Water Concert at the Port

Vancouver Island SymphonyThe Vancouver Island Symphony’s final concert of the 2010-2011 season will be the Water at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 30, 2011, at the Port Theatre, 125 Front Street, Nanaimo. Guest artists are to include Jonathan Bernard (percussion), Heather Pawsey (soprano), Peter Alexander (baritone), the Vancouver Community College Willan Choir, and the Malaspina Choir, with Pierre Simard conducting. Pre and post concert talks will be provided. For tickets call 250-754-8550.

Celebrating Nanaimo’s lifestyle by the sea, Water features two very unique and magnificent compositions. The Water Concerto, with imaginative and spectacular percussion involving light and water, is by Tan Dun, one of the most important living composers on the planet. Close your eyes and you hear fish, whales, water in caves, etc. Also on the program is A Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams, based on poems by Walt Whitman, This choral symphony will be buoyed on by the sheer power of more than 200 artists on stage.

Water is the largest production ever undertaken by the Vancouver Island Symphony. Using water as a musical instrument, percussionist Jonathan Bernard, assisted by Daniel Tones and Martin Fisk, will be creating unique, sensuous, organic, and sometimes celestial sounds and sights of water – rippling, sparkling, wet, fresh. “The Water Concerto also involves light,” says Pierre Simard, “and to create the composer’s effects, specific instruments have to be flown here from New York.”

A Sea Symphony was written in 1910, conjuring up visions of waves, rolling swells, calm and stormy seas, ships, and voyages. Pierre Simard: “Whitman was almost unknown at the time; his poetry, evocative and strong, is a direct and powerful language. Vaughan Williams’ symphony is a translation of Whitman’s language and is also considered a renaissance in combining English choral music with symphony.” There are four movements: A Song for All Seas, All ShipsOn the Beach at Night, AloneThe Waves (After the Sea-Ship); and The Explorers (Passage to India). “It is such a humbling piece,” adds Simard. “I will be as much an audience member as I will be conductor.”