Music and Beyond is dedicated to enhancing the enjoyment and appreciation of classical music and of the arts in general in the Ottawa region by:

  • providing world-class concerts and events;
  • broadening the audience base for classical music and the arts in general;
  • fostering greater appreciation, understanding, and support for all forms of classical music and for the arts in general; and
  • pioneering innovative approaches, including new venues and links with other art forms and cultural disciplines.

Further goals include:

  • To consistently offer the very highest level of artistic programming;
  • To provide a creative environment where artists can be part of cutting-edge collaborations;
  • To consistently seek out new ways to link music with other art forms and cultural disciplines;
  • To present musicians and artists of the highest possible international calibre;
  • To promote and present Ottawa-based musicians, ensembles and artists;
  • To promote and present works by Ottawa composers;
  • To promote and present the very best Canadian performers and composers;
  • To promote tourism to Ottawa;
  • To build audiences for music and the arts in the Ottawa area;
  • To have a positive economic impact on the Ottawa area;
  • To promote the Ottawa arts scene in general;
  • To contribute to the quality of life in Ottawa;
  • To reach out to all cultures and all demographics;
  • To break down economic barriers, making cultural activities available and accessible to everyone; and
  • To make cultural activities available in both official languages.


Artistic Vision

Music and Beyond will go Beyond:

  • By expanding the range of performance to include orchestras, choirs, bands, recitals, baroque ensembles, ensembles, experimental music and instruments;
  • By including classical music traditions of non-European cultures;
  • By exploring the intimate relations between music and other art forms and cultural disciplines;
  • By illustrating how throughout the ages and in different cultures and civilizations music has been central to defining and expressing the human condition;
  • By reaching out to new audiences, involving the public, stimulating music education, and engaging the young;
  • By encouraging the next generation of musicians, composers; and other artists;
  • By encouraging the creation of new works, especially composers from the Ottawa region;
  • By seeking new and interesting venues and performance spaces in which to present music and other artistic and cultural activities
  • By presenting beyond the central core of Ottawa, so that people in outlying regions can have access to our presentations;
  • By seeking out new partnerships, experiments, and ideas.


Music and Beyond is a classical music and multi-disciplinary arts festival that was founded in 2010 and takes place in Ottawa each July. The festival presents classical music in all formations including orchestras, choirs, bands, wind ensembles, recitals and small ensembles and pursues links with other art forms and cultural disciplines including visual art, drama, poetry, dance, comedy, architecture, science, law, history, circus, food and wine, and even yoga. A major part of its mandate is building new audiences for music and the arts, with a special emphasis on young people.

Music and Beyond is dedicated to enhancing the enjoyment and appreciation of classical music and of the arts in general by: providing world-class concerts and events; broadening the audience base for classical music and the arts in general; fostering greater appreciation, understanding, and support for all forms of classical music and for the arts in general; and pioneering innovative approaches, including new venues and links with other art forms and cultural disciplines.

In its first nine seasons, Music and Beyond has presented a total of over 700 concerts and events, as well as over 3,500 “mini-concerts”. The festival has presented some of Ottawa, Canada and the world’s greatest musicians, artists, performers and writers including legendary sopranos Kathleen Battle, Measha Brueggergosman and Emma Kirkby; world-renowned actor Christopher Plummer; saxophone superstar Branford Marsalis; conductor and harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock; pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Chilly Gonzales, Peter Serkin, Janina Fialkowska, Gregory Charles, Jan Lisiecki and Menahem Pressler; one of the world’s great tenors, Ben Heppner; violinists Sarah Chang, William Preucil, Rachel Barton Pine, Marc Djokic, Alexandre Da Costa, Martin Chalifour, Jonathan Crow and Mayumi Seiler; the Emerson, Borodin, Kronos, Auryn, Jupiter, Bennewitz, Fine Arts and New Orford string quartets; the Vienna Piano Trio; the Theatre of Early Music; John Rutter; 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; musical comedians P.D.Q. Bach and Igudesman & Joo; Chanticleer; the Hilliard Ensemble; the National Arts Centre Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal, Thirteen Strings and Les Violons du Roy. The festival has always had a strong commitment to Ottawa musicians, composers and other artists.

From the very beginning, Music and Beyond has gone “beyond” in 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 were our National Gallery Soirées, held in 2015 and 2017, where we filled the National Gallery of Canada with over 150 short performances throughout the entire building, matching the art of each gallery with music. These events each attracted over 1,400 people, and drew media coverage from across Canada. Many people commented that they were among the best cultural events they had been to in their entire lives and many people suggested to us that we repeat them. We have presented similar events at the Canadian Museum of Nature (Music and Nature),the Diefenbunker (Music of the Cold War), the Cumberland Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Building and Saunders Farm. On several occasions, we have presented an event called “Inspired by Music” which has showcased the work of 10-12 living visual artists, linking their paintings with music.

The festival goes well beyond music and visual art. Christopher Plummer, one of the very greatest actors of our time, spent three months creating a show on “Shakespeare and Music” with Artistic Director Julian Armour especially for Music and Beyond. This show attracted people from many parts of North America. Acclaimed jazz pianist Oliver Jones made a rare appearance linking classical and jazz, and was joined by the young prodigy Daniel Clarke Bouchard. Branford Marsalis offered a very special concert where he performed classical music and jazz together for the very first time in his career. We have held four “Tango Soirée” evenings with music, dance, food, wine, photographs and visual art. One of North America’s great architects, Douglas Cardinal, presented a whole evening linking music and architecture, complete with live performances of music that inspired some of his greatest masterpieces. We created a whole show especially for Music and Beyond that linked music and magic and featured the well-know Ottawa-based magician Chris Pilsworth. We have held performances on a ship, travelling up and down the Rideau Canal, celebrating Ottawa’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Igudesman and Joo, arguably the funniest comedy team in the classical music world (with millions of YouTube views from every part of the world) brought even greater international attention to Music and Beyond and kept the audience in stitches all evening. San Francisco’s Chanticleer, the world’s top male chorus, packed the house and had such a good time at the festival that they immediately re-booked for 2016. Sam Roberts, undoubtedly one of the hottest names in popular music in Canada made his first-ever public appearance playing classical violin. Among the greatest successes in the history of the festival were collaborations with Montreal’s Cirque Fantastic for a production called “Circus and Music”.  Canada’s Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin hosted two evenings on Music and Law in 2015 and 2016 that explored the legal problems of the great composers. Another major highlight of the festival was a 16-performance run of the dazzling Hebei Acrobatic Troupe in their first-ever North American appearance.

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 eight 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 annual massive 150 concert- free 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 “Youth Pass” for young people 15 and under and family-friendly pricing to all of our events.

Music and Beyond strongly believes that music should be part of the life of every child, regardless of their economic circumstances. In 2014, Music and Beyond launched a detailed “Young People’s Strategy” that includes a wide range of initiatives to help connect young people with music. This includes a year-round program called “Music and Beyond Reaches Out”, which will bring live performances into schools.

Music and Beyond has always had the strongest possible commitment to composers of our time. Each year, an entire day is dedicated to music by Canadian composers, with an emphasis on 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. Morten Lauridsen, a composer performed regularly by choirs in every part of the world, came to Ottawa in 2015 to be part of a celebration of his music performed by a massed choir from eight Ottawa choral ensembles.  A similar event in 2016 honoured the Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo. Renowned writer Vikram Seth travelled to Ottawa from England for the landmark premiere of his Rivered Earth cycle, which he created with composer Alec Roth. Each year, we present dozens of world premieres. In 2018, Music and Beyond presented the premiere performances of a remarkable opera by jazz/classical composer Roddy Ellias that deals with the subject of homelessness and has all of the action carried out by puppets. It drew international attention and will be presented again in an enhanced performance at the 2019 festival. Music and Beyond’s artistic director, Julian Armour has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to promoting and presenting the music of composers from Ottawa, from across Canada and around the world.

In 2014, renowned Canadian artist Philip Craig created a stunning new image for Music and Beyond of a harlequin skilfully 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.

In 2018, Music and Beyond presented its 9th annual festival and it was, without question, it’s most successful to date.  According to 2018 surveys, more than 97.7% reported a high level of satisfaction. 99.7% said they would be coming back in 2019.  99.1% said they would recommend Music and Beyond to their friends. 96.6% stated that Music and Beyond greatly enhanced their image of the National Capital Region.

In an article from July, 2017, Christophe Huss from Le Devoir (Montréal) called Music and Beyond “…the most creative and interesting classical festival in the country.”

In April, 2018, Music and Beyond was named Event of the Year at the Ottawa Tourism Awards.

Ticket sales have grown steadily over the past nine years. Music and Beyond’s web site had visits from 146 different countries in 2018.

Music and Beyond is one of the few festivals to be a member of Ottawa Tourism. It was the only festival to be nominated in two categories at the 2012 Ottawa Tourism Awards (it was nominated for Event of the Year and New Company of the Year) and was the only festival to have won an award – winning New Company of the Year. Music and Beyond has now been nominated five times for Event of the Year. As mentioned above, Music and Beyond won Event of the Year at the 2018 Ottawa Tourism Award. In 2016, Music and Beyond won Partnership of the Year with the National Gallery of Canada. Music and Beyond is also a member of Ottawa Festivals. As a sign of our commitment to tourism, in 2012 we opened up new office space on William Street in the ByWard Market, the busiest tourist street in the City of Ottawa.

A key part of the mandate of Music and Beyond is not just to present world-class activities, but to make them accessible and affordable to everyone.  The festival continues to operate on a pass system where an inexpensive pass ($150 for adults and $60 for students) allows pass holders to attend almost all of our concerts for the entire two-week festival. We receive ongoing comments from individuals and families grateful that our pricing structure makes it possible for them to attend a wide range of first-rate presentations. In 2014, we introduced special Family Tickets. Each year, several events are free and open to the public.

In 2015, the organizing committee of the Viennese Winter Ball – one of the most glamorous and elegant cultural galas in all of Canada – approached Music and Beyond to take on this iconic annual event. This gala has now become part of Music and Beyond. Held next in February 2020, we are expecting the Ball to raise over $50,000 for a range of activities that link young people to music. The Ball will showcase Austrian music, dance, literature, food and visual art – a perfect Music and Beyond event!

After nine years, Music and Beyond now belongs in an elite category with North America’s most important classical music festivals and Canada’s most respected cultural festivals. In 2019, Music and Beyond will celebrate its 10th anniversary, and will run from July 4th to July 18th, It will present 100 events over 15 days.


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