By Brian Covert
A lot has changed in the city over the last 34 years: we have amalgamated, become bigger, more diverse.
One constant, however, has been Cecilia Concerts which opens its 34th season this fall, with a full slate of classical musical programming across different venues in K’jipuktuk/Halifax.The first concert features past Musician-in-Residence, violinist Jonathan Crow, with new resident for 2022/23, pianist Silvie Cheng. The concert will be held at the Stage at St. Andrew’s United (6036 Coburg Rd.) on Saturday, September 17. It’s the first of 4 concerts featuring Cheng and other musicians from across North America.
“We are fortunate to have an artist as extraordinary as Silvie Cheng at this point in her career. Silvie is a brilliant and very well-connected pianist,” says Cecilia Concerts chairperson Jules Chamberlain. “Along with her exquisite musicality, and exuberant charm, she is very innovative with her programs and will be bringing a wealth of international classical musicians to Halifax for us all to enjoy next season.”
Cecilia Concerts was founded in the late 1980s with a vision, “to connect people across different communities through the power and passion of live chamber music.” Since that time, Cecilia Concerts has been presenting diverse world-class chamber music experiences in accessible and intimate settings to educate, inspire, and enhance the rich heritage and culture of K’jipuktuk/Halifax. And this season promises to build on this legacy. Along with the opening concert, Cecilia Concerts will welcome close to 50 world-class music artists from all parts of the world, including Nova Scotia.
“We are keeping pace with this growing city. What we are still doing – even more so in recent years – is bringing some of the big name classical music artists from around the world to Halifax so that the local residents can benefit,” says Chamberlain. “They no longer have to go to Toronto or New York to hear these musicians perform.”
Cecilia Concerts’ second show is September 29 with Jazz pianist and composer Trio Lorraine Desmarais taking the stage at the Marquee Ballroom. Other concerts include performances at the Rebecca Cohn featuring Grammy-winnning pianist Angela Hewitt on October 30 and opera star Sondra Radvanovsky on November 5; a concert featuring the music of André Mathieu, considered “The Mozart of Quebec”, on January 7 at the Lilian Piercey Concert Hall; The Rolston String Quartet, April 15 at The Stage at St. Andrew’s United; and Juno-winners the Gryphon Trio for two engagements on April 27 at the Marquee Ballroom and April 29 at the Lilian Piercey Concert Hall.The shows continue through to May with 17 concerts in total.
“Cecilia Concerts has always been committed to diversity and this season is no exception,” says Chamberlain. “We put a lot of work and a great deal of care into curating our seasons to ensure that the calabre of musicianship is always very high.”