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VRS concerts in the months of March, April and May are cancelled due to COVID-19

UDATE March 18, 2020

Given the precautionary measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the projection that social distancing may continue for the next few months, we have decided to cancel the remaining concerts in our 2019-20 Season. The additional cancelled concerts include: Pablo and Sara Ferrández, Beatrice and Ludovica Rana, and Steven Isserlis and Connie Shih. We had previously cancelled all concerts for the month of March (Benjamin Grosvenor, Sir András Schiff’s two concerts, Jerusalem Quartet, and Tabea Zimmerman and Javier Perianes).

The impact of these cancellations will be significant; our staff and ongoing operations are reliant upon the income that we derive through ticket purchases. Without concerts we’ll be even more reliant upon philanthropic support, which is why we’re asking that you — if you can — consider donating the value of your tickets to the VRS rather than requesting a refund.

Normally at this time of year revenue is coming in with the purchase of subscriptions for the next season and through donations to our annual fund. Our upcoming 2020-21 Season, announced in early March, was met with a great deal of enthusiasm and subscriptions were selling well. In the last 10 days sales have understandably slowed. With that in mind, we have come up with another option for subscribers: apply the credit from this season’s cancellations to your subscription for next season. We have never presented this option before but it’s something we are happy to do for those who want to come back for great music once our concerts resume.

With a number of options, how do you proceed? What are the next steps?

Single ticket buyers:
On Friday, April 3, refunds will be automatically issued to anyone who purchased a single ticket to any of our cancelled concerts. There is no need to call the VRS. Please allow a month or two for the credit to show up on your statement, as there are additional strains on the banks and card processing systems at the moment. If you have not seen the credit appear on your statement by the end of May, please get in touch with us and we will investigate. If you decide that you would like to donate your ticket(s) in lieu of a refund, please send an email to tickets@vanrecital.com before April 3. Charitable receipts will be sent in mid-April.

Subscribers:
If you are a subscriber wishing to donate your tickets, please contact us by email at tickets@vanrecital.com and we will process your donation. Charitable receipts will be sent in mid-April. If your preference is for a refund, please contact us via the above email address before Friday, August 14.

If you wish to apply your credit to next season’s subscription order, please know that this option is available to you until Friday, August 14. If we have not heard from you regarding your subscription for next season, don’t worry, we won’t just keep your money! We will convert any remaining balance on your account into a charitable donation and forward a receipt to you before the end of August. Much though we would love to, we are not able to carry credits forward beyond August 14.

We have made the decision to close our physical office for the time being. We want to play our part in this all-encompassing effort to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19. Please know that we are not closing the door and walking away; VRS staff will be working from home and checking email and voicemail throughout the workday. Please bear with us as we work our way through each and every email — although we are a small team, we are committed to continuing our efforts to offer the best service we can, despite the current challenges. You can view our office contact list here.

Now more than ever we can appreciate just how small our world truly is and the importance of working together in an effort to protect each other. Staying connected is so important, so we’ll continue reaching out through our e-news and social media channels to try to put a smile on your face and remind you that we’ll all be back together for great performances in the future. In the meantime, I’m including a video of Sir András Schiff performing the Goldberg Variations at the Royal Albert Hall in London a couple of years ago (see the item further below). Just to give you a taste of what’s to come. Because we are still very much hoping to present this concert, depending upon András’s schedule and the availability of the hall.

We appreciate your support as we navigate these difficult times.

Stay safe and take care.

***

 

March 12, 2020

We’ve been closely monitoring the news and updates from government health agencies regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

After a great deal of consideration and deliberation over the past couple of days, we’ve made the decision to take the precautionary measure of cancelling all upcoming concerts until the end of March.

The health and wellbeing of our patrons is paramount, and, given that seniors comprise a significant portion of our audience, we feel all the more obliged to be cautious. We’ve not made this decision lightly but we don’t want to wait until it’s too late to cancel, and we don’t want to be responsible for the ill health of our patrons, staff, colleagues and musicians. We’re disappointed, as I’m sure many of you will be, but we hope you’ll understand our position.

The affected concerts include:

Benjamin Grosvenor at the Vancouver Playhouse on March 15

Sir András Schiff at the Chan Centre on March 22

Sir András Schiff at the Vancouver Playhouse on March 24

Jerusalem Quartet at Congregation Beth Israel on March 26

Tabea Zimmerman and Javier Perianes at the Vancouver Playhouse on March 29

As March unfolds and we have a sense of the progression/containment of COVID­-19, we’ll assess the status of the concerts scheduled for April and May.

If you have tickets for any of the cancelled performances, you have the following options:

  • We can refund the full value of your ticket

OR

  • You may return your ticket to the Vancouver Recital Society and we’ll issue a charitable receipt for its full value

OR

  • You may exchange your ticket for either of the remaining performances in the 2019-20 Season

Please contact our office by phone at 604-602-0363 or by email to discuss your preference with regard to your ticket(s) for any of the affected concerts. We ask for your patience as we work through processing each request on an individual basis.

Wishing you all good health.

Notice of the Vancouver Recital Society’s AGM

NOTICE OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF MEMBERS OF THE VANCOUVER RECITAL SOCIETY (the “Society”).

The Board of Directors of the Society hereby gives notice that the Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, (Salon A), British Columbia, on the 23rd day of February, 2020 at 1:15pm for the following purposes:

  1. To receive the report of the directors to the members.
  2. To receive the financial statements of the Society for the period ended August 31, 2019, and the auditor’s report thereon.
  3. To appoint an auditor for the Society for the ensuing year.
  4. To elect directors of the Society to hold office until the conclusion of the next annual general meeting of the Society.
  5. To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting.

Dated: February 3, 2020.

By order of the Board of Directors

Stephen Schachter, President

 

Following the business of the meeting, Leila Getz, C.M., O.B.C., D.F.A., Founder & Artistic Director, will announce the artists appearing on the series as part of the 2020-2021 Season.

Materials for the meeting can be found using the links below:

Agenda

Minutes of the 2019 AGM (fiscal year ended August 31, 2018)

Audited Financial Statements (for the year ended, August 31, 2019)

President’s Report

Biography of Casey Ching, who stands for election to the Board of Directors for the coming year

 

 

Notice of the Vancouver Recital Society’s AGM

NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF MEMBERS OF THE VANCOUVER RECITAL SOCIETY (the “Society”)

The Board of Directors of the Society hereby gives notice that the Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held on February 4, 2018 at 1pm at the Vancouver Playhouse (in Salon A), for the following purposes:

  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting
  3. Rreceive the report from the President;
  4. Presentation of Financial Statements of the Society of the period ended August 31, 2017, and the auditor’s report thereon;
  5. Appointment of an auditor for the Society for the ensuing year;
  6. Election of Directors of the Society to hold office until the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting of the Society; and
  7. To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting.

Dated: Monday, January 15, 2018

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Meeting Materials

In advance of the meeting, members are encouraged to read the signed notice, financial statements, minutes of the February 4, 2017 AGM, President’s report and the meeting agenda.

Nominations

Members wishing to make nominations of candidates for election should do so in writing, by the end of business on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Nominations should be sent to:

Stephen Schachter, President
Vancouver Recital Society
301-601 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC V5B 2P1

info@vanrecital.com

 

 

A change to our first concert in the 2017-18 Season

The Simón Bolívar String Quartet’s scheduled performance at the Vancouver Playhouse on September 17 has been postponed to a future season. The current volatile and violent situation in Venezuela, which has heightened following last week’s election, has made it almost impossible for the quartet to navigate around Caracas to make arrangements for their North American tour. Both the USA and Canada have withdrawn most of their diplomatic staff from the city, and there are now very few airlines flying in and out of Venezuela. Given that the situation is expected to escalate before it is resolved, the sad decision was made to postpone the tour, which, in addition to the scheduled VRS engagement, had included planned performances at the Ravinia Festival and Cornell Concert Series.
 
Alejandro Carreño, 1st violinist with the quartet, said, “This is a regrettable moment for us as Venezuelans, and a dark process of our history. Artistically this tour was very important for the quartet, and that is why we want to let the presenters and public know how sorry we are about this situation, which is out of our control. We hope to reschedule these concert dates where possible, so that we can return soon to these important places. We are profoundly grateful for all the support we have received from our team and colleagues; their commitment and support is invaluable to us as artists. We very much hope to be able to perform internationally as a quartet again in the near future.”

We are obviously very disappointed that we won’t be able to hear the Simón Bolívar String Quartet this season, however our primary concern is for the safety and wellbeing of the members of the quartet and indeed the people of Venezuela in these difficult times. We’ll be keeping in touch with quartet, and we very much hope to present them in a future season. So stayed tuned for more on that…

In the meantime, I’ve spent the last few days on the phone with my contacts in Europe and North America trying to find an equally brilliant quartet to present on this date. And the good news is, I’ve found one! The Verona Quartet — hailed by The New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble of young musicians” — will be stepping in to replace the Simón Bolívar Quartet. The venue, date and time of the performance are unchanged.

The Verona Quartet has a wonderful program:

Haydn: String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 50, No. 1
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108
Ravel: String Quartet in F major.

In my 38 years as a concert presenter, I’ve dealt with cancellations before. But never due to political and civil unrest.

Our thoughts are very much with the Simón Bolívar Quartet.

Warmly,

 



Leila Getz, C.M., O.B.C., DFA
Founder & Artistic Director

 

Do you remember your very first musical memory?

When I was a boy my father would sing me to sleep every night. And when he went away on business trips, my mother sang to me at night instead.

Now, my mother, whom I love dearly (98 and going strong!) has many wonderful traits and abilities, including playing the piano. But singing perfectly in key isn’t one of them, and when she sang to me I cried instead of drifting off to sleep. We often laugh about it now, and thankfully, it convinced her I should take music lessons so there was a happy result.

And that beautiful memory of my father’s singing voice will always be with me.

When I moved back to Vancouver at the end of 2006 after twenty years away in New York, I went to the Chan Centre on March 23, 2007 to hear Alfred Brendel play. After so many years in the music business in New York, I had heard nearly every great artist in the world, and yet somehow had never heard Mr. Brendel perform. I confess I was a little burned out by the time we left Manhattan, and my youthful passion for music was a bit tarnished after years of managing and touring artists.

But I couldn’t miss the chance to hear one of the greatest artists of our time and an amazing thing happened as I sat listening to his awe-inspiring performance and extraordinary artistry – he called me back to myself! Mr. Brendel’s brilliance restored me, and rekindled the love of music that had been the animating force throughout my entire life. I can’t describe what a wonderful revelation that was for me.

It was an extraordinary gift. It is a VRS performance I’ll never forget, and one for which I will always be grateful to Leila Getz, the Founder and Artistic Director of this series. Leila has given each of us, and indeed this entire city, 35 years of inspirational memories.

What is your favourite VRS Memory? Please write and let me know your story.

SB signature
 

 

 

 

Sean Bickerton
Executive Director

 

IT TAKES A (GLOBAL) VILLAGE

Visiting New York is like a shot of adrenalin! I spent half my adult life in that city. Half of that was spent working at Columbia Artists when it was at it’s peak, learning the business of managing artists and producing international concert tours for orchestras, dance companies and chamber groups from around the world.

When I go back, I find nearly every block of that city imbued with memories and reflections of some of the most defining experiences and people in my life.

The reason for my trip was to give a seminar on social media at this year’s Chamber Music America conference. I presented my “Top Ten Tips For Mastering The Twitterverse” to agents, artists and presenters I’ve long known and admired: Edna Landau, co-founder of IMG Artists and Jamie Broumas, Director of the Kennedy Center, among others. It was fun and I think it went over well.

I also took advantage of the trip to arrange meetings with the Artistic staff at Carnegie Hall and the 92nd Street Y; the Marketing and Brand director for Lincoln Center; and a fundraising expert for Cambridge University in America.

And many old friends. Mentors Doug Sheldon at Columbia Artists and Charlie Hamlen, co-founder of IMG and founder of Classical Action Against AIDS, now VP of Artistic Planning for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Shirley Kirshbaum, Susan Catalano and Jason Belz from Kirshbaum-Demler Artists; Jenny Palmer from IMG Artists; Stephen Jacobson, my counterpart at Shriver Hall in Baltimore; Derrick Inouye, resident conductor at the Met Opera and James Levine’s right hand both there and at the Verbier Festival; David Lamarche, Music Director of American Ballet Theater; and Nikki Chooi, a brilliant young violinist from Victoria with a burgeoning career.

It reconfirmed for me the thousands of people around the world so crucial to the ecosystem that produces the great artists that appear on our series every year: the teachers, music schools and great artists that mentor young talent; the foundations, competitions and festivals that give them a leg up; the agents that find and help develop careers; the publicists that help promote them; the critics that maintain standards and push artists to grow; the record labels, web developers, instrument makers and sponsors that are all necessary to that elusive magical alchemy that leads to a career.

And most important of all, people like Leila Getz, our Artistic Director, whose international connections, knowledge, artistic integrity and willingness to take risks are the key to the success of our series.

Ultimately the trip reminded me again of how much this business, like much of life itself, is based on relationships and reputation. It is still an industry where one’s word is literally one’s bond.

I’m overjoyed to get back home to my Tom, and to our great team at the Vancouver Recital Society. But it’s been quite a moving, emotional visit – so many joy-filled hellos followed too soon with emotional goodbyes.

And now it’s time for the last goodbye of all, to New York itself. They’ve just called my flight back to Vancouver!

Sean Bickerton
Executive Director

 

NELSON MANDELA’S CLASSICAL PIANIST

 

The world is a poorer place for Nelson Mandela’s passing. Over the last few days I have read many articles about him and about my native South Africa during the dark days of apartheid. One item, in particular, surprised me. The piece below, by British journalist Norman Lebrecht, was posted on his daily blog ‘Slipped Disc’:

“One of Mandela’s close friends in the 1950s was the Welsh-born pianist Harold Rubens, who moved to South Africa when his prodigy career dried up (he is pictured below as a boy, playing for George Bernard Shaw).

A brother of the novelist Bernice Rubens and the hero of her novel, Madame Sousatzka, Harold became active in anti-apartheid activities. His home became a secret meeting place for Mandela and other leaders of the resistance. When confidential plans were discussed, Harold would sit at the piano and hammer out ffffs so the conversation could not be picked up on secret service microphones.

Albie Sachs recalled: ‘We were meeting in the underground in their cottage in Newlands. We would hear him practising the fourth Beethoven piano concerto, going over it and over and over again while we were doing our secret planning in the room next door. Happily the music was very loud, and if there were any bugs, all the security police would hear would be Beethoven and not us planning resistance to apartheid. Beethoven would have been happy. Such complex and mixed-up feelings in this simple building.’

Harold refused to play before segregated audiences. He returned to London in 1963, taught at the Royal Academy and died in 2010.  He’ll be playing G-major for Nelson right now, bless them.”

Harold Rubens

Harold Rubens performing for George Bernard Shaw

Harold Rubens was a professor of piano at the College of Music in Cape Town, which was the music faculty of the University of Cape Town. I was a pupil of his from 1957 to 1961. To describe Harold Rubens as a colourful individual would be an understatement! He was very short and had a complicated personality. Actually, he terrified the living daylights out of me. I would stand outside the door to his studio with butterflies in my stomach!

We all knew that Professor Rubens was involved in anti-apartheid activities, but most of the people I knew were. I don’t think that any of us realized that he was engaged in the activity that Mr. Lebrecht has written about. I called two of my good friends who were at the college with me over the weekend and neither of them knew about this. And to see Harold Rubens playing for George Bernard Shaw makes me feel ancient!!

Leila Getz

 

VRSchubert – Day 8: the student, the master, and the message

 

Alfred Brendel

Paul Lewis is internationally recognized as one of the leading pianists of his generation. While there is perhaps no question that Lewis’ impressive talent comes from an innate musical ability, his musicianship has also been shaped by the tutelage of some of the worlds most deft and magnanimous  piano masters.

Lewis studied with Ryszard Bakst at Chethams School of Music and Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel. Renowned for his masterly interpretations of the works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Liszt, Brendel is one of the indisputable authorities in musical life today and one of the very few living pianists whose name alone guarantees a sell-out anywhere in the world he chooses to play. The passage below summarizes Lewis’ reflections on studying Schubert under the guidance of Alfred Brendel:

“With someone like Schubert, there are many layers, many things being said at the same time, shedding different light. The tricky thing, the point, is to get the delicate balance that conveys the message – and Alfred was the master of the message.”


SPECIAL TICKET OFFER! As part of the #VRSchubert campaign we’re offering a 25% discount* on Paul Lewis tickets. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE or call the VRS box office at 604-602-0363. Use code TWEET when ordering.

VRScubert: In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and the celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/blog.

* Discount on A, B, C, D price sections only and cannot be combined with other offers.

 

VRSchubert Day 7- The Singular Schubert: Quotes v.2

 

“I am in the world only for the purpose of composing.” -Franz Schubert

More Schubert quotes can be found here.


SPECIAL TICKET OFFER! As part of the #VRSchubert campaign we’re offering a 25% discount* on Paul Lewis tickets. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE or call the VRS box office at 604-602-0363. Use code TWEET when ordering.

VRScubert: In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and the celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/blog.

* Discount on A, B, C, D price sections only and cannot be combined with other offers.

 

VRSchubert-Day 6: Quoting the divinely inspired Schubert

 

“I am composing like a god, as if it simply had to be done as it has been done.” – Franz Schubert

Read more of Schubert’s illustrious words here.


SPECIAL TICKET OFFER! As part of the #VRSchubert campaign we’re offering a 25% discount* on Paul Lewis tickets. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE or call the VRS box office at 604-602-0363. Use code TWEET when ordering.

VRScubert: In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and the celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/blog.

* Discount on A, B, C, D price sections only and cannot be combined with other offers.

 

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