From first to last note, the Penderecki String Quartet held the audience in their spell in the last concert of the year, Feb 24, for the South Okanagan Concert Society. Opening with Beethoven’s String Quartet in G major, they performed the sprightly dance-like introduction with a delicate formality, in keeping with its nickname, ‘The Compliments Quartet’, portraying the exaggerated courtesy of an 18th century drawing salon. The second movement features a languorous melody leading to bursts of song, cut by expectant silences. The galloping rhythms of the Scherzo moved to a faster tempo in the final movement where each instrument in turn picked up the melody, ending with the fierce energy we associate with Beethoven.
The second composition, De Profundis, by young Canadian composer Norbert Palej, was commissioned and premiered by PSQ. Jerzy Kaplanek, 2nd violin, spoke of the composer’s impetus, drawing inspiration from Psalm 130 and Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis” written in Reading Gaol. Violent percussive and staccato effects built on dissonances and the sheer physicality of the violinists drew enthusiastic applause from the Oliver audience; the musicians told us that not all audiences are as accepting of innovative styles. The piece started on a shattering unison note and ended on a single dying note, after high bird-like trills, reinforcing the notion of rising from the depths of despair. Perhaps appropriate as Oliver prepares to welcome a prison.
Debussy’s String Quartet, his only one, offered a contrast to the first half. The violinists switched positions and 2nd Jeremy Bell told about the influence of the Javanese gamelon which Debussy heard at the 1889 Paris Exposition. A simple melody recurred in different ways: the dream-like quality quickly moved from soft to strident, with ever changing rhythms and harmonies. The soft, sad and slow intro of the cello in the final movement built to a crescendo of excitement and ended with a whisper.
But the audience wanted more and the musicians obliged with an unbelievably fast little piece, with bow percussion by Erwin Schulhoff, a Czech composer. Truly, the Penderecki musicians demonstrate “a remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep” Globe & Mail).
Another successful year has ended for the South Okanagan Concert Society. The 2012-13 season is planned, with the AGM on April 10 at Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. Early-bird discount tickets (bargain prices, free for students) are available now at Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and Beyond Bliss in Oliver.
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.
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.
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!