A multi-day event explores the idea of building community through musical collaboration.  

Drawing musicians from around the world, Dream Big Collaborative Piano Conference runs from Thursday, February 22 through Saturday, February 24 at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  

“Our specialty is playing with other people,” says Dr. Laura Loewen, collaborative piano professor and Associate Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Music who co-founded the conference. 



Working with fellow faculty member Dr. Judy Kehler Siebert, the pair staged the first dedicated collaborative piano conference in Canada in February of 2020, aiming to help build the collaborative pianist community, provide mentoring opportunities, as well as present innovative, cross-country events and concerts. 

The biennial conference returns this week, welcoming special guest artists, speakers and musicians from across North and South America, as well as the U.K.  

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring this community together,” says Loewen.  

Over three days, roughly 70 participants will engage in masterclasses, presentations, and community-building initiatives.  

One of the highlights is sure to be a day spent at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, exploring methods of storytelling as well as a panel discussion on performing music written in response to trauma or as part of a call to action.  

“Everybody that I know is hungry to play music not just because we think it’s beautiful and want to perform it, but because it speaks deeply to who we are, who we are striving to be and the issues in our society now,” explains Loewen.

Recognizing that this type of music-making requires a different type of preparation, Dream Big will host a panel discussion with two curators from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  

Later Friday evening beginning at 6 p.m., live musical performances in six different galleries will enhance visitors’ experiences through short chamber works engaging with human rights themes. Free to the public, the event is curated by Valerie Dueck, and will have the audience self-guide through the space.  

Learn more about the full conference offerings by visiting: www.dreambigcollaborative.com