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  6. Music and Nature: Music and Beyond Festival goes “virtual” at Canadian Museum of Nature

Music and Nature: Music and Beyond Festival goes “virtual” at Canadian Museum of Nature

Julian Armour @ Music and Beyond


Sonia Rodriguez performing The Swan in the Rotunda of the museum.

Ottawa, July 7, 2020 – The rousing sounds of music will fill the “castle” halls of the Canadian Museum of Nature as Ottawa’s Music and Beyond shares its annual festival – this time virtually – at the temporarily closed museum.

The festival has moved online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum’s galleries provided the backdrops for more than two dozen recordings of performances by world-class musicians and the National Ballet of Canada’s principal dancer, Sonia Rodriguez

The “Music and Nature” series was recorded over two days in late June inside the museum’s historic site in downtown Ottawa, with videos to be posted on Music and Beyond’s web site from July 8 to 17. Proper safety protocols, including physical distancing, were applied to ensure the health of all involved. 

“As nature inspires us, so do music and dance; they lift our spirits in this challenging time,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “So, we are delighted to partner with Music and Beyond in sharing our nature-themed galleries and spaces as venues for these amazing performances.”

“We had such a great time with this project,” states Julian Armour, Music and Beyond’s Artistic and Executive Director. “The Canadian Museum of Nature has so many fabulous galleries and performance spaces that we were able to create a large number of videos with so much variety. The result is a huge amount of really wonderful music that has been inspired by nature.”

A standout in the roster of cultural delights is a performance of “The Swan” by Sonia Rodriguez. She was accompanied by Julian Armour on cello and pianist Frederic Lacroix. The ballet classic was recorded in the museum’s Rotunda, a space that’s often used for special exhibitions or conferences. From 1916 to 1920, it also served as the temporary home for the House of Commons following the great fire that destroyed the Centre Block building on Parliament Hill.

Viewers can also delight in the many styles of music that have defined Music and Beyond’s summer cultural festival since it began in 2010. Many of the pieces have nature themes, such as Flight of the Bumblebee, George Gershwin’s Summertime and the beautiful “Rain” Sonata for violin and piano by Johannes Brahms.  

Interspersed throughout the videos are scenes of the museum’s galleries. They provided backdrops for a variety of musical formats:  small ensembles playing pieces such as Fossils from the Carnival of the Animals in the Fossil Gallery, solo performances such as Marjan Mozethich’s Reflection for harp in the Water Gallery and more contemporary music such as that performed by percussionist Jesse Stewart in the Earth Gallery’s limestone cave. 

The videos can be viewed on the web site of Music and Beyond and on the festival’s YouTube channel. Select highlights also be featured on the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Facebook and Twitter sites.

Information for media or to arrange interviews:  
John Swettenham
Director, Marketing and Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-868-8277; jswettenham@nature.ca

Julian Armour
Artistic and Executive Director
Music and Beyond
613-241-0777 ext. 500