A Spring of Music 2015 in Victoria BC. March-May.

A Spring of Music 2015 in Victoria BC. March-May.

Regular readers of my Monday Magazine column and this website know that I have a wide interest in the arts; it spans not only theatre but music, art and dance.  In fact when my children were young (and taking piano and trumpet lessons) our arts experiences were mainly focused on concerts with the University of Victoria School of Music events being some of our favourites.  In recent years I have come to know many musical theatre artists given my association with the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and due also to the cross-over nature of arts practice in Victoria.

I also have an interest in “new music” and have become acquainted with a cadre of composers and musicians since attending events related to the Cage 100 Festival celebrations in 2012.  As a former choir member I try to stay marginally aware of interesting choral concerts too.

Here’s my curated list of music events for the period March-May 2015. There is truly something for everyone, from Broadway hits to family-friendly musicals, young-adult choruses, classical music, new music and vocal explorations presented by the Canadian College of Performing Arts, Victoria Symphony, Victoria Operatic Society, Pacific Opera Victoria, Four Seasons Musical Theatre, Open Space Victoria, A Place to Listen, University of Victoria School of Music, Sing Your Joy!, Oak Bay Music, and the Victoria Bach Ensemble.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I’ll add other events as I become aware of them.

Musical notes
Photo by Epic Fireworks on Flickr

The Gerald Barry Festival

March 5-9
performances by the Victoria Symphony, UVic’s Sonic Lab, the Emily Carr String Quartet and Vox Humana.
UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA ORCHESTRA Friday, March 6, 8:00 p.m. ($15 & $10), University Centre Farquhar Auditorium
A Symphonic Ornithology

Ajtony Csaba, Conductor
Johann Strauss – Die Fledermaus: Ouverture
Gioachino Rossini – La Gazza Ladra: Sinfonia
Antonín Dvorák – The Wild Dove
Igor Stravinsky – Firebird-Suite

and excerpts from works by Saint-Saëns, Parker and W.A. Mozart.

Trio Dinicu
March 7, 8pm at Merlin’s Sun Home Theatre, 1983 Fairfield Road
Reservations necessary by email to Tim Gosley (click the link). Tickets $20

Infectious folk gypsy jazz with classical & crossover. Trio Dinicu is in town from Los Angeles for a ‘Music by the Sea’ fundraiser. This is a rare opportunity to see them in a small (60 seat) house concert setting.

Even before their CD release in 2013, Trio Dinicu has been gaining much attention. The performances of these three internationally acclaimed artists feature folk music, gypsy jazz specialties and also their own original compositions. Musically, they blend the depth of classical training with the spontaneity of jazz and the excitement of European folk tradition.

Friday, March 13, 8:00 p.m. ($18 & $14), Phillip T. Young Recital Hall
Guitarworks: Baroque Edition Alexander Dunn, baroque guitar

With Douglas Hensley, theorbo, soprano Anne Grimm, Soile Stratkauskas, baroque flute, Ann Fraser, baroque violin, and Martin Bonham, baroque cello.
Performing music by Handel, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, and Monteverdi.

UVIC JAZZ ENSEMBLE Dr. Patrick Boyle, Director
Saturday, March 14, 8:00 p.m. ($15 & $10), Phillip T. Young Recital Hall

An eclectic evening of contemporary works for jazz ensemble, including a rare performance of the Ebony Concerto by Igor Stravinsky.

A Place to Listen
March 18 at James Bay United (corner of Menzies and Michagan)

The A Place to Listen Ensemble will be presenting a selection of works from Christians Wolff’s Prose Pieces, a hugely influential collection of text based scores by one of the most important voices from the American experimental tradition.

Lights, Action: Student Spectacular!
March 20, 8:00 p.m. ($15 & $10), University Centre Farquhar Auditorium

Dr. Gerald King, Conductor
David P. Gagnon, Graduate Assistant Conductor
Jeff Tyzik – New York Cityscape: Concerto for Brass Quintet and Wind Ensemble (Canadian Premiere) with guest ensemble, Brasstastics
Eric Whitacre – Godzilla Eats Las Vegas
Broadway Lights—Canadian College of Performing Arts with the Victoria Symphony
March 20/21/22 Giuseppe Pietraroia, conductor

Welcome back to the amazingly talented young singers, dancers, and performers of the Canadian College of Performing Arts in a tribute to the best of Broadway. Get your tickets early and don’t miss out on seeing these future stars!

Voice ++ Festival 2015 at Open Space Victoria
March 20-22 with concerts, workshops and more

Voice ++ is Open Space’s festival that focuses on the exploration of the human voice and its intersection with sound and music. This year’s festival is our 10th installment and includes all the favorite elements from our past festivals: a workshop, improvised music for voice, voice and electronics, art song, contemporary vocal techniques, one-woman operas, and a performative lecture.  True to Voice++ was have invited three artists who are pushing boundaries and presenting experimental work. Voice++ 2015 will feature the work of Tomomi Adachi, Janice Jackson, and Erik Bünger.

Iolanthe presented by the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Victoria
March 20/21/22 at the Charlie White Theatre in Sidney
March 28/29
at the McPherson Playhouse

A delightful operetta where fairies interfere in the lives of the Peers of the British Parliament with magical results.

IOLANTHE is the seventh of the Gilbert and Sullivan collaborations and is their most charming with arguably some of the best music Sir Arthur Sullivan ever wrote.

Don’t miss this extravaganza. Fairies in Fairyland in their beautiful fairy costumes, peers of the realm in all their splendour, Sullivan’s phenomenal music, which is all “held together” by our Maestro George Corwin and a 13 piece professional orchestra. Come and enjoy exuberant choreography by Heather Elaine-Day and stage direction by our imaginative Jennifer Hoener.

Victoria Guitar Trio at Oak Bay Music Matinée concert
March 22 at St Mary’s, 1701 Elgin Rd

Guitarists Adrian Verdejo, Bradford Werner and Michael Dias will perform a blend of European Renaissance vocal music arranged for plucked strings and lyrical 20th/21st Century works by West Coast composers.

March 25
, 8:00 p.m. ($15 & $10) Strings, Stars & Voices!

Garry Froese, Conductor

With guests, the Lafayette String Quartet

St. Aidan’s United Church (3703 St. Aidan’s)

March 28, 8:00 p.m. ($15 & $10), University Centre Farquhar Auditorium
Dear Strangers

Ajtony Csaba, Conductor
Adam Con, Chorus Director
George Gershwin – An American in Paris
Joseph Haydn – Mass in D Major Hob. II:11 (Nelson-Mass)

March 29
, 2:30 p.m. ($15 & $10), Phillip T. Young Recital Hall
To Sing in the Spring! Susan Young, Director

Singing songs of Spring and the Easter season.

10 Years of The Don Wright Symphonic Winds
April 2 ( $15 & $10), UVic Farquhar Auditorium
Dr. Michael Keddy, Conductor

A selection of musical favourites from the first 10 years of the Don Wright Symphonic Winds.

Alumni Concert Series: Twin Kennedy It’s A Love Thing CD release tour
April 9
, ($18 & $14), Phillip T Young Recital Hall
Carli and Julie Kennedy (B.Mus ’08) return as country music duo Twin Kennedy to present a CD Release concert that blends their classical training with their country roots.

MADAMA BUTTERFLY Pacific Opera Victoria.
Music by Giacomo Puccini Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa
April 9, 11, 15, 17 at 8 pm
April 19 at 2:30 pm

Pre-performance talk 1 hour before curtain

A young geisha renounces her family to marry an American man. When he leaves to go back to his own country, she waits with their child for his return.

Though she is the gentlest of heroines, Butterfly has formidable inner strength. Guided by honour and fidelity, sustained by hope, she refuses for the longest time to believe she has been abandoned

Time Warp, Sing Your Joy! In concert.
April 10/11 at Oak Bay United Church

Victoria’s only young adult non-auditioned chorus in their annual spring concert (look for another performance in December).

Michael Burgess in concert  unfortunately due to illness, this concert was cancelled.
April 11 at the Victoria Conference Centre
(partial proceeds to the Canadian College of Performing Arts scholarship fund)

Few people in Canadian entertainment have had the impact of Michael Burgess in the last decade. His major theatre credits includes the role of Jean Valijean in “Les Miserables” at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre (Dora Award Nomination), The Concert at Skydome and the first national Canadian tour and the Tenth Anniversary Concert at Royal Albert Hall, London, England.  Other major performances include “Man of la Mancha”, “Blood Brothers and numerous starring roles throughout Canada and the United States. Besides appearing off Broadway, Michael has appeared with the Stratford Festival, The National Arts Centre, Charlottetown Festival and Citadel Theatre to name just a few.

A Place to Listen
April 15, James Bay United Church (corner of Menzies and Michigan)

More than a concert series, A Place to Listen is about creating a space. A quiet place where, for an hour or two, one can be deeply attuned to something. Nothing spectacular or sensational. Just some tones and some silence. In our current culture of hyper-stimulation and saturation—which attempts to colonize our imaginations and demands that we not look too closely, or feel too deeply—this kind of musical practice is, for me, essential. It feeds a part of us that, more and more, we are learning to neglect. The part that needs quiet.

Rather than a concert series, this is a listening series.

A Place to Listen is thrilled to be hosting American pianist R. Andrew Lee for the 7th concert of our season.

Andrew, whose playing has been described as “Zen link in its perfection”, often performs music that he describes as being “minimal” in nature:

“I am entranced by the invitation that minimal music offers the listener. Rather than pushing and pulling listeners through a piece – manipulating us (no matter how deftly) into some experience – minimal music presents an invitation to explore a musical space slowly and carefully. Where Beethoven gave us drama that touches our souls, for which we rightly praise him, minimal music gives us a sunset, and we gaze in wonder.”

Over the last few years, Andrew has released 7 cds devoted to large scale, minimal piano works by living experimental music composers, including Wandelweiser composers Jürg Frey and Eva-Maria Houben. Andrew’s cd Eva-Maria Houben: Piano Music made the New Yorker’s Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2013, and his recording of Dennis Johnson’s November was named Time Out NY’s #1 Classical CD of 2013.

Program Details:

Craig Shepard: December
Eva-Maria Houben: 6 Short Partitas (world premiere)

Jürg Frey: Klavierstück 2
Mark Hannesson: Memory Sustained

Smokey Joe’s Cabaret at the Canadian College of Performing Arts
April 16-25 at the CCPA Performance Hall, 1701 Elgin Rd

Smokey Joe’s Cafe is a musical revue showcasing the fabulous songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. This fantastic production will bring the Broadway classics of New York to Victoria to showcase the singers, dancers, and actors who will become some of the country’s top emerging stars.

Victoria Choral Society, Drums and Voices (celebrating the society’s 80th anniversary)
April 16 at UVic Farquhar Auditorium

Featuring the premiere of “Nocturno” by Liova Bueno
plus 20th-century choral music with percussion and pianos, including works by Carl Orff, Bob Chilcott, Jonathan Dove and Aaron Copland

Victoria Bach Ensemble in concert
April 18 at Church of Saint John the Divine, 1611 Quadra Street

Now in its 11th season, the Victoria Bach Ensemble returns with an exciting program of instrumental and vocal works. The ensemble, founded by trumpeter David Barss and keyboardist Michael Drislane, features outstanding local musicians committed to spirited performance. Along with such perennial favourites as the Brandenburg Concerto No.5, the concert will feature selections from two of Bach’s beautiful Church Cantatas, and the world premiere of Drislane’s new version of The Musical Offering for winds, strings and harpsichord. The Musical Offering was dedicated to King Frederick the Great, and is one of Bach’s finest late works, featuring the greatest trio sonata ever written, and a miraculous 6-part fugue.

Rachel Iwaasa (piano) at Oak Bay Music matinée concert
April 19, St Mary the Virgin, 1701 Elgin Rd

Performing Bach’s Goldberg variations

Improv 374: Guest House
April 24, Open Space Victoria (by donation)

Having met in Alexandra Pohran-Dawkins’ improvisation class at the University of Victoria School of Music, these emerging musicians are ready to show what they’ve got! Dominic Thibault (clarinet), Kelsey Wheatley (voice), and Sean Maynard (saxophone) will be presenting and evening of improvised music.

Come join us for an inspiring evening of music and support some of Victoria’s emerging talents.

This event is part of Open Space’s “Guest House” http://www.openspace.ca/GuestHouse

Music We Love and Roomtone: The Official Opening
April 24, Open Space (by donation)

Join us for “Music We Love” an event in which a composer, performer, or music lover presents a piece of contemporary music they love and tell us all about it. Sunday’s presenters will be local composers Alex Jang and Nathan Friedman. This event is a great way to hear music you have never heard before or to get your toes wet in 20th and 21st century repertoire. (see the FAQ below!)

Also at this event, we will be hosting the official opening of Steve Bjørnson’s Roomtone, an interactive sound installation currently inhabiting Open Space’s listening room. Roomtone is currently available to be experienced during Open Space’s public hours from April 10 till May 28.

Les Misérables, Victoria Operatic Society
May 1-10, MacPherson Theatre

This international smash-hit may be the most popular musical in the world. Set in early 19th-century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his quest for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread. Valjean breaks his parole and starts his life anew after a kindly bishop inspires him by a tremendous act of mercy, but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade.

Victoria Mendelssohn Choir, directed by Simon Leung with soloists Anna Shill (soprano) and Joshua Lovell (tenor)
May 2 (Victoria) Oak Bay United Church May 3 (Sidney) St Elizabeth Church

On the program: Bach, Mendelssohn, Schubert

Josh Layne (harp) at Oak Bay Music matinée concert
May 3,
St. Mary the Virgin, 1701 Elgin Rd.

A Place to Listen
May 20
, James Bay United Church (corner of Menzies and Michigan)

More than a concert series, A Place to Listen is about creating a space. A quiet place where, for an hour or two, one can be deeply attuned to something. Nothing spectacular or sensational. Just some tones and some silence. In our current culture of hyper-stimulation and saturation—which attempts to colonize our imaginations and demands that we not look too closely, or feel too deeply—this kind of musical practice is, for me, essential. It feeds a part of us that, more and more, we are learning to neglect. The part that needs quiet.

Rather than a concert series, this is a listening series.

Shrek, the Musical, Four Seasons Musical Theatre
May 22-31
at Isabelle Reader Theatre (Spencer Middle School) Langford

To celebrate its 40th season, Four Seasons Musical Theatre has assembled an award winning production team for its most ambitious project to date.

In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre – not a handsome prince – shows up to rescue a feisty princess.  Throw in an overly talkative donkey, a bad guy with a short temper, a cookie with an attitude, and a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero.  Luckily, there’s one on hand…and his name is Shrek.

Full of all-new songs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery.  Shrek is part romance, part twisted comedic fairy tale and all irreverent fun for everyone!

 Music Inside Out: Mozart, Emily Carr String Quartet
May 23 at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (tickets at the gallery or at Ivy’s Bookstore)

Explore Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with a morning of music, tea and insight into the fascinating life of one of the most prolific and influential composers.

Tea, coffee and sundries, followed by discussion, analysis and a full performance of Mozart String Quartet K.”575 are included in the morning’s program.

Renowned conductor and musical educator Maestro Timothy Vernon will host the event.  He is the founding Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Victoria and has conducted every major orchestra and Opera company in Canada. Maestro Vernon has been honored for his work by receiving The Order Of Canada.

The Emily Carr String Quartet has quickly established itself as one of BC’s finest music ensembles. Formed in 2006 by members of the Victoria Symphony in Victoria BC, the Emily Carr String Quartet has gone on to performances in the US, Europe and Asia. They have collaborated with artists such as William Preucil, Jamie Parker, Arthur Rowe, the Alcan Quartet and the Tin Alley Quartet. The ECSQ has been featured on CBC radio’s “North by Northwest” and their CD “Hidden Treasure” was nominated for the 2012 classical recording of the year at the Western Canadian music awards.

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