The UVic Orchestra concert on February 1 takes its inspiration from Dvorák’s From the New World Symphony “by turning towards the future in presenting new and recently discovered musical ‘worlds’ and landscapes,” says conductor and School of Music professor Ajtony Csaba.
Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 in D Major (Haffner) is the musical point of reference for the first half of the concert. This symphony began as a serenade, commissioned as background music by the — a prominent Salzburg family — for the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner in 1782. Mozart converted the serenade into the symphony as we know it today, and it was premiered with great acclaim in 1783 in Vienna.
Georg Friedrich Haas composed …è finisci già?, paraphrasing another Mozart composition in D-major: the unfinished Horn Concerto K. 412. The title — translated as “Is that all [you’ve got]?” — quotes one of Mozart’s many provocative annotations in the score that reveals a humorous communication protocol between the composer and soloist.
Also on the program is Music alumnus Max Murray’s new composition, Cântece. Written specifically for the UVic Orchestra, Cântece reflects on the “essential wisdoms imparted by [Mozart]: the evocation and sustain of dramatic precariousness amidst textural transparency.”
Alumnus composer Max Murray
Dvorák wrote his famous Ninth Symphony in 1893 while he was the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. While living in America, Dvorák became interested in African-American spirituals, plantation songs of the American South as well as Native American traditions. From the New World — a synthesis of many musical traditions — became a fusion of both the Old World and the New.
Hear more about this program at a special pre-concert talk with Professor Gregor Kokorz (Wirth Institute, University of Alberta), composer Max Murray and conductor Ajtony Csaba. This free pre-concert talk begins at at 6:45pm in room C110 of UVic’s Clearihue building.
From the New World with the UVic Orchestra begins at 8pm Friday, February 1 at The Farquhar in UVic’s University Centre. Tickets are $10-$20 — but are free for any UVic student. You can buy tickets here.
UVic celebrates graduates old and new with our annual Alumni Week, running Feb 1- 8 across campus. From film screenings and fascinating talks to concerts, a curling bonspiel, Vikes basketball and the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards night, there will be over a dozen special events to check out. Better still, most are free, although you may have to register in advance.
And Fine Arts is a big part of Alumni Week this year, as we participate in five different events showcasing the talents of a number of our alumni. Here’s what’s coming up:
Did you know that 1 in 3 UVic staff and faculty are UVic alumni? It’s true, and you can meet many of them as we celebrate our campus alumni and kick off Alumni Week at an exclusive event at Cinecenta. Join us at noon on Feb 1 for a screening of the short film, ‘Til Death, by director and campus alumnus Connor Gaston.
About the film: After losing his soul mate in a fatal bicycle accident, 10-year-old Zachary sets out on a journey to bring Samantha back to life in this magical, modern fairy tale.
Gaston, who holds both a BFA and MFA from the Writing department, is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has screened at film festivals around the world, including the Toronto International Film Festival. Gaston’s first feature film, 2015’s The Devout, earned him five Leo Awards (including Best Picture), the BC Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best First Feature. He is also a current sessional instructor in UVic’s Writing department.
Pizza, popcorn and soda will be provided at the screening for just $5, plus everyone will receive a free gift! (Tickets at the door.) Following the film screening, there will be a Q&A with the director.
This event runs noon to 1pm Friday, Feb 1, at Cinecenta in UVic’s SUB. Film starts at 12:15pm, so come early to get your pizza!
Victoria-based vocal quintet Fifth Street combines the worlds of pop, jazz and R&B in perfect five-part harmony. The sublime voices of Natasha Penfield, Jilaine Orton, Ryan Narciso, Kenji Lee and Taylor Caswell found a groove together while students and as members of UVic’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble. You’ll enjoy their original a cappella arrangements of pop hits by the likes of Imogen Heap and Justin Timberlake as well as fresh takes on timeless classics.
UVic Music alumni are invited to an exclusive pre-concert reception with tasty hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, plus a special pre-concert appearance by Fifth Street. Hear them in action at 8pm Saturday, Feb 2, in the School of Music’s Phillip T Young Recital Hall, in UVic’s MacLaurin building B-wing. Entrance is by donation.
Distinguished Alumni Awards
Come join UVic’s annual celebration recognizing and honouring Distinguished Alumni Award winners that have been chosen from the faculties, UVic Libraries and Continuing Studies. This year, Fine Arts is honouring Theatre alumnus Nathan Medd —a cultural non-profit leader whose work is devoted to developing the performing arts in Canada.
Now the managing director of performing arts for the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity — the nation’s largest arts training institution and incubator of new works — Medd was also the managing director of English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre, where his team successfully championed Canadian creators and initiated a new national stage for Indigenous performance.
Join us at 7:30pm Tuesday, Feb 5, in the Songhees Wellness Centre, 1100 Admirals Rd. Free, but registration is required.
Nathan Medd (photo: Andrew Alexander)
Join 2019 Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Nathan Medd for this lively discussion about the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of creative placemaking. From development and gentrification to funding and accessibility for artists and audiences, get ready to “nerd out” about the business of the arts. Joining Medd on the panel will be long-time colleagues Kevin Kerr, Writing professor and co-founder of Vancouver’s Electric Company, Janet Munsil, former Intrepid Theatre artistic director and Metro Studio co-founder (also a Phoenix alumna and current MFA candidate in Writing), and Ian Case, Theatre alumnus, director of The Farquhar at UVic and former general manager of Intrepid Theatre.
In addition to his current position at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Medd was previously the managing director of English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre. As managing producer of Electric Company, he produced original works for the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad and co-founded East Vancouver’s Progress Lab performing arts creation studio in 2009. In Victoria, he worked for Intrepid Theatre, where he co-founded Metro Studio — a flagship venue for Vancouver Island — and held positions with both the Belfry Theatre and the BC Arts Council.
This free talk runs from 12:45-1:45pm Wed, Feb 6, in the Bishop Theatre at UVic’s Phoenix Building.
Join UVic Chancellor and CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers as she has a frank and fascinating live conversation with two-time Giller-prize winning novelist and Writing alumnus Esi Edugyan. The internationally acclaimed author of Washington Black, her latest novel, Edugyan is also the author of the Giller Prize-winning Half-Blood Blues and The Second Life of Samuel Tyne.
Join us at 7pm Thursday, Feb 7, in the Michelle Pujol Room at UVic’s SUB. Copies of Washington Black will also be for sale, courtesy of UVic’s Bookstore. Update: this event is now sold out, although a waiting list is being taken.
UVic is accessible by sustainable travel options including transit and cycling. For those arriving by car, pay parking is in effect. Evening parking is $3.
But wait, there’s more!
While Alumni Week only runs Feb 1-8, our Fine Arts alumni are busy throughout the year with their own creative endeavours. Here’s a quick rundown of some other alumni who are active around town in the next couple of weeks:
The 25th annual Victoria Film Festival features work by both Writing and Visual Arts alumni and students, running throughout the festival. Writing alum Connor Gaston is showing the short film Encore as part of the shorts program “Beautiful Obsessions” on Feb 4. The Safe Space Panorama exhibition runs Feb 2-10 at the Atrium and features work & talks by Visual Arts MFA candidate Levi Glass (talk: 3pm Feb 3), undergrads Laura Gildner (3pm Feb 4),Jordan Hill (3pm Feb 6) and Jake Hrubizna (3pm Feb 8), plus MFA alumni Leah McInnis (3pm Feb 7) & sessional instructor Emily Geen (5pm Feb 5), as well as the 25th anniversary multimedia installation States of Play, curated by recent Visual Arts alumna Gina Luke.
Phoenix alumna & musical theatre teacher Kim Sholinder and the student cast & crew of Victoria High School will perform the Broadway musical Cry-Baby — based on the hit 1990 John Waters film of the same name, which starred a young Johnny Depp! This upbeat, campy musical provides a fun twist on 1950s star-crossed young lovers. Cry-Baby runs Feb 5-9 at Victoria High School, 1260 Grant. Tickets are $10-$12.
The Victoria Arts Council is pleased to be working with Visual Arts MFA alumnus Hjalmer Wenstob on a new solo exhibition. For Ground; Background is a culmination of selected sculptures from over the last four years, as well as new works and installations. For Ground; Background hosts works of question, concern and education, in regards to environment, urban relationships to the land, and treaties. Wenstob is an interdisciplinary artist who specializes in sculpture, installation, and carving; he speaks of three dialects of his work — contemporary, traditional, and community-based.
Through his contemporary dialect, he completed both an undergraduate and master’s degree at UVic, exploring the relationships between cultures and art, and the balance between traditional and contemporary. His work is at times highly political and uses humour and irony to pose difficult questions of respect, reconciliation, and environmental issues. Nuu-Chah-Nulth from the Tla-O-Qui-Aht First Nations on his father’s side, and Norwegian and English on his mother’s side, Wenstob and his family recently opened Cedar House Gallery in Ucluelet, B.C. where he is exploring ways of weaving his contemporary/political work with more traditional materials and styles.
For Ground; Background runs until Feb 16 at the new Victoria Arts Council space at 1800 Store St. Open 11am-5pm Tues-Sat.
Visual Arts instructor & MFA alumnus Todd Lambeth presents Night Moves, a series of paintings that investigates the abstract relationship between space and colour. Influenced by Cubism, hard-edged Modernist painting, comic books and candy wrappers, the colours in these paintings reference the world of advertising and design. These visually stimulating works express the artist’s interest in perceptions of pictorial space and are a direct response to the proliferation of digital imagery and imaging technology.
These paintings explore optical perceptions of space; emphasizing the formal properties of structure and design, Lambeth’s images present the viewer with a sense of visual pleasure. With their bright, welcoming colours and forms the paintings in Night Moves foreground ideas of beauty and express Lambeth’s desire to create optimistic works that distract the viewer from the difficult times in which we live.
Night Moves runs through to March 2 at Deluge Contemporary Art, 636 Yates. There will be an artist talk at 3pm Sat, Feb 16.
Writing alumnus and former longtime Malahat Review editor John Barton has been named the new Poet Laureate of Victoria. Barton has written 26 books and is currently working on his first book of prose; his appointment was reported in this Times Colonist article and this piece from Monday Magazine.
Fowler (in yellow)
The Victoria Theatre Guild offers a lively version of this 2005 Tony-winning show — a clever, charming and sweet-natured musical comedy about six quirky tweens competing in the spelling bee of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, they spell their way through a series of words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing ding of the bell that signals a mistake. In the end, the youth learn that winning isn’t everything, and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.
Featuring a fantastic performance by Phoenix alumni Hailey Fowler and an outstanding set by Barbara Clerihue.
Spelling Bee runs until Feb 2 at Langham Court Theatre. Tickets are $25-$35 . . . if you can find one!
Start the semester with a healthy mindset at the annual Fine Arts Wellness Day, running 11am-2pm on Wednesday, Jan 16 in the Fine Arts lobby.
All Art History & Visual Studies, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts & Writing students are welcome to drop by to sign up for a free chair massage, enjoy free healthy snacks courtesy of UVic’s Nutrition Programming & Services, fill up your water bottles at our rejuvenating hydration station & learn about stress management and other wellness tips from UVic’s Office of Student Life.
And don’t miss two great same-day wellness events happening just next door at UVic’s Interfaith Chapel: the Pet Cafe (2:30 – 4pm) and the LOL: Laughter Meditation (2:45-4pm), both of which happen weekly.
The Fine Arts Wellness Day is a proud part of UVic’s wider Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs Jan 14-18 and offers a wide variety of activities including free yoga, the famed (and also free) Vikes black-light yoga rave, free meditation sessions, a free keynote performance by noted spoken word artist Shane Koyczan and more!
Wellness is an important part of both a general approach to life and student mental health. Fine Arts students often find themselves under additional pressures not shared by other students across campus, given the demands of rehearsals, instrument practice, performance and the push to be creative on top of maintaining a regular class schedule and keeping grades up.
Think well, be well, create well!
2019 is off to a harmonious start, thanks to a stellar series of faculty concerts at the School of Music. But while all of these performances feature current teaching faculty, there are also a number of concerts and recitals featuring current students and alumni. Be sure to check the School of Music’s online events calendar for complete listings.
Klazek and Schryer
Classical and folk music traditions are woven together in the Crossing Boundaries concert on January 13, where trumpet professor Merrie Klazek will be joined by fiddle champion Pierre Schryer and guitarist/vocalist Andy Hillhouse for an energetic concert showcasing a variety of musical styles ranging from Celtic and Latin to classic jazz and baroque.
Crossing Boundaries will take you on a journey through music ranging from 1560 to 2018. Expect to hear everything from ’70s pop and Irish reels to contemporary ballads, Latin Samba and Baroque court music, along with anecdotes and stories shared by the performers. The program will give Klazek an opportunity to demonstrate the many colours of the trumpet family—including piccolo, cornet, flugelhorn, and standard C and B-flat trumpets—while treating the audience to some the finest fiddle and guitar playing around.
Merrie Klazek is well-known as a performer, teacher and recording artist of orchestral, chamber, traditional and popular music, and her career has taken her around the globe. A celebrated performer and producer, Schryer is one of Canada’s leading traditional fiddlers and has established himself as a gem among fans and fellow musicians for his captivating performances. Hillhouse is a touring bandleader, choral director, music and culture scholar, and festival organizer.
Crossing Boundaries runs 2:30-4 pm Sunday, Jan. 13, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $10-20.
The Cross-Cultural Clarinet
Clarinetist Shawn Earle performs solo contemporary works influenced by non-western cultures in an afternoon concert on January 15. The clarinet is very versatile, with the ability to produce a variety of different tonalities and timbres. This concert explores this versatility through works imitating and influenced by South Asian Indian Raga, East African guitar, Balinese music and Japanese visual art. Other instruments such as a kick drum, Tibetan tea bowl and electronic sounds will be used to broaden the sonic pallet. Works on the program include Evan Zyporyn’s Four Impersonations, John Mayer’s Raga Music, Judith Shatin’s Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing: After Hokusai, and others.
Shawn Earle teaches clarinet at UVic, performs regularly as a soloist and has been a chamber musician with the Albemarle Ensemble, Cascadia Reed Quintet, Vancouver Clarinet Trio, Trio Dolce and guest artist with the Novo Ensemble. He has also performed with the Charlottesville Symphony Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Island Symphony and Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra.
The Cross-Cultural Clarinet runs 12:30-1:20 pm Tuesday, Jan. 15, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Admission is by donation.
Almost Blue: Chet Baker at 90
The late, great Chet Baker
The great American West Coast trumpeter and singer Chet Baker left a profound mark on jazz in his 40-year career. The iconic poster boy for West Coast cool jazz, Baker would have turned 90 this year. Take a journey through the fascinating world Baker lived in with a concert on January 18 featuring School of Music professor and trumpet personality Patrick Boyle, Victoria veteran pianist Tom Vickery, Don Cox on double bass, and drummer Morgan Childs.
Cool jazz refers to a style performed by jazz musicians in California in the 1950s and early 1960s. As opposed to the harder edged sound popular on the East Coast during that time, this cooler West Coast style was more lyrical and soft—Baker’s hallmark sound. Like fellow trumpeter Miles Davis, he could express himself in a few choice notes with his lyrical, poetic playing. Three decades after his untimely death, Baker’s music continues to resonate with listeners today.
Almost Blue: Chet Baker at 90 runs 8pm Friday, Jan. 18 in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $10-25.
Music for Cello, Soprano and Piano
Highbaugh Aloni, Vogt & Young
On January 27, School of Music professors cellist Pamela Highbaugh Aloni, pianist Bruce Vogt and soprano Susan Young will present a concert of works for cello, piano, and soprano by César Franck, Johannes Brahms and Leila Lustig.
Pamela Highbaugh Aloni has enjoyed performing both as a chamber musician and soloist in North America and Europe and is a co-founding member of the beloved Lafayette String Quartet. Among the elite of Canadian pianists, Bruce Vogt is a unique and dynamic performer. He appears regularly in concerts within Canada, but has also inspired audiences in England, the USA, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, China, and Japan. Canadian soprano Susan Young is in demand as a performer, choral conductor, clinician and adjudicator. Educated as both and singer, she is known for the diversity of her skills and has performed in Canada, the United States, Spain, France and Austria.
Music for Cello, Soprano and Piano runs 8pm Sunday, Jan. 27 in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $10-25.