Photo Contributed Cellist Marina Hasselberg performs with Cathy Fern Lewis during the Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival.

Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival allows listeners to enjoy music in an intimate setting

Seventh annual chamber music festival run Friday and Saturday (June 23-24)

Chamber music was often performed in intimate settings – a small room in a house or palace.

The classical music is written for small groups so the artists and listeners can be close to each other. The Nanaimo Conservatory of Music is presenting the seventh annual Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival Friday and Saturday (June 23-24).

“I love presenting the festival each year. The artists select their music accordingly and present interesting, exciting music,” said Pippa Williams, festival music director, in an e-mail. “This is not stuffy music, anybody can come to the concerts and enjoy hearing the groups perform. There is something for everyone’s individual tastes.”

The festival features a wide variety of styles including classical, pop, folk and jazz.

Cellist Marina Hasselberg will perform with Cathy Fern Lewis during the event. She said chamber music allows people to hear the intricacies of each performer, because the instruments won’t overpower each other or be lost in a sea of instruments like orchestras.

“Something really beautiful about chamber music is its flexibility. You get to see a few individuals having a musical conversation,” said Hasselberg.

The cellist was born in Portugal and studied classical music as a child. She said the movie Tout les matins du monde influenced her as a child and inspired her to learn the cello.

When she immigrated to Canada, she started studying baroque and contemporary music. Hasselberg has performed with various orchestras and is the principal cellist for the Vancouver Island Symphony. She recently received the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist in Music.

During the concert Hasselberg will also perform on a baroque cello. She said there are differences between the baroque and regular cello. Baroque strings are made out of gut and the curvature of the bow is different. The cello also doesn’t have the end pin that would normally rest on the floor. This means that musicians must hold the instrument with their legs.

“It changes the position and changes the relationship with the instrument,” said Hasselberg.

Festival performances kick off with a show featuring Trio 211 and the Emily Carr String Quartet at St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 7 p.m. on June 23.

On June 24 at 2 p.m. Victoria Brass and the Ad Mare Reed Trio performs at Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd. Later that evening at 7 p.m. at the theatre is a show featuring Fringe Percussion and Hasselberg and Lewis

Tickets are $20 per concert or $50 for a festival pass available at the door or the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, located at 375 Selby St.

For more info about the festival, visit www.ncmusic.ca.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com