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Leila has done it again! Last night at the Chan Centre the Vancouver Recital Society presented a fantastic and absolutely memorable season opener. Playing to a packed house on a gorgeous new Steinway gifted to the VRS by music lover and philanthropist Martha Lou Henley, Andras Schiff performed the entire first book of Johann Sebastian Bach’s the Well-tempered Clavier. Schiff’s first appearance for the Vancouver Recital Society was in 1982 and what a marvelous anniversary evening this was!

Seeing the lone Schiff on stage in the magnificent Chan Centre I felt I was in a cathedral, with its’ soaring ceilings and dedication of an entire evening to the Bach Well-Tempered Clavier consisting of 24 Preludes and Fugues moving from C major chromatically up the scale in major and minor modes to end with the Fugue in B minor.  From the first note, I was transported to an altogether different plane of existence, and I was not alone, Andras Schiff held the audience in rapt attention, spell-bound through the entire journey.

Schiff’s superb renderings of the preludes were at times gentle, earthly and playful, while the fugues were monumental and magnificent. His voicings were pure and the piano responded beautifully. Never once using the pedal, relying only on his clean articulation and physical sustain to create depth and resonance to the sound, he was able to achieve musical lines and phrases that touched the soul.  The technical filigree work and intense fast passage work were equally sensational in their execution, but the technical never once outpowered the musical intent of the line and direction of the music. But it was the way Schiff was able to conjure the intangible, the spiritual, that “vastness” of human experience that Bach opens for us, that was truly uplifting. Pacing the performance perfectly with no breaks save for an intermission after the twelfth fugue, Schiff drew us in and held us with his understanding and love for this genius, JS Bach.

The Well-tempered Clavier dates from a prolific period in Bach’s life in Cothen, where he had a sympathetic and generous patron, Prince Leopold, behind him, allowing him the freedom of time to explore and produce instrumental music. The magnificent works for solo cello and violin, the French and English Suites the two and three part inventions and the Brandenburg Concertos as well as the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier were written in these years.

Thank you Leila for having the vision and fortitude to bring such monumental concerts to Vancouver! The Vancouver Recital Society has been going strong for over thirty years, enriching our lives and celebrating music in all it’s unabashed glory. 

The next Concert is Sunday October 21st at the Vancouver Playhouse.





Canada is home to one of the largest and most prestigious instrument banks in the world.

Administered through the Canada Council, the MIB (musical instrument bank) includes more than 20 magnificent Italian and French instruments totalling over 35 million dollars.

The MIB collection includes the Baumgartner,Taft, Windsor-Weinstein, and Lyall Stadiarius violins and the Bonjour Stradivari cello as well as  violins by Guarneri Del Gesu, Montagnana, Gagliano, Guadagnini, Scarampella, Vuillaume, Pressenda, Rocca and cellos by Celoniatus and Gagliano.

The MIB started in 1985 through the $100,000.00 legacy of the Barwick family of Ottawa, since then it has grown steadily thanks to donations, loans, and purchases made by donated funds. It is also interesting to note the exponential increase in value of the collection, due to the rarity of these instruments.

It is heart-warming for me to see the generosity of Canadians promoting arts and culture in Canada by making these wonderful gifts.To view and learn about this amazing collection click this link

This collection of rare instruments is not simply a museum installation!

Every three years, top Canadian musicians compete for the chance to borrow one of these legendary instruments.

The final winners were announced last Wednesday.

I am happy to see that Arnie Choi from Calgary, whom I first heard as an adjudicator for the Calgary Kiwanis Festival and later in Quebec City where he won the Stepping Stone in 2008, our own Ariel Barnes principal cello of the Vancouver Opera and active chamber musician and soloist, brothers Timothy and Nikki Chooi of Victoria and Vancouver trained Jonathan Chan are among this years winners.

The definitive list includes:

Sophie Rolland, Iryna Krechkovsky, Arnold Choi, Jing Wang, Nikki Chooi, Jonathan Chan, Emily Westell, Timothy Chooi, Ariel Barnes, Matilda Kaul, Min-Jeong Koh, Emmanuel Vukovich, Veronique Mathieu,Se-Doo Park,Karen Ouzounian, Carissa Klopoushak, Boson Mo, Andrea Tyniec, Kerry DuWors Rachel Desoer, and carreer loans to Dennis brott and Lara St. John.

To see and learn about these musicians click this link

to see and hear interview click this link

JOY 3 beats record raises over $3700.00 for childhood cancer

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Last night we held our 3rd annual JOY of MUSIC and it was a success in every way! We raised over $3700.00 for research and treatment for childhood cancer for the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, a fantastic affirmation, that if you really believe, you can make a positive change in the world around you! We had a fabulous night of music-making and we all had a great time! We showcased 9 outstanding soloists on violin, cello, double-bass and viola, who all performed with artistry, passion and brilliance; from Scherzo Tarantelle to Flamenco from solo Bach to the fiery Csardas, all of the performers were charged with electricity that was almost flammable.

After an interesting cello mishap and a resulting trip to Portland Oregon the day before, to restore his beloved Michetti Cello, Tate Zawadiuk opened the concert with fiery abandon transporting us to another world with the Chants D'espagne. Double-bassist Jeese Lu stole our hearts with his warm and captivating rendition of the Beethoven Romance in F major. Eleven year Aline Dumalski, a tour de force, played the Scherzo Tarantelle with charisma and a strength remiscent of the violin giant, David Oistrakh. We will be watching out for Aline!

Cellist Trisha Doo followed with a poised, elegant and beautiful Bach. Trisha only 15, has developed a large fan base, with almost 10,000 views on her youtube channel. Tammy Chan followed with a no-holds-barred riveting performance of the Gigue from the Partitia in d minor. We were then treated to the complete Bach  Sonata #1 in g minor performed by 3 different violinists.

Twelve year old Angelica Chen played her heart out in this fluid, dreamy and soulful Adagio, while Jack Zhang approached the Fugue with accuracy and clarity. Edmund Chung, a musician's musician, ended with the Sicilienne that was mature, thoughtful, polished with perfectly formed phrasings, and followed the gentle lilting of the Sicilienne with a powerhouse of a Presto. Playing in the upper half of the bow with the full weight and power of a legato stroke he was able to pull off a spicatto that would rival Luke Skywalker in force, this was truly a commanding and compelling performance!

Tate came back and wove a spell over the audience with the Tagell Flamenco, he really told a story and held the audience in rapt attention as he took us on an intense journey of the flamenco. And then, it got even better, when veteran of the stage and alumnus, violinist Melody Lee BMus Colburn, Artisit Diploma Colburn School of Music paired up with Edmund Chung for a flat out, knock down breathtaking Handel-Halvorsen. The ensemble between the two was  flawless, the intertwining of phrases, tempo changes,and tonal colourations  showed off their prodigious technique and their musicianship beautifully.

The last part of the concert, the soloists grouped into a nonet plus 2 violin soloists for my special arrangement of Csardas, which showcases the stunning virtuosity of the violin, and of course the violinists. This is the 2nd time Edmund Chung and Melody Lee played the  Csardas together  and they have deveolped a flirtatious interplay, trading solo lines, toying with rubato and dynamics for a delicious and spicy performance. The VIOLINPOWER! ensemble sounded great with 1st time JOY performer Henry Liao as concert-master. We all look forward to more performances with Henry who brought it all to the table, with absolute musicality, ease and good humour, a great fit for VIOLINPOWER! Everyone had fun playing with gypsy fire with perfect ensemble playing, from the cadenza laden opening the devlish vivace to the gentle swayings of the Meno tempos and then driving right through to the end with a wild gypsy flourish!

We ended the program with the entire VIOLINPOWER! orchestra, and this year we had seven new juniors, so it was very exciting to see these young violinists come into the fold, and performing greensleeves with a richness of sound Vaughn Willimesque in scope, for a perfect close to our concert. Cherie Spence from the BC Children's Hospital Foundation made the awards for top Senior Philanthropist, Edmund Chung, and top Junior Philanthropist Julia Xu, who were each bestowed with the title "super hero".

This concert would not have been possible without the great support of my good friends and vounteer staff, Adrian Lee, Trish Hopkins, Marcelle O'Reilly,Holly Littleford,Jim Littleford,Don Simpson, Arlen Vranic, Toma Doo,Bo Mon Kwan, Jennivine Doo, Alfred Hurwitz, Tammy Chan, Edmund Chung,Diana Pallot, Vancouver Community College and our supporters OMNITV Lisa Wu, Vancouver Recital Society, Long and McQuade, Sikoras Classical Records, Prussin Music, Quriing Music, and McDonalds Pharmacy. Thank you all and I look forward to next june's  JOY4!

Published Article about JOY of MUSIC

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Our 3rd Annual JOY of MUSIC concert is drawing near!  Read about the concept behind JOY.  Click here for the article.


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I just got back from our 1st rehearsal of Csardas, it was totally exhilerating! This year we have pared down the VIOLINPOWER! ensemble to a nonet plus two solo violins and it is really working well. Edmund Chung and Melody Lee(back in town from Los Angeles at Colburn under Rober Lipsett) are tearing up the solos, Henry Liao (back from Winnipeg under Oleg Pokhanovsky) as concert-master is leading with panache and style. The lower strings are a tour-de-force, with Jesse Lu playing his solo bass, tuned one whole tone higher, his sound is enormous and rich, while the cellos drive the ensemble with clarity and precision. Tate Zawadiuk shines in his mini-cadenza at the opening, and having Trisha Doo in the ensemble is a real treat, this is her 1st JOY, check out Trisha's youtube postings to hear her play solo. The junior performers are pouring their hearts into the Greensleeves. Everyone has really been pulling together for this JOY and with 2 weeks to go we already have about 40% of the tickets sold! It all came together for me tonight after hearing the Csardas, it feels really great to bring these musicians together, to see the magic they create, and the friendships they build. Also performing solo are Aline Dumalski, Angelica Chen Trisha Doo, and Edmund and Melody will perform the iconic and ever favorite Handel-Halvorsen Passacagli duo for violin and Viola, with Edmund swithcing up instruments for this performance.The concert is Sunday June 10th 5:00pm VCC School of Music.


The VYSO and tsyo youth orchestra extravaganza concert was a truly cultural bridge, where east and west came together for a spectacular show of technical prowess and musical energy, that swept the audience off it's feet. The first half of the concert showcased the Vancouver Youth Orchestra with the works of Shostokovitch, the Festive Overture, and Tchaikovsky Francesca de Rimini. Thier performances were electric and exuberant. Roger Cole a the helm of the 95 piece VYSO, led with fiery abandon, while the orchestra matched with intensity and passion. The next section of the program featured the tsyo, performing Paul Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis of themes by C.M. von Weber. The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra string sound was bristling and the section playing taut and glistening with precision. The entire orchestra played with the maturity and panache of a professional orchestra. Alain Trudel found depth and beauty in the score and led with almost dance-like grace. After the intermission the two orchestras came together for Tchaikovsky Cappriccio Italien and the Glinka Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla. 176 musicians on stage at the Chan Centre. Wow! Hearing 56 violins playing together was breathtaking, hearing a string section of 106 performers was nirvanna, the resonation and blend of the strings created a kind satin sheen to the sound that sonically defines the word heaven. Seeing and hearing this convergence of two orchestras bringing our vast country together produced a sort of ecstasy. This, I will never forget. The young musicians of our country are truly engaged, proving that symphonic  music is alive and well in Canada: more than that, it is pulsing with life and vibrancy. Thank you to Roger Cole and Alain Trudel for having this vision, of bringing these musicians together, and to all of the many people who brought this fantastic dream to fruition. Kudos and heartfelt thanks!


Vancouver Sun critic David Gordon Duke comments on the Seoul Philharmonic.  Here are links to three articles by David Gordon Duke:

Review: Seoul Philharmonic a class act

Seoul Philharmonic promises a powerhouse presentation

Korean orchestra wields power with perfect discipline


Violinist Angelica Chen has been invited to perform a the Coquitlam District Music Festival Gala Concert, April 22nd 2012, where she will be awarded the Ellen Tso trophy for most promising young string player.  Angelica won 1st place in the competition in February of this year. 

The Ellen Tso trophy is bestowed at the discretion of the adjudicator, this year, Grant Donellan Violinist on faculty of Western Washington University, chose  twelve year old Angelica Chen.

This is the 2nd Coquitlam Gala for Angelica,in the past year, under the tutelage of Toni Stanick  Angelica was also invited to perform for the Burnaby Clef and Festival on the Lake Gala Concerts, and was featured in recital for the Burnaby Clef and Vancouver Women's Musical Society, for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and in the JOY of MUSIC 2011.

Upcoming events for Angelica include the Coquitlam Gala, String Masterclass at VCC School of Music April 21st, and 

JOY of MUSIC 2012  June 10th, VCC School of Music.


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Phil Dwyer's masterpiece Changing Seasons won the JUNO for

Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year!

Phil Dwyer solo sax, Mark Fewer solo violin and leader, and Ingrid Jensen solo Trumpet

backed up by jazz big band and a 21 piece string orchestra.

This cd is available at  iTunes Amazon CDUniverse

Recorded in Vancouver July 2011.

This was an awesome project the music is inventive, challenging and intense,

and pure unadulterated pleasure to perform!


Soo Young Kim has just returned back to Seoul after performing an historical concert bridging cultural ties between North Korea and France. The Unharu Orchestra and the Radio France Philharmonic played to a packed house at the Salles Pleyel in Paris.

Conductor Chung Myung-Whun (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra) spearheaded this project and brought it to fruition,wishing to begin bridging the divide between north and south.

Soo Young said "It was a very interesting experience. I got to meet North Korean musicians for the first time in my life!" She looks forward to many more cultural exchanges in the future.

Soo Young will be in Vancouver mid-April performing with the Seoul Philharmonc.

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