Dream Big 2024

Building Community through Collaboration

February 22 – 24, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Registration is open for the Full conference or for individual sessions.

We’re so excited to invite you to Dream Big: Building Community through Collaboration.  

The conference will take place February 22-24, 2024, at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the world’s first museum dedicated to human rights.  Inspired by our ongoing relationship with the museum, the repertoire to be performed and studied will be music composed as a response to trauma or as a call to action.  This focus will foster a deep conversation about the meaning and reason for music, its relationship to larger societal issues, and empower each of us to approach this repertoire with honesty and integrity.


Our 2024 conference Dream Big: Building community through musical collaboration is being held at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Treaty 1 territory, the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwe-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Red River Métis nation. The two rivers that join at the Forks have always brought people together, and we are grateful for the opportunity to gather here to build community, make music, and learn together. We acknowledge that the water in the University and Museum comes from Shoal Lake and are grateful to the First Nations that care for that water.

Guests & Speakers

We’re thrilled to be joined once again by two of the most influential performer-teachers of Collaborative Piano in North AmericaDr. Jean Barr (Eastman School of Music) and Margo Garrett (Juilliard School). 

Order of Canada recipient Shelagh Rogers (CBC) and Dr. Jillian Horton (Rady College of Medicine) will lead keynote conversations.

Valerie Dueck is the director for the Feb. 23 Multi-media event at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Margo Garrett

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Jean Barr

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Shelagh Rogers O.C.

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Jillian Horton

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Valerie Dueck

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Daily Schedule

Each day at Dream Big offers opportunities for engagement and discourse. We have created numerous performing opportunities and are eager to bring together a diverse range of voices.


Coming together, sharing our stories

Desautels Faculty of Music, U of M
  • Morning discussion and performances: Coming together after the pandemic –Jean Barr, Margo Garrett, and conference participants
  • Dream Big masterclasses for students and young professionals – Jean Barr, Margo Garrett
  • Dream Big Concert and Reception
  • Community-building through shared meals


Truth telling

Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR)
  • Keynote speakers Shelagh Rogers and Dr. Jillian Horton: Healing, memory, and storytelling
  • Museum curators and Dream Big musicians explore the power of this repertoire through conversation and performance
  • Multi-media evening concert introduced by Rogers and Horton, featuring 50 mini-musical events


Moving forward

Desautels Faculty of Music, U of M
  • Call to action! Round-table discussions and future plans
  • Final concert curated by Charlene Diehl, featuring masterclass participants
  • Community-building through shared meals


Featuring you, the conference participants!

Feb. 22:
The first day of the conference will be held at the University of Manitoba. 
Performances will be interwoven throughout the day, with an evening concert curated by Charlene Diehl, poet, author, and Director of the Thin Air Writers Festival. This concert will be followed by the Desautels Reception

Feb. 23: 
 is partnering with us to present a day of education. The day will culminate in public event, curated by Collaborative pianist and event director Valerie Dueck, featuring 50 short chamber music performances engaging with human rights themes throughout the museum. Thanks to the generosity of Yamaha Pianos in Winnipeg, performances will take place on acoustic pianos in the following five spaces:

  • Introduction to Human Rights – the Object Theatre
  • Canadian Journeys
  • Examining the Holocaust – Film Theatre 
  • Breaking the Silence: Canada Speaks out 
  • Rights Today: this will be next to a new exhibit, featuring the Rage Against the Machine touring van.

(To learn more about the focus of each gallery, please see these exhibit descriptions and photos.)

Applications to perform in concerts are now closed.

We are still accepting applications for Dream Big masterclasses.


The first and third days, spent at the University of Manitoba, will highlight mentorship; through an audition process in December 2023, eight ensembles of emerging artists will be chosen to perform in masterclasses. We invite professional and student chamber ensembles, voice/piano duos, and instrument/piano duos to apply!

Travel funding will be available for all student masterclass participants.

The masterclasses will be led by trailblazers Dr. Jean Barr (Eastman School of Music) and Margo Garrett (Juilliard School).

These sessions will be important for artists and audience alike, as together we explore the process of performing this repertoire fearlessly and honestly. The conference will reach its finale on February 24 with a concert by masterclass participants.

We are still accepting applications for Dream Big masterclasses.

Join us for Dream Big 2024!

Registration is open for the Full conference or for individual sessions.

Interested in volunteering? Contact us.


Music Out of Bounds

Dream Big: Music Out of Bounds, the first Collaborative Piano Conference ever held in Canada, took place at the University of Manitoba, Feb. 20-22, 2020. This three-day conference was dedicated to celebrating the contributions, creativity, and innovation that collaborative pianists bring to music performance and pedagogy. It was a joyful time of strengthening old friendships and discovering new ones, full of inspiring discussions and music making.

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