Grammy Award-Winning Angela Hewitt to Perform at Vancouver’s Chan Centre (with review)

Angela Hewitt with Piano by Keith Saunders

Vancouver has an incredible musical treat in store with world-renowned pianist Angela Hewitt set to take the stage of The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on March 7, 2018.

Hewitt has gained considerable acclaim for her immense talent, even earning the designation of being “the pre-eminent Bach pianist of our time” by The Guardian. The Canadian pianist will be playing on a modern Fazioli grand piano in her performance of J.S. Bach’s beloved Goldberg Variations. The Variations, composed by Bach in 1741, were supposedly composed for musician Johann Gottlieb Goldberg to play in aid of Count Kaiserling, who suffered from insomnia. The exceedingly canonical and recognizable Variations has a breadth of musical experience contained within it, from the seemingly simple to the breathtakingly technically demanding. Above all, it is united in its transcendental beauty and joyous expression.

Hewitt’s appearance at The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (6265 Crescent Road) marks Early Music Vancouver’s (EMV) “Goldberg Experience,” a popular series in which they have been inviting various well-known artists to showcase their interpretation of the Variations. So far, American jazz pianist Dan Tepfer and Mahan Esfahani (playing a French double-manual harpsichord) have taken part in this unique “Experience.”

Angela Hewitt Headshot by Bernd Eberle

Hewitt, who hails from Ottawa, began honing her virtuosity from a young age, at three years-old beginning her training, performing at four, and giving her first recital at nine at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. After studying at the University of Ottawa with French pianist Jean-Paul Sévilla, she has gone on to win numerous awards (eg International Bach competitions of Leizig and Washington, DC; Toronto Bach Competition; Dino Ciani Competition at La Scala, Milan; Grammy Awards), as well as to perform world-wide (eg New Zealand, China, Mexico, Japan). She has been particularly fêted in Canada, where she has been compared to Glenn Gould, won JUNO awards, and has been recognized as a Companion to the Order of Canada by the Government. Her great recording achievement was a ten-year project to record Bach’s major keyboard works.

The March 7th concert starts at 7:30pm, with a pre-talk with Angela Hewitt and Ian Alexander beforehand at 6:45pm. The highly anticipated concert is selling out rapidly, so don’t hesitate to book your seats. Further information and tickets are available on-line.

Other exciting upcoming concerts at the Chan Centre include the following:

Kevin Li, a sixteen year-old tenor who has sung at Carnegie Hall, presents (along with North Star and West Coast Symphony Orchestra) Voice of Passion – Winter Music Gala 2018 on February 24, 2018 at 7pm. This is a fundraising concert for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

The Vancouver Recital Society presents Marc-André Hamelin on March 4, 2018 at 3pm. The elite pianist will be playing:

FRANZ LISZT: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13 in A minor
FRANZ LISZT: Bénédiction de Dieu dans la Solitude
FRANZ LISZT: Fantasy and Fugue on the Theme B-A-C-H
SAMUIL FEINBERG: Sonata No. 4 in E-flat minor, Op. 6
CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Images, Book 1
LEOPOLD GODOWSKY: Wine, Women and Song

Lila Downs will be performing March 10, 2018 at 8pm, wowing audiences with her blend of traditional Mexican music, boleros, rock, blues, and jazz.

Review of Angela Hewitt’s Performance

There was a hush as Angela Hewitt took to the stage at the Chan Centre. For roughly an hour and a half, the Canadian virtuoso performed the thirty Goldberg Variations, in addition to the opening and closing Arias. She was the piano and the music, in a seamless melding that was a marvel to behold. The sheer ability of Hewitt to remember such intricacy and to make it appear effortless is impressive in itself. Her playing had both a sensitivity for the quiet and sometimes still subtlety of some of the variations, as well as a certain exuberant ferocity when other variations exploded into simultaneous and multi-layered melody. The result was beguiling, as if the audience was contained in a musical bauble unbroken until Hewitt played her last note and descended into profound silence.

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