductor Elisa Citterio, who has just replaced the legendary Jeanne Lamon at the helm of the Baroque ensemble; the world class vocalizations of the Tallis Scholars, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Ensembles Variance from France and the German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff closes the series next spring.

Chamberfest’s artistic director Roman Borys was practically giddy with anticipation of the lineup, particularly the appearance by Schiff.

“The Schiff concert is a real benchmark for our organization and certainly for the concert series. He is a very special artist.”

In a market saturated with younger players, “this is a guy who brings of years of maturity. He is a seasoned artist who, while he has played all the works a gazillion times, continues to think and rethink them,” Borys says.

“I believe our audience is very prepared to appreciate the level of nuance and polish he will bring. It’s going to be astounding.”

Schiff does not perform much in North America, Borys says.

“He allows his agent in New York to book four or five recitals a year. His management is very selective about where he is booked.”

Schiff lives in London and tours widely in Europe, except in his homeland which he is refusing to visit because of the racist views expressed by the government in Budapest.

“This is a guy who has a major beef with his homeland. He hasn’t gone there for years. He’s even faced threats of violence from there.”

Borys says he has been working on this concert booking for the past two years. “I’ve had this lined up for two years. His management is very selective of where he is booked.

Christian Tetzlaff. Photo: Georgio Bertazzi

Tetzlaff, too, is an artist of world class stature. He will be playing an evening of Bach next spring.

Ensemble Variances is somewhat new to Chamberfest. Boys says he met the group’s agent in New York at a conference. The ensemble’s leader is also a composer, Borys says, adding that he believes the programme, which includes a lot of French repertoire, is solidly conceived.

Here is the lineup as announced on Wednesday afternoon. All concerts start at 7:30 p.m. and are at Dominion-Chalmers United Church.

Sir András Schiff, Oct. 23. Schiff, who is also a conductor and a lecturer will performs Bach, Beethoven and Brahms’  7 Fantasien, Op. 116, and 8 Klavierstücke, Op. 76. He is also performing Mendelssohn’s Sonate ecossaise.

Ensemble Variances, Nov. 12. Led by artistic director Thierry Pécou, Ensemble Variances plays French music for violin, cello, clarinet, piano and flute. Featured are pieces by Ravel, Milhaud, Debussy (Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune) and Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat.

The Tallis Scholars, Dec. 4. The Tallis Scholars’ performance is a tribute to Renaissance vocal music, and marks the 500th anniversary of the death of the composer Heinrich Isaac.

The St. Lawrence String Quartet, Jan. 15. The St. Lawrence String Quartet has nearly 30 years together as an ensemble. Their show is still under construction, Borys said.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, March 22. Tafelmusik brings a new program dedicated to Antonio Vivaldi. They are led for the first time in Ottawa by new music director and Italian violinist Elisa Citterio

Christian Tetzlaff, April 12. The German violin virtuoso performs a rare solo recital featuring Bach’s sonatas and partitas, including the D-minor Chaconne.


Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. École secondaire publique De La Salle. The Lemon Bucket Orkestra has a new album called If I Had the Strength. It will be launched in Ottawa with this performance.

In Terra Pax: Dec. 14 and 15. St. Joseph’s Parish Church. In this performance with the Ottawa Choral Society are Gerald Finzi’s In Terra Pax and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.