By Rosemary Phillips
When pianist Michael Kim steps onto centre stage with the Vancouver Island Symphony at the Port Theatre on Saturday (March 22), it will finally be spring in Nanaimo.
Kim, an international performing and recording artist and Dean of Brandon University School of Music, has been hunkering down in his office in Manitoba where the temperature outside had dropped to a chilly – 40 C.
One of the conditions for taking the job as dean was the support of the university to continue to perform.
“I enjoy being an academic administrator and professor, but I don’t want to lose my abilities as a performing artist,” he said.
Kim is guiding the upcoming generation of musicians.
“I’m using both sides of my brain,” he said. “As the dean I am a psychologist, accountant, fundraiser, lobbyist, mediator, and so many other roles. There’s no real training to prepare for this; just life experiences and a positive and healthy mind.”
For the symphony’s concert St. Petersburg-Courage, Kim will be joined by Stevan Paranosic, principal trumpet, to perform the Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich.
“I always jump at the chance to perform this concerto because it has a really rare combination of instruments. The interplay between the trumpet and piano is extraordinary. The piece also combines the typical Shostakovich rhythmic and yet biting sarcastic comment about life in Russia at the time. With the Russian folk and dance elements it’s also fun; there’s even some ragtime at the end. It has the clarity and transparency of a Mozart concerto, but also the deep Russian element.”
That Russian element continues as artistic director Pierre Simard leads the symphony to St. Petersburg on its musical journey around the world with Passport to Great Entertainment.
The program is filled with the passion, courage, romance and exotic beauty of Russia’s cultural capital. Included is Arensky’s wistful and passionate tribute Variations on a theme of Tchaikovsky, Borodin’s romantic Nocturne, and Stravinsky’s traditional, soothing and exotic ballet Apollon Musagète.
The music starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $33-59; $20/students. Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com.