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The Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

Today’s entry is a nice upbeat focus on an arts organization that is really doing it the right way!  

The pandemic currently sweeping the globe is placing an incredible strain on people from all walks of life. Arts organizations, which rely heavily on community participation and support, are no different. It is my hope that once the pandemic clears, and we are able collectively stretch our legs and get back into a normalcy of routine, that you will keep such outstanding organizations in mind for your support. They are fully deserving of it!

During the Romantic era, a common occurrence among the artistically inclined in the major European capitals was a gathering at the home of an aristocrat/well-to-do individual, and to have a soirée - the highlight of which often featured new artistic creations. 

Imagine being there as the painter Delacroix showcased his newest masterpiece, or Victor Hugo read from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To hear Chopin premier his latest Ballade, or Liszt improvise on some operatic theme. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall!

The Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Music Society is a concert series which has striven, in its own unique way, to keep this grand tradition alive.   

Formed in 1974 by Jan Narveson O.C (Jan is a retired philosophy professor from the University of Waterloo, and has since become one of the most sought after presenters in the province), KWCMS has become a cultural institution for the province and the country.

The Music Room at KWCMS is the product of a large addition built onto Mr. Narveson's home in Waterloo - an intimate environment (seating up to 85) with an excellent concert grand Hamburg/NewYork Steinway hybrid. 

Presenting upwards of 55 concerts each year, the series has presented nearly all of Canada‘s A-list performing Artists (and many international A-listers) in recitals and chamber music formats. Here are some of the best highlights from over the years:

  • Beethoven Sonata Cycles performed by Anton Kuerti & Robert Silverman

  • Quartet Fest, which features the internationally acclaimed Penderecki String Quartet as quartet in residence, and has brought some of the world's leading string quartets to Kitchener-Waterloo.

  • The great Canadian pianist and Chopin exponent Janina Fialkowska, who has made over 40 recital appearances for the series

  • Leading concert soloists such as violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Ofra Harnoy and pianist Jon Kimura Parker among so many others have been featured recitalists.

  • All the major string quartet cycles, piano trio cycles, and duo sonata cycles, with some of the world's leading chamber ensembles, including Canada's preeminent Gryphon Trio

In an extraordinary gesture of grace and support by the Board of Directors of KWCMS and their incredibly dedicated patrons, artist fees were covered up to 50% for those artists who are unable to travel to Kitchener-Waterloo during pandemic months.  

It has been my pleasure to perform four concerts for KWCMS. Jan has also been very gracious to feature a number of my star students in full length recital debuts, all of whom have had repeat engagements.

It is a wonderful forum in which to experience a concert and to be up close with the performing artist. From the performers perspective, it is an incredible opportunity to play for a supportive and wonderfully astute musical audience.

Please consider attending a concert  at KWCMS in the months ahead. It is absolutely worth the drive to Kitchener Waterloo from the GTA and beyond.

Note: My student Antian Jiang will be making her third recital appearance in 3 years for KWCMF in a live stream concert on June 20. I will post a link when it becomes available. 

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