Ritornello Chamber Music Series launches Thursday

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Local classical series strives to reconnect with all music lovers

Classical music isn’t typically associated with what the kids are into these days, but the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival is changing that.

So how did a chamber music festival become one of Saskatoon’s most buzzed-about music events?

Ritornello artistic director Jacqueline Woods says that classical music has never gone out of style.

“It’s always been hip,” says Woods jokingly. “People like good music no matter what genre. There was a time when classical was the pop music of its day. Picture ladies flinging themselves at Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, throwing flowers and gloves and what not – these guys were the rock stars of their time.

“Over the course of the 20th century performers and composers began to lose their connection to the masses due to changes to recording, changes in music education, cultural revolution. But with the dawn of the internet and the ability to share recordings and videos, classical musicians are reconnecting to music lovers everywhere.”

Established in 2009, Ritornello features the music typically found in a classical setting, but Woods and her partner in crime Carissa Klopoushak have curated a show that is more familiar to your average indie rock fan, with music written by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and The National’s Bryce Dessner.

Even better, Ritornello pairs up-and-coming classical musicians in venues better known for hosting rock-oriented shows – ever chug a beer while listening to a bassoon?

“Performers don’t necessarily want that stage-audience separation anymore – they want to be more intimately connected to listeners,” says Woods. “Chamber music was originally intended for small spaces. This ‘Classical Revolution’ is very much a part of the Ritornello philosophy.”

Ritornello begins this Thursday, Oct. 18 and continues until the end of the year. All shows begin at 8pm.

Thursday, Oct. 18 – Ritornello Underground – The Bassment
Friday, Oct. 26 – Ritornello On Tap – The Woods Ale House
Monday, Nov. 26 – Ritornello On Tap – The Woods Ale House
Thursday, Dec. 13 – Ritornello Underground – The Bassment