Acclaimed Vancouver string quartet premieres new works this Sunday

Borealis String Quartet. Steven Lemay photo.

Borealis String Quartet. Steven Lemay photo.

A Vancouver string quartet is premiering a new program that is intended to take listeners on a sonic journey.

Presented by Borealis String Quartet, Landscapes: A Northern Odyssey features a world-premiere composition, String Quartet No. 5, written especially for the Quartet by Vancouver composer, Owen Underhill. The BSQ will perform the piece alongside two contrasting works, one from Latvian-Canadian composer Imant Raminsh, the other by Chinese-Canadian composer Xiao-Ou Hu, both Vancouver premieres. This hot classical action takes place beginning at 3 p.m. this Sunday, March 12 at the Orpheum Annex (823 Seymour St.).

The Raminsh piece, String Quartet No. 3, is described as “expressive and exuberant.” The Hu work is Time, Sky and Echoes II, and is inspired by Mongolian folk songs. In addition, selections from European composers Ernest Bloch and Bela Bartok round out the program “with desolate northern expressions and dynamic folk inspired melodies,” according to the press release.

The Borealis String Quartet is comprised of Yuel Yawney and Patricia Shih on violin, Nikita Pogrebnoy on viola, and Sungyong Lim on cello. Since forming in 2000, BSQ has toured extensively in North America, Europe and Asia. The Quartet is the only classical group to be selected for the Great Canadian Dream Competition, nationally televised program, and the only classical musicians to perform for the country’s prime minister at Parliament Hill in Ottawa for an audience of over 75,000. Amongst other awards, their most recent CD was also nominated for the prestigious Golden Melody Award in Asia.

According to their bio, “The Borealis is passionate about stretching the boundaries of the classical string quartet and transforming the chamber music concert experience. Using thematic and innovative programming, popular music for our younger generations, videos and cameras to enrich the visual presentation, as well as speaking from the stage to better engage the audience, the Borealis has attracted new audiences into the concert hall and are recreating the chamber music experience.

“Although the Borealis is strongly committed to the great traditional quartet literature, they actively seek to promote new works and are strong advocates of Canadian music… they have sought to take these works to many world stages where their performances have met with great success.”

Borealis String Quartet. Derek Bowman photo.

Borealis String Quartet. Derek Bowman photo.

Tickets for Landscapes: A Northern Journey are $30 ($15 for students) at or

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