By Cynthia Young
This year marks the five-year anniversary of the inception of the Quinte Society for Chamber Music (QSCM), and what an eventful five years it has been.
Starting with nothing but a shared love of classical music, a small group of dedicated volunteers has presented at least two major concert events featuring high profile internationally acclaimed artists each year. QSCM is now a registered Ontario non-profit as well as a registered charity and last year was awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant.
The primary goal for QSCM always has been to provide professional level art music to the rural communities in the Quinte region and at a reasonable ticket price. This past year, ticket prices ranged from $10 to $20, less than the price for parking in Toronto for access to the same quality performances (and often the same performers) available in larger centres. The ability to keep ticket prices low is in large part due to the generosity of local donors and a membership base. An annual $20 membership also provides discounted prices for concert tickets.
As well as presenting internationally-acclaimed artists, QSCM also supports emerging young Canadian musicians, including pianists, string players, guitarists and composers. Last September, QSCM presented Made in Canada, with classical guitarists Nathan Bredeson and Michael Ibsen performing an entire concert of works by living Canadian composers. The upcoming concerts this May will be featuring a new work by Quebec composer Jacques Marchand.
The main venue for the concerts is St. Paul’s United Church in Stirling, but QSMC also takes the show on the road for “pocket” concerts in places such as Hazzards Corners, bringing the music to the community. In fact, if you have a venue in a rural area, QSMC can probably provide the concert.
As part of their educational outreach program, QSCM also offers master classes in conjunction with many of the concerts. One or more of the concert artists gives individual lessons to local music students that are open to the public to attend. This is an invaluable resource for aspiring young musicians (and their teachers) to learn from professional performing artists. To date, master classes have been offered for piano, voice and string students at various times.
So, what will QSCM bring the community in 2020? The All Terrain Tour returns with pocket performances by Toronto’s 6ix Quartet in Hazzards Corners, Madoc, Marmora and a full concert in Stirling. In November, The Canadian Trio, led by associate concert master of the Toronto Symphony, Mark Skazinetsky and friends will perform in Stirling.
For further information about QSMC, upcoming concerts and ticket availability go to their website at qscmusic.com.