Soprano Marie Civitarese opens the Vernon Proms classical music festival alongside pianist Graham Vink with the Colours of song recital July 11. (Photo submitted)

Classical music festival returns to Vernon

Every summer, when classical music organizations take a brake, classical music lovers feel abandoned

Every summer, when classical music organizations and societies take a well-deserved brake, classical music lovers feel abandoned.

To fill this void, one year ago the Vernon Proms classical music festival was conceived, with the ambitious plan to make the festival a Vernon signature event. The program includes four recitals, two free early music concerts, two workshops, and one masterclass. All the events this year take place in the great warm acoustics of the All Saints Anglican Church – the perfect setting for chamber music concerts.

The festival opens at 7 p.m. July 11 with the Colours of song recital by soprano Marie Civitarese and multi-talented pianist Graham Vink.

Civitarese was highly recommended to the festival by Nancy Hermiston, chair of the UBC’s Voice and Opera Divisions, as “a lovely recitalist” who has “a beautiful voice and is very musical and intelligent.” Okanagan’s music lovers might remember her as charming Papagena in last year Opera Kelowna’s Die Zauberflöte (Magic Flute). After singing at the Proms, she is flying to Salzburg to study at the prestigious Mozarteum University.

Vink will accompany Civitarese in the delightful program of art song gems by Mozart, Brahms, Debussy, and de Falla. Vink is well-known in Okanagan as a soloist, collaborator, teacher, and current artistic director of Kelowna Community Music School.

Strings in concert, July 14 at 7 p.m. is played by the critically acclaimed Sycamore String Quartet. The quartet began in 2012 as the four principal string players of the Kamloops Symphony joined to create together the most refined works in the art music tradition.

The musicians chose the name after Sycamore, a broad-canopied tree with great longevity, mirrors the dense and enduring nature of the string quartet repertoire. The quartet players are violinists Cvetozar Vutev and Annette Dominik, violist Ashley Kroetcher and cellist Martin Krátký. The ensemble will perform string quartets by Schubert, Dvorák, and Prokofiev.

Sunday, July 16, at 2 p.m., the public can enjoy a unique collaboration of oboist Akane Setiawan, bassoonist Karmen Doucette, and pianist Vink in the Woodwinds and Piano recital. The eclectic program showcases French, German, Russian, and Brazilian chamber music by Poulenc, Beethoven, Mahle, Schumann, Rachmaninov, and Mignone. Both Setiawan and Doucette are accomplished chamber and orchestra musicians.

Taste of Vienna will be delivered July 23 at 7 p.m., courtesy of brilliant musicians violinist Cvetozar Vutev and pianist Dimiter Terziev. Vutev has performed and taught violin, viola, chamber music, and orchestra for 30 years. He has played in numerous solo, chamber, symphony and opera performances throughout the world. Terziev was called “master of stirring mystery of sound … His playing constantly moved between poetry and passion,” by Badische Zeitung of Germany.

Tickets for the recitals are $22 regular and $18 senior. Pass for all four recitals is $66 regular and $54 senior. Available from the Ticket Seller, www.ticketseller.ca, 250-549-7469. Free entrance for kids under age 12. In addition to the recitals, Vernon Proms offers two free early music concerts, a violin masterclass and woodwinds and vocal workshops. The schedule, programs, and artist biographies are at www.vernonproms.ca.