Music and Beyond is a classical music and multi-disciplinary arts festival that presented its first festival in July 2010. Music and Beyond presents classical music in all formations. The festival pursues links between other art forms and cultural disciplines and music, including visual art, drama, poetry, dance, architecture, circus, magic, science, comedy, law, food and wine and even yoga. Music and Beyond is unique in the international field of music festivals by making this a core part of its mandate. By tying together a wide range of cultural disciplines, the festival creates a more “festive” atmosphere, helping to attract an even broader audience to music.  Music and Beyond strives to reach out to people of all cultural backgrounds and all demographics.  A major part of its mandate is building new audiences for music and the arts, with a special emphasis on young people.

On May 3rd, 2018, the 2018 Ottawa Tourism Award for Event of the Year was awarded to Music and Beyond. On April 28th, 2016 the festival was presented with the 2015 Ottawa Tourism Award – Partnership of the Year for our National Gallery Soirée evening held on July 8th, 2015.  We were also nominated for Festival of the Year in 2015.  In 2010, we were awarded New Company of the Year!

In 2016, Music and Beyond celebrated its 7th annual festival, which was its most successful to date and we are proud to share the following statistics from 2016:

  • Our ticket sales increased by 82.6% from the previous year;
  • Our sponsorship increased by 316%;
  • The number of volunteers grew by 36%;
  • Our mailing list grew by 32% increase of our contacts on our mailing list!
  • Our website had almost 300,000 page views from 137 different countries!

According to surveys completed for our 2016 Festival:

  • 97.6% stated that they were satisfied or highly satisfied with this year’s Music and Beyond festival
  • 98% said they would be coming back in 2017 (of those few who said they would not be returning, most stated that they already knew they would not be in Ottawa next summer).
  • 97.7% said they would recommend Music and Beyond to their friends.
  • 92.6% stated that Music and Beyond greatly enhanced their image of the National Capital Region.

At every opportunity, members of the audience took the time to share with us their appreciation of the festival, with most calling it the best year ever!

In addition to our annual summer festival, Music and Beyond also presents one of the most glamorous and elegant cultural galas in all of Canada – the Viennese Winter Ball   In 2015, the organizing committee of the Viennese Winter Ball approached Music and Beyond and asked us to take on this iconic annual event.  Each February, the Ball raises funds for a range of activities that link young people to music. The Ball showcases Austrian music, dance, literature, food and visual art – a perfect Music and Beyond event!  The 21st Viennese Winter Ball was held on February 10, 2018, and was a resounding success!   We have now launched the date and location of the 22nd Anniversary of the Viennese Winter Ball and we hope you will join us on Saturday, March, 30th in the Trillium Ballroom of the Shaw Centre.

In its first nine seasons, Music and Beyond have presented a total of over 675 concerts and events, as well as over 1,300 “mini-concerts”. In its first nine years, the festival has presented some of Ottawa’s, Canada’s and the world’s greatest musicians, artists, performers and writers, including legendary sopranos Kathleen Battle and Emma Kirkby; world-renowned actor Christopher Plummer; saxophone superstar Branford Marsalis; conductor and harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock; pianists Chilly Gonzales, Peter Serkin, Janina Fialkowska and Menahem Pressler; one of the world’s great tenors, Ben Heppner; violinists William Preucil, Rachel Barton Pine, Marie Bérard, Alexandre Da Costa, Martin Chalifour, Jonathan Crow and Mayumi Seiler; the Emerson, Borodin, Auryn, Jupiter, Fine Arts and New Orford string quartets; the Vienna Piano Trio; the Theatre of Early Music; the Canadian Brass; jazz pianist Oliver Jones; rock musician and classical violinist Sam Roberts; internationally renowned writers (and music fans) Vikram Seth, Sean Michaels and Peter Robinson; the Hilliard Ensemble; the National Arts Centre Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal and Les Violons du Roy. The festival has always had a strong commitment to Ottawa artists and, each year, the vast majority have come from the Ottawa area.

From the very beginning, Music and Beyond has gone “beyond” in so many different ways. Each year, the festival seeks as many ways as possible to combine music with a broad range of art forms and cultural activities. We have produced many events that link the visual arts with music. The most dramatic of these was our 2015 National Gallery Soirée, where we filled the entire National Gallery of Canada with over 150 short performances throughout the entire building, matching the art of each gallery with music. This event filled the National Gallery with over 1,200 people and drew media coverage from across Canada and Ottawa Tourism awarded us with 2015 Partnership of the Year for this event. Many people commented that it was one of the best cultural events they had been to in their entire lives and many people suggested to us that we repeat it. We have presented similar events at the Canadian Museum of Nature (Music and Nature), the Diefenbunker (Music of the Cold War) and Saunders Farm. On several occasions, we have presented an event called “Inspired by Music” which, each time, has showcased the work of 10-12 living visual artists, linking their paintings with music.

A major part of Music and Beyond’s mandate is to reach out to young people, finding different ways to introduce them to music and the arts and, as well, involving Ottawa’s very finest young performers in transformational performance opportunities. Over the last nine years, young people from local choirs, orchestras, and jazz bands have had the opportunity to perform in public with Kathleen Battle, Emma Kirkby, Oliver Jones, Daniel Taylor and the Theatre of Early Music, Julie Nesrallah, Shannon Mercer and the Chamber Players of Canada. Activities for young people are plentiful each year, with the highlight being our free annual massive 150-concert Ottawa Family Music Expo. We have presented similar large outreach events at Ottawa’s Cumberland Heritage Museum and Saunders Farm.  In 2015, we introduced a new series for young people – our Pizza Concert series. Sponsored by Gabriel Pizza, everyone was treated to delicious pizza before enjoying an “up close and personal” concert where some of Canada’s best musicians talked about the music they were performing. Music and Beyond offers a broad range of family-friendly programming and, each year, a significant number of free events. We work hard to keep our pricing extremely affordable – especially our young people’s tickets and passes. In 2015 we introduced an even less expensive “Student Pass” for young people 15 and under as well as family friendly pricing to all of our events.

Music and Beyond have always had the strongest possible commitment to composers of our time. Each year, an entire day is dedicated to music by Canadian composers, with a large amount of this music being by Ottawa composers. Throughout the festival, we have offered music by living composers at the majority of our events. Some of the greatest composers of our time have had works performed and premiered. One of the most renowned film composers, Canadian Howard Shore, composed a piece especially for Music and Beyond that was broadcast across Canada. In 2015, Morten Lauridsen, a composer whose works are performed regularly by choirs in every part of the world, came to Ottawa to be part of a celebration of his music performed by a massed choir from eight Ottawa choral ensembles.  Renowned writer Vikram Seth traveled to Ottawa from England for the landmark premiere of the “Rivered Earth” cycle, which he created with composer Alec Roth. Each year, Music and Beyond presents dozens of world premieres. The 2016 festival is proud to present “The Music of Ola Gjeilo” with special guest: Ola Gjeilo, who is one of the world’s great choral composers. Music and Beyond’s artistic director, Julian Armour has demonstrated a life-long commitment to promoting and presenting the music of composers from Ottawa and from right across Canada.

In 2014, renowned Canadian artist Philip Craig created a stunning new image for Music and Beyond of a harlequin skillfully juggling a range of different “beyond” elements including musical instruments, a dancer, theatre masks, paintbrushes and an easel, and even a computer! This image is now at the forefront of our national and international branding.


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