‘An Italian garden filled with flowers and music’

| December 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra's Fête Champêtre took place at the residence of Italian Ambassador Claudio Taffuri. From left, Fabrizio Nava, minister-counsellor at the embassy of Italy, Maria Enrica Francesca Stajano and Kate Holmes, general manager of the symphony. (Photo: Ülle baum)

The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra’s Fête Champêtre took place at the residence of Italian Ambassador Claudio Taffuri. From left, Fabrizio Nava, minister-counsellor at the embassy of Italy, Maria Enrica Francesca Stajano and Kate Holmes, general manager of the symphony. (Photo: Ülle baum)

The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra’s annual Fête Champêtre took place later than usual, but the weather could not have been better for a garden party, given Ottawa’s late September heat wave.
“We’re delighted that the annual Fête Champêtre is at the Italian ambassador’s residence, particularly where there are two anniversaries — the 150th of Canada and the 70th of Canada-Italy,” said Robert Peck, chairman of the orchestra’s board of directors, who attended the event. “It’s an annual tradition that goes back many years and it’s important for the orchestra because it brings all the key supporters together.”
He said the orchestra is “really on the ascendant” and is working hard to increase the number of concerts it presents.
“We also have some exciting new developments and we’re hoping that, if luck goes our way, we’ll be able to position the orchestra in a new venue in Ottawa,” Peck said. “I can’t say more, except we hope that we’ll have a place that’s more aligned with our orchestra and our brand.”
He acknowledged that the orchestra, which currently holds its concerts at the National Arts Centre and therefore shares space with the NAC orchestra, continues to have a great relationship with the NAC.
Having an embassy host its major fundraiser is “a real boost,” Peck said, and added: “Particularly one where the residence is gorgeous. And what can I say about the weather with the summer we’ve had? The gods were with us tonight.”
He said programming classical music is always a challenge.
“We have to fight for it and the support of an embassy that not only provides the food, but also the wine, allows us to use the proceeds [from ticket sales] to fund music,” he said. “If we were to pay for food and beverages, it would be a huge expense for us.”
The embassy served Prosecco and Pinot Grigio and Chianti — all Italian — and Italian-inspired canapés.
For their part, Ambassador Claudio Taffuri and his wife, Maria Enrica Francesca Stajano, were delighted to host, but were disappointed that Taffuri was called away to host a last-minute high-level visitor and couldn’t attend the actual event.
“I liked the spirit of the person who asked us to host this,” Stajano said. “I understand it is a very important event for the orchestra. Music is always wonderful — I love the idea of our garden filled with flowers and music.”

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