Testing the limits of classical performance is nothing new to Jacqueline Woods and Carissa Klopoushak. Over the last decade, the pair have built a festival from the ground up that takes chamber music and makes it accessible to everyone.
“We have always wanted to push the envelope,” says Woods. “We present new music that pushes our listeners and gives them new sounds and experiences.”
“We present new music that pushes our listeners and gives them new sounds and experiences.”
This year’s festival’s lineup kicks off Friday night (April 12th) with featured violinist Veronique Mathieu. The Saskatoon violinist is the University of Saskatchewan’s inaugural David L. Kaplan Chair. Known around the world as a violinist with “chops to burn”, Mathieu will take the stage at Convocation Hall with many talented artists. The evening will include Ingrid Stozel’s To One Beyond Seas, a piece inspired by the work of Mohawk poet E. Pauline Johnson featuring soprano Chelsea Mahan. This is the first time Ritornello will have a vocalist on its stage.
“Chamber music is usually focussed on strings and piano,” explains Woods. “Chelsea adds a new dimension to the festival’s more traditional concert.”
Saturday night (April 13th), Ritornello heads into the club at Village Guitar & Amp with New York City’s Hypercube. This is a group that is on the cutting edge of chamber performance blending acoustic and electric worlds.
“Hypercube sees no limits to what it can do,” says Woods. “They bring sax, accordion, percussion and electric guitar into the mix for a really vibrant and exciting show.” Saturday night will be full of surprises and it promises to be a show you won’t want to miss.
On Sunday (April 14th) it will be a team effort as the festival celebrates duos and the city as the musicians perform at the Remai Modern in full view of the South Saskatchewan River. This show will see collaborations from Veronique Mathieu, Hypercube’s Andrea Lodge, Katherine Dowling, Leana Rutt and the festival’s co-founders Jacqueline Woods and Carissa Klopoushak. The performance of George Crumb’s Movements from Celestial Mechanics and its open piano playing with the instrument being plucked or hit like a percussive instrument will amaze.
This festival is on a new weekend and Woods hopes that opens it up to a larger audience. “We are excited the switch means more students are still in town. We can’t wait for them to join us to expand their musical horizons.”