‘Music and Beyond’ Keeps Classics Cool on Hot Summer Nights

In a city of major music festivals like Jazz Fest and Bluesfest, the biggest hitters sometimes make headlines. But in a city known for attracting top artists in the summer, Music and Beyond offers a classic way to bring people together.

In its first 10 seasons, Music and Beyond presented more than 900 concerts and events and nearly 4,000 mini-concerts. One of the aims of the festival is to introduce and encourage new audiences to explore or discover music and the arts.

The pandemic brought these shows online, where a new audience took notice of what this unique Ottawa institution has to offer. This season, classical concertgoers were welcomed back to venues around the city, with the Carleton Dominion Chalmers Center being the largest.

On Tuesday evening, the Orchester Classique de Montréal presented Écho des steppes: une fête ukraine, under the direction of Gatineau’s Geneviève Leclair.

“For me growing up in Gatineau, being from the area, I’ve been gone a long time now, but this is the first gig I’ve been back to conduct in Ottawa so I’m very excited to be here,” said Leclair. “There’s nothing like having the audience’s reaction to how they experience the music with us. They’re really part of the experience. It’s not the same without them.”

Music and Beyond Artist Liaison Dominique Saulnier says being able to reopen its doors to the public is exciting.

“Last night we had our opening gala and you could feel the excitement in the air,” Saulnier said. “This is the first time we have had so many people in our main location here at Dominion Chalmers, so many artists, some local, some from around the world. Nothing compares to feeling the energy of a live audience.

Spectators like Margery Street are just happy to be back in their place and enjoying some of the best classical music around.

“Being here in person and supporting musicians who haven’t been able to play for two years is a blessing,” she said.

Music and Beyond runs until July 17.

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