The Whistler Arts Council’s (WAC) Music at Whistler series continues with a unique and cross-generational concert: From Baroque to Hip Hop. The string trio Infinitus and freelance musician Marcus Takizawa will join renowned violinist and artistic director Peter Krysa to present a night of classically inspired music with a contemporary twist.
Originally hailing from New Westminster, viola player Takizawa, of the Turning Point Ensemble, has been playing stringed instruments since he was three and a half years old.
“We’re really trying to change the pretence that classical musicians only play Bach,” said the esteemed Julliard School graduate student.
Growing up as a classically trained musician, Takizawa said he also listened to a range of different musical genres and played bass guitar in a punk band. This musical dichotomy still exists for Takizawa and he said that he could be found, “playing in a hall or with a symphony one day and then playing with samples and looping music at a party in East Vancouver later that night.
“I’m hopeful this type of concert will be the first of many,” Takizawa said. “This style of programming is great because it’s more of an honest reflection of the younger musicians out there playing classical music.”
Peter Krysa shares this sentiment.
“There will always be a place for Mozart, and that kind of music isn’t going anywhere. We will always play Mozart’s music as he intended it to be played, but we want to bring different genres like hip hop to the concert hall because it is the 21st century after all,” said Krysa.
He and his wife Olena Hankivsky are longtime visitors to Whistler.
“We felt there was a piece of the cultural offering that was missing for us, and we had an indication that an accessible classical music series would do well at a ski resort,” said Hankivsky.
“People come here to ski in the winter and hike in the summer,” said Krysa, “but after their activities, I thought it would be nice to have more cultural events as well as outdoor recreation.”
Hankivsky, who co-founded the series with her husband, said she wants Whistler’s local and tourist communities to know, “there will always be something really creative and innovative offered at Millennium Place when the classical music series is on.”
Millennium Place is an intimate venue and Hankivsky notes that, “it lends itself to a small concert series no matter what the theme for the concert might be.”
The intimacy that smaller venues create facilitates unparalleled interactions between the performer and the spectators. In conjunction with the venue size, From Baroque to Hip Hop aims to be very interactive, with the performers narrating and explaining each piece to ensure the audience really understands what they are listening to.
Takizawa will be performing original solo viola compositions that use electronics, breaks, and baroque-type themes. “Takizawa’s performance will be a different style because he improvises and dubs over himself while playing,” explains Krysa.
The string trio Infinitus will also be performing their own original compositions. This award-winning trio is based out of Vancouver and will be playing unique compositions featuring beatboxing, classical, hip hop and jazz arrangements. Krysa will perform a rehearsed contemporary solo violin and computer piece from 1995 by French composer, and friend, Pierre Charvet.
In addition to their solo performances, these musicians will also be collaborating as a strings quintet to play a piece by Mozart. The concert’s concluding piece will be a world premiere by New York-based composer Gene Pritsker. This piece will be played by a string quartet, comprised of two violins, one viola and a cello, and will be accompanied by an electronic rap track that was written and pre-recorded by Pritsker.
From Baroque to Hip Hop will bring the series to a close for this season, but it is likely to become an annual occurrence. Krysa and Hankivsky would like to root any future expansions of the series within the needs of the Whistler community.
“(Krysa) has lots of experience with other concerts that he has put together at vacation resorts and part of those series was also about going to the schools, reaching out to the children, and offering master classes,” said Hankivsky. “He wants to provide communities with an opportunity to learn more about instruments and inspire them to take on some kind of musical instrument of their own.”
WAC’s executive director Doti Niedermayer said the community feedback from last month’s classical event organized by Krysa, A Night at the Opera, was fabulous and “the WAC is absolutely committed to working with (Krysa) in the future.” Niedermayer also notes that this concert is accessible to all ages, including youth and children, describing it as — “a wine tasting for music that spans through the ages.”
From Baroque to Hip Hop will be held at Millennium Place next Friday (March 22). The concert starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are available at the venue or online at www. artswhistler.com. Ticket costs are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors and students and $21 for Whistler Art Council members.