Members of the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra rehearse at Unitarian Hall for their upcoming concert, Light Horizon. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra presents romantic program at Malaspina Theatre

Guest soloists will be the Wisteria String Quartet, a group of UVic students

The Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra is taking on the music of the romantic era.

The ensemble’s upcoming program, Light Horizon, coming to Malaspina Theatre on April 6, features work by English composers Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst, as well as Italy’s Giacomo Puccini and Ottorino Respighi.

The Wisteria String Quartet – composed of University of Victoria students Claire Dresselhuis on cello, Maki Yamagata on viola, and violinists Amy-Lynne Toth and Jasmine Mather, who hails from Nanaimo – will be the evening’s guest musicians. The group was assembled by UVic music instructors and found quick chemistry.

“From the get-go we all love chamber music and we all have a good amount of energy to put towards it so I think the combination of all of us make for a really energetic and enthusiastic group of people,” Mather said.

She is a pupil of NCO director Karl Rainer. She said he started teaching her violin at the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music when she was 11 or 12 years old. This spring Mather graduates from UVic’s bachelor of music program with a major in performance for violin.

Rainer said Mather was his first student to continue studies at the post-secondary level and he feels proud to see her succeed in music.

“In an unselfish way you feel like you’re watching somebody fulfill what they want to do, and that’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “And in a selfish way I feel very validated that what I was doing was correct.”

The quartet will join the NCO on Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro. Rainer calls it a “really interesting, thick, lush, romantic piece.” This is the first time the Wisteria String Quartet is playing the composition.

“It’s quite epic and really quite beautiful,” Mather said of Introduction and Allegro. “Some of the slower moments in it sound like movie music, they’re really quite romantic, and then there’s just enough edge with the more turbulent passages to make it a pretty fun experience to play and to listen to.”

WHAT’S ON … The Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra presents Light Horizon at Malaspina Theatre on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for students and children under 12 get in free. Available in advance online or cash only at the door.

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