September 27th marked the start of a brand-new community program I’m very excited about: Music on the Point: Concerts with Personality, presented by the UBC School of Music, in partnership with UTown@UBC. We decided to collaborate with the School Music on this concert series, to provide the very diverse UTown@UBC community of students, staff, faculty and other residents with an opportunity to engage with some of the incredible musical talent on campus, as well as with one another!
Growing up, music and theatre were a big part of my life; my cousin sang opera, which meant from an early age, my sisters and I were forced (ahem…I mean…strongly encouraged) to attend numerous performances of Die Fledermaus and the Magic Flute (which, I must admit helped foster my respect for opera today). I may or may not have been a part of a glee-style show choir in high school (complete with matching costumes and jazz hands). However, I had virtually no exposure to classical instruments, beyond an annual field trip to the symphony, and was very excited to experience something new!
I was certainly pleasantly surprised by my first exposure to classical guitar and flute! Stripped of costumes, actors and lyrics, the performances managed to be incredibly powerful and emotive. Performers Daniel Bolshoy (on guitar) and Paolo Bortolussi (on flute) took the audience around the world, from the bordellos and nightclubs of Argentina with Piazzolla, to deep under the sea with Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. The latter, titled Toward the Sea, was my favourite: divided into three pieces (The Night, Moby Dick, and Cape Cod), it was commissioned by Greenpeace as part of their Save the Whales campaign, and seemed to evoke the peaceful, yet melancholy sound that is so often associated with these massive mammals.
Held at Barnett Hall at the School of Music, the concerts were intimate, and Bolshoy and Bortolussi introduced each piece with a few minutes of dialogue, explaining the meanings of the songs, and some historical context, which was much-appreciated by this classical music novice. The commentary helped make the pieces much more accessible, while creating a very welcoming and inclusive environment for those of us with limited (or non-existent) knowledge of the works!
Needless to say, I am now a fan of classical guitar and flute, and can’t wait for the next Music on the Point concert on October 25th! For more information, or to purchase tickets, be sure to check out the School of Music website.