Musica Camerata: Supporting Young Musicians and Reviving Lost Music

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

In 1970, violinist Luis Grinhauz was an assistant concertmaster for the Montreal ­Symphony Orchestra (OSM) when he noticed some problems in the city’s classical music scene.

“The music schools were not very active in student concerts. The only chamber music heard in Montreal was by visiting groups,” Grinhauz said. “There was a need for musicians from the (student) orchestras to perform.”

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Yet when he attended the rare chamber music concerts in Montreal, he found the ­musicians performed the same few works.

With the help of some friends in the OSM, Grinhauz and his wife, Berta Rosenohl, founded the chamber music ensemble Musica Camerata to support eager young musicians and to enlarge the public’s taste in classical music. For more than 50 years, the ensemble has kick-started the careers of such renowned artists as Chantal Juillet, Élaine Marcil and Angèle Dubeau, and it has introduced ­Montreal to composers like Grażyna Bacewicz, Amy Beach and Astor Piazzolla.

Bruno Tobon

For their 53rd season, Conservatoire de musique de Montréal student and cellist Bruno Tobon is Musica Camerata’s featured young musician. Tobon will play alongside the ensemble for their four in-person concerts at the Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur.

The “Romantic Central Europe” concert on Oct. 1 will include Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s rarely played Sonata Op. 13 for violin and piano. At their Nov. 19 “Vienna and Paris” concert, the ensemble will unveil Camille Saint-Saëns’s never-performed Quartet for piano and strings Op. posth alongside rare works by Mozart and Schubert.

The two other concerts, “The French and Klezmer” and “The English,” will be held on March 25 and May 6, respectively.

Although Musica Camerata has performed internationally in the past, budget and ­scheduling concerns have convinced Grinhauz to keep the ensemble in Montreal for the 2022-23 season.

“It’s very expensive to organize a tour,” he said. “The other musicians are tied up with the Montreal Symphony or the Orchestre ­Métropolitain, so their schedule doesn’t allow them to do other concerts.”

He is also concerned the pandemic will cut off concerts again. When COVID first moved concerts online, Musica Camerata lost many subscribers. Instead of selling subscriptions, Musica Camerata is now selling individual tickets at $40 per concert, but Grinhauz is confident they will regain most of their ­audience ­despite the change.

“(Our subscribers) didn’t like to watch the concert on the screen,” he said. “Nothing ­compares to the live performance.”

Musica Camerata’s “Romantic Central Europe” ­concert, Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. www.cameratamontreal.com

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

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