Tracey Tong/Metro Ottawa
The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival got off to a good start this weekend, organizers said.
While hundreds of people attended six concerts yesterday, Saturday night’s opening gala concert featuring Daniel Muller-Schott and Angela Hewitt at the Dominion-Chalmers United Church attracted huge crowds, said Chamberfest special events co-ordinator, Karen St. Aubin.
“We had a fantastic start,” St. Aubin said. “People were lining up around the block, which is just awesome. The atmosphere was fantastic. There was positive spirit.”
Chamberfest attracts people of all ages, from young children to people in their 90s, said St. Aubin.
“There’s something for everyone, especially with the programming this year. (Whether) you’re a real expert or a real newbie, you’re bound to find something that will appeal. It’s very accessible this year. Part of our mandate is to make chamber music accessible and affordable to everyone.”
You can’t get any more affordable than free, said St. Aubin.
This year’s festival features 10 free concerts, and 15 venues, including two new ones at the Bank of Canada plaza and the Plaza Bridge, as part of the Noon Under the Bridge series.
Part of the reason for new venues is to make the concerts more accessible to more people, said communications director Frances Phillips.
While people who are working might not be able to make it to the festival’s morning and afternoon concerts, lunch-hour concerts in accessible places make it easier for people to enjoy the music.
“Many people do have to work through the summer months, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t enjoy the music,” said Phillips.
The festival has grown in popularity in its 14 years — from 22 concerts in 1994 to 117 this year.
“A lot of people think of chamber music as something they did in the court of Louis XV when people sat on gilded chairs, but chamber music is getting very popular,” said Phillips. “It’s being heard in bars and clubs and not just concert halls.
“It’s very beautiful.”
The festival runs through August 4.