The Bon Pasteur Historic Chapel is offering an array of free classical music concerts throughout their winter season. The season started in January and will end in May. Of these concerts was one by Jonathan Crow and Philip Chiu which I happily attended. The pair joined forces on February 4th to deliver an impressive concert in honour of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.
Despite being held on Facebook Live, the concert provided a level of intimacy the chapel prides itself on. As I heard the faint sounds of Crow tuning his violin while the beautifully illuminated stage stood empty, I was reminiscent of sitting in a theatre, anticipating the beginning of a live concert.
Montreal-based pianist, Philip Chiu, took the stage with a short introduction. Chiu prefaced the concert with a nod to Beethoven. He mentioned the composer’s ability to pair the violin with the piano in a dramatic and, at times, spectacular partnership while maintaining a coherent dynamic. This is exactly what Chiu and Crow sought to emulate for the audience that evening.
A Spectacular Performance
The pair flawlessly performed the sonatas while complementing each other’s talent. This came as no surprise as both musicians have well-established careers and are widely recognized on the Canadian music scene. Crow, concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2011, showed us his talent throughout the concert. He delivered a brilliant performance, which could be seen in his precision and attention to every note. Likewise, Philip Chiu demonstrated his obvious skill with impressive runs while using astounding delicacy when needed. Chiu is also the recipient of one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for emerging classical musicians: the Prix Goyer.
Accordingly, the pair put on an exhilarating performance while translating a range of emotions to their audience. Words such as ‘magnificent’ and ‘superb’ were floating around in the comment section. One viewer even commented, “Thank you for these instances of pure happiness.”
In short, the musicians left us wanting more. Fortunately for us, the chapel will offer several more accessible concerts in the near future.
What to Expect from the Bon Pasteur Historic Chapel Winter Season
The Bon Pasteur Historic Chapel is a music venue that is part of the Accès culture Montreal network. The chapel specializes in classical music due to the intimacy and the gorgeous acoustics it provides. Their mission is to serve the community and offer Montrealers, and now people around the world, access to free classical music.
The venue holds an especially important place for young and talented emerging artists. With this in mind, we are privileged to have such talented musicians in Montreal. Every artist that performs on the chapel stage is extremely gifted, and this is exactly what you can expect from the rest of this season.
More specifically, the winter program consists of concerts from diverse musicians with varying styles. In the upcoming weeks, the chapel will feature performances highlighting the works of Franz Peter Schubert and collaborations with l’Orchestre Métropolitain for their 40th anniversary. On Valentine’s Day, the chapel will showcase a special program tailored to themes of love with musicians Elizabeth Polese, Ariane Girard, and Julien LeBlanc. We can also expect a performance featuring Persian, Arabic, and Ottoman music this month. However, these are only a few of the wonderful concerts that you will be able to virtually attend at the Bon Pasteur Historic Chapel.
The Interesting History of Bon Pasteur Historic Chapel
Before it became a recognized music venue, this Montreal chapel was a monastery. At the time, the nuns living at the monastery used to help young girls, especially those who had children outside of marriage. They took the young girls in and helped with their integration back into society. When the nuns left the monastery, the city of Montreal took it over. However, the nuns wanted the chapel to continue their mission to serve the community. With the nuns’ approval, the city turned the chapel into a music venue where the concerts would always be free. For over 30 years the Bon Pasteur Historic Chapel has continued with this initiative. Furthermore, the chapel has modified its ways in order to continue to provide access to live music during the pandemic.
Ultimately, if you’ve been searching for accessible live music, you’re in luck! The Bon Pasteur Historic Chapel allows you to take advantage of Montreal’s history and its spectacular artists through virtual live performances.
For other art-related activities this month, check out our latest article in the Art & the City series.
Journalism student at Concordia University and travel enthusiast. Passionate about music, poetry, and getting to know the stories of new individuals- especially those inspired by their art. Olivia aims to create connections through her love of writing by sharing experiences and stories.