Festival Artistic Director Denis Brott to welcome musicians of international stature; including a salute to beloved Montreal jazz pianist Oliver Jones

Editor’s Note: The Montreal Chamber Music Festival started twenty-nine years ago at Denis and Julie Brott’s kitchen table. The festival quickly gained international acclaim, and now attracts some of the world’s finest classical musicians. This is in part due to Denis’ own reputation as an acclaimed cellist. The festival continues to be a family affair that also provides performance experience for young musicians.

Denis BrottFor several years the festival included a weekly jazz component, curated by Oliver Jones. This year Denis has enlisted some of Montreal’s finest jazz musicians to pay tribute to Oliver on Friday June 16 at Bourgie Hall. For jazz fans – this will be a once-in-a-lifetime concert.

And now… over to Denis.

The Montreal Chamber Music Festival (MCMF) has presented innovative programming since its inception in 1995.  Chamber music is the most intimate of musical art forms. Its collaborative characteristic is one of musical democracy in action.  Each person has a specific role to play and contributes to the interpretation and performance such the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  A unique element of the Festival’s mandate is to encourage emerging talent of the highest order putting them onstage side-by-side with some of the finest, experienced artists in the world.  This creates a stimulating symbiosis for the audience and performer alike. It is this synergy which makes performances at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival unique and compelling. No Festival in Montréal can compare.

Live concerts in Salle Bourgie and at Place des Arts

Our 28th season will take place this summer from June 4 to 18. Indoor concerts will take place in Bourgie Hall at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on Sherbrooke Street West and at the Maison symphonique at the Place des Arts.

cellist Stéphane Tétreault -Montreal Chamber Music Festival

Superstar cellist Stéphane Tétreault will open the Festival on June 4 with seven other cellists

Le Violoncelle En Feu! An evening dedicated to the cello with Québec superstar cellist Stéphane Tétreault and guest artists: 8 CELLOS ON-STAGE!
Sunday, June 4 at 7:30 pm, Salle Bourgie MBAM
Without question, the cello is the most beloved of musical instruments. Why? Because its vibrations align exactly with those of the human voice. As a result, the vibration and timbre of its sound can be felt in distinctly human ways.  Le violoncelle en feu ! celebrates collegiality and brings attention to the remarkable world-class cellists who call Montreal home. Cellists always enjoy performing together. Living in Montreal is one of the world’s most remarkable young cello stars, Stéphane Tétreault.  Not quite yet 30 years old, Stéphane has won numerous important prizes and garnered recognition from around the world.  He performs on one of the greatest Stradivarius cellos that exists, loaned to Stéphane by Montreal’s distinguished Desmarais family. His immense talent will be on display in a variety of genres with distinctly South American flavour. The 7 other cellists performing are all former students of the Festival’s  Artistic Director, Denis Brott. You will hear Tangos by Piazzola with bandoneonist Denis Plante as well as Piazzola’s fabulous Four Seasons arranged for 8 cellos. On stage: cellists Stéphane Tétreault, Noémie Raymond-Friset, Vincent Bergeron, Mariève Bock, Pierre-Alain Bouvrette, Chloé Dominguez, Benoit Loiselle, Bruno Tobon and Denis Plante playing bandoneon.

Leong & Cheng, Canadian Stars
Tuesday, June 6, 12pm Salle Bourgie, MBAM
A 55-minute lunchtime concert by violinist Kerson Leong, violin and cellist Bryan Cheng will offer a preview of the show Étoiles canadiennes on June 8th at 7:30pm. Tickets for the lunchtime concert are $25.

Emerson Quartet - Montreal Chamber Music Festival

Scheduled to retire in the fall, the Emerson Quartet will perform for the last time in Canada on June 6 at Bourgie Hall
Photo: Jürgen Frank

Adieu Emerson Quartet! After a 43-year career, this is the final appearance by the Emerson String Quartet in Canada!
Tuesday, June 6 at7:30pm Salle Bourgie, MBAM
On this special event concert, the famous Emerson Quartet will be joined by guest artists Denis Brott (cello) and Jan Lisiecki (piano). The Emerson String Quartet has maintained its status as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles for more than four decades. The Quartet has made more than 30 acclaimed recordings and has won nine GRAMMYs® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award.

After 43 seasons of concert giving, the quartet will retire in the fall of 2023.  June 6, 2023 will be their final concert in Canada and their last at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, your last chance to hear the Emerson Quartet live.  As a special treat, we have invited fellow Deutsche Grammophon recording artist Canada’s brilliant 27-year-old star pianist Jan Lisiecki to perform the beloved Dvorak Piano Quintet with them.  Having never before played with the quartet, this will be his only opportunity before they leave the stage forever… and he is so excited about it!  Long-time colleague for five decades, Festival Director Denis Brott will join his friends in a performance of one of the greatest chamber works ever written, Schubert’s Two Cello Quintet in C Major.

Elinor Frey

JUNO Award Winner and star performer Elinor Frey will perform a lunchtime concert and Go For Baroque! on Monday, June 12

Elinor Frey, the Baroque cello demystified!
Thursday, June 8, 12pm Salle Bourgie, MBAM
A 55-minute lunchtime concert with 2023 Juno Award winner cellist Elinor Frey offering insights into the baroque cello ahead of her evening concert Go Baroque ! on Monday, June 12th at 7:30 p.m.

Canadian Stars On-Stage: Thursday, June 8, 7:30 pm Salle Bourgie, MBAM
Three internationally acclaimed Canadian artists:  pianist Stewart Goodyear, cellist Bryan Cheng and violinist Kerson Leong on-stage together for the first time. It is truly remarkable how Canada has distinguished itself internationally in the classical music field.  Per capita, Canada has the greatest number of world-class classical music performers of any western nation. Coming together for the first time, the three performers in this concert are among the world’s elite new generation of international performers. Their varied program includes the Quebec premiere of pianist Stewart Goodyear’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, the ever-popular Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, the Hungarian gypsy influence in Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello and the remarkably tuneful and unforgettable dance melodies of Dvorak’s Dumky Piano Trio.

“This program is sure to be an intoxicating combination
of colour, style, melody and exceptional talent.”

Fairy Tales: Sunday, June 11, 3:30pm, Salle Bourgie, MBAM
A family concert with narration in French and English featuring everyone’s favourite works:  Carnival of the Animals and Peter and the Wolf. Free admission for everyone under 16!

If ever there was a good reason for a Sunday afternoon family outing it is this concert at 3:30pm  on Sunday, June 11.  Everyone knows the melodies and descriptive stories of the Carnaval of the Animals and the fairy tale Peter and the Wolf. Allow the child in you to join your children young and old. Be entranced by this magical blend of words and music. Narrated by actor/pianist Jean Marchand, concert goers will be entranced in the imaginative world these two compositions create.  There will be 19 excellent performers on stage. Many are members of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. “There is no better way to bond the human spirit than to experience the joy of the emotional connection that awaits in this special family event.”

Musical Instrument Bank Winners: Monday, June 12, 12pm, Salle Bourgie, MBAM – FREE CONCERT!
A free 55-minute lunchtime concert featuring the new generation of rising stars, all winners of the Musical Instrument Bank Competition held in April 2023 which accorded each one an instrument from its collection.

Go For Baroque! Monday June 12 at 7:30pm Salle Bourgie, MBAM
A concert featuring the world-renowned cellist Elinor Frey and other guest artists in an all-Baroque concert.

In the world of baroque music, Canadian cellist and Montreal resident Elinor Frey is a renowned world master and star performer.  She has consistently pushed the boundaries of the cello and discovered forgotten repertoire that sounds as fresh and innovative now as when it was first composed three centuries ago. Accompanied by her colleagues, Montreal-born cellist Octavie Dostaler-Lalonde and Mélisande McNabney, harpsichord along with Michel Angers playing the theorbo (a stringed musical instrument).  Elinor will present a musical excursion like no other; taking the audience back 300 years into a baroque world of intimacy and elegance.

Giora Schmidt & The Quatuor Vatra: Wednesday, June 14, 12pm Salle Bourgie – FREE CONCERT!
A free 55-minute lunchtime concert featuring the great American violinist Giora Schmidt and the extraordinary talents of the Quebec-born Quatuor Vatra. Artists: Giora Schmidt and Eva Lesage, violins, Sebastian Gonzalez Mora, viola, Bruno Tobon, cello, Chloé Dumoulin, piano

Counterpoint: Tap Dance Mania! Wednesday, June 14, 7:30pm, Salle Bourgie, MBAM
This will be a unique concert featuring a piano/tap-dance duo with artists Conrad Tao and Caleb Teicher. You said what? A tap dance at a classical piano concert?  YES! This dynamic duo brings to life the rhythmic pulse of TAP in a way you have never heard. The imaginative artistry of dancer Caleb Teicher blends with the virtuoso, eclectic pianism of Conrad Tao in a way that will blow you away.

Isidore Quartet

The Isidore Quartet will perform a lunchtime concert on June 16 and again at Bourgie Hall on June 17 
Photo: Jiyang Chen

This concert pushes the boundaries of imagination and is without question one of the more compelling and unusual you will ever hear.

Isidore Quartet First Prize – Banff Quartet Competition: Friday, June 16, 12pm, Salle Bourgie, MBAM
Isidore String Quartet’s appearance is supported, in part, by the Career Development Program of the Banff International String Quartet Competition. This 55-minute lunchtime concert with the 2023 Banff International String Quartet Competition, who are winners offering a taste of the show Premiers Prix on June 17 at 7:30pm.

Isidore Quartet musicians are: Phoenix Avalon and Adrian Steele, violins; Devin Moore, viola; and Joshua McClendon, cello.

Oliver Jones

Eight renowned jazz artists will perform A Tribute to Oliver Jones on Friday, June 16
Photo: Pierre Arsenault

Tribute to Oliver Jones: Jazzman Par Excellence: Friday, June 16 7:30pm, Salle Bourgie, MBAM
This concert will be a tribute to Oliver Jones featuring 8 artists; all of whom played with Oliver and some with Oscar Peterson. The name of Montreal-born Oliver Jones is synonymous with the greatest in jazz music. Along with his Montreal compatriot and buddy Oscar Peterson, the stamp of Oliver Jones is undeniable. At 88, he has played with the greatest and mentored generations of jazz performers and music lovers.  On this night he will be honoured in a totally unique way.  Surrounded by former members of his jazz quartet as well as Oscar Peterson’s Trio the evening will be a jam session like no other. Eight artists of international renown come together including Montrealers Ranee Lee, Lorraine Desmarais, Eric Lagacé, Jim Doxas, Michel Donato and Taurey Butler as well as Dave Laing and Robi Botos.

“You will never hear a jazz program like this one…ever!”

Noémie & Friends: Saturday, June 17, 12pm, Salle Bourgie, MBAM – FREE CONCERT!
A free 55-minute lunchtime concert featuring Noémie Raymond-Friset, cellist and Director of Operations of the Festival, and her friends. Artists accompanying Noémie include: Bora Kim, violin; Ryan Davis, viola; and Kevin Ahfat, piano.

Philip Chiu

2023 JUNO Award winning pianist Philip Chiu will perform with the Isidore Quartet

Banff First Prize Winners, Isidore Quartet: Saturday, June 17, 7:30pm, Salle Bourgie, MBAM
The Isidore Quartet was the 2022 first prize winners of the Banff International Quartet Competition. They will perform with special guest artist and 2023 Juno Award Winner, pianist Philip Chiu.

The Montreal Chamber Music Festival has as its passion, the encouragement of the best talent in the world.  Fresh from their 1st Prize award at the 2022 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the American Isidore Quartet will perform the music that garnered them international recognition by winning the Haydn Prize, the prize for the best performance of the commissioned composition by Sri Lankan Juno Award-winning Ottawa resident Dinuk Wijeratne Disappearance of Lisa Gherardini, in its Quebec premiere. “This concert is truly a cosmopolitan confluence of culture performed by musicians of diverse traditions.  This meeting of minds brings the four corners of the earth to one stage.”

Obsession: Tchaïkovsky & His Muse! Sunday, June 18, 3:30pm Maison Symphonique, Place des Arts
This Festival closing concert highlights a text especially created for this occasion focusing on Tchaikovsky’s relationship with his patroness Nadezhda von Meck. Women as patrons (patronesses) is a prime example of female empowerment in the 19th Century. Discover her unique role as the muse of one of the greatest romantic composers ever: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

As the grand finale of the 28th Montreal Chamber Music Festival, we’ll create a unique program about Tchaikovsky’s genius from the female perspective. His devoted patroness Nadezhda Von Meck was so in love with him and so believed in his talent that she told him to quit his job as a professor at the esteemed Moscow Conservatory and assured his livelihood by fully supporting him financially and becoming his muse and confidante. Strangely, and despite their 12-year relationship, they never met. Therein lays an amazing story of platonic love like you have never heard.

Former CBC producer Michele Marchand has combed through all the 1500 letters of intimate communication between Tchaikovsky and Von Meck and created an enticing script. The result is a collection of poignant exchanges which highlight Tchaikovsky’s thoughts and reveal the emotional message behind the music you will hear. The texts will be read and portrayed on-stage by Quebec actress Anne-Julie Proulx and actor/pianist Jean Marchand.

On the program are two masterworks. Tchaikovsky’s Trio Op. 50 will be performed by the extraordinary protégé of Itzhak Perlman, violinist Giora Schmidt; Van Cliburn Competition 1st Prize winner pianist Yekwon Sunwoo and Festival Founder and Artistic Director cellist, Denis Brott.  Ending the concert will be Tchaikovsky’s remarkable sextet Souvenir de Florence in a transcription for string ensemble by Denis Brott featuring 17 exceptional virtuoso musicians.

The combination of revealingly intimate text and exquisite music makes for an intoxicating combination which will lead to an emotionally charged, unique event.

For tickets to individual concerts and Festival Passes; please visit: www.festivalmontreal.org or call 514-842-2112. Individual tickets may also be purchased at www.placedesarts.com