Individual Concerts

Blue Dress

Wednesday July 19, 2023 7:30 p.m.
Bella Concert Hall at Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts

Schubert The Shepherd on the Rock
Julia Wolfe With a Blue Dress On
Brahms Hungarian Dances
Chausson Concerto for Violin, Piano and Sting Quartet

A veritable rainbow of gorgeous musical colors opens ChamberFest West’s second season, starting with Schubert’s beloved Shepherd on the Rock, with its vivid imagery evoking the darkness of grief and joys of spring. With a Blue Dress On, inspired by a plaintive field recording, sends folk-like fragments into a kind of joyful hyper state. A set of lively tunes by Brahms leads into Chausson’s meticulously constructed masterpiece of vibrant instrumental tones, featuring  passionate solo violin and  piano, beautifully complemented by the lush harmonies of a string quartet.

Emotional Echoes

Thursday July 20, 2023 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The Bow Tower

Respighi Il Tramonto
Helen Grimes Aviary Sketches String Trio
Golijov Last Round
Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor

Calgary’s ‘The Bow’ is topped by a stunning multi-story atrium boasting incredible views and truly excellent acoustics.Hearing great chamber music in this setting will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Respighi’s Il Tramonto is a miniature tone painting of a sunset, bedecked with lush harmonies and pastel-hued Romanticism. Aviary Sketches, a musical version of artist Joseph Cornell’s assemblage boxes, uses a string trio to create “miniature worlds… immediate and alluring,” and Last Round is an elegiac tribute to nuevo tango master Astor Piazzolla. Finally, a dramatic tour de force celebrated for its blistering intensity: Mendelssohn’s last string quartet, written shortly after his beloved sister’s death and just two months before his own.

* Due to restricted seating at this venue, we have scheduled early and late concerts to allow as many patrons as possible the opportunity to enjoy this amazing venue. Please choose ONE concert only!

Dances with Shakespeare

Presented by CFW and the National Music Centre

Friday, July 21, 2023 7:30 p.m.
Studio Bell at the National Music Centre

Purcell Fairy Queen (selected acts)
Korngold 4 Shakespeare Songs
Saariaho Petals
Dinuk Wijeratne Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems
Ravel La Valse

For centuries, artists have been inspired by works of past masters and modern contemporaries, with results that resonate and echo through the ages. The first two works on this innovative program are inspired by Shakespeare: an enchanting “semi-opera” based on Midsummer Night’s Dream is filled with rustic dances and dreamy sensuality, and Korngold’s songs are a treasure trove of fluid, voluptuous lyricism. Petals is filled with “fragile coloristic passages,” and Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems is an irresistible mashup of old and new. Sort of a parallel version of itself, La Valse was written for orchestra but premiered in this two-piano version. One of Ravel’s most colorful and popular works, it gradually evolves from an elegant Viennese waltz into a sinister danse macabre.

6:30 PM: Prelude talk by Mark Limacher


Saturday July 22, 2023 7:30 p.m.
Jack Singer Concert Hall Stage (Art Commons)

William Byrd The Bells
Ligeti Hungarian Rock
John Adams Shaker Loops
Beethoven Archduke Trio (Piano Trio No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 97)

Get ready for a musical roller coaster ride for the ages! We start in the late Renaissance era, with an intricate work that imitates the peals of tuned church bells overlaid with a closing fantasia, then fast forward to Ligeti’s Hungarian Rock, a short but intense piece featuring a folk music-inspired rhythmic pattern. Shaker Loops is a ferociously exhilarating sonic adventure that references ripples and oscillations in bodies of water, the vibration of strings, and the image of Shakers dancing to repetitive, energetic music. Finally, the most beautiful of all Beethoven’s Piano Trios, the “Archduke” is as grand and noble as its title suggests. With its bountiful beauty, genial vitality, and a beautifully constructed design, a simple, heartfelt tune expands into a transcendent work of pure poetry.

6:30 PM: Prelude talk by Mark Limacher

Shaker Loops by John Adams presented under license from G. Schirmer Inc. and Associated Music Publishers, copyright owners.

If Music Be the Food of Love

Sunday, July 23, 2023 7:30 p.m.
Bella Concert Hall at Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts

Michael Stephen Brown Loves Lives Lost
Mozart Clarinet Quintet
Schumann Piano Quintet in E-flat Major

ChamberFest West dishes up three flavorful works for a most delicious season finale, starting with the world premiere of a brand new song cycle inspired by a set of beloved art songs by Schumann. Dedicated to soprano Susanna Phillips, Brown’s new work “reflects my admiration for her artistry, and a nostalgia for all fleeting connections.” It takes just one taste of Mozart’s landmark Clarinet Quintet to be enraptured by this magnificent music written by arguably the greatest musical mind who ever lived. And the icing on the cake is Robert Schumann’s piano quintet, noted for its exuberant character (his wife Clara, the virtuoso pianist for whom it was written, declared it “splendid, full of vigor and freshness”) and expansive, triumphant musicality.