Pierre Simard

Pierre Simard

Classical composers featured during Vancouver Island Symphony concert

Vancouver Island Symphony performs during Classical Spirit concert at Nanaimo's Port Theatre.

Ask anyone on the street to name a classical composer and they may say names like Mozart, Bach or Chopin.

But the only classical composer within the group is Mozart. Bach is from the Baroque period and Chopin is from the romantic period.

Pierre Simard, artistic director of the Vancouver Island Symphony, said it’s a common misconception that many of the great composer are classical composers, but the classical era only went from about the mid 18th century to early 19th century.

The latest concert presented by the symphony, Classical Spirit, is meant to showcase the true classical composers to Nanaimo audience members.

“We came up with a repertoire they would be very, very familiar with written by the great composers, but also in the shadows,” said Simard. “The first half I chose a bit more familiar, not obscure, they may be a bit less performed.”

Classical Spirit features Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 in D major; Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus, op. 43 and Schubert’s Symphony No. 8.

Mozart composed Symphony No. 35, also known as Haffner,  in 1782. It was commissioned by a prominent family of Salzburg, Austria.

The Creatures of Prometheus was composed by Beethoven in 1801. The composition is based on the Greek myth of Prometheus.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 8, also known as the Unfinished Symphony, was created in 1822.

Classical Spirit also features an original composition, Concerto for French Horn and Strings, by Canadian composer Stephen Chatman. The song is one of five the symphony commissioned to have written.

“We’re excited about the brand-new production’s world premiere,” said Simard.

Andrew Clark, is the guest artist for Classical Spirit and is the soloist for the new composition.

Clark has been the principal horn player with the symphony since 2011.

Clark began playing the French horn in school. He eventually joined a youth orchestra. He attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1983 and after graduation performed with a number of orchestras and ensembles.

Clark was the principal horn player in the London Classic Players, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

He also taught French horn at London’s Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music. He moved to Canada in 2010.

For more information about Clark, please go to www.naturallyhorns.co.uk.

Classical Spirit shows Saturday (Jan. 21) at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s a celebration of what is classical music … beauty, grace, elegance and harmony,” said Simard.

Tickets range in price from $33 to $54 or are $18 for students, available in advance by calling 250-754-8550 or online at www.porttheatre.com.

For more information about the Vancouver Island Symphony, please go to www.vancouverislandsymphony.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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