5 Way to Experience the 2017 Honens Festival

This year, Honens has shows on Stephen Avenue, in bars, in concert halls and in parks. And, it has an afternoon show especially for children on the autism spectrum and their families that will have everyone dancing to chamber music.

Photograph courtesy of Honens


The 2017 Honens Festival is bringing world-class music to Calgary September 7 to 10 in a celebration of the piano and Canada’s 150th anniversary — and you’re invited.

“There is truly something for everyone at the Honens Festival,” says Honens president, Neil Edwards. “While the piano competition itself is international in scope, attracting not only international competitors and an international audience, the Honens Festival is more about Honens in the community. From the Storytellers for children, which is designed for families, to the Open Air chamber music concert, there’s all kinds of fun stuff happening.” 

2017 marks the 25th year of the Honens Competition, established thanks to a $5 million gift from Calgary philanthropist Esther Honens to endow The Esther Honens International Piano Competition Foundation. The Honens’ artist development program helps laureates to become world-calibre professional musicians and the Honens Festival brings world-renowned music and musicians to Calgary to share Esther Honens’ love of classical music with Calgarians. 

Special guest artists at the four-day 2017 Honens Festival include Canadian pianists Katherine Chi and Jon Kimura Parker, Canadian trumpeter Jens Lindemann, Canada’s Cecilia String Quartet and 2015 Honens Prize Laureate Luca Buratto.

Here are some of the events taking place during the Honens Festival:



Pianoscapes kicks off the Honens Festival September 7 at noon at Stephen Avenue and Centre Street with a free concert featuring five pianists playing five pianos, which were transformed by six visual artists with their vision of what Canada means to them. The pianos are a gift to Calgary from Honens to mark Canada’s 150 anniversary.


Bison Noir

You can relax over a drink at this late night show September 8 at the Royal Canadian Legion No. 1 featuring the Cecilia String Quartet and Juno Award-winning composer, conductor and pianist Dinuk Wijeratne, whose boundary-crossing work includes collaborations with musicians from string quartets to tabla players.


Montrose Trio

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker, Martin Beaver and Clive Greensmith are the headliners for the Thursday night opening concert at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.



This special free concert at Studio Bell, featuring the Cecilia String Quartet, welcomes children on the autism spectrum and their families, and invites the audience not just to sit and listen, but also to move and dance along to the music. The concert is Saturday at 3 p.m.


Open Air

Bring blankets and lawn chairs for the Open Air concert at Central Memorial Park September 10 at 2 p.m., which will include not only music, but also face painting. Enjoy chamber music by pianists Luca Buratto, Katherine Chi and Dmitry Nesterov; trumpeter Jens Lindemann; and members of Calgary’s Kensington Sinfonia. And if you’d like a bite to eat during the event, you can pre-order a picnic basket from Provision. Order by September 8 at 403-263 0766.

The 2017 Honens Festival takes place in and around downtown Calgary from September 7 to 10. For more information and a complete list of events, visit honens.com

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