From the re-opening of a renovated Southam Hall to new music director appointments at the Ottawa Symphony and Ottawa Choral Society, it was a big year for classical music in the capital. Here’s a look back at some of the best—and worst—moments from 2016.
Thirteen Strings and guests | At Dominion Chalmers | Reviewed Sunday
Martha Graham claimed that the only real sin was mediocrity. Happily, this transgression wasn’t on the menu at the “Seven Deadly Sins” closing gala of Music and Beyond 2016, featuring Thirteen Strings and guests.
Chanticleer | At Dominion Chalmers | Reviewed Saturday
Duran Duran wasn’t the only dominant boy band playing Ottawa on Saturday. Chanticleer, San Francisco’s peerless male vocal ensemble, was at Dominion Chalmers for the penultimate night of Music and Beyond.
Pianist Jan Lisiecki | At Dominion-Chalmers | Reviewed Friday evening
From the Eagles to David Spade, every art form has performers who attract a huge, popular following while dismaying (sometimes enraging) the critics. Classical music is no different. Lang Lang and Yuja Wang still sell out halls despite a catalogue of truly horrible reviews.
At St. Barnabas Church | Reviewed Thursday
Thursday’s apparent terror attack in Nice cast a sobering shadow over the London Handel Players program of French Baroque music. The concert was originally billed as a Bastille Day celebration, but even if the musicians didn’t explicitly reference the day’s events, thoughts at the concert could not help but turn to France and its pain.
At the Great Canadian Theatre Company | Reviewed Wednesday evening
The Hebei Acrobatic Troupe is an award-winning circus ensemble from Northern China. The artists mix traditional Chinese skills like tumbling, balancing and contortion with more modern and Western styles. The Troupe is the guest of Music and Beyond, and has been delighting audiences all week.
Here are four things you probably didn’t know about 26-year-old pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin (you won’t BELIEVE #2).
Harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour | At St. Barnabas Church | Reviewed Sunday night
If you’re a fan of the harpsichord, a solo recital by Luc Beauséjour is an enchantment. If you aren’t, he just might change your mind.
Harpist Valérie Milot, Les Violons du Roy | At Notre-Dame Basilica | Reviewed Saturday night
The harp is one of the largest and most imposing instruments, yet it rarely gets to shine. Instead it lurks at the back of the orchestra, or on the sidelines at weddings and cocktail parties. But Valérie Milot wants to put the harp in the spotlight.
The 16th-century Netherlandish composer Orlande de Lassus – aka Orlando di Lasso, Roland de Lassus and several other globalized aliases – led a life worthy of a Rabelais novel. Legend has it that he was kidnapped several times as a child because of his beautiful voice. He served as a musician at some of the bloodiest, most intrigue-laden courts of the time, counting Cosimo de Medici among his bosses. He survived to enjoy continent-wide fame, aristocratic titles, and financial security. When he died in Munich in 1594, he left behind a lovely garden and an enormous catalogue of some of the most stunning vocal music ever written.