Ottawa Chamber Music Festival Director Resigns Abruptly; Future of New Ottawa Concert Hall Now Uncertain

Classic Arts News   Ottawa Chamber Music Festival Director Resigns Abruptly; Future of New Ottawa Concert Hall Now Uncertain
Julian Armour, founder and artistic director of the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, resigned suddenly on Tuesday (March 6), reports the CBC.

Armour, a cellist, who started the festival in 1994, attributed his departure to artistic differences between himself and the board of directors of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, which runs the festival, the world's largest chamber music event.

"It was a very, very tough decision to leave this," Armour told CBC. "But it speaks to the fact that there's just a huge gulf between how I think things should be done and how they're being done and where things are going."

CBC reports that the board president and chair Colin Cooke admitted that Armour and the board no longer agreed on the direction of the festival and had accepted his resignation.

Ottawa arts community leaders are reportedly stunned by Armour's departure. Catherine O'Grady, executive producer of the Ottawa Jazz Festival, told CBC, "People who went to the chamber festival went because of Julian's vision, not because of a board vision. The role of the board is to support the vision of the artistic director and it's not the other way around."

Cooke told CBC that the Society will continue to support Armour's lobbying for a new Ottawa concert hall, but according to a seperate CBC article those plans are now uncertain.

Armour reportedly spearheaded fundraising and political lobbying for the facility; Ottawa city councillor Maria McCrae told CBC his passion and drive were what convinced the city to back the C$27 million project and pledge C$6 million in funding.

This year's festival is scheduled for July 21 to August 4; it will continue as scheduled despite Armour's departure. Last year's lineup featured 120 concerts by 240 musicians; the 2005 event drew more than 62,000 people, according to the CBC.

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