New Brunswick Summer Music Festival Celebrates 30 years

Category: community 136

To mark its 30th anniversary, the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival is planning a city wide celebration of classical chamber music and we’re all invited. 

Musicians in performance at Memorial Hall. Submitted.
Matt Carter 

New Brunswick Summer Music Festival began in 1993 with a vision to create an intimate chamber music festival in Fredericton. To say the festival has accomplished its goal would be an understatement having become one of the longest running music festivals in the city next to Harvest. This summer the festival will mark its 30th anniversary with a series of concerts across the city and inside UNB’s storied Memorial Hall. 

“We are in full strength with our suite of concerts throughout the city of Fredericton culminating in our four evening events in the acoustically fine Memorial Hall,” said founder and Artistic Director Richard Hornsby.

“Musicians will be joining us from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and of course here in New Brunswick with young and early career artists performing alongside professionals.”

What began as a three-day concert series has grown to become a two-week festival held every August. Many regard the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival as the province’s premier classical music event. And rightfully so. Where else could you enjoy top classical musicians performing in concert halls as well as some of the city’s most frequented, family-friendly social hotspots like the Picaroons Roundhouse, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and the Garrison Night Market?

Hornsby has been at the helm of the festival from the get go, curating annual lineups that often stray from the traditional path followed by many such festivals. From the beginning, his goal has been to see musicians collaborate and play together and find ways to distill that creative energy into a palpable experience for players and audiences alike. 

Each edition of the festival typically follows a theme focused on a specific region or era of composition. For 2023, Hornsby has chosen to cast a wider net to feature works from the last three centuries with music by Mozart, Faure, Debussy, Dvorak, and others currently in preparation for the August event.

Some of this year’s guest musicians include cellist Wolf Tormann, violinist Mark Djokic, pianist Peter Allen, and soprano Sally Dibblee who will each perform at Memorial Hall during the event. A growing list of additional performers includes Wee Three Strings, Backyard Brass, classical guitarist Steven Peacock, violist Natalia Delacroix, pianist Nicholas Roy, violinist Katherine Moller and many more to be announced. 

One of several highlight performances planned for the coming festival will feature Fredericton-based Atlantic Sinfonia performing a special tribute to Fredericton composers. 

“To help celebrate Fredericton’s 175th anniversary, we’re putting on a special concert with our orchestra, the Atlantic Sinfonia,” said Hornsby. “We’re going to be presenting a concert of all Fredericton composers including a new work by Christian Bérubé here in Fredericton.”

This special family-friendly performance will take place at Christ Church Cathedral on August 8. 

Hornsby has extended an invitation for everyone to join in celebrating the festival’s 30th anniversary and to experience classical music’s timeless magic, live and in-person. 

“Join us in experiencing the joy of live classical chamber music with all its intimacy, passion, humour, and elation, with all the many other emotions in between.” 

New Brunswick Summer Music Festival runs August 1-12, 2023 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Full information and tickets can be found online at www.nbsummermusicfestival.ca.

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