Chamberfest expands its 2021 lineup – Program Announced

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Musicians from North Macedonia to Ottawa bring culture to the stage at festival’s hybrid edition

Monday, June 14, 2021, OTTAWA – Afro-Cuban jazz. Baroque murder mystery. Guitar, harp, and string quartets. Beethoven. Brahms. Macedonian folk music. Jazz Manouche. Newfoundland reels. Sea shanties.

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The second release of the Chamberfest 2021 lineup is packed with music and culture from around the world, including artists like Lara St. John, Simon Trpčeski, John Kofi Dapaah, Carson Becke, JUNO winners The Fretless and OKAN, and more.

Canada’s greatest chamber artists are at the forefront at Chamberfest’s summer festival celebrating the art of the small ensemble. Ottawa’s internationally acclaimed chamber music festival takes place July 22 – August 4.

Chamberfest’s latest series of concert announcements includes the much-loved Chamberfringe, the Beechwood Series, the newly-created Live from… Series, and a special Chamber Chats: Festival Edition, with exclusive access for passholders. The festival will also expand its local partnerships this summer, with series at Steinway Piano Gallery Ottawa and Wellington’s legendary Record Centre. These events add to the impressive set of Marina Kun and Bytek Signature Series concerts launched in May, which included concerts by Gryphon Trio, Isabelle Bayrakdarian, Jens Lindemann, and more.

As the pandemic transformed our lives this past year, it also transformed how Chamberfest programmed its summer festival. Carissa Klopoushak, Chamberfest’s Artistic Director, expressed her excitement at the quality, variety, and flexibility of this summer’s programming.

“Our hybrid model of in-person and livestream performances continues,” said Klopoushak. “And we’ve introduced an array of new content for audiences accessing at a distance – ensuring that whether audiences join in person, from the comfort of their living rooms, or outdoors, they’ll enjoy an invigorating lineup of performers and programmes.

“The breadth of the artistry gracing our many stages is breathtaking – there’s truly something for everyone. The spirit of our summer festival is unstoppable!”

Livestream passes are now on sale, and in-person tickets will go on sale in early July. Additional Community Engagement and Education content, including Sensory Friendly and Bring the Kids! programming, will be announced on the website soon. Visit for more information.

The organization is currently working alongside other Ontario presenters to gain more clarity on provincial COVID-19 health regulations and how they will impact live music through the summer. Chamberfest is committed to doing its part to keep our community safe.

Highlights from the Chamberfringe, Live from…, Steinway, Beechwood, and Record Centre Series, and Chamber Chats: Festival Edition follow.

Late-night concerts cross genres and art forms, pushing the boundaries of chamber music into Afro-Cuban influences, seaside folk and bluegrass, game shows, and more.

The Fretless with Béatrix Méthé
Thursday, July 22 at 8:30pm
JUNO Award-winning quartet The Fretless is known for ferocious playing, masterful composition, and a genre-bending sound. In this unique performance, they are joined by singer Béatrix Méthé of Montreal-based indie folk band, Rosier.

Friday, July 23 at 8:30pm
Taking their name from the word for heart in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, OKAN is an award-winning, women-led ensemble that fuses Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk, and global rhythms in songs about immigration, courage, and love.

Duane Andrews and Friends
Saturday, July 24 at 8:30pm

Composer guitarist Duane Andrews hits the stage with Mark Fewer (violin), Carissa Klopoushak (violin), David Marks (viola), and Julia MacLaine (cello) in a program featuring music from Andrews’ album Conception Bay. Audiences can expect Jazz Manouche, new music composition, Newfoundland jigs and reels, some fun classical references to Haydn, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and more.

Montreal Horn Stars
Thursday, July 29 at 8:30pm
The Montreal Horn Stars take the brass quintet to new heights with inventive arrangements and loads of improvisation in a groovy, eclectic concert that blends pop, jazz, and classical.

Infusion Baroque
Friday, July 30 at 8:30pm
“Who Killed Leclair?”  Murder, mystery and intrigue are on the menu as Montreal-based ensemble Infusion Baroque investigates the murder of composer Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764). This program features several of Leclair’s trio sonatas, and works by his colleagues and rivals.

La Nef
Saturday, July 31 at 8:30pm
Capstand shanties, halyard shanties, laments, forecastle songs, short haul shanties… Whatever your shanty of choice, join these award-winning singers for a taste of the Maritimes, with tunes from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Americas, and the Caribbean, arranged by La Nef’s musical director, Seán Dagher.

Ladom Ensemble
Sunday, August 1 at 8:30pm
Ladom Ensemble returns to Chamberfest with their unique blend of chamber music and inspiration from around the world – from Iran and Serbia to Argentina. Piano, cello, accordion, and percussion… expect passion, sophistication, and high intensity.

Beechwood Series
Concerts and excursions immersed in Beechwood’s history and beauty, from its beloved sanctuary to the expansive grounds.

Canadian Guitar Quartet
Saturday, July 25 at 10am
The guitar takes centre stage in a program featuring arrangements of Mozart’s Piano Sonata KV 448, original compositions by former and current Quartet members, and more.

Four Seasons Harp Quartet
Sunday, August 1 at 10am
All Canadian stars of their instrument, Caroline Lizotte, Caroline Léonardelli, Lori Gemmell, and Jennifer Swartz come together to share the beauty of the harp in Beechwood’s sacred space. Featured arrangements include Mozart’s String Quartet in B flat, K 589, and Vivaldi’s beloved Four Seasons.

Being Lost, with Tom Allen & Friends
Monday, August 2 at 11am
In 1965, John Cage took a trip to Emma Lake art campus of the University of Saskatchewan and got lost for 15 hours, after going into the woods to search for mushrooms. Cage and this unique trip are the inspiration behind Being Lost, a walkabout experience of pop-up sets of music set at secret spots around Canada’s oldest cemetery. Centred around fifteen 100-word essays about Cage, his music, and his art… this experience explores what it means to be lost.

*Being Lost is an in-person event only and not included in the Festival Livestream Pass. Ticket sales will be made available in July.*

Rosebud String Quartet
Wednesday, August 4 at 12pm
Join one of Canada’s most exciting young string quartets in a program featuring Haydn’s penultimate Op. 77, No. 1, and Beethoven’s Op. 74, No. 10 (“Harp”) Quartet, famous for its pizzicato sections and warm-hearted spirit.

Chamber Chats: Festival Edition
The exclusive Chamber Chats: Festival Edition is available only to Festival Livestream Passholders. Join host Eric Friesen for interactive interviews over Zoom, featuring chats on music and more, with Chamberfest artists from around the world.

Hinrich Alpers
Friday, July 23 at 10am
Hinrich Alpers has been a favourite of Chamberfest audiences since his first appearance at our summer festival. Honens Laureate, Steinway artist, Chamberfest artistic advisor – we can’t wait to hear Hinrich and host Eric Friesen chat on music and life. Hinrich has also prepared an exclusive recording, live from Berlin, which will be available in the Passholders Library.

Jonelle Sills
Monday, July 26 at 10am
One of “Canada’s 30 hot classical musicians under 30 in 2020” (CBC Music), Ottawa audiences were introduced to rising soprano star Jonelle Sills in her NACO debut in 2020. Learn more about Jonelle’s artistic journey in this Chamber Chat. Audiences will have the chance to hear Jonelle perform with tenor Isaiah Bell and pianist Carson Becke on August 1st at 7pm.

Infusion Baroque
Wednesday, July 28 at 10am
Infusion Baroque has been captivating audiences with creative and interactive programming across North America. Join host Eric Friesen and the four women of Infusion Baroque in a conversation centred around their many creative projects, including “Who Killed Leclair?” (an interactive murder mystery soirée based on the unsolved murder of the famous musician –  taking place in the Chamberfringe Series on July 30th), and much more.

Quatuor Danel
Friday, July 30 at 10am
Quatuor Danel has been at the forefront of the international music scene since 1991. Famous for their bold, concentrated interpretations of the string quartet cycles of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Shostakovich, and Weinberg, Quatuor Danel is a long-time Chamberfest fan favourite. Join them in conversation with Eric Friesen, then take in an exclusive recording, Live from Antwerp, which will be included in this year’s Passholder Library.

James Ehnes
Tuesday, August 3 at 10am 
Known for his virtuosity and musicality, Canadian violinist James Ehnes is a favourite of audiences around the world. Audiences will remember James’ gorgeous performances of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas in 2019. Keep an eye on our website – James will be returning to the Chamberfest stage very soon.

Live from…

Festival Livestream Passholders can exclusively enjoy musical experiences – from full-length concerts to bite-sized adventures – featuring Chamberfriends in Berlin, Antwerp, New York City, North Macedonia, and London. Including Hinrich Alpers, Quatuor Danel, Rob Kapilow, Lara St. John, and Simon Trpčeski.

Rob Kapilow Live from New York
Thursday, July 22 at 9am

Beethoven and the Pandemic part I, II, III
Rob Kapilow explores what Beethoven has to teach us in the pandemic. These bite-sized chats will include illuminating insights on connection, new paths, and transformation through short musical excerpts from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Appassionata Sonata, and “Kreutzer” (now also known as the “Bridgetower”) Sonata.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow
What makes the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” an indelible classic? Rob Kapilow helps explain why this “song of yearning,” as Yip Harburg called it, has become even more meaningful and relevant as we continue to confront this challenging pandemic moment.

Simon Trpčeski Live from Skopje & London
Thursday, July 22 at 9am
For renowned classical pianist Simon Trpčeski, there are no cultural or musical boundaries.  This recording, created especially for Chamberfest, will feature live solo piano music of his native Macedonia by contemporary composers Buzharovski and Shahov, and excerpts from his latest project MAKEDONISSIMO, which blends Macedonian folk music with highly virtuosic, jazz-influenced riffs and harmonies. Stay tuned: Simon will be performing MAKEDONISSIMO in full at Chamberfest very soon.

Hinrich Alpers Live from Berlin
Sunday, July 25 at 7pm
Pianist and long-time festival friend Hinrich Alpers brings his hometown to us in a specially programmed and recorded recital. Brahms and Beethoven will dominate this program, which includes a performance of Beethoven symphonies in Liszt’s transcriptions, hot off the recording press!

Lara St. John Live from New York
Tuesday, July 27 at 10am
Phenomenal firebrand violinist Lara St. John shares a special concert programmed and recorded live from Atterbury House, where the Canadian violinist has been hosting a successful series throughout the pandemic. The program will include solo and collaborative material highlighting female and Canadian composers.

Quatuor Danel Live from Antwerp
Saturday, July 31 at 10am
Chamberfest favourite Quatuor Danel performs Beethoven’s Op. 18, No. 1 and Shostakovich No. 2 in a performance created especially for Chamberfest, recorded live from the string quartet’s home in Antwerp, Belgium.

Steinway Series
Celebrate the piano, both in recital and unique duet, at the home of our longtime partners, Steinway Piano Gallery Ottawa.

Carson Becke
Friday, July 23 at 3pm
Ottawa pianist Carson Becke shares a thoughtful program inspired by storytelling through music, with works by English and Nordic composers, and Carson’s own arrangements.

Duo Concertante
Monday, July 26 at 12pm
Duo Concertante reflects on the social and political events of our time in Ecology of Being. With commissioned works by Melissa Hui, Ian Cusson, Bekah Simms, Dawn Ierihò:kwats Avery, and Carmen Braden, Ecology of Being is about feeling and experiencing the trauma of a lost earth, and about treasuring the joy of a world we love.

John Kofi Dapaah
Monday, July 26 at 3pm
This concert finds the multitalented pianist John Kofi Dapaah firmly in the classical world with a program of works by Florence Price (*Ottawa premiere), Bach, and Beethoven. Audiences can also take in John’s jazz set on Monday, July 24 at 5pm, part of the Record Centre Series.

Jenna Richards & Beth Silver
Thursday, July 29 at 3pm
Frequent Chamberfest performer Beth Silver (cello) and Chamberfest’s Director, Artistic Planning & Community Engagement, Jenna Richards (piano), have been collaborating for more than a decade. This concert sees the duo in a lush program of works by Brahms, Dvorak, Kodaly, and Schumann. Audiences can also hear Jenna and Beth explore folk, fiddle, and klezmer on Friday, July 30 at 5pm, part of the Record Centre Series.

Record Centre Series
Eclectic programming against a backdrop of vinyl, vintage speakers, and reel-to-reel at legendary music destination and beloved Wellington staple, The Record Centre. Here, artists are at play: exploring and expanding their creativity in this casual space.

John Kofi Dapaah
Saturday, July 24 at 5pm
Ottawa audiences will recognize John Kofi Dapaah’s unique style, which crosses the boundaries between the classical, jazz, and gospel worlds. This concert sees Dapaah in the world of jazz. Audiences can take in John’s classical program on Monday, July 26 at 3pm, part of the Steinway Series.

Kathryn Patricia Cobbler
Tuesday, July 27 at 5pm
Recognized as a 2021 CBC Ottawa Trailblazer for making a positive impact, Kathryn Patricia Cobbler is a loop pedal violist, composer, arranger, and educator known for creating unique soundscapes.

Jenna Richards & Beth Silver
Friday, July 30 at 5pm
Beth Silver (cello) and Jenna Richards (piano) explore folk, fiddle, and klezmer in this unique program. Audiences can hear Jenna and Beth share a Romantic Classical program on Thursday, July 29 at 3pm, part of the Steinway Series.

SHHH! Ensemble
Sunday, August 1 at 5pm
Ottawa-based piano/percussion duo, SHHH! Ensemble, share their unique style and “avant-accessible” programming in this captivating concert. Also coming this summer, families can explore with this creative duo at a Bring the Kids! show.

Quatuor Despax
Tuesday, August 3 at 5pm
The talented siblings of Quatuor Despax have been a regular on stages in the national capital and beyond since they began performing together nearly two decades ago. Expect an eclectic mix of standards and new surprises.

Festival Livestream Pass – $249

Available online at and by phone at 613-234-6306.

  • Experience more than 25 online events on your computer, tablet, or smartphone (some festival events may not be livestreamed)
  • Access all livestream events, including the Bytek Signature Series
  • Join us for five interactive Chamber Chats: Festival Edition with Eric Friesen, available only to Chamberfest 2021 14-day passholders
  • Receive 50% off one in-person ticket per event, on sale July 2021, subject to COVID-19 regulations. (Additional tickets will be sold at full price)
  • PLUS exclusive access to the festival’s online video library: relive livestream events for 24 hours, revisit Chamber Chats: Festival Edition, and explore exclusive digital content from international Chamberfriends
  • Valid for 14 days: July 22 to August 4, 2021

Visit to find out more about our summer festival’s programs, artists, and available ticketing options.

Ottawa Chamberfest

Ottawa Chamberfest’s vision is to change lives through music. It brings together the boldest names in ensemble and solo performance for musical celebration in the nation’s capital, drawing approximately 100,000 visits per year through its concert series, community engagement and education (CEE) program, and renowned summer festival. Ottawa Chamberfest is a 2020 Festival & Events Ontario (FEO) “Top 100” event and was named Ottawa Tourism’s “Event of the Year” in 2019.

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