Classical Music: Summer Academy forms exciting concert lineup


What: Victoria Conservatory of Music Summer Academy Concert Series
When/where: June 17 through Aug. 12, various times and venues
Tickets: All concerts admission by donation
Details:; 250-386-5311


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The Victoria Conservatory of Music’s annual Summer Academy, mostly comprising intensive instructional programs for instrumentalists and singers, started last week and runs through mid-August.

Most of the programs include free public concerts — two dozen in all, about a third showcasing faculty members and guest artists.

The first concert, on Saturday, will be the finale of the Vocal Academy for professional and advanced student singers, who will be featured in a mix of repertoire (7:30 p.m., Alix Goolden Hall).

The first professional concerts will be those of the busy Piano Academy (all 7:30 p.m., in the University of Victoria’s Philip T. Young Recital Hall).

As was the case last summer, the first piano concert, on July 2, will feature Michelle Mares and Mark Anderson, an engaged couple based in Vancouver. (Mares lived here for eight years, and still commutes to teach at UVic.) They have thriving individual careers, but also perform together as Duo Corde.

The concert will comprise two early-modern masterpieces: Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, which will also feature two local percussionists; and Rachmaninoff’s two-piano arrangement of his last work, Symphonic Dances.

Local pianists Anna Cal and Roger Buksa will share the stage on July 7. Cal will perform French Baroque pieces and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Buksa will perform music by Prokofiev. The two will come together in a pair of works for two pianos: Saint-Saëns’s Variations on a Theme of Beethoven and a fantasy on themes from Bizet’s Carmen.

On July 9, the Piano Academy will host a recital by Noel McRobbie, a Winnipeg native who recently relocated to Vancouver from Seoul. His splendid program includes preludes and fugues by Shostakovich; Schubert’s grand Wanderer Fantasy; Variations, Op. 8, a flamboyant and ingenious 12-tone masterpiece from 1964 by the late Québécois composer Jacques Hétu; and Beethoven's last sonata, Op. 111.

The final piano-faculty concert, on July 12, will feature UVic professor Bruce Vogt, who will be giving a course on Liszt, one of his specialties. His ambitious program will offer a musical portrait of Liszt, comprising works that span more than 40 years and are variously virtuosic, nationalistic, romantic, spiritual, experimental and transcendental.

The String Academy, will not include a faculty concert, but will feature violist Jacob van der Sloot, one of its teaching assistants, in concert with pianist Robert Holliston, on July 11 (7:30 p.m., in the VCM's Wood Hall). Van der Sloot, who has just completed his second year at the Juilliard School in New York, will perform works by Brahms, Enescu, Bach and others.

The Guitar Academy runs in late July, and all five of its public concerts (in Philip T. Young Recital Hall) will draw on its impressive line-up of faculty members and guest artists.

The first, on July 26 (1:30 p.m.), will feature Randy Pile, who is based in California but is well known here though his appearances with Pepe Romero.

The Guitar Academy’s director, Alexander Dunn, who teaches at both UVic and the VCM, will perform on July 27 (8 p.m.), in sonatas by Ferdinand Rebay and a set of impressionistic preludes from 1932 by English composer Allan Willcocks.

On July 28 (1:30 p.m.), two rising young guitarists, Christopher Boston and Simon Farintosh, will perform works including Rodrigo’s Concierto para una fiesta. (Farintosh lives here; Boston is a UVic graduate based in Florida.)

On July 29 (1:30 p.m.), faculty and students will perform solo and guitar-orchestra repertoire ranging from Beethoven to the Beatles and Soundgarden, and that same day (8 p.m.) the stage will be shared by Texas-based Stephen Lochbaum (a former student of Dunn’s) and Michael Kolk, from Toronto.

The final academy, in early August, is devoted to choral music. Its participants will work both as a full choir and in chamber choirs, in repertoire including Elizabethan sacred and secular pieces, excerpts from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Vivaldi’s Gloria, Schubert’s early Mass No. 2 in G Major, and contemporary works.

All of this music will feature in the academy’s concert on Aug. 12 (7 p.m., Alix Goolden Hall), though the highlight will be the Schubert Mass, which will be performed complete.

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