Ensemble Allure is a Canadian presenter of contemporary classical and experimental music. Our group was established in Ottawa in 2020 while we (the original 'core' members) collectively studied at the University of Ottawa in the Master of Music program. Disheartened by the diminishing availability of live performance opportunities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to take matters into our own hands and form our own ensemble, creating online livestreamed concerts using both live and pre-recorded methods.
Eventually, several of the founding members left Ottawa to pursue new opportunities and advance their individual careers. In an effort to keep the original group intact, we briefly experimented with a national "chapter-based" structure before settling on basing the ensemble solely in Ontario. We have welcomed some talented faces to this new iteration of our group, including violinist Erik Johnson-Scherger, violist Renée Dahn, and soprano Irina Medvedeva.
Since the group's inception, we have presented 5 virtual concerts, each approximately 1 hour in duration, and each primarily featuring new music composed by emerging Canadian composers. We have also presented interdisciplinary projects at the Ottawa Writers Festival's Arc Poetry Magazine Spring Launch (co-presented by Qu'Art (Queer Arts Collective)), featuring incidental music by Stephen Eckert and live poetry readings by Canadian poet John Barton. Most recently, with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, Ensemble Allure recorded a full-length album, Dual, consisting entirely of new music by living Canadian composers. Dual is slated for release on February 1st, 2024 and will be available on all major streaming platforms as well as in CD format.
Looking ahead, Ensemble Allure has set an ambitious goal to develop a recurring 'Ensemble Allure Contemporary Music Festival', which will be hosted in rotation between Toronto and Ottawa. This festival will feature commissioned works, composition competitions, interdisciplinary pieces/installations, community music collaboration opportunities, and other exciting happenings.
H. P. McGowan—multi, electronics (Executive Director)
Stephen Eckert—piano (Artistic Director)
Ben Borg—guitar (Operations Director)