Summer is festival season – and the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival gives us the opportunity to bask in the joys of small ensemble playing. 



Returning Sunday, June 4, the weeklong festival presents a variety of musical offerings in a number of formats including concerts, workshops and interviews. 

“It’s always a joy to be back in town,” says artistic director and founder Paul Marleyn.  

The former instructor at the University of Manitoba now heads the string department at the University of Ottawa where he is also professor of cello.  

Founded in 2000, the festival aims to provide concerts of an international level right in the heart of the country.  

“It’s such an interesting time right now,” notes Marleyn. “The zeitgeist is very much, I think, reminding us how important diversity is, how much gender equity is important... (and) I hope that the programs show that diversity.”  

Challenging the dead, white European male norm are composers from Azerbaijan, Guinea, and Mali who feature on programs alongside African-American, Indigenous and Métis writers of music. 

Karl Stobbe, Minna Rose Chung, Yuri Hooker, Paul Williamson, and many more familiar and supremely talented faces will once again participate in Agassiz Festival this year, joined by some special guest artists, including pianist John Novacek, guitarist Daniel Bolshoy, violinist Cathy French, violist, Asdis Valdimarsdottir and cellist Michael Stirling.  

The JUNO-award winning Will Bonness and his trio are also set to perform with concerts hosted by the always-informative Andrea Ratuski.  

Four young artists will also have the opportunity to share in the music-making as part the "Glimpses of the Future" competition. 

Agassiz Festival makes their homebase at the Canadian Mennonite University’s Laudamus Auditorium (500 Shaftesbury Blvd), with a few satellite venues also being utilized.  

Festival passes are $125 – with discounts available for seniors and those under 30 – and individual tickets also available.  

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