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Chemainus Classical Concerts end season on high note with Montreal musicians

‘The French Violin’ delivers a program of French inspired music at St. Michael’s Church on June 16

For musical lovers of the classical genre, it is always a pleasure to hear a violin sing. Chemainus Classical Concerts have strung together the perfect show to end their season on high note with The French Violin.

On June 16 at 2 p.m., head to St. Michael’s Church in Chemainus and let your ears go ooh la la with an exciting program of French music performed by Montreal musicians Victor Fournelle-Blain on violin, and Jean-Sébastien Levesque on piano. Fournelle-Blain is principal viola of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and enjoys an active career as orchestral and chamber musician, soloist and teacher, while Levesque, who recently moved to Vancouver, now serves as artistic director of Bach on the Rock.

“We scheduled The French Violin as our last concert partly because it could be accommodated in the professional schedules of the two performers,” said artistic co-director Rykie Avenant. “Victor Fournelle-Blain has wrapped up his concert season and teaching year in Montréal, and is thus free to tour and perform in our end-of-season concert. Although Jean-Sébastien Lévesque is the artistic director of Bach on the Rock Chamber Orchestra and Choir, this group is not part of this concert, or next season. He joins us in his capacity as collaborative pianist alongside Victor.”

The program for The French Violin opens with Claude Debussy’s ‘Sonata in G minor’ which was written close to the end of his life. This piece of music shows Debussy’s trademark sense of understatement but is nonetheless imbued with emotional warmth. Next will be Maurice Ravel’s ‘Sonata in G major, no. 2’, Ravel’s only violin sonata published during his lifetime, which drew inspiration from American music elements of jazz and blues. The third big work in this program is the ‘Violin Sonata in D minor, op. 75’ by Camille Saint-Saëns. Rumour has it that although several violinists were initially daunted by its technical challenges, it has become one of the composer’s best loved chamber music works in spite of, or even perhaps of its difficulty.

While tickets for the Chemainus Classical Concerts 2024-2025 season will be available to purchase starting Sept. 15, tickets for this afternoon of French music can be purchased at the door for $30, or $10 for those 18 and under. To reserve your tickets phone 250-748-8383 — prepaid tickets are $23 or $25 at the door.

Donations towards supporting next season’s performers will be gratefully accepted until the end of August, and lovers of classical music can show their support by cheque, e-transfer or online through CanadaHelps. For more information visit

“We hope that our audience will appreciate the high calibre of chamber music that we present at CCC, and will help us keep live classical music thriving by subscribing to our season and thereby supporting classical musicians,” said Avenant.

About the Author: Chadd Cawson

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