Christopher Lee is clarinet soloist with the Vancouver Island Symphony in this concert. (Submitted)

VIDEO: Clarinettist headlines Vancouver Island Symphony program in Duncan

With Mozart and Hadyn on the menu, it's a tasty evening of classical music

If the last time you saw the name Christopher Lee was some quote about the famous British actor, think again.

The Vancouver Island Symphony is bringing clarinettist Christopher Lee to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Pierre Simard, Conductor and Music Director, will lead the orchestra is a program entitled Mozart and a Drumroll featuring Mendelssohn’s Concert Overture ‘The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave)’, Mozart/Haydn’s ‘Symphony No. 37 in G Major K464/425a’ in three movements, Haydn’s ‘Symphony No. 103 in E-flat major E’ (The Drumroll) in four movements.

Lee will be the soloist in the ‘Concerto in A major (K622) for Clarinet and Orchestra’ by Mozart, which features an Allegro (sonata in A major), an Adagio (in D major), and a Rondo: Allegro (in A major).

clarinet concerto

Ted Rhodes of the Cowichan Symphony Society is delighted with the program.

“For the first time in Cowichan Symphony Society’s current season, we shall indulge ourselves with a set of masterpieces drawn from the true classical period — compositions by Mozart and two Haydn — how magnificent will that be?”

And there’s some gossipy news to go with this show, according to Rhodes.

“Christopher (Kyung Won) Lee just got married. He and his new wife, Jenny, met about a year ago when Christopher was conducting (for the Vancouver Korean Presbyterian Church Choir/Orchestra). Jenny came with one of the choir members. Then at one of the concerts, in which she was singing (Korean old-style pop music), he proposed to her in front of the audience. Music also played a big role at the wedding. Christopher’s mother played the piano; Jenny sang, both Christopher and his father played their clarinets.”

Along with Lee’s excellent performance, the evening also brings the two Haydn “composing brothers” together. Symphony No. 103 by Joseph Haydn is nicknamed The Drumroll after the long roll on the timpani with which it begins.

And the piece written by Joseph’s younger brother, Michael Haydn — and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — Symphony no. 37 is also unique.

Apparently, Mozart added an introduction to a symphony by Michael Haydn and scholars did not notice that the rest of the work was not by Mozart until 1907.

“Musical intrigue? Was it on purpose or a collaboration? As of interest, Mozart also rewrote his version of Handel’s Messiah which was heard by 700 people just before Christmas in a magnificent performance of Handel’s original version. Perhaps Pierre Simard, VI Symphony’s artistic director can give some insight on musical collusion at his pre-concert talk,” says Rhodes.

Tickets are $50 each. Get them online at or phone the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529.

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