Join the musicians of the Vancouver Island Symphony under the direction of Cossette Justo Valdés on Feb. 12 for a magnificent musical ride as they travel 200 years of music with Chants d’Auvergne – a collection of folk songs from the Auvergne region of France by Canteloube (1923) to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony (1813) – a work he conducted and the audience demanded an encore of the famous “Allegretto” second movement.
Then they skip forward 100 years to a premiere by Jennifer Butler with text by Tina Biello and performed by Marion Newman.
Continuing with the introduction of VIS artistic director candidates, February’s Winter Song performance will feature the second candidate, conductor Justo Valdés.
Justo Valdés was born and raised in Cuba and did not see her first symphony performance until the age of 18. It was at that concert that she knew she wanted to be a conductor.
“Conducting is more than making music,” she said. “It is a great honour. For me, it is about connecting with others – my colleagues and the audience. I decided to become a conductor because I love people and how they become their best when they are led with love. I have found my purpose in this career despite all the difficult obstacles I have had to overcome.
“Coming from a communist country that is truly a dictatorship (although they try to make the world think otherwise) made me believe that conducting was going to be just a local experience, and that I was never going to have the opportunity for an international career. But here I am! I am incredibly grateful that I have made it to this beautiful country that has now become my home. Here I have found my people: some of my best friends and my most beloved colleagues.”
Justo Valdés is excited to be in Courtenay for this performance and she is already immensely thankful for this opportunity.
When asked what being the successful candidate would mean to her, she shared her thoughts.
“I can only imagine how I will feel if I become the artistic director of the VIS. It would be such an honour, and the possibility to dream big for this fantastic group of people and of course for myself along with them would be a dream come true.”
The concert takes place at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12.
For tickets, visit sidwilliamstheatre.com. For more information, check www.vancouverislandsymphony.com