Trio wows Oliver audience

by Sue Morhun

Three women in perfect and effortless harmony, all with glorious voices, all capable of covering a diverse repertoire and all equally capable of sharing undeniable musical abilities in a way that keeps an entire audience in their thrall. That was the gift the extraordinarily talented a cappella group, The Kallisto Trio, gave South Okanagan Concert Society goers last week. It was evening not have been missed!

From the first intriguing moment at the start when the light tinkle of a temple bell filled a darkened candlelight room until the last notes of “Auld Lang Syne” faded away at the end, the audience was in awe. It was a very special evening. Not surprisingly, words fail to do justice. It was all about hearing and an evening filled with glorious sounds. The artistry, the presentation, the music choices, the Trio’s own obvious enjoyment with the music and each other filled the room. It often left us in awe. Many times as the last clear notes of a piece faded away, the audience was utterly silent before the room filled with audible sighs and then enthusiastic applause. Comments like “amazing and joyous voices”, “they were born to sing”,“what a treat!” “they sparkle, ” filled the room at the Oliver Alliance Church both at intermission and when the evening closed. No one wanted it to end.

Lead soprano Catherine Laub, soprano Karen Mang and mezzo soprano Fabiano Katz all bring extensive and formal training to their craft. They are writers, composers, conductors, teachers and soloists as well. What is not so easily acquired, however, is the passion, good humour, friendship and musical curiosity that underlines what they do so well. Their varied program demonstrated those rarer qualities, ones that result in true audience engagement. It was also inspirational.

One could go on forever about their technical capabilities, perfect balance and blend, excellent diction, controlled phrasing and more. I will focus rather on their ability to have the audience go beyond just hearing a well presented note but going one step further enabling us to “feel” that note and the story behind it. We heard the ice crack in “Frobisher Bay”. We shared the emotion underscoring “Love Is Not All”. We struggled to stay in our seats with the rollicking French Canadian “Reel a Bouche”. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t note the extra dimension provided by their instrumentation. It brought more delicious sounds into their vocal mix – singing bowls, temple bells, a child’s xylophone, a celtic drum, recorders, clarinet, guitar and, best of all, the kazoo. As kazoo players they are unparalleled! Equally interesting is that fully one half of their program featured Canadian content including premiering two touching pieces by Vancouver born cellist Stefan Hintersteininger.

One particular piece continues to resonate with this reviewer. Titled “Remember” with words by late Victoria poet Christina Rosetti and lyrics by Canadian Stephen Chatman, the song entreated the listener to “remember me”. Ladies of the Kallisto Trio, be assured we certainly will remember you. Thank you for truly lovely evening.

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 and

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 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 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!