For several years, classical music lovers from Courtenay and Comox have been travelling by ferry to Denman Island to enjoy the performances of Canadian violinist Kai Gleusteen and his wife, French pianist Catherine Ordronneau.
The pair, who are based in Barcelona Spain, have just come off a successful 17-city tour of China and are now gearing up to take us on a five-day, five-concert journey through the musical world of the German composer Felix Mendelssohn.
Until this year all their Comox Valley concerts have been on Denman Island, where Gleusteen’s parents live. But this year, for the first time, one of the concerts will be presented in Courtenay at the Stan Hagen Theatre. Kai and Catherine will once again be joined by Canadian musicians Ariel Barnes on cello, Hiroko Kagawa on violin and David Visentin on viola. A bonus this year will be the addition of a quartet of gifted young student musicians from Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary. As well as giving the students the experience of performing with seasoned professionals, it affords the Kaimerata Festival an opportunity to program some larger works.
The 2015 Kaimerata Mendelssohn Festival launches with a concert at Courtenay’s Stan Hagen Theatre on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 7:30, featuring single movements of five of Mendelssohn’s larger masterworks that will later be presented in their entirety at concerts on Denman Island.
The concert on the following evening, Thursday Aug. 20 at 7:30 is at Denman Island Hall and will feature the complete Concerto for piano, violin and strings and the octet for strings.
The third concert on Friday, Aug. 21 on Hornby Island at 7:30 will include movements the String Quartets and the Piano Trio.
The last two concerts in the series are back on Denman Island and both are matinée performances.
The fourth, on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. features two string quartets.
At the final concert on Sunday, Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. Kai, Catherine and Ariel will perform the great Piano Trio in D minor.
Ariel Barnes will also perform the Cello Suite No. 3 by J.S. Bach.
The Kaimerata Festival is being co-sponsored this year by the Comox Valley Piano Society. For tickets online and more information go to kaimerata.com.
Tickets are $25 (students $12) for individual concerts or $65 for the entire series (students $33).
Tickets may also be purchased at Blue Heron and Laughing Oyster Book Stores or at the door if available.