Difficult times require difficult decisions
Dear Friends,

For a few hours last Sunday I, and I daresay all who sat with me at the Playhouse listening to Haydn, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Schubert’s last great quartet in a searing performance by the Castalian String Quartet, forgot briefly about the atrocities of the war that we are now witnessing. 
This Sunday we have another concert: Isata Kanneh-Mason in her solo recital debut in Vancouver. And again, hopefully, we will lose ourselves in the magic and comfort of great music. And in between trying to lose ourselves in music we have to face the realities of life… or, in this case, death and destruction.
Today’s e-newsletter was supposed to excitedly announce and provide details about a couple of upcoming concerts in June featuring the wonderful Golda Schultz and Steven Osborne (both concerts had to be rescheduled because of the pandemic). But, to be honest, I don’t feel upbeat enough to do them justice, so I shall leave it for another week. Not that I think that this will all miraculously disappear, but perhaps I will be better able to deal with my inability to muster my usual excitement.
Yesterday, I did one of the hardest things I have had to do in a very long time, and that was to cancel a new date we had secured in August for the 20-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev. We have now tried three times to get him to Vancouver, but again, it is not to be. We at the VRS cannot in good conscience present a concert by any Russian artist at this moment in time unless they are prepared to speak out publicly against this war. We stand with the remarkable people of Ukraine, who are inspiring us all with their resilience and bravery. 
As you can imagine, I feel terrible and conflicted about it. Alexander is an incredibly talented young artist embarking upon what will surely be (in a sane world) a stellar career. He is now being penalized, despite the fact that he has nothing to do with what’s going on. He is in fear of what would happen to his family, with whom he still lives in Moscow, if he speaks out. Alexander Malofeev is just one the many millions of innocent Russians who are being deeply impacted by the actions of their government. It is all so very senseless. And it breaks my heart.
Until next week,

Leila Getz, C.M., O.B.C., DFA
Founder & Artistic Director

PS I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Evgeny Kissin, the Russian-born pianist who is appearing on our series on April 28, publicly denounced the war in Ukraine. Evgeny, who resides in Prague, left Russia many years ago and has since taken both British and Israeli citizenship.

Castalian String Quartet in your words...
The Castalian String Quartet made a welcome return to the VRS stage at the Playhouse on Sunday and gave a stunning performance of Haydn, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Schubert. It was clear that people were delighted to be back in the hall once again; we'd like to share some of the feedback we received after the concert:
“When I tell my friends about the experience of going to a recital, I say that it can be like having front row seats at the Olympics. The Castalian Quartet are Olympians of the musical world - a wonderful group of musicians at the "top of their game"... a virtuosic performance that left us all happily floating out of the theatre as if intoxicated. Thank you!”
“Absolutely fantastic quartet! Their skill and almost manic energy were mesmerizing. Additionally, the program was utterly fascinating and different from most. Thank you for bringing them. I hope they return.”
“Listening to the Castalian quartet was like good medicine for all our aching hearts. Music to heal while offering a prayer for peace and an end to the suffering for all those involved in this unspeakable war.”
More music we love
This week's video picks are from Melodie and Niamh. Enjoy!
Melodie's pick: Joe Hisaishi: One Summer's Day from the film Spirited Away 
Niamh's pick: Yo-Yo Ma performs "Amazing Grace / Goin' Home"

2021-22 Season

Isata Kanneh-Mason, piano
Sun, Mar 6 at 3pm
Vancouver Playhouse

Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor
with Michał Biel, piano

Sun, Mar 20 at 3pm
Vancouver Playhouse

Stephen Waarts, violin with Gabriele Carcano, piano
Sun, Mar 27 at 3pm
Vancouver Playhouse

Yuja Wang, piano
Wed, Mar 30 at 7:30pm
Orpheum Theatre

Mishka Rushdie Momen, piano
Sun, Apr 3 at 3pm
Vancouver Playhouse

Danish String Quartet
Sun, Apr 24 at 3pm
Vancouver Playhouse

Evgeny Kissin, piano
Thurs, Apr 28 at 8pm
Orpheum Theatre

Nicolas Altstaedt, solo cello
Sun, May 1 at 3pm
Vancouver Playhouse

Jerusalem Quartet
with Hila Baggio, soprano

Sat, May 7, 7.30pm
Temple Sholom

Daniel Hsu, piano
Sun, May 15 at 3pm
Vancouver Playhouse

Steven Osborne, piano
Sun, June 5 at 7.30pm
Orpheum Theatre
Please note new date & venue
Know the Score is our new online education platform. Throughout the pandemic, the VRS team was looking for ways to engage with audiences when we couldn’t be in the concert hall together, and so the idea of an online platform filled with interesting musical content was born!

Know the Score is designed to help you delve more deeply into music and indulge your curiosity about musicians, composers, instruments, music history, and more.

You can
learn more about VRS artists and their programs, take a course, check out our upcoming events, or just enjoy some fun musical treats.  

This week on the platform, we’re highlighting pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, so be sure to check out her artist page for a short biography, notes on her program, and some fun extras such as her Beyond the Concert Hall conversation with Leila.

If you’d like to learn more about the site and get notified about new content, you can sign up for the Know the Score newsletter here. We hope you enjoy the platform, and we can’t wait to see what you discover!
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While we’re back in the theatre (finally... again!!), we’re still in extraordinary times, and we continue to rely upon and appreciate your support. The cancellation of last season was hugely impactful; our staff and ongoing operations rely on the revenue we generate through ticket purchases and fundraising. Over the last year and a half, we’ve been more dependent than ever on the philanthropic support we receive from people whose lives are impacted by the the VRS.

If you'd like to support the VRS by making a tax-deductible donation, you can do so by clicking here, or you can mail your gift to our office (201 - 513 Main Street, Vancouver, BC, V6A 2V1). Donations over $10 are eligible for a charitable receipt. Thank you; your faith in us means the world!
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