Passionate pianist

NANAIMO - Nanaimo raised musician Devon Joiner performs with the Vancouver Island Symphony at the Port Theatre (Oct. 24) at 7:30 p.m.

Nanaimo native Devon Joiner performs Nights in the Gardens of Spain at the Port Theatre.

Nanaimo native Devon Joiner performs Nights in the Gardens of Spain at the Port Theatre.

The scent of jasmine fills the air, floating over a garden on the Moorish hillside near the Alhambra palace.

The rich and dark piano music narrates the tale with the piccolo, flute and other orchestra instruments becoming a community of storytellers weaving the audience through the passionate piece, Nights in the Gardens of Spain, created by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.

“There is an exciting and mysterious quality to it,” said Devon Joiner, who joins the Vancouver Island Symphony as a guest musician on the piece Saturday (Oct. 24). “It is a lot of fun to play.”

The piece takes the audience to three gardens, which are ephemeral and shrouded like an impressionist painting taking shape in the mind. The second garden depicts a distant dance where figures move to the beat of an intense flamenco and the third is in Sierra de Córdoba.

During the expressive piece the piano player communicates steadily with the orchestra.

For the Nanaimo-raised musician, the concert is a chance to come home and showcase his passion for music, which began at four years old when he first started playing piano.

“It’s always been a part of my life,” he said. “There is so much variety in the piano. All 88 keys can produce wonderful harmonies.”

His favourite composers are Chopin and Mozart.

“I love their lyrical writing styles and they have beautiful melodies,” said Joiner.

He recently completed creating an album of his favourites of the two composers that will be for sale at the concert.

Before he performs on stage, Joiner takes some deep breaths and goes through the music in his head. Once he begins to play, he goes into a lyrical world.

“I go into this wonderful world where I can explore the colour of the music,” he said.

Joiner is currently attending his second year at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He’s still exploring the different medical fields and hasn’t decided what his specialty will be. No matter where his medical career takes him, Joiner said music will always be a part of his life.

Joiner has a long list of musical accomplishments. He’s performed at the Upper Island Music Festival, was chosen as the youngest finalist in the annual Concerto Competition and played with the UBC Symphony Orchestra.

He made his orchestral debut in 2007 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2011. He has also won top prizes in the Schimmel, Russian Music and Seattle International Piano Competitions.

He received his master of Music from the Julliard School after earning his bachelor’s degree in music at the University of British Columbia. He took a five-week trip to Africa with eight other Julliard-trained teaching artists in 2012 to help students, ages three to 25, build confidence, teamwork and express themselves through the arts.

“It was an incredible experience,” said Joiner.

He said it was great to share music with the students and hear the student’s own styles of music.

The Music and Literature performance is at the Port Theatre at 7:30 p.m. There is a pre-concert talk with symphony conductor and artistic director Pierre Simard in the front lobby 6:30-7 p.m.

Tickets range in price from $5 to $59. For tickets, please call 250-754-8550 or go to

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read