A weeklong celebration of sound, songs and stories is set to take place as the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival runs from June 2nd through 8th.  

“Sounds in the Key of Spring” is this year’s theme and will treat audiences to more than a dozen recitals, concerts and events, featuring some of the most brilliant contemporary musicians performing today.  

“In the end, love of music is what sustains the arts,” says artistic director Paul Marleyn on the festival’s long history.  



Having founded the festival in 2000 while instructing at the University of Manitoba, Marleyn has continued to return to Winnipeg each spring, even since relocating to head up the strings department at the University of Ottawa.  

This year, nearly 50 musicians will participate in Agassiz, including familiar local players and international talents such as the renowned Swiss Piano Trio and the Rudersdal Chamber Players from Copenhagen.  

“One of the central tenets of Agassiz Festival is to put together Winnipeg artists and visiting international artists together in groups,” explains Marleyn, who notes there will be plenty of collaborations over the week.  

The festival will present both traditional and more innovative performances in multiple genres and styles, including classical chamber music, jazz, music by women composers, Indigenous music, and spoken-word poetry accompanied by improvised cello. 

A highlight is sure to be the festival finale, “Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow,” which tells the story of the renowned Ojibwe WWI sniper and decorated officer of the Canadian military.  

Composed by Tim Corlis and written by Ojibwe poet Armand Garnet Ruffo, Sounding Thunder is a complex work divided into three acts.  

“We have wanted, in the festival, to build connections and include authentic Indigenous music and art,” says Marleyn.  

Having only been staged in Ontario, the work will be showcased several times as part of Agassiz, including two days of special programming on Tuesday – for Indigenous Veterans, their families and community – and on Wednesday, for high school students.  

For a complete list of Agassiz events, visit their website: www.agassizfestival.com  

Individual tickets and festival passes are available.

Most Agassiz's Festival performances take place in the Laudamus Auditorium at the Canadian Mennonite University (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.), though make sure to double check locations to individual shows.