Northern Lights Music Festival
By Jim Cooper
All lovers of music should mark February 17 through March 1 on their calendar. The Scotiabank Northern Lights Music Festival, one of North America’s top classical music events, is gearing up for this coming year to give you a program of events that promises to dazzle you.
On Gala night, the orchestra is playing Felix Mendelssohn’s exciting Concerto for Violin and Piano. Mendelssohn was considered by many to be a prodigy, having written this piece between the ages of 12 and 14. The soloists will be Ben Bowman on violin and Jamie Parker on the piano. Bowman’s performances have been recorded for radio broadcast in Canada, the USA, and Europe. Parker is a member of the famous Gryphon Trio. We are especially lucky to have them both at Lakeside this year.
February 17 sees the return of master guitarist Alvin Tung in “Alvin’s Adios.” After five years of entertaining Lakeside audiences with his virtuosity and charm, Alvin is performing his “swan song.” His concerts do sell out so don’t miss this special goodbye.
The Festival transforms itself a bit and offers two not-so-classical concerts this year on February 20 and 23. On the 20th Richard Underhill and his band returns with Jazz singer Terra Hazelton. Richard already has two Juno awards and has been nominated five times. Terra is a singer, Genie nominated actress, and radio personality. On the 23rd the Festival has a special guest, Tracy Silverman- the violin’s newest rock star- performing on his six-stringed electric violin, Led Zeppelin, Santana and more! Having already performed solo in Carnegie Hall to rave reviews, everyone is excited to have Tracy “rock-out” in Ajijic.
The Salon Series, 2013’s successful new concept, offers a chance to get up close and personal with the extraordinary musicians of the Festival as they step off the concert stage and into the intimate ambiance of some of Ajijic’s finest homes. Accompanied by a selection of wine and cheese, this year there is a series of four concerts.
One of Scotiabank Northern Lights’ missions is the development and recognition of musical talents of young Mexican artists through Festival workshops and financial aid. They do this through cash scholarships and free music lessons with these renowned musicians. They will have five young musicians from the University of Guadalajara on full scholarship at the Festival this season. Some may be seen in the Rising Stars concert on Feb. 28th.
Hosted in one of Ajijic’s most beautiful homes on Feb. 26th including, jazz, food and wine, Schubert’s Trout Quintet will feature Jamie Parker at the piano and Artistic Director, Christopher Wilshere on the violin. The Trout was made into a documentary featuring Jacqueline du Pré, Barenboim, Perlman, Zuckerman, and Mehta. The film follows five of the most gifted musicians of their time coming together in 1969 to rehearse and perform the Quintet. Now we have our own group of gifted musicians creating “The Trout” Lakeside. This concert will be followed by live Jazz with Richard Underhill and the band.
The Festival concludes March 1 on a bittersweet note with Ariel Barnes performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major. The concerto sounds relaxed and lyrical but it is technically difficult for the soloist. Ariel has recently been appointed as Principal Cellist for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, been nominated for a Juno Award and two Western Music Awards and is a winner of the 2012 Canada Council Instrument Bank Competition. He now plays the 1730 Newland Celoniatus cello, built in Turin, Italy. It has its own seat on the aircraft when he flies! The second half of this concert will feature renowned flutist Susan Hoeppner, playing Holst’s Fugal Concerto. Don’t be put off by the appearance of the word “Fugal”; this work is one of the prettiest, most heartwarming works by Gustav Holst.