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THE SCOOP | 11 Classical Music Festivals Collaborate In Free Online Event

By Anya Wassenberg on January 24, 2022

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Classical Music Festivals Canada (CMFC) has announced July in January, an online classical music festival that will take place from January 28 to February 28, 2022.

CMFC was founded in 2021, and July in January is their first initiative. During the uncertain times of the COVID pandemic, the organizers of 11 of Ontario’s classical music festivals got together to come up with an off-season event that would connect musical communities through the winter.

James Campbell (Artistic Director, Festival of the Sound) and Mark Fewer (Artistic Director, Stratford Summer Music Festival) spearheaded the initiative.

“Our thinking was to find a way to give the gift of music as a thank you to our supporters by bringing their favourite summer festivals into their home during the coldest, most isolating months of the year,” said Campbell in a media release. “July in January takes music lovers on a summer trip across Ontario without leaving the comfort of their home. The enthusiastic response we received from our colleagues about this project proves yet again how the power of great music unites us in challenging times.”

The pandemic has spurred many companies and arts organizations to upgrade their audio-video gear in order to be able to produce high quality livestreams and video material. Video also allows viewers the opportunity to see close-ups and other angles that they wouldn’t in a typical live setting.

Fewer adds, “Nothing will replace the live concert experience, but streaming does give the music community a great way to stay connected, as well as offer others the opportunity to see what our individual festivals are all about. These are 11 unique festivals, highlighting the breadth of what Ontario has to offer in the summer. I’m very excited about Classical Music Festivals Canada, and our inaugural July in January project. It’s a way for us to reach our audience during the off-season that also allows us to reach classical music fans in new communities, both in Ontario, and beyond.”

Along with the music, the festival will include interviews and conversations between festival artistic directors and veteran broadcaster Eric Friesen, who will host. Participating festivals include:

  • Festival of the Sound (Parry Sound, Artistic Director: James Campbell)
  • Collingwood Summer Music Festival (Collingwood, Artistic Director: Daniel Vnukowski)
  • Elora Festival (Elora, Artistic Director: Mark Vuorinen)
  • Music Niagara Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Artistic Director: Atis Bankas)
  • Ottawa Chamberfest (Ottawa, Artistic Director: Carissa Klopoushak)
  • Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival (Picton, Artistic Directors: The New Orford String Quartet)
  • Stratford Summer Music (Stratford, Artistic Director: Mark Fewer)
  • Studio ‘S’ Series (Thousand Islands Playhouse, Ganonoque, Artistic Director: Eric Friesen)
  • Sweetwater Music Festival (Owen Sound, Artistic Director: Edwin Huizinga)
  • Toronto Summer Music (Toronto, Artistic Director: Jonathan Crow)
  • Westben (Campbellford, Artistic Director: Brian Finley)

It’s been a hard couple of years…

…“One of the reasons the arts thrive through hard times is because we cooperate with each other,” says Campbell. “That’s just a part of the culture of what we do. July in January presents an opportunity to collaborate on something bigger. I’m really excited to see where this event goes, and how Classical Music Festivals Canada grows in the coming years.”

CMFC’s inaugural July in January is a free event open to anyone, anywhere, with donations encouraged and available through the website.

Visit www.classicalmusicfestivals.ca on January 28th for all concerts and information. Concerts will be available for viewing through to February 28, 2022.

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