Scotia Festival of Music returns with a 2021 line-up of live in-person performances

Barring further pandemic restrictions, the festival will run from May 23 to June 6, with all performances at St. Andrew's United Church in Halifax.

Halifax soprano Jane Archibald is one of the featured performers at this year's Scotia Festival of Music.
Halifax soprano Jane Archibald is one of the featured performers at this year's Scotia Festival of Music.

Following an entirely virtual classical music festival last year, the Scotia Festival of Music returns for its 42nd year in 2021 with a line-up of fifteen live in-person concerts over fifteen days.

Of course, with the ever-changing nature of pandemic restrictions, as evidenced in the most recent circuit breaker announced yesterday, organizers say that should in-person gatherings be restricted beyond the current May 20 date, the festival will return to a live stream format.

The current plan is to run the festival from May 23 to June 6 with performances at St. Andrew’s United Church in Halifax.

“St. Andrew’s is a magnificent space for chamber music, with a gorgeous acoustic, and plenty of space for us to accommodate 100 people with physical distancing”, says Docking.

In addition to chamber pieces by Mozart, Schubert, and Debussy, audiences will hear a variety of other music, including Sageev Oore providing improvised piano accompaniment to Buster Keaton’s 1920 silent film One Week and new compositions from Canada and around the world.

Concerts this year will also feature percussion music for the traditional Indonesian gamelan ensemble, and the final gala concert will feature the strings of Symphony Nova Scotia.

Canadian violin superstars James Ehnes and Kerson Leong will perform in two livestream recitals broadcast on the big screen at St. Andrew's United Church.
Canadian violin superstars James Ehnes (left) and Kerson Leong (right) will perform in a pair of livestream recitals broadcast on the big screen at St. Andrew’s United Church.

Scotia Festival 2021 will also include two events inspired by COVID, with Canadian violinists James Ehnes and Kerson Leong performing in a pair of live-via-internet recitals. Leong’s performance comes a year after his performance was postponed at last year’s festival.

“Our audience will be here in Halifax watching on a huge screen in high-quality audio,” says Docking. “James will be playing for us from his home in Florida, and Kerson from Ottawa. Everyone will have a front-row seat to these amazing performers.”

The 2021 Scotia Festival of Music runs May 23 through June 6 at St. Andrew’s United Church (6036 Coburg Rd, Halifax). Visit scotiafestival.com for tickets and information.