BY KIRSTEN BOLTON
For students, parents, teachers, and classical music lovers in the community, a unique afternoon performance from the Young Artists Collegium Program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music (VCM) offers a rare glimpse of gifted youth on the rise and the important role of performing and mentorship in their journey.
On Sunday Nov. 5, the very best students from the Collegium program come to ArtSpring for a special chamber music concert featuring breakout ensembles of 12- to18-year-old talent on piano, violin, viola, cello, voice, flute, oboe, clarinet and guitar.
The concert will then be followed by a fascinating on-stage feedback session from a great master artist to further hone and refine their technique. This year, ArtSpring is proud to announce the guest mentor will be violinist Yuel Yawney, who is a distinguished member of the internationally acclaimed Vancouver-based Borealis String Quartet and the Aurora Piano Trio, and is artistic director of the Cascade Peaks ChamberFest. Yawney has toured extensively since 2000 across North America, Europe and Asia.
Founded in 2006, the VCM Collegium program is rated among the best in Canada. Students have won top prizes in local, provincial and national music festivals, with graduates earning placements at UVic, McGill University, Robert McDuffie School, New England Conservatory, Curtis Institute and the Julliard School of Music.
Artistic director Simon MacDonald, who has been leading the program for the last five years, said, “I am lucky to be working with these kids, and every year the students, some as young as 11 years old, continue to impress me with their dedication and willingness to learn difficult pieces of chamber music and perform major solo works for important competitions and appearances.”
While competition is not the focus of the program, he notes, being invited to play on a national stage and receive high-level feedback is a testament to the value of the program in helping young talent advance to the next level.
Students and parents arrive for a full day of dress rehearsals, exploring Ganges, a student lunch at ArtSpring, the concert itself and the post-performance feedback session from Yawney and members of the audience who wish to comment or ask questions.
Special ticket prices are $20 for adults and $5 for youth, available through the ArtSpring ticket centre. Angel tickets are available in person or by phone for $15.