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Passion for guitar

Daniel Bolshoy performs classical guitar with the Vancouver Island Symphony Saturday (Jan. 25). - Photo Contributed
Daniel Bolshoy performs classical guitar with the Vancouver Island Symphony Saturday (Jan. 25).
— image credit: Photo Contributed

By Rosemary Philips

Daniel Bolshoy, a passionate, talented, international classical guitarist and popular teacher, has a profound dream – to make British Columbia the guitar centre of the world.

“It’s logical. Many of the woods that guitars are made of come from B.C.,” said the Russian-born, Israeli-raised artist about his favourite instrument and place to live. “I see myself staying here for many years to come to help develop a guitar world – and raise my family.”

Besides having a career that has him performing around the world with orchestras and at festivals, Daniel has an amazing track record for having dreams come true. Since his last appearance in Nanaimo with the Vancouver Island Symphony in 2011 he has moved with his family to Vancouver from Montreal, become head of the guitar departments at UBC and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School for Music, introduced the instrument to many students, created an annual summer festival in Kaslo, and toured the province extensively.

“Vancouver is treating me really well,” he said. “The music departments have grown and the level of performance has risen. We have developed some interesting projects, such as students performing for health care centres and seniors’ residences, and we have organized festivals which feature students and international artists.”

Regarding his upcoming performance of Rodrigo’s popular and familiar Concierto de Aranjuez with the Vancouver Island Symphony for their concert on Saturday (Jan. 25) he said, “This is the biggest hit of the classical guitar repertoire, the most popular concerto of the 20th century. It is very passionate music. If you have never heard guitar and classical music and you are hesitating, I say come along. This is the perfect concert for you. This piece is important on so many levels for any beginner or experienced guitarist of any genre of music. It’s a masterpiece.”

Bolshoy loves and knows the concerto so well.

“My guitar teacher at the University of Denver was Ricardo Iznaolo. The concerto was written for Ricardo’s teacher in Spain, Regino Sainz de la Maza, who gave its premiere performance in 1940,” he said.

“While Rodrigo was living in Paris in 1939 he missed his homeland and decided to write something very Spanish. He was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez and memories of his honeymoon with his wife Victoria.

“Not many people realize that Rodrigo was blind. Because he could not see the gardens he instead captured the feel of them, like the wind, the gushing of fountains, the fragrance of magnolias and the singing of birds. I have had the opportunity to teach the concerto to a few students. While it is beautiful it has some very demanding guitar licks.”

As Bolshoy looks ahead to the future, holding on to his dreams, he practises, performs and teaches. To keep fit he cycles all the way to UBC to teach, and walks out and about the city with his family.

“Perri and I now have a baby daughter, 16 months old, and another baby due in a few months. My lifestyle has changed. We are not dining out as much and I’m doing more cooking at home. The baby already likes music. She’s got a ukulele of her own but prefers daddy’s guitar.”

In addition to Bolshoy’s performance, fans of Spanish music will also be treated to the full-symphonic surround-sound of Turina’s rapturous Bullfighter’s Prayer, the fire of gypsy dance and song of de Falla’s dramatic ghost story Love, The Magician, featuring mezzo-soprano Melanie Adams, and Suite No. 1 from the fun-filled and seductive ballet The Three-Cornered Hat.

The concert takes place at the Port Theatre, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $33-$59; $20/students. Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com.

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