Early Music Vancouver Announces Its 50th Season

Early Music Vancouver (EMV) recently announced its 50th Anniversary, 2019 Vancouver Bach Festival and 2019/20 Main Season programs. 

Dedicated to sharing period music using the instruments and performance traditions for which it was originally composed, EMV is celebrating the anniversary with a season of renowned masterworks and illustrious guest artists. The season’s program includes such diverse works as Benjamin Bagby’s one-man musical telling of Beowulf; masterworks for choir and orchestra by Bach, Handel, and Purcell; early romantic creations by Chopin, Faure, and Schubert; 20th century solo piano pieces by Shostakovich; and world premieres challenging contemporary composers to write for Baroque and period instruments.

As in recent years the 50th anniversary season will host a stellar line-up of returning favourites and international artists, and collaborations with similar music and cultural organizations from Vancouver and abroad. 

Chor Leoni presents Sea Songs & Shanties on February 22, 2020

“This season is a balanced reflection of both our past and future. It promises more opportunities than ever for engagement, enrichment, and education via time travel through almost a thousand years of rich musical history,” says Matthew White, Executive and Artistic Director of EMV. “With the support of our growing audiences, donors, staff, and volunteers, we have put together an offering overflowing with some of the world’s most esteemed artists specializing in period performance. The opportunity to program such diverse music, stunning talent, and ambitious collaborations is a rare privilege; one for which I continue to be deeply grateful.” 

Running July 30 to August 9, the fourth annual Vancouver Bach Festival will bring an all-encompassing celebration of classical music to downtown Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. The 15-concert festival features evening and afternoon performances at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver and Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC. 

The Pacific Baroque Orchestra presents Handel Messiah’s November 30 Photo: Jan Gates

EMV’s Main Season running from September 28, 2019 to May 3, 2020; includes the Masterworks Series, mainly performed at Chan Centre, and the Cathedral Series, presented at Christ Church Cathedral. 

On April 5, 2020, EMV hosts its 50th Anniversary Gala, offering a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, and excerpts from Haydn’s Creation with the participation of the Vancouver Bach Choir and the Vancouver Cantata Singers. The concert will feature the largest-scale period instrument orchestra ever assembled in Vancouver, demonstrating the recent growth of the regional period instrument scene on the West Coast.

For the dates and details of all of Early Music Vancouver’s Bach Festival and 2019/20 Main Season visit earlymusic.bc.ca

Catch the ‘Queen of Fado’, Mariza at the Chan Centre

This Wednesday, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia presents Portugal’s brightest star, Mariza.  The internationally lauded fadista — a performer of Portugal’s traditional soul music, fado — will showcase brand new material from her latest self-titled release, her seventh album. 

“From the moment she first steps on stage until the end of the show, Mariza has a knack for creating an extraordinary connection with audiences through her stunning artistry and stage presence,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “Audiences ask us again and again to bring her back, and we can’t wait to hear the songs from her new album live in our hall.”

Born in Mozambique and raised in the historic quarters of the Mouraria neighbourhood in Lisbon, Portugal, Mariza was exposed to music from an early age, and began singing in a wide variety of musical styles, including gospel, soul, and jazz. Encouraged by her father to pursue fado for its cultural significance in the Portuguese community, the singer refined her craft at the local bars and tavernas which gave birth to the musical genre, quickly gaining a following amongst locals.

Mariza’s career took off when she gained national recognition when she performed at the televised memorial for legendary fado singer Amália Rodrigues.  Following the memorial, her first studio album, Fado em Mim, became an instant sensation, released internationally the album earned Mariza acclaim on the world stage and solidifying her role as a global phenomenon.

Fado is so integral to Portuguese culture that it is recognized as part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  Since the early 1800s, the genre has encapsulated the mystery, romance, and yearnings of the Portuguese people, balancing both resignation and hopefulness in light of the hard realities of life, love, and loss. 

Mariza returns to Vancouver in support of her seventh platinum-level studio recording, Mariza, on Wednesday, April 17th at 8pm at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC in the Chan Shun Concert Hall. For information and tickets visit chancentre.com

Spend an evening with Cristina Pato Quartet at Chan Centre

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia presents the sounds of the Cristina Pato Quartet on April 11th in the Chan Shun Concert Hall. 

Cristina Pato Quartet Photo: Xan Padrón

Cristina Pato is a musical force, skilfully playing at the edges of jazz, classical, Latin, and world music with a tightly knit, synergistic band featuring Julien Labro on accordion, Edward Perez on double bass, and Mauricio Zottarelli on percussion. The multi-talented Pato can be heard in collaboration with musicians from around the world, including Yo-Yo Ma and the supergroup Silkroad Ensemble.

“Cristina is incredibly captivating on stage — the type of performer you can’t take your eyes off of,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “When I saw her in New York a few years ago I was struck not just by her dynamic energy but also how beautifully and effortlessly she combines various styles of music for a fresh and contemporary sound. Vancouver audiences are in for a treat!”

The acclaimed performer was born in Ourense, Galicia, in northwestern Spain, and has been a recording artist and performer since the age of 12. In the 1990s when gaita (Galician bagpipes) was experiencing a renaissance she was the first female gaita player to release a solo album in 1999 with Tolemia. Since then, Pato has produced and released six solo gaita recordings and two albums as a pianist, in addition to numerous collaborations as a guest artist.

Cristina Pato Photo: Xan Padrón

With a repertoire that crosses genres and disciplines, except Cristina Pato Quartet to bring a global sound to the stage at the Chan Centre April 11th. Before the quartet takes the stage, Cristina Pato participates in a pre-show talk, moderated by music journalist Paolo Pietropaolo, about her journey as an artist, and passion for sharing the music of the Galician bagpipes. 

Pre-show Talk with Cristina Pato takes place Thursday April 11th at 7pm, followed by the performance by Cristina Pato Quartet at 8pm in the Chan Shun Concert Hall at Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC. 

Ladysmith Black Mambazo returns to Chan Centre

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC welcomes Grammy Award winning, Ladysmith Black Mambazo on March 2nd.  Supported by Malian guitarist Habib Koité and lutist Bassekou Kouyate, the nine-member South African choral group stops at the Chan Centre on their global tour of Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration, for which they earned the Best World Music Album of 2018 and their fifth Grammy Award.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo

“Ladysmith Black Mambazo is one of the world’s most admired musical ensembles. Their repertoire is beautifully uplifting — messages of hope and unity translated through stunning vocal harmonies and energetic performances,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “To have them onstage at the Chan Centre on the same bill as two of Mali’s hottest musicians will be an incredible showcase of talent from both West and South Africa.”

Designated “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world” by Nelson Mandela — who listened to the choral group’s music while imprisoned — Ladysmith Black Mambazo was formed by Joseph Shabalala in the 1960s during apartheid, in the small town of Ladysmith, South Africa. The all-male group came to international fame in 1986 when they were featured on Paul Simon’s Graceland.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded more than 70 albums and has received 19 Grammy nominations. Shaka Zulu Revisited celebrates the 30th anniversary of their first album released worldwide, and serves to honour the group’s founding members. The tribute record is comprised of a selection of their iconic songs by the ensemble that is today led by founder Shabalala’s four sons: Thulani, Sibongiseni, Thamsanga, and Msizi. Original member Albert Mazibuko, who joined in 1969, continues to sing today.

Leading the evening’s bill are two luminaries of Malian music. Bassekou Kouyate, who plays the traditional stringed Ngoni lute will share the stage with Habib Koité, a superb vocalist and one of the world’s leading acoustic guitarists.

Ladusmith Black Mambazo with Bassekou Kouyate and Habib Koité, will take the stage at the Chan Shun Concert Hall at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC on March 2, 2019 at 8pm. 

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks comes to Chan Centre

In recognition of Black History Month, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is bringing No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks to the Chan Shun Concert Hall on February 24th. 

As part of the Beyond Words series, this multimedia work from innovative art-collective Manual Cinema in collaboration with Chicago-based poets Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall, featuring a live six-piece band and original score by Jamila Woods and Ayanna Woods, creates an inspiring biographical narrative, of Gwendolyn Brooks. The late poet was a radical and disruptive presence within the national literary scene, becoming the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

Photo of Manual Cinema by Julia Miller

“Manual Cinema creates magic, pure and simple. Through the unlikely pairing of high-tech digital equipment and old-school overhead projectors they are known for completely captivating audiences,” says Wendy Atkinson, Programming Manager at the Chan Centre and curator of Beyond Words. “Two years ago they performed here to rave reviews and when I heard about their most recent project — a biography of poet Gwendolyn Brooks that also includes a live band — I couldn’t resist inviting them back!”

Born in 1917 in Kansas and raised in Chicago, Gwendolyn Brooks worked for decades as an acclaimed artist, mentor to aspiring poets, and advocate for schoolchildren. Gaining much acclaim, she became one of the most widely read authors in America, using her poetic eloquence to convey the black experience.

No Blue Memories traces the political arc of her career and the development of her craft. Manual Cinema’s production uses a combination of shadow puppetry, vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and live music. Written by Ewing and Marshall — also known collectively as Crescendo Literary, a name taken from a Brooks composition — the evocative performance poetically explores her legacy. Fellow Chicago-based soul singer Jamila Woods collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Woods for the original score, which will be performed live. 

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks takes the stage at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at The University of British Columbia at 7pm, Sunday February 24, 2019. For information and tickets visit chancentre.com

Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin is coming to Chan Centre

The 10-time Grammy Award winning artist, Bobby McFerrin is coming to the The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia on February 17, 2019.  The genre-defying artist is joined by Gimme5; McFerrin’s newest band comprised of veterans from his a cappella Voicestra group Joey Blake, Dave Worm, Rhiannon, and Judi Vinar, as well local choral ensemble musica intima is on the bill. 

Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin photo: Carol Friedman

The concert supports Bobby McFerrin’s current Circlesongs tour centred on an Circlesinging, and improvised concert format based on McFerrin’s sweeping, soulful vocal language —a style encompassing elements from all genres including jazz, pop, R&B, classical, and world music. Requiring an innate sensitivity to surrounding participants the style results in a unique and spontaneous sound. Joined by the Vancouver-based eight-member choral group musica intima, McFerrin and Gimme5 will present an evening of sound that draws in the audience as co-performers.

“The music of Bobby McFerrin is rooted in his sheer joy of singing, and the delight he finds in the worlds of sound that exist within the human voice,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “His passion for the art form really shines through in these one-of-a-kind performances that take listeners on an incredible musical journey.”

Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin photo: Petra Hajska

McFerrin was born to classically trained singers and into a world of music that took him from New York to Hollywood. His father, Robert McFerrin Sr., was the first African-American male to sing at the Metropolitan Opera and provided the on-screen singing voice of Sidney Poitier in the 1959 film Porgy and Bess. The younger McFerrin grew up playing piano and clarinet, surrounded by a hodgepodge of genres that ranged from Duke Ellington to George Gershwin, James Brown to Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t until he turned 27 that he discovered a passion for singing — as well as an impressive range and the uncanny ability to transform his voice. As NPR noted: “Listen to Bobby McFerrin and it’s like you’re listening to an entire orchestra bubbling up through one man’s body. He becomes a flute, a violin, a muted trumpet, a percussion instrument, a bird, you name it.”  The popularity and accolades of 1988’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” brought McFerrin worldwide attention and he has been collaborating, recording and touring ever since.  Performing with orchestra’s across the world, and artists like; Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, Dizzy Gillespie, and more.  

Join Bobby McFerrin, Gimme5 and musica intima for the spontaneous Circlesongs performance in the Chan Shun Concert Hall at Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC on February 17, 2019 at 7pm. 

Joshua Redman brings Jazz to Chan Centre Tomorrow

Still Dreaming
photo: Jon Brown

Tomorrow night, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia presents jazz superstar Joshua Redman with the critically acclaimed band Still Dreaming. Joshua Redman is one of the world’s most renowned saxophonists, in this show he pays tribute to the highly revered quartet Old and New Dreams, of which his father Dewey Redman was a member. Joined by three other star of contemporary jazz — Ron Miles on trumpet, Scott Colley on bass, and Brian Blade on drums — the bandleader embarks on an uninhibited, unpredictable exploration of the free jazz of the 1970s and ’80s. 

“Back in 2015 I had the pleasure of seeing Still Dreaming at the legendary Jazz Standard in New York City,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “I was struck not only by the talent and artistry of these performers, but also by how they were able to connect and communicate with the audience through this beautiful and time-honoured music — music that is wonderfully approachable in spite of its nuance and complexity. Truly, it is the kind of show that engages both the heart and the mind.”

Josh Redman
photo: Jay Blakesberg

Redman was born in Berkeley, California, to an artistic family: a father who was a jazz legend and a mother who had a rich passion for South Asian dance. Despite a musical upbringing, Redman initially eschewed the professional musician path and graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in social studies. He was on his way to Yale Law School when he decided to defer for a year to join friends in Brooklyn. A few jam sessions with some of his generation’s best musicians soon led to full immersion in the local jazz scene. Five months after moving to New York, Redman won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. Within another 18 months, he was signed by Warner Bros. and released his debut studio album, Joshua Redman, which earned a Grammy Award nomination in 1993. 

In tribute to his father’s legacy, Still Dreaming will perform predominantly original compositions from their self-titled debut album released in May 2018, such as Redman’s mesmerizing “Unanimity” and Colley’s invigorating “New Year.” The concert will also showcase contemporary takes on well-loved Old and New Dreams standards: Haden’s “Playing” and Coleman’s “Comme II Faut.”

Joshua Redman’s Still Dreaming performs tomorrow night, November 13, at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC, almost sold out but some tickets are still available from the Chan Centre Box Office or chancentre.com

Get a taste of what you’ll hear below