Bolshoy deemed "brightest and best" in classical guitar

review by Bob Park

The solo guitar performance by Daniel Bolshoy was billed by South Okanagan Concert Society’s executive as an event “not to be missed.” And were they ever right about that! It had been 25 years since the concert society last had a classical guitarist on stage. Last Friday night they made up for that “oversight” by bringing us the brightest and best.  

There are always potential challenges inherent in planning any concert. For this one, consider this: 200 people in a “substitute concert hall”, a whole program of music by composers that 99 percent of the audience had never heard of, and a single, quiet, unamplified, acoustic guitar.  How would it go over? The short answer: extremely well!

Daniel Bolshoy had us spell-bound throughout the evening. He worked magic on his newly acquired high-tech German-made guitar, of which even the slightest whisper of a strum could be heard at the back of the hall. The audience listened, as with bated breath, not wanting to miss a single phrase, a single note. Rare are performers who perfect the vibrato, slides and changes of tone on the guitar so as to create and maintain a singing quality. Daniel Bolshoy is such a performer.

He drew us into to the lyrical world of Sainz de la Maza, Karmon, and Barrios and, after two hours of pure delight, left us on our feet, asking for more.  Daniel’s program began with a musical tribute by the composer, Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, to a series of poems by the Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenez, “Platero y Yo”. A man and his donkey: the simple joys of life and memories. Daniel’s gift to us, we were soon to discover, was not just his beautiful playing. He also has the ability to set us up for the music by telling us lively little stories about the composers at the time that  each piece came into being.  We were fascinated. And we listened. The first half continued with five more compositions by Sainz de la Maza, including a  variety of evocative titles.  When Daniel introduced “Homage to Toulouse-Lautrec” by referencing the recent hit movie, “Midnight in Paris,” the audience nodded and smiled. The first half concluded  with Sainz de la Maza’s best known piece: Campanas del Alba, “Bells at Dawn”.  The rapid fire guitar-playing technique called “tremolo”, which allows a guitarist to imitate a singing vocal line, came off  so smoothly that the audience sat hushed for a moment, not wanting to break the lyrical spell.

The second half of the program began with “Next Year”, a series of 5 short pieces written for Daniel by the American composer Michael Karmon.  Each depicts a different aspect of life in Jerusalem, combining a sense of history, awe and modern realities of the 3,000 year-old city. Unusual, fascinating music, creating a taste for more. The program concluded with works by arguably the greatest guitarist of the 20th century, the Paraguayan-Guarani Indian composer Augustin Barrios Mangore.  Daniel explained how this composer’s music, so popular among guitarists today, languished in obscurity due to the overarching influence of Andres Segovia—the dominant classical guitar recitalist of the time. Out of jealousy, Segovia bad-mouthed Barrios at every opportunity. Barrios, a poverty-stricken, homeless, musical genius spent a life-time travelling all over Latin America, giving concerts and composing, but never getting the financial backing or promotional support he needed to achieve the success he was due.  A full, but in many ways also a tragic, life. Now, just as every pianist knows and admires Chopin, so does every guitarist know and admire Barrios.  It feels like a vindication when someone like Daniel shares the music by this genius with audiences far and wide.

The last piece in the program, “La Catedral”, presents enormous challenges to any performer. Daniel, with the exceptional powers of concentration and outstanding technical skills needed for the long and difficult stretches in the piece, did full justice to Barrios. A triumphant end to the program. We were treated to two encores, before the enthusiastic audience finally let Daniel leave the stage.  Barrios’ last composition, “An Alm for the Love of God”, was followed by Sainz de la Maza’s arrangement of Steven Foster’s well-known “Swanee River”, which combined shades of Ravel, Django Reinhardt, and Debussy. For me, it was a perfect ending to a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Judging by the strength of the standing ovation and by the record-setting CD sales in the foyer, Oliver concert-goers agreed!

The South Okanagan Concert Society has one more concert lined up for this season.  Music lovers, mark your calendars! The Penderecki String Quartet will be playing on Friday, Feb.24th at 7:30 at Oliver Alliance Church, whose support to the temporarily “homeless” SOCS has been tremendous, and is much appreciated by one and all. Early Bird ticket sales for next year will again be available.

Bolshoy deemed “brightest and best” in classical guitar

review by Bob Park

The solo guitar performance by Daniel Bolshoy was billed by South Okanagan Concert Society’s executive as an event “not to be missed.” And were they ever right about that! It had been 25 years since the concert society last had a classical guitarist on stage. Last Friday night they made up for that “oversight” by bringing us the brightest and best.  

There are always potential challenges inherent in planning any concert. For this one, consider this: 200 people in a “substitute concert hall”, a whole program of music by composers that 99 percent of the audience had never heard of, and a single, quiet, unamplified, acoustic guitar.  How would it go over? The short answer: extremely well!

Daniel Bolshoy had us spell-bound throughout the evening. He worked magic on his newly acquired high-tech German-made guitar, of which even the slightest whisper of a strum could be heard at the back of the hall. The audience listened, as with bated breath, not wanting to miss a single phrase, a single note. Rare are performers who perfect the vibrato, slides and changes of tone on the guitar so as to create and maintain a singing quality. Daniel Bolshoy is such a performer.

He drew us into to the lyrical world of Sainz de la Maza, Karmon, and Barrios and, after two hours of pure delight, left us on our feet, asking for more.  Daniel’s program began with a musical tribute by the composer, Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, to a series of poems by the Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenez, “Platero y Yo”. A man and his donkey: the simple joys of life and memories. Daniel’s gift to us, we were soon to discover, was not just his beautiful playing. He also has the ability to set us up for the music by telling us lively little stories about the composers at the time that  each piece came into being.  We were fascinated. And we listened. The first half continued with five more compositions by Sainz de la Maza, including a  variety of evocative titles.  When Daniel introduced “Homage to Toulouse-Lautrec” by referencing the recent hit movie, “Midnight in Paris,” the audience nodded and smiled. The first half concluded  with Sainz de la Maza’s best known piece: Campanas del Alba, “Bells at Dawn”.  The rapid fire guitar-playing technique called “tremolo”, which allows a guitarist to imitate a singing vocal line, came off  so smoothly that the audience sat hushed for a moment, not wanting to break the lyrical spell.

The second half of the program began with “Next Year”, a series of 5 short pieces written for Daniel by the American composer Michael Karmon.  Each depicts a different aspect of life in Jerusalem, combining a sense of history, awe and modern realities of the 3,000 year-old city. Unusual, fascinating music, creating a taste for more. The program concluded with works by arguably the greatest guitarist of the 20th century, the Paraguayan-Guarani Indian composer Augustin Barrios Mangore.  Daniel explained how this composer’s music, so popular among guitarists today, languished in obscurity due to the overarching influence of Andres Segovia—the dominant classical guitar recitalist of the time. Out of jealousy, Segovia bad-mouthed Barrios at every opportunity. Barrios, a poverty-stricken, homeless, musical genius spent a life-time travelling all over Latin America, giving concerts and composing, but never getting the financial backing or promotional support he needed to achieve the success he was due.  A full, but in many ways also a tragic, life. Now, just as every pianist knows and admires Chopin, so does every guitarist know and admire Barrios.  It feels like a vindication when someone like Daniel shares the music by this genius with audiences far and wide.

The last piece in the program, “La Catedral”, presents enormous challenges to any performer. Daniel, with the exceptional powers of concentration and outstanding technical skills needed for the long and difficult stretches in the piece, did full justice to Barrios. A triumphant end to the program. We were treated to two encores, before the enthusiastic audience finally let Daniel leave the stage.  Barrios’ last composition, “An Alm for the Love of God”, was followed by Sainz de la Maza’s arrangement of Steven Foster’s well-known “Swanee River”, which combined shades of Ravel, Django Reinhardt, and Debussy. For me, it was a perfect ending to a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Judging by the strength of the standing ovation and by the record-setting CD sales in the foyer, Oliver concert-goers agreed!

The South Okanagan Concert Society has one more concert lined up for this season.  Music lovers, mark your calendars! The Penderecki String Quartet will be playing on Friday, Feb.24th at 7:30 at Oliver Alliance Church, whose support to the temporarily “homeless” SOCS has been tremendous, and is much appreciated by one and all. Early Bird ticket sales for next year will again be available.

Solo guitar to work its magic Friday January 27

by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

Excitement ! Delight! A tiny bit of smug pride! Glee! That’s how the South Okanagan Concert Society executive is feeling as they announce Daniel Bolshoy, solo guitarist, will be on stage at the interim Oliver Alliance Church venue Friday, January 27th at 7:30 pm. Daniel has been a mega hit with his charismatic stage presence, his charming ability to communicate with the audience and the ability to coax utter magic from his guitar. The lucky coincidence that he has recently been appointed to head the guitar department at the newly created Vancouver Symphony School of Music means he is living for one year in Vancouver and close enough to be lured to the Okanagan.

The intimate atmosphere and acoustics of the Alliance Church venue are perfect to showcase a fine musician known for the expressiveness of his style. Critics say Daniel “immerses himself in his music, physically projecting the depth of its emotion while his virtuosity flows as if it were an instinctive force.”

Tickets are on sale at Beyond Bliss Esthetics in Oliver, Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and at the door. The best buy is a flexible pass for four admissions for only $60. The admissions can be used separately or in combination. Single admission is $20 and young people age 17 and under are welcome to attend concerts free.

Call Maureen at 495-7978 to arrange for transportation by van if you are worried about winter driving conditions and know you can’t miss this performance.

Daniel Bolshoy is a Russian-born, Israeli-raised Canadian and a renowned guitarist who is regularly praised for engaging the audience between pieces with biographies to introduce composers, and more importantly, with the story behind the piece itself. He has an uncanny intimacy with his instrument and an aggressive multi-layered quality to his style so that with closed eyes it is easy to imagine more than one player on stage.

Daniel’s recitals are frequently broadcast on the CBC. He appears on four CD recordings and he teaches guitar at Concordia University in Montreal and offers master classes internationally. He will soon be touring Russia and he continues to perform in Canada’s most prestigious venues, including the Glenn Gould Studio, the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts, the National Art Centre and Vancouver’s Chan Centre.

One warning. There will only be one performance. When the Kallisto Trio held the audience breathless at their performance before Christmas and the word of that incredible concert spread through our towns, those who missed out lamented their loss. Daniel Bolshoy is capable of creating another magical evening to refresh the soul. Be careful. Don’t be one of those who only wishes they had been there. Be one of those sitting enthralled as his music works its magic.

Editor’s Note: This talented young performer is sure to appeal to the child or teen in your life. Planning to go? Bring along your favourite young person (s) for free!  Let them catch the excitement of a live concert!

Classics to classy in 2011-12 Concert Series

The South Okanagan Concert Society winds up its current season this month with the Foothills Brass on Friday March 11, at the Frank Venables Auditorium at 8:00 p.m. (Scroll down for another article on the concert). 

As an added bonus, concert goers will get first dibs on season tickets for the 2011-12 season.  Flex passes are regularly $60 for four tickets, but there will be an early bird price of $50 from March 11 until the end of April. Season tickets will be available at the Foothills Brass concert and at Beyond Bliss (Oliver) and Imperial Office Pro (Osoyoos) from March 12 to April 30.

The musical offerings for next season are an appealing mix of voice and instrument, classics and classy.  

Friday, Oct 28, 2011: Alexander Sevastian, solo accordionist

Think you know accordion? Probably not like this! Think  a whole orchestra in one instrument and dexterity worthy of a concert pianist. This concert will blow you away — guaranteed! Alexander Sevastian has won four International Accordion Competitions including the Oslofjord in Norway (1998), The Cup of the North in Russia (2000), the Anthony Galla-Rini Accordion Competition in the U.S.A. (2001) and The Coupe Mondiale in the U.S.A. (2007).

Alex was born in Minsk, Belarus and began his studies on the accordion at the age of seven. In 1991 he attended the Glinka Musical College in Minsk. His advanced studies took him to the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters in Performance degree in 2002, studying with renowned performer and pedagogue, Friedrich Lips.

Alex began his professional career in Moscow in 1996, performing with the Russian Radio Orchestra, which he toured with as a soloist throughout Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Alex also was a very active recitalist and chamber musician. Highlights of his career include appearances in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Glinka Capella Hall (St.Petersburg), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto), and the Metropolitan Museum (New York). Recent solo engagements include recitals in Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, U.S.A. and Canada as well as appearances with several symphony orchestras.

Alex and his family moved to Canada in April 2001. He joined the renowned Quartetto Gelato in 2002. In May 2003 he completed his advanced performance studies at the University of Toronto. In the fall of 2005 he became a Canadian Citizen.

Alex made his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in April 2008. Turn up your speakers and listen to some of his virtuosic playing at http://www.quartettogelato.ca/alex.php and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5JE6s9FeGc

Friday, Nov 25, 2011: Kallisto Trio, a capella female trio

Their tagline “Classical Mastery with Pop Personality and Latin Spice”  describes their technique and repertoire to a T.

Three beautiful women have joined their voices and spirits to create Kallisto – an incomparable a cappella trio experience for listeners everywhere. Meshing the quirky approach of Bobby McFerrin with the stylish jazz harmonies of Manhattan Transfer into classical, Canadiana, folk and even rock ‘n roll, gives them a warm and inviting sound … with an edge. Described by audiences as ‘remarkable’ and ‘angelic, Kallisto draws inspiration from every ear of music history. The trio brings music from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic periods to life and then shifts effortlessly to jazz standards, pop hits, world music and gospel.

Fabiana Katz, Karen Mang and Catherine Laub, all highly regarded professional and musicians in their own right, are making waves with their artistry. They combine their knowledge, talent and skills to give their performances a depth and breadth witnessed in few ensembles. On stage their personalities play off one another perfectly – captivating and entertaining – while their flawlessly-tuned voices seem to effortlessly blend into one.

The trio spice up their performances with a variety of instruments, which they play with equal flair – guitar, accordion, electric bass, clarinet, recorders, djembe, claves, drums, shakers, tambourines, and a host of other percussion instruments.

The threesome also shares a common passion for creativity and showmanship. Kallisto’s shows raise the bar: every nuance of language, vocal colour and style seamlessly in place, every change in character brilliantly conveyed. 

Give them a listen by clicking on their sample video at http://www.kallistotrio.com/ you’ll hear some jazz, Latin, pop, and Afro-American spiritual rhythms.  

Friday, Jan 27, 2012: Daniel Bolshoy, solo guitarist

Daniel Bolshoy has performed in every major centre in Canada, establishing him as the country’s most visible concert guitarist. He is regularly praised for his friendly and informative spoken introductions, and progressive programming of solo and chamber music.

Mr. Bolshoy has performed for many prestigious festivals including the Ottawa and the Vancouver International Chamber Music Festivals, the Guitar-Gems International Guitar Festival in Israel, the Halifax Guitar Festival, the Elora Festival, the Guelph Spring Festival, the Festival des arts Boré-Art, and more.

Mr. Bolshoy’s recitals are frequently broadcast on CBC Radio, and he has also appeared in two documentary films for the Bravo! (TV) series: The Classical Now.

Among recent orchestral appearances are concertos by Rodrigo, Ponce, Kernis, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco with international orchestras: The Mexico City Philharmonic, the Toronto Philharmonia, the Edmonton Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Vancouver Philharmonic, the Beer Sheva Symphoniette (Israel), the Manitoba and Ottawa Chamber Orchestras. He has been invited to the jury of the Tabula Rasa Guitar Competition as well as concerto soloist in Ponce’s Concierto del Sur in an upcoming tour of Russia.

Daniel Bolshoy has four commercial CD recordings.

Mr. Bolshoy teaches guitar at Concordia University in Montreal and regularly offers masterclasses to guitar societies and educational institutions internationally. Daniel Bolshoy continues to perform solo and chamber music recitals in Canada’s most prestigious venues, including the Glenn Gould Studio, the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts, the National Art Centre, and Vancouver’s Chan Centre.

Have a listen to http://www.danielbolshoy.com/en/audio-video.html to whet your appetite!

and rounding out the season with a grand flourish is…

Friday, Feb 24, 2012: Penderecki String Quartet

The Penderecki String Quartet, approaching the third decade of an extraordinary career, has become one of the most celebrated chamber ensembles of their generation. These four musicians from Poland, Canada, and the USA bring their varied yet collective experience to create performances that demonstrate their “remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep” (Toronto, Globe and Mail).

The Quartet’s performing schedule takes them annually to the great concert stages of North and South America, Europe and the Far East. Recent appearances include New York (Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall), Madrid, Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Prague, St. Petersburg, Rome, Belgrade, Zagreb, Paris, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Indiana University, Wieczory Arsenale Festival in Poland, Is Arti Festival in Lithuania, Rive-Gauche Concerti in Italy, the Festival Internacional de Musica in Venezuela, Casalmaggiore Festival and Incontri in Terra di Sienna in Italy, Musicarama Festival Hong Kong, and the Shanghai International Arts Festival. The PSQ appears extensively in Canada, giving numerous performances in all the major centres from coast to coast and participating in this country’s foremost concert series such as the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Festival of the Sound, Banff Centre’s Music and Sound, Festival Vancouver and Music Toronto.

The Penderecki Quartet was founded in Poland in 1986 at the urging of the pre-eminent Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. The To this day the Quartet is a devoted champion of the music of our time, and has performed a wide range of repertoire from Bach to Brahms, Bartók to Ligeti, Frank Zappa to John Oswald, as well as premiering over 100 new works from numerous composers.

Described by Fanfare Magazine as “an ensemble of formidable power and keen musical sensitivity”, the Penderecki Quartet’s large discography includes over 25 recordings. The Penderecki String Quartet saw some sparks fly at the 2010 JUNO Awards. They were involved in three nominations for recordings they made in the previous year.

Pick up your season pass before they disappear — like a song — into thin air!