For their next performance the Kamloops Symphony is featuring their assistant concertmaster and principal French horn players in an exciting program filled with sweeping, heroic melodies, plus the world premiere of a newly commissioned work. Heroes and Heroines has two performances: Friday, March 6 at 7:30 pm in The Nexus at First in Salmon Arm, and Saturday, March 7 at 7:30 pm in Sagebrush Theatre in Kamloops.
Opening the concert is the world premiere of a KSO commissioned piece, Whispers of the Mountain, by Canadian composer Katia Makdissi-Warren. Her works offer a unique blend of Middle Eastern, Western, and Canadian Aboriginal musical styles. Whispers of the Mountain was created in collaboration with the Secwepemc artist Csetkwe, a song writer, interpreter, and musician. The piece is based on Csetkwe’s song Sunrise on the Water, which was written on a like in a forest. Makdissi-Warren wrote an orchestra piece that aims to re-create the environment that the original song was written in where the elements of each musician create an imaginary forest sound, creating an immersive experience for the audience in an invented musical forest. From within the musical forest, Csetkwe will be singing her original song, as well as an improvised vocal part.
When we think of heroic figures and achievements, neither artists nor works of art would usually be what comes to mind. However, if identifying your life’s goal, committing yourself to its pursuit, and persevering through to self-fulfillment against even the most formidable obstacles can be considered heroic action, then the KSO’s featured soloists for this concert, Elyse Jacobson, violin, and Breanne Jamieson, French horn can certainly be considered heroic achievers.
Originally from Okotoks, Alberta, Breanne Jamieson began playing French horn at the age of twelve. She completed her Bachelor of Music from UBC and earned her Master’s degree from Indiana University. Breanne has performed with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, the Vancouver Brass Project, and the Vancouver Oratorio Society, as well as being a member of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada with the Brott Music Festival.
Born in Seattle, Elyse Jacobson began studying the violin at the age of five. She moved to Vancouver and complete her Bachelor of Music at UBC. Elyse performs with the Black Dog String Quartet, is concertmaster of the Plastic Acid Orchestra, and assistant concertmaster of the Kamloops Symphony. She has appeared on stage and in recordings with artists such as Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Kanye West, Marianas Trench, Sarah Slean, and many others.
Elyse and Breanne will be performing English composer Ethel Smyth’s Concerto for Violin and Horn. Smyth’s heroic spirit was undaunted by the discouragement of the male-dominated musical establishment at the time, and she persevered in her composing and tireless efforts to obtain the artistic opportunities denied to women musicians. Her Concerto for Violin and Horn was composed near the end of her career in 1927 when, like Beethoven, she was facing deafness. Smyth brought both a warm, lyrical quality and considerable energy to this very uncommon pairing of solo instruments.
Concluding the concert is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, also known as the “Eroica” (Italian for heroic) symphony. This symphony was initially dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, as Beethoven was full of admiration for him as a heroic defender of individual liberty. However, once Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor, Beethoven scratched out his name with such ferocity that he damaged the title page, although “composed to celebrate the memory of a great man” still appeared in the dedication. The music remained the same however, so clearly what Beethoven wanted to say about heroism itself was unaltered. The heroic achievement reflected in the music of the Eroica Symphony is that of Beethoven himself: This symphony was composed during the years of deepest crisis for him when his hearing loss had accelerated into a tragic and unavoidable fact. While he had been contemplating suicide, Beethoven instead heroically affirmed his determination to continue to live for the creation of his music. This groundbreaking work is the embodiment of his declaration to “take a new way” with his current musical direction. It is emotionally driven throughout and is the ultimate expression of his heroic self-affirmation.
Salmon Arm single tickets are $32 in advance or $35 at the door, $10 Youth (under 19), $15 KSOundcheck Members, and are available from Wearabouts Salmon Arm or Kamloops Live! Box Office at 1-866-374-5483 or www.kamloopslive.ca.