Julian Armour

Julian Armour. Cellist, arts administrator, educator, conductor, b Missoula, MT, of Canadian parents, 29 Sep 1960; B MUS (McGill) 1985. Armour's family relocated to Canada when he was an infant. He studied English literature, history and economics at the University of Ottawa (1978-81), then cello with Walter Joachim at McGill, and later with Channing Robbins at Juilliard, Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot and Ralph Kirshbaum. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout Canada, the United States and Europe and recorded for Marquis, Crystal, ATMA, Centrediscs, Cansona, Studea Musica, CBC Records and CMS Classics. His performances are frequently broadcast by the CBC.

In Montreal Armour was principal cellist of the Montreal Chamber Orchestra (1982-86) and conducted the Purcell Chamber Orchestra (1984-85). He declined a conducting assistantship in Toronto to accept a position as cellist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (1986-98) and performed as well with the Manfred Trio (1986-89) and the Ottawa String Quartet (1989-94). A member of Thirteen Strings since 1986, Armour has been principal cellist of the ensemble since 1990, and has performed and recorded with the Chamber Players of Canada since 1991.

Motivated by a desire to make chamber music concerts more accessible and popular as a leisure activity, Armour established the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival in 1993. He served as Artistic and Executive Director of the Festival and its administrative body, the Ottawa Chamber Music Society (OCMS) until 2006, and as Artistic Director until 2007. Armour worked with the Canadian Tulip Festival as Director of its Celebridée (2007-09) and as Executive Director of the Festival (2008-09). Since 2009 Armour has been Artistic and Executive Director of Music and Beyond, a classical music festival he founded, which includes some concerts and events that explore the relationship between music and other art forms and cultural disciplines.

An advocate of contemporary music and Canadian music in particular, Armour has commissioned and/or premiered over 200 new works, primarily through the OCMS. In recognition of this, in 2011 Julian Armour received the Friends of Canadian Music Award from the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers.

Armour is a regular instructor and lecturer at the University of Ottawa and is a frequent guest lecturer on music and arts administration at universities including McGill, Queen's and Dalhousie. Recognized as an authority in the field, he has published articles on chamber music, and co-hosted with Eric Friesen a four-part series, "Neglected Masterpieces," for CBC Radio. From 2007-11 he was Programmer, Chamber Music for the CBC's Galaxie network. Armour has participated in international symposia including the European Chamber Music Forum and the European Association of Chamber Music. He has been invited to serve on arts juries and advisory panels for the Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Heritage. Locally, he was on the Arts Advisory Committee for the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton and on the Mayor's Panel for Business and the Arts. He was President of Ottawa Festivals from 2003-09 and served on the Board of Ottawa Tourism from 2006-09.

Julian Armour has received the following awards and honours: the Community Foundation of Ottawa's Investing in People Award (1999); the Council for the Arts in Ottawa's Victor Tolgesy Arts Award (2000); Ottawa Life Magazine's Top 100 Movers and Shakers (2001, 2002); France's Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2002); Canada's Meritorious Service Medal (2003); and the Ottawa Sun's Arts Newsmaker of the Year (2005), Rotary Club's Paul Harris Fellow (2008) and the Friends of Canadian Music Award (2011).