Montreal & Quebec
April 24-26, www.guitaremontreal.com
This weekend festival combines performances, lectures, masterclasses, an exhibition, and a competition with over $4,000 in prizes. The festival begins Friday night with a performance by the Montreal Guitar Society under the direction of Dave Pilon, plus Czech guitar virtuoso Vladislav Bláha and Alan Liu, winner of last year’s Youth Competition. Guitar luthiers and vendors will be displaying their wares all day Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening features a performance by last year’s competition winner, Miodrag Zerdoner, and renowned New York guitarist David Leisner. On Sunday afternoon, the Montreal Guitar Society Competition finals will be held from
1-4 pm. All concerts take place at 8 pm at Concordia’s DB Clarke Theatre (1455 de Maisonneuve W). Tickets are $27 with discounts for students and seniors.
Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville
May 14-17, www.fimav.qc.ca
With 19 concerts and 7 sound installations, the FIMAV will once again give us plenty to listen to! The festival opens with a promising concert on May 14 with Chinese-American violinist Jason Kao Hwang, who presents “Burning Bridge” featuring a jazz sextet plus a pipa and an erhu for a very contemporary hybrid! The following day, composer Linda Bouchard, who currently resides in the USA, will come home to give us Murderous Little World, a hybrid piece mixing poetry, music, and theatre, performed by the trio Bellows and Brass with video projections by Yan Breuleux. Finally, absolutely don’t miss French group Magma, visiting Quebec for the first time (in 45 years!). They will close the festival, which already promises to be unforgettable!
– Réjean Beaucage
May 27-31, www.festivalclassica.com
St. Lambert’s Classica Festival celebrates its 5th edition this year with a packed line-up of concerts featuring chamber, early, Spanish, and traditional music, among other genres. The festival opens on May 27 with the North American premier of Christophe Colomb, featuring soloists Marie-Ève Munger, Antoine Bélanger and Marc Boucher along with over 70 musicians. Alexandre Da Costa, Lise Beauchamp, and Wonny Song perform the music of Keith Jarrett on May 30. Later, at 10:30 pm, Art Crush presents a multidisciplinary event fusing dance, painting, and chamber music at the Centre multifonctionnel de Saint-Lambert. Don’t miss German Romanticism with Stéphane Tétreault (May 29), Raoul Sosa’s concert Iberia (May 30), or Ensemble Caprice’s 21-musician performance of the integral Brandenburg Concertos (May 30). Closing the festival, Étienne Dupuis celebrates vocal music from opera to chanson in Brel, Félix et moi (May 31).
27-31 mai, www.mutek.org/en/montreal/2015
This five-day digital and electronic festival emphasizes live performance and cutting-edge music and audiovisual works, with performances at the Musée d’Art Contemporain and Métropolis, among other venues. While electronic music is the main focus, the festival has a broad view with many classically-trained artists featured, including Icelandic KIASMOS, comprised of classical composer Ólafur Arnalds and electronic musician Janus Rasmussen, and the UK’s Rival Consoles. Jazz improvisation fans can catch Canadian/ German trio Cobblestone Jazz.
Toronto & Ontario
May 20-24, performance.rcmusic.ca/21c
The Royal Conservatory’s 21C celebrates 21st century music with 8 diverse and innovative concerts, including too many newly commissioned works and premieres to count! The festival features electroacoustic pioneer Kaija Saariaho, notably in Light and Matter (May 21, 8 pm), which presents four works by Saariaho (the composer herself performs) and five Canadian premieres. Opening the festival: Jon Kimura Parker and Stewart Copeland (of The Police) performing their own compositions and more in Off the Score (May 20). Celebrate Canadian culture at Spin Cycle (May 23), with world premieres of works by Dinuk Wijeratne, Laura Silberberg, Rob Teehan, and Kevin Lau, performed by the Afiara Quartet and remixed by Skratch Bastid; or at Illusions (May 22), featuring the ECM+ and the Gryphon Trio performing an eponymous multimedia work with new pieces by Simon Martin, Gabriel Dharmoo, and Nicole Lizée as well as Charles Ives’ Piano Trio. The Bicycle Opera Project stages an outdoor performance on Bloor St. W prior to After Hours #1 (May 21), featuring two world premieres. Plenty more contemporary and Canadian figures are featured, including Jordan Nobles, James Rolfe, and Andrew Staniland, so be sure to check out the full program.
Organix presents five concerts in Toronto, Oakville, and Kingston this spring. On April 15 and 17 (Kingston), Jens Korndoerfer performs an expansive program from J. S. Bach to Aaron Copland. On May 20, Roman Perucki on organ and Maria Perucka on violin perform a concert featuring three living Polish composers at Toronto’s St. Clement’s Anglican Church. On June 5 (Oakville), Aaron Tan performs a program featuring the organ’s greatest composers including Bach, Widor, Max Reger and Edward Bairstow among others.
The Boston Early Music Festival (June 7-14, www.bemf.org) celebrates Monteverdi this year with a trio of his three surviving operas: Ulisse, Poppea, and Orfeo. 16 additional concerts and an exhibition complete the festival.