Building Bridges to Music and Beyond

By Chrisy Trudeau, Epoch Times
May 15, 2013 Updated: May 15, 2013

OTTAWA—Julian Armour cares about the future of classical music and how it will affect you and your children, if you have them. 

The sad truth is, interest in the classical arts is waning and according to Armour, that’s a problem. For instance, he points to science that proves classical music is good for our intellect. An example is a poll conducted by Leger Marketing that found children who learn an instrument are more likely to go to college. 

So from July 4–15, Armour is on a mission to reintroduce classical music to people in a way that makes it exciting. To help the genre shed its rigid image, he’s spicing it up with other arts and cultural disciplines to pull audiences in. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the range of programming we have this year,” says Armour, artistic and executive director of Music and Beyond, an Ottawa-based summer festival. “So many wonderful artists have agreed to perform, and we have been able to put together a huge array of truly exciting ‘beyond’ elements.”

Armour and his one-of-a-kind festival are bringing some of the world’s finest classical musicians, like Menahem Pressler, Stewart Goodyear, and a few of Montreal’s top circus performers, including Nathalie Bonin, an aerial violinist who will play her violin on a trapeze.

Germany’s Auryn Quartet will be there, as well as Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and the Vienna Piano Trio. For livelier feet, there is a tango party that includes dance, film, art, and food and wine. 

Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Sam Roberts, who is also a classically trained violinist, will perform at the Kids’ Music and Arts Day event on July 7 at the University of Ottawa, and a Music and Nature event will be held on July 10 at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Music and Beyond has classical music at its heart, but surrounds the orchestras, small ensembles, recitals, and choirs with a unique festival that includes dance, drama, visual art, architecture, science, food and wine. It also lowers the dress code, so to speak, from tuxedos and evening gowns to blue jeans and summer dresses.

Armour says he’s not trying to get people to throw out their pop CDs; he just wants them to add classical to their playlist. And since classical music is proven to lift your mood and spirit, lower blood pressure, improve memory, and speed up healing, it seems it’s for your own good.

Once upon a time, most schools had music programs. Now only a quarter of Ottawa schools do, says Armour. He doesn’t want that number to fall any further, and he has allies. Some of the world’s most renowned musicians play the festival, to lend Armour some musical firepower to establish Music and Beyond. 

In three years, the festival has staged over 240 main concerts and 600 mini concerts with the talents of over 1,000 musicians, all for you to discover the beauty and depth of classical music—and beyond.

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The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Music and Beyond.