Daniel's Observations on Summer 2012 Guitar Events

First the picnic-
Was a nice event, great fun hanging out, meeting for board members, veteran guitarists such as Ivan, Galina,  Steven (with his new German guitar) Peter Zaenker (accompanied by his lovely daughter) and new comers such as the new guys studying at UBC and Capilano College – Alec Pearson (incoming MMus student at UBC), Luis Angel Medina and Alban de Vaucorbeil. The wife of Sean Wang  provided amazing BBQ creations, and there was much happy hanging out playing and sight reading ensemble.

The MusicFest was a great start to what I’d love to see turning into an annual summer guitar festival. This year there were at least five classical guitar concerts in the span of a few days (Sunday throu Tuesday) featuring the Oberon trio from Calgary, Celso Machado, Ed Henderson,  Daniel Bolshoy with Ariel Barnes (cello), Daniel Bolshoy with the Borealis string quartet and Duo Brazil from Ottawa, featuring Andrew Mah on guitar and soprano Donna Brown.

Guitar day got off to a great start with an original and entertaining program from the Oberon trio, featuring music by living guitar composers. The music of William Beauvais was a particular delight, with the Calypso inspired by a Dowland Fantasy and other moment of whimsy. The perfect acoustics of Pyatt hall at the newly built VSO School of music were enhanced by a slide projection to illustrate moods in the music the trio played.

Ed Henderson and Celso Machado heated things up with a Latin jazz concert at 1 pm. Ed is a master of the acoustic guitar, having played in numerous bands in an amazing range of styles. He connected beautifully with the amazingly versatile Celso Machado who can make music happen with any instrument, or with no instrument at all, and is an absolute magician on the guitar. The audience loved them and they finished with a great duo version of One Note Samba by Jobim, which brought the house down.

The day ended with the 3 pm concert of Cellist Ariel Barnes and guitarist Daniel Bolshoy (who also created the guitar day event for MusicFest Vancouver). This concert, called Brasileiras, was sold out well in advance of the concert and had a long waiting list of people who were hoping to get in in lieu of any last minute no-shows… Maybe someone else can describe the actual concert… Clive Langley was there, as were a few other eloquent society members.
The success of the Brasileiras has lead to a concert reprise on September 23 at Christ Church Cathedral, another chance to hear Daniel Bolshoy and Ari Barnes in case you are one of the people who didn’t get in to hear them at guitar day. Please see the MusicFest Vancouver website for details.

Guitar day was just the start of the guitar participation at MusicFest, on Monday morning, following the Sunday afternoon cello and guitar duo concert, Daniel put together a quintet concert with the Borealis string quartet. This concert took place in the much larger Christ church cathedral which was promptly filled to capacity despite the concert taking place on a Monday morning at 10am! Many Vancouverites made the right choice to skip work and come hear the Castelnuovo-Tedesco quintet, a masterpiece of chamber music with guitar, dedicated to Segovia. Also on the program, the fun 100 Greatest Dance Hits by Aaron Jay Kernis, which featured the musicians using their instruments as drums, as well as vocal percussion (hip-hop style) and a most where sand blocks, bongos and a triangle replaced the string instruments while the guitar was wailing away on a Latin groove… Although this was new music, the audience loved this piece and its many melodious moments, but of course no quintets concert would be complete without Boccherini’s famous Fandango, which was played at the end, castanets included!

And finally Duo Brazil played on Tuesday afternoon. Sadly I was already in Calgary, teaching and playing at GuitarFestWest so someone else would have to comment on this concert.

For information on the upcoming MusicFest reprise concert which takes place Sept. 23 please visit: www.musicfestvancouver.ca