Composer Gerald Barry celebrated in Victoria Symphony New Music Festival

Victoria, BC – February, 17, 2015

The work of composer Gerald Barry is the focus of this’s year’s Victoria Symphony’s New Music Festival, which includes concerts by the Victoria Symphony and Vox Humana.

Barry grew up in rural Ireland, where he had little exposure to music – only BBC classical when he went on car trips. The sudden outbursts of beautiful singing in Handel operas set him on the path to becoming a composer. Under the tutelage of Karlheinz Stockhausen after college, Barry developed a style with blend of hard edges and humour that entertains listeners: the only thing one can expect from Barry’s music with any certainty is the unexpected.

Former Victoria Symphony Composer in Residence Michael Oesterle chose Barry as the subject of this New Music Festival because he is relatively unknown to North American audiences. Barry’s chamber, choral and orchestral works will be played in the first festival in North America in his honour.

This New Music Festival will include concerts by the Victoria Symphony, Vox Humana, the Emily Carr String Quartet, and Sonic Lab, as well as special lectures both at the University of Victoria and preceding the Victoria Symphony’s concert. Featured Barry works include his string piece La Jalousie taciturne, his orchestral work Wiener Blut, Lisbon for piano and chamber ensemble, and choral works The Coming of Winter and Long Time. In addition to Barry’s pieces, each concert will feature the music of Canadian composers including Paul Frehner, Linda Catlin Smith, Jocelyn Morlock and both former and current VS Composers in Residence Michael Oesterle and Jared Miller.

A festival pass for all events is available for purchase at the Victoria Symphony office for $25, or tickets to individual concerts are available for $20. VS subscribers receive a discount on individual tickets.

Victoria Symphony New Music Festival celebrates Composer Gerald Barry
Saturday, March 7, 8 PM / Alix Goolden Performance Hall
Tania Miller, conductor

University of Victoria Sonic Lab
Thursday March 5, 8:00 pm / Phillip T. Young Recital Hall
Ajtony Csaba, conductor

Vox Humana
Friday March 6, 8:00 pm – Lutheran Church of the Cross
Brian Wismath, conductor / Brian Yoon, cello

An Interview with Michael Oesterle about Gerald Barry
Saturday, March 7, 7:00 pm – Alix Goolden Performance Hall
Tania Miller will speak with Michael preceding the Victoria Symphony concert

Emily Carr String Quartet
Monday, March 9, 8:00 pm – Wood Hall (Victoria Conservatory of Music)
with Tzenka Dianova, piano

For tickets call 250.385.6515 or click here.

Young Canadian piano superstar Jan Lisiecki returns to Victoria to play Ravel’s Concerto in G

Victoria, BC – Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jan Lisiecki returns to Victoria March 2 to play Ravel’s jazzy Piano Concerto in G in a concert that will feature conductor Andrew Grams in his Victoria debut. The evening concert also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” and Ana Sokolović’s Ringelspiel.

When Calgary-born Jan Lisiecki was just 9 years old, he made his first appearance with the Calgary Philharmonic. At 11, he played with Yo-Yo Ma, and by 15 he had an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Since these prodigal beginnings, Lisiecki, now 19, has built a major international career, including performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. Since January 2015, he will have completed transatlantic journeys twice: starting the year playing with the Seattle Symphony, he then toured a solo recital around Italy and alpine nations. At the end of March, he will play his first concert in the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi. And fortunately for Victoria, Lisiecki has found a place for us this winter.

Lisiecki will play Ravel’s delightful and challenging Piano Concerto in G. Ravel wrote the concerto between 1929 and 1931, and was heavily influenced by jazz. The work, replete with jazz idioms and chords, uses dissonant harmonies and jazz instrument technique to create a classical piece reminiscent of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. While the concerto is an opportunity for the pianist to show off his technique, the work features many parts that accentuate the skill of orchestra members, particularly a haunting English horn duet with the piano in the second movement.

The concert will be led by conductor Andrew Grams in his Victoria debut. Grams began his musical education playing violin, which he played to earn a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Julliard, and went on to earn a conducting degree at the Curtis Institute. Since completing his education in 2003, Grams has led many orchestras around the word, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, and the Orchestre National de France, to name a few. Grams is in his second year as the Music Director of the Elgin (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, his first such position. In addition to the Ravel concerto, Grams will lead the VS through Canadian composer Ana Sokolović’s Ringelspiel and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral.”

 

Pianist Stewart Goodyear Plays Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 for the first time in Victoria

Victoria, BC – Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On January 31 and February 1, superstar pianist Stewart Goodyear returns to Victoria to play Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2. VS Music Director Tania Miller leads the concert, which also includes a recent composition by Vancouver-based composer Jocelyn Morlock and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8.

Stewart Goodyear was inspired to become a pianist at age three when he first heard Tchaikovsky and Grieg’s piano concertos. After starting formal piano lessons four years later, Toronto-born Goodyear completed studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Curtis Institute and Julliard respectively. Goodyear has performed with the world’s greatest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. While he is known as a Beethoven specialist, his repertoire is varied, from Bach to Liszt to Messiaen, and, as Victoria will find out January 31 and February 1, Brahms. This will be the first time Goodyear will perform the immense Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2.

Brahms wrote his first piano concert at age 25, and it was quickly recognized as a work of genius. Twenty years later, he tried the genre again, and wrote what many consider to be the better work; better structured, better orchestrated and overall a more balanced work. Yet his Piano Concerto No. 2 is such an intense undertaking for all parties involved –including orchestra, conductor and soloist– that it is performed less than its popularity merits. While the solo piano part requires rigorous technique, the true genius of the concerto is the way Brahms wrote the solo as a voice within the greater work, creating a single artistic statement. Even the structure of the four-movement concerto belies the work’s classification as a concerto; really it can be considered a symphony with piano.

These concerts mark the second time Tania Miller will lead Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in Victoria, having last conducted the work in 2008, the last time this work was performed in Victoria. Also on the program is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, a Classical symphony demonstrating the composer’s brilliance. A work by BC composer Jocelyn Morlock, Music of the Romantic Era, opens the program.

As part of the new VS outreach program Behind the Music, there will be a free open rehearsal of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 at the University of Victoria on Wednesday, Janaury 28. Attendees will have the opportunity to sit on stage or behind the orchestra to see and hear exactly what happens at a professional rehearsal. More details and how to RSVP are available at www.victoriasymphony.ca/behindthemusic. Behind the Music is an special series including special preconcert Tania Talks by Music Director Tania Miller, open rehearsals, and other special events designed to enrich the concert experience.