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Our response to spread of COVID-19

Ottawa Piano Festival March 18th, 2020 Statement

 Dear Participants, Teachers, and Families,

We at the Ottawa Piano Festival have been working hard to keep this year’s festival going through video submissions.  Please keep in mind this is a temporary solution, and that we plan to go back to our regular in-person format in 2021.  

The deadlines for video submissions will remain the same as the festival’s schedule (with the exception of concerto and duet/miscellaneous classes that are postponed). Instructions regarding the submission will follow promptly, at which time students would be invited to submit their videos any time, up until the date of their originally scheduled performance. 

Some of you have expressed concerns regarding the video format, and asked that we consider postponing the festival.  There are a number of reasons this will not be possible.  

  • Firstly, many events are looking to reschedule for later in the spring, and there simply aren’t enough available schedule openings for our festival to be postponed.  
  • Secondly, we would like to honour the hard work of the teachers and participants by not cancelling outright.  We believe it is important for children to have a sense of continuity at a time like this, and offering them a chance to participate in our festival will give them something to work towards in a time when their schedules have been completely changed.   
  • Lastly, please remember that this festival is run strictly by volunteers.  We cannot volunteer our time endlessly when there is no known end to the current crisis.  

The Ontario Music Festivals Association, of which we are a member, has also made the recommendation to conduct local festivals with videos this year.  In fact, last year a number of classes, including the piano concerto provincial competition, were held via video submission.  

By keeping students practicing, and possibly taking lessons in some way or another, this ensures not only that the participants have something positive to focus on, but also ensures the value of the lessons taught by our colleagues in this difficult time.

We are well aware of the challenges of submitting videos, and that the quality of the instruments in participants’ homes may not be ideal.  However, there are a number of advantages to this type of situation.  Participants can do as many takes as they like in order to get their performance just right before submitting their best video.  They can prepare the video in the comfort of their own homes.  The quality of the video does not need to be of a professional quality (most cell phones have adequate quality).  We just want to be able to celebrate the participants who pursue their passion and dedication towards music, even during this difficult time. 

Please know that professor David Jalbert confirmed his commitment to adjudicate grade 10 and Diploma classes and he will do so, based on video submissions and our festival schedule (concerto classes are postponed). We secured a number of teachers to adjudicate the remaining classes and we plan to give them 72 hours to do so, from the date of their scheduled adjudication.  We are currently creating forms that would be used to assess performers.  Once adjudication is received, the forms will then be distributed to students via their teachers.  Based on the comments and/or marks where applicable, we will be able to come up with certificates and scholarships, as planned originally.  We will work with teachers to ensure recognitions reach their awarded students.

Please note also that participants will be able to watch all performances in their class with the link we are about to provide (once you submit your video).  This is an important educational tool for all of us for continued development. 

Hopefully this crisis will resolve itself quickly and we can all get back to normal.  Until that time, we shall carry on the best way we can, and hope that we have your support.  Let us all remember that in times of difficulty music can be a great comfort.  Many of you have likely seen the recent footage of Italians under lockdown who create music together from their windows and balconies in an effort to reach out and engage with one another.  In Ottawa area we are much more spread out, but this festival can be our small way of reaching out to fellow pianists, and supporting each others’ endeavours.  
The Ottawa Piano Festival

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2021 DATES

Registration Deadline – December 13, 2020

April 10-11, 15-18 – Ottawa Piano Festival 

April 25 – Gala 

All events will be held at Woodroffe United Church, 207 Woodroffe Ave.

Best performers of the music of J.S.Bach will be invited to perform at the Great Bach Marathon at Woodroffe United Church organized by the Royal Canadian Collage of Organists

Thank you to our Festival Sponsors