The artists enjoy the surroundings so much. They are relaxed, which almost always results in a special performance, but also they are only there to play. There aren't any other distractions, past the beautiful scenery and clean air.
—Alexander Tselyakov, artistic director of Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival
The tiny town of Onanole in Manitoba pretty much triples in size when the Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival takes place. Offering a broad range of classical music to jazz, the festival has been luring people to the natural setting for seven years.
It all happens near the south entrance to Riding Mountain National Park which was established by Parks Canada in 1933 as "an island of wilderness surrounded by a sea of farmland."
The Onanole Community Centre, where the concerts take place, boasts a unique cathedral style of architecture, with hardwood floors, fir beams and cedar planking.
Alexander Tselyakov (courtesy artist website)
has been the artistic director since the festival's beginning seven years ago. His wife, Alla Turbanova, helps make it all happen. Many of the participating musicians have been there from day one, including Tselyakov's son, Daniel
New artists this year include trumpet player Aaron Hodgson
, violinist Meredith McCallum
, mezzo-soprano Chelsea Chimilar,
jazz bassist John Baron and flamenco dancer Megan Jersak
According to Tselyakov, the setting plays a big role in the success of the festival. "The artists enjoy the surroundings so much," he says. "They are relaxed, which almost always results in a special performance, but also they are only there to play. There aren't any other distractions, past the beautiful scenery and clean air."
While the beautiful surroundings help the musicians focus on their music, Tselyakov says it's also easier for the concertgoers to relax and enjoy it as well. "Our hope is that they get to hear music that inspires them in ways that are similar to the landscape; that the music compliments and reinforces the beauty of the surrounding countryside," he says with certainty.
Between concerts, visitors to Riding Mountain National Park can enjoy the park's vast array of wildlife, vegetation and hiking trails, including a visit to Grey Owl's cabin
The opening night
concert on Tuesday August 21 at 7:30 p.m. features a two-piano transcription by Percy
Grainger of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, as well as piano and trumpet
works by Glazunov and Rachmaninoff. Daniel Tselyakov will perform Carl
Vine's Piano Sonata No. 1. Rounding out the program are works for
clarinet and strings by Prokofiev and Canadian composer Allan Gilliland. Concerts
continue until August 26.