The Hamilton Philharmonic is kicking the new year off in style, with the fifth edition of their composer festival celebrating the incomparable Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The festival brings a month of music, and music-related activities to the Hamilton area.

Known for his ballet compositions, specifically Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, Tchaikovsky is recognized as one of the most popular Russian composers of all time. In addition to his musical accomplishments, the composer’s personal life has become the topic of lore and intrigue, with multiple relationships, failed marriages, and rumours as to whether his death was actually a suicide.

HPO Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte starts off the Composer Festival with three presentations of her talk Tchaikovsky: His Life and Music. Richardson-Schulte presents the talk and piano demonstration at Dundas’ Amica Retirement Residence on January 10, at the Burlington Public Library Central Branch on January 15 and at the Hamilton Public Library Central Branch on January 15.

Richardson-Schulte also hosts an exploration of Tchaikovsky’s music and struggle for acceptance in The Influence of Tchaikovsky; a partnership with The Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art on January 14.

Other partners for the festival include Shawn & Ed Brewing Company in Dundas, who are hosting a Tchaikovsky Happy Hour on January 16. This fun and innovative evening includes HPO Brass Quintet performances alongside curated beer pairings while Richardson-Schulte acts as a guide through the selections.

Through the festival, the HPO is also reaching out to the many communities it serves. Richardson-Schulte will host a Seniors’ Talk & Tea on January 17 at the FirstOntario Concert Hall. This event will feature stories and music of Tchaikovsky before attendees are invited into the concert hall for a behind-the-scenes look at the Orchestra’s rehearsal process. Children are invited to an UpBeat performance on January 24 at the Hamilton Public Library Dundas Branch where the HPO String Quartet will explore music in motion.

The culminating event of the festival is the HPO’s mainstage orchestral concert performance of Triumphant Tchaikovsky at the FirstOntario Concert Hall on January 18. Led by rising Canadian conductor Dina Gilbert, the concert will showcase the entire HPO as they accompany renowned Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1- arguably one of the most popular concertos ever written. The programme, combined with Kimura Parker’s talent and Gilbert’s masterful interpretation will easily make this concert one of the best of the HPO’s season (and one of our top January picks).

Immediately following the concert is the much anticipated HPO Pro-Am Jam. Local amateur musicians are invited to join HPO musicians onstage at the FirstOntario Concert Hall. Together, the ensemble will perform a few Tchaikovsky classics side-by-side.

For more information, or to purchase tickets to Composer Festival events, please visit the HPO’s website.

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