The Vancouver Chamber Music Society is bringing a pair of “world-class” performances to town as part of its inaugural season at the new North Delta Centre for the Arts.
VCMS is kicking off the series with a one-hour midday performance by the Vancouver Cello Quartet on Tuesday, Jan. 31, before continuing in April with an evening concert by New York-based clarinet-violin-piano ensemble The Zodiac Trio.
The concerts, held in partnership with the City of Delta, are part of the society’s mandate to bring classical music to a broader audience away from the usual big-name venues, says founder and artistic director Kevin Park.
“Unlike the other reputable concert series that are established in downtown Vancouver — it’s almost synonymous; when people consider going to see world-class classical music, we should go to downtown, right? — we wanted to break that trend.
“So what we do is we don’t stick to any downtown [Vancouver] venues, but rather we’ll go to the surrounding areas and established independent venues all across the Lower Mainland,” Park said. “When we were informed about your new theatre there, I thought it was a great opportunity for us.”
Park said the key to getting people to come out and enjoy classical music is making the experience accessible, especially those who have never been to a concert before.
“Everything has to make sense for the first-timers: the ticket price, the location of the venue, and everything else,” he said.
“When you go to [Vancouver Symphony Orchestra] concerts, there is the parking fee to pay, there is the travel time of course, and the tickets are anywhere between $35, $50, all the way up to $200. But first-time concertgoers, people that are not used to the classical music, that doesn’t make sense because classical music is not something that they think is worth investing that much money.”
Which is part of the reason the society is bringing in the Vancouver Cello Quartet for its first North Delta show.
The quartet, formed in 2012 by former VSO principal cellist Lee Duckles, is the best-selling of VCMS’s programs, performing an eclectic mix of music including classical staples, tango, jazz and even The Beatles that showcase the versatility of the cello.
“It has a broad expression and a broad range of notes, where each instrument can take the role of bass all the way up to soprano, so we can cover four ‘voices,’” said Park, who is a member of the quartet along with Duckles, Luke Kim and Cristian Márkos.
As well, the group’s sets are made up of shorter compositions in lieu of “the classical Beethoven string quartet where people have to sit through the entire 30 minutes to hear the one piece,” Park said.
“The Cello Quartet’s program is a lot more accessible for a broader audience, a broader range of ages and people coming from all different backgrounds. For those first-timers who are coming to experience classical music, this is a good opener.”
For the quartet’s North Delta concert, they’ll be opening with Franz Schubert’s Marche Militaire, Op. 51, No. 1, “a very active, energetic march that will engage the audience,” before moving on to Mozart’s Sonata in D major, K.381.
“[The sonata is] a typical staple of classical composition where it’s unusual to see four cellos performing this piece,” Park said. “Normally the cello is the singing, melodic instrument, most often an accompanying instrument in the orchestra. But the cellos are actually stepping out of that role and taking on various [instruments’] roles in this ensemble (…) so you get to see the versatility of the instrument.”
The quartet will perform 13 pieces in all, including Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor; Four Pieces, Op. 33 by Julius Klengel, and five tangos to close the show by composers Astor Piazzolla, Mariano Mores and Enrique Fancini.
The concert will begin at 1 p.m., with doors opening at 12:30 (come early and enjoy complimentary tea and coffee).
Tickets cost $25 and are available online at eventbrite.com/e/vancouver-cello-quartet-tickets-454970357587.
Later this spring, The Zodiac Trio will play the North Delta Centre for the Arts (11425 84th Ave.) on Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.
The ensemble is “known for presenting masterpieces for their unconventional instrumentation alongside hidden gems and arrangements in a concert experience marked with special gusto, virtuosity and energy,” according to a bio online at vancouverchambermusic.com/zodiactrio.
Tickets for that show cost $35 and are available at eventbrite.com/e/zodiac-trio-tickets-505458870087.
For more information about both groups and VCMS’s North Delta series, visit vancouverchambermusic.com/northdelta.