Four years ago the Vancouver Recital Society launched a new venture – an annual ‘surprise gift concert’. The concerts have been held in the intimate and acoustically superb Telus Theatre in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. It is one of Vancouver’s most special venues for chamber music. As the person responsible for choosing the musician/s for the annual surprise, I can tell you that the pressure is on to deliver something extraordinary each time.
I have always characterized the VRS audience as being one of the most trusting and adventurous audiences on the continent, and this is borne out by the fact that well over 100 people turn up for a performance of which they have no advance knowledge. This type of event is at the very core of the VRS…which is to surprise and delight audiences who come without any pre-conceived opinions about whom or what they are going to hear.
Our surprise concert last Saturday was indeed such an event. Violinist, Pamela Frank, returned to Vancouver after an absence of 13 years and together with violinist, Arnaud Sussman, and violist, Dmitri Murath, they delighted and entranced the audience with their warmth, sparkle and deep musicality. There was a very special atmosphere in the hall, and five days later I’m still glowing with happiness.
David Gordon Duke described the concert as “a cross between a family reunion and the best sort of salon” in his wonderful blog on the Vancouver Sun website.