Bathurst, New Brunswick’s annual classical music festival takes place this weekend.
Each year, musicians from throughout the region gather in Bathurst to rehearse and perform as part of ClassikFest Chaleur. Launched in 2012 as the Bathurst Chamber Music Festival, co-founders Ariane Saulnier and David Scott hoped to create a hub for classical music in the Chaleur region. Their experiment was a success. Known today as ClassikFest Chaleur, the festival celebrates its tenth anniversary this week with performances running August 12-14.
“The three concerts make up the bulk of the festival,” said co-founder and artistic director David Scott. “The musicians are in retreat from August 6 and rehearse intensively throughout the week to prepare the three programs. It is an opportunity for deep artistic collaboration among mutually driven musicians through the performance of a fulfilling and ambitious repertoire, while contributing to a culturally vibrant Bathurst and Chaleur region.
“In the grind of professional life, we don’t always get the opportunity to perform this kind of music, so to be in retreat together and have the extra time to put this all together is quite special and something that many musicians look forward to,” he said.
Festival artists are hand picked each year based on the selections planned for each festival. This year’s lineup of performers includes a range of emerging and professional musicians from throughout the region as well as a number of graduate level students from top Canadian university music programs.
This year’s performers include Claire Ahern (flute) from Saint John, NB; Daniella Tajeda (oboe) from Moncton, NB; David Scott (clarinet) from Moncton/Bathurst, NB; Yvonne Kershaw (bassoon) from Fredericton, NB; Taran Plamondon (French horn) from Ottawa, ON; Sonia Hellenbrand (violin) from Berlin, Germany; Jeanny Jung (violin) from Saskatchewan; Natalia Lubimova (viola) from Fredericton, NB; Conor Britt (cello) from Saint John, NB; Jude Melanson (double bass) from Moncton, NB; and Cindy Thong (piano) from Halifax, NS.
“The festival has grown to become a completely immersive program that has our musicians living and breathing music,” said Scott. “Though it is difficult to put into words, you can really feel the excitement and enthusiasm in the air from all involved in this aesthetic experience. Audience members can expect to feel that energy from their seats.”
The festival gets underway on Friday with French Portraits featuring music for wind instruments by some of the greatest French composers from the 19th through 20th century, along with a new work by festival composer-in-residence, Hope Salmonson from Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia).
Saturday evening’s performance A Little Night Music highlights strings and piano and features Mozart’s timeless Eine kleine nachtmusik.
The festival’s tenth year concludes with Dancing with My Shadow, a mix of lively music that combines all the performers and instruments included this year.
August 12 | French Portraits | 7 p.m. | Le Greenhouse Lounge – 1555 Queen Elizabeth Dr. | View Event
August 13 | A Little Night Music | 7 p.m. | Evangel Bathurst – 150 Basin St.| View Event
August 14 | Dance With My Shadow | 2 p.m. | Evangel Bathurst – 150 Basin St. | View Event
To purchase tickets, contact the festival’s team at email@example.com