Pianist Robert Silverman in a photo posted to robert-silverman.com.

Pianist Robert Silverman in a photo posted to robert-silverman.com.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

All-Bach ‘treasure trove’ for pianist Silverman, who kicks off VSO’s ‘Surrey Nights’ concerts

The Vancouverite has curated a selection of Bach works, studied and honed through the pandemic

During the COVID pandemic, Vancouver’s Robert Silverman has devoted himself almost exclusively to the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Now, the celebrated pianist is ready to perform the Baroque composer’s music, in Surrey and also at Vancouver’s Chan Centre, where he taught for close to 30 years.

Silverman is featured during Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s first “Surrey Nights” concert of the fall/winter season at Bell Performing Arts Centre, on Sunday, Oct. 24, starting at 7 p.m.

The all-Bach showcase will offer a curated selection of works that Silverman has studied and honed through the pandemic, in the twilight of his six-decade career in music. His discography ranks among the largest of any Canadian pianist in history.

“How I managed to ignore this treasure trove for most of my life, I will never know,” Silverman says of Bach’s music. “You never have a melody in the right hand and then a simple accompaniment – it’s always two or more voices, working as equal partners. I have to internalize and hear each voice independently, and then train my fingers to realize that sonic vision. And you have to shape a melodic line. Every note counts in Bach, as with no other composer.”

At Chan Centre, the VSO’s concert will be performed on Saturday, Oct. 23, the night before the Surrey date.

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The music will include selections from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” and “Keyboard Concerto in D minor.” Early-music specialist Alexander Weimann will lead a performance of “The Musical Offering” from the harpsichord.

For tickets ($39.76/$41.90), visit the VSO’s website or call 604-876-3434.

To attend a VSO concert right now, a vaccine passport is required for everyone aged 12 and over. “We have put in place comfort spacing this fall to ensure space between each household,” notes a post on vancouversymphony.ca/faq.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey theatres reopen with cautious optimism for live events this fall.

Three “Surrey Nights” concerts will be performed by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra this fall/winter – two fewer than usual for the annual series.

The Surrey concerts continue Jan. 8 with Canadian trumpeter Jens Lindemann performing Leopold Mozart’s “Toy Symphony,” Haydn’s “Trumpet Concerto,” Charles Ives’ “The Unanswered Question” and Alan Gilliland’s “Dreaming of the Masters.”

Weeks later at the Sullivan-area Bell theatre, a “Mozart, Bach & Bartók” concert on Feb. 20 will spotlight viola player Hung-Wei Huang, concertmaster Nicholas Wright and Otto Tausk, VSO Music Director.

Also at the Bell, the VSO’s “A Traditional Christmas” will be performed Dec. 2, starting at 7:30 p.m., as part of a multi-date regional concert series that includes a stop at New Westminster’s Massey Theatre on Dec. 4. Host Christopher Gaze “brings the sounds and stories of Christmas to life across the Lower Mainland,” presenters of the concert promise.

• READ MORE: Christmas concerts coming to Surrey, plus VSO’s ‘Home Alone’ movie/music at Orpheum.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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