As the artistic director of the Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival, it’s been Pippa William’s job to bring together eclectic combinations of musicians to perform in venues across Nanaimo.
But this year, audiences won’t have to dart across the city to catch all the performances. For the eighth annual instalment of the festival, every concert will be held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on June 22 and 23. All artist are new to the festival and are from the Island or mainland.
“The beauty of chamber music is it’s quite an intimate style of music where you’re featuring a smaller ensemble than a massive orchestra or amplified ensemble,” Williams explained.
“But this is really quite an intimate setting and just a really great chance to explore some of the repertoire for these instruments.”
The festival begins on Friday night with a pair of pairs. First the Tiresias Duo – flautist Mark McGregor and pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa – will take to the stage, followed by soprano Betty Allison accompanied by pianist Robert Holliston.
On Saturday afternoon Nanaimo’s Island Time Saxophone Quartet – soprano and tenor Rod Mont, alto Brent Pattison, alto and tenor Nicola Crowhurst and baritone Jim Thompson – open the show, and Holliston returns to perform with trumpeter David Michaux.
Wrapping up the festivities in the evening are the Tidesong Trio, a family band composed of pianist Mary Jackson, clarinetist Larry de la Haye and vocalist Eve-Lyn de la Haye. Last on the bill is Nanaimo Conservatory of Music guitarist Joshua Amendt-Moylan.
Williams said the small ensembles performing in a small venue give the festival an intimate, relaxed atmosphere, as opposed to a “stuffy” recital in a large concert hall.
“You’re up close and you can really see the performer up close and see how they’re preparing their music and what comes across and after you can always talk to them,” she said.
“It’s very casual … it’s like having someone in your own dining room. You can sit and talk and listen to extraordinary musicians.”
WHAT’S ON … The eighth annual Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival takes place at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on June 22 at 7 p.m. and June 23 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 per concert or $50 festival pass for all three, available at the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music and at the door. Performer information and lineups here.