It started almost a decade ago when co-founders Jacqueline Woods and Carissa Klopoushak had a dream of bringing the chamber music scene to the masses here in Saskatoon. What they’ve created with the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival is a chance for the audience to get up close to musicians as they celebrate traditional gems and push the boundaries of classical music in three very different concerts.
The Ritornello Chamber Music Festival features local and International musicians as they collaborate and put their own spin on classical music. “There’s a sense of energy and adrenaline with Ritornello you won’t find anywhere else,” says Woods. “They only have 2 or 3 rehearsals together – and it really lights a fire under the music that isn’t always there.”
“…it really lights a fire under the music that isn’t always there.”
This year’s festival features a gala opening concert at Convocation Hall (May 11th) with pianist John Kimura Parker. Kimura Parker’s delighted audiences all over the world including performances at Berlin’s Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. “He’s a very social performer,” explains Woods. “He engages the audience with his playing and great tales from the stage.”
Kimura Parker will also share the stage that evening with Ottawa’s Ironwood String Quartet. When not playing with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ironwood has been dominating the music scene out east with its “take no prisoners” sound. “They explore new avenues for chamber music, both in venue and programming.” Ironwood plays Friday night (May 12th) – the show will put its own stamp on pieces like Ravel’s Quartet in F major and then go beyond with performances of modern works by composers like Caroline Shaw. This show also takes the traditional classical concert experience and throws it out the window with Village Guitar & Amp as the venue. What’s better than tapas, a beer and some amazing music?
Ritornello wraps up on Sunday (May 14th) with a special concert for Mother’s Day. This show, featuring Saskatoon’s own Mistral 5, will celebrate classics and a new work by prairie composer John Estacio. And you’ll get a discount if you bring that special lady in your life!
Ritornello has a dedicated fan base thanks to its nine year run organizers are not resting on their laurels. They are always recruiting “newbies” to the Classical concert scene. “We want people to build a relationship with chamber music.” Woods explains, “We’ve seen our audiences grow and diversify over the years and we want people to grow and experiment with us in music.”
Tickets for the shows range from $15 – $30 and weekend passes are available.
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