Backstage Notes



  • Eleven years of sold-out summer festivals under the skilful artistic direction of Alexander Tselyakov.
  • Past performers include internationally acclaimed musicians such as Andrew Dawes, Jonathan Crow, Rachel Mercer, James Ehnes, Matt Haimovitz, Lara St. John, the late Tanya Prochazka, Barry Shiffman, James Campbell, Guy Few, Penderecki String Quartet, Lafayette String Quartet, Borealis String Quartet, and Gryphon Trio, among others. And our audiences have been thrilled to discover other musicians, not as well known, but wonderfully talented.
  • Increasingly, we find that our audiences from across BC and several US states are building their travel plans around our Festival weekend. Many have been with us from the beginning and tell us they wouldn’t miss the third weekend in August for love nor money.
  • In 2009 we commissioned and premiered Pender Harbour Suite for piano trio, composed by Stephen Chatman for the fifth anniversary Festival. In 2014, we celebrated our tenth anniversary with a commissioned piano quintet, In a World of Motion and Distance, by composer Kelly-Marie Murphy. We are exploring ways to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation in a grand style too. Stay tuned!
  • Introduction of mid-winter weekends of chamber music, beginning in 2014 with Kai Gleusteen and Catherine Ordronneau performing Beethoven.

2015 Highlights

  • We welcomed the Gryphon Trio this summer on Aug. 13-16, as well as James Campbell, Terence Tam, Pamela Highbaugh-Aloni, Yariv Aloni, Dylan Palmer, Rose-Ellen Nichols, Simon Gidora, Allene Hackleman, Jenny Dou, and our Artistic Director Alexander Tselyakov, who keeps our repertoire fresh and challenging.
  • We replaced our long-standing free concert, Chamber Music Doesn’t Bite, with a showcase concert, also free, featuring young musicians. True to our seaside roots, we called this concert Rising Tide and, as we anticipated, our audience was as excited about hearing the next wave of chamber musicians as we were! The Music School couldn’t hold all those who wanted to hear see this concert and chairs were hastily arranged in the parking lot by the open doors.
  • Audience response to the entire Festival was gratifying. Our surveys have been collated and we know that particular favourites were Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, anything played by James Campbell, and the Harbour’s own Rose-Ellen Nichols.

Pender Harbour Community

  • With seating for 100-120 people, our venue is nestled in a village in bloom, amongst fir trees and soaring eagles, overlooking the harbour. Several music festivals take place over the calendar year but we think our Music School is the perfect setting for chamber music. Audiences love our intimate and friendly ambience.
  • Host families provide accommodation in their homes for the musicians who arrive several days in advance of the Festival for intensive rehearsals. The musicians appreciate the exceptional hospitality that is offered. Community volunteers help with everything from arranging the huge flower displays we’re famous for to taking tickets to setting out chairs and erecting the outdoor tent. As more people become involved in various ways, this Festival is truly becoming a community affair.

Festival 2016

  • We’re excited to confirm this year’s Festival musicians: Mark Fewer, Joyce Lai, David Gilham, Ian Clarke, Ariel Barnes, Simon Fryer, and Heidi Krutzen; Hanna Crudele, Rae Gallimore, and Jenny Dou are the 2016 Rising Tide cohort. Alexander Tselyakov, our founding Artistic Director and key component in the success of the Festival, has developed a challenging and beautiful repertoire. So mark your calendars for August 18-21, 2016. You won’t want to miss any of it!
  • Given the success of the Beethoven weekend in January, 2014, we planned a mid-winter weekend of Brahms and Schumann for January 23 and 24, 2016. Invited artists Gary Levinson, Baya Kakouberi (whom we heard at Festival 2014), and Andrés Diaz performed two marvellous afternoon concerts. Our audience loved the opportunity to listen to chamber music in January.
  • Like a piano, a festival needs to be kept tuned for the best possible musical experience. We are listening to our audience, who tell us what they love (and what they don’t) and what they’d like to hear at future Festivals. They keep us alert to the lively possibilities of chamber music as a dynamic and evolving genre.

For more information please explore our website or call the Festival cell phone: 604.989.3995.