Western Summer Festival Picks 2016

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Opera and Music Theatre Festival
Edmonton AB, May 21-July 3

Opera Nuova continues its goal of developing the next generation of opera singers and entertaining the local audience with both pure opera and musical theatre, as well as numerous recitals and other events. The Opera and Music Theatre Festival runs May 21-July 3, and features productions of La Bohème, The Gondoliers, I Capuletti e i Montecchi and the musical Parade. www.operanuova.ca

Opera NuovaOpera NuovaOpera NuovaAgassiz Chamber Music
Winnipeg MB, June 4-10

Winnipeg’s Agassiz Chamber Music Festival runs June 4 to 10 and features a largely Manitoba-base contingent of musicians. However, several players, including pianist David Jalbert and the founder of the festival, cellist Paul Marleyn, hail from Ottawa. The performances at Winnipeg’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall will include music by Dvorak, Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Adès, Brahms, Ligeti, and Ysaÿe. www.agassizfestival.com

Summer Solstice
Edmonton AB, June 20-28

The Edmonton Chamber Music Society presents the eighth  in a new format, spreading its concerts out over an entire week, beginning June 20. The Fine Arts Quartet is this year’s featured group. www.edmontonchambermusic.org

Quadra Island Festival Of Chamber Music
BC, July 19-24

Farther west, the Quadra Island Festival of Chamber Music, July 19-24, offers variety galore. The concerts are arranged around themes. One evening is devoted to music inspired by night. Listeners will be taken on an eclectic ride through radically different notions of classical music. That program includes Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Bozhinov’s Nocturnes and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. www.quadrafestival.com

Victoria Summer Music Festival
BC, July 26-August 11

And the 21st Victoria Summer Music Festival offers concerts scattered over the midsummer period from July 26-Aug. 11. Three all-female Canadian string quartets, the Cecilia, Lafayette, and Made in Canada quartets are part of the roster of artists. The Victoria-based Lafayette Quartet appears July 28; the Cecilia, BISQC winners in 2010, Aug. 3; and the MIC Aug. 6. www.vsmf.org

Bach Festival
Vancouver BC, August 2-12

On the other side of the Rockies, early music fans will enjoy Early Music Vancouver’s Bach Festival Aug. 2-12. The highlight of the program is a series of performances of Bach’s greatest works, including the Goldberg Variations, The Musical Offering, the Mass in B minor and portions of Bach’s cello suites, performed by Baroque cellist Beiliang Zhu, a past winner of the Leipzig International Bach Competition. www.earlymusic.bc.ca

Banff AB, Aug. 29-Sept. 4

The highlight of the western Canadian classical music calendar this summer has to be the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition, featuring ten quartets competing for cash and career development attention worth $150,000, in addition to several subsidiary prizes. The competitors represent 10 different countries. The only all-Canadian group. the Rolston Quartet, was formed at the Banff Centre in 2013 and is named after the long-time music director of the Centre, Tom Rolston. BISQC runs Aug. 29-Sept. 4. www.banffcentre.ca/bisqc

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About Author

Bill Rankin is an Edmonton-based freelance writer. He is the Canadian correspondent for the American Record Guide and regular contributor to Opera Canada. He has also written features for La Scena Musicale, and contributed stories and reviews to the Globe and Mail, Gramophone, and other publications. He was staff classical music writer for the Edmonton Journal in the early '80s.

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