The Guelph Musicfest is returning to its schedule of five consecutive Friday nights starting May 26, a plan which was tossed out the window during two years of pandemic restrictions.
Although Musicfest didn’t cancel a single planned concert during 2021 and 2022, the dates had to be split between summer and the fall. Founder/artistic director Ken Gee is relieved and hopeful that this will be a rebound season.
“I knew things were promising when patrons who had disappeared since the pandemic started calling me for tickets,” said Gee in a news release. And while the numbers may not match the sold-out 2019 season, ticket sales are solid,and the opener with Quartetto Gelato is sold out.
Live streaming was needed to survive the audience restrictions during the pandemic, but now it’s losing favour. Digital Musicfest, the original hybrid version of Guelph Musicfest which offered seven-day video replays of the live performances, remains, and it’s actually included free for anybody who attends in person. People who want to see one of the concerts but are unable to get to the GYMC can still enjoy the music.
Quartetto Gelato is new to Guelph Musicfest, as is star pianist Stewart Goodyear. Returning favourites are Montreal pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, who became an international sensation after winning silver at the prestigious International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, as well as the world-renowned Penderecki String Quartet, which is joined this year by Gee at the piano for Brahms’ magnificent Piano Quintet. And Gee is joined by Belgium violinist Sadie Fields and rising star cellist Cameron Crozman (who recently dazzled audiences at his concerto appearances with the KW Symphony) for the annual Festival Trio performance.
And as a special Encore performance, Fields returns from her home in Brussels in November to join Gee in The Roaring 20s, featuring great popular and classical music from the 1920s including a violin and piano arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
Tickets are available for the remaining concerts and for the first time in three years will also be sold at the door. Details are at guelphmusicfest.ca.