Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Jon Kimura Parker

Dates and Venue 19 & 21 January 2013, 8pm | Orpheum Theatre

Programme Top's Totem (VSO Commission/World Premiere); Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor; Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major

Conductor Bramwell Tovey Featured performer Jon Kimura Parker, piano

Reviewer Karen Fitzgibbon

We had wonderful seats in the centre of the beautiful Orpheum Theatre. With the huge Vancouver Symphony Orchestra consisting of 80 – 90 musicians in black and white attire, and the background of red and gold of the Orpheum, we are transported to a place of awe even before the music begins.

Maestro Bramwell Tovey, is an excellent master of ceremonies with a great sense of humour and a gifted ability to warm up the audience to an evening of exquisite music. He draws great laughter from the audience while introducing the evening’s performances at the Orpheum, and then makes sure that we know it isn’t the hockey stadium.

Piano Cherniavsky Laureate, Jon Kimura Parker’s performance of Greig’s Piano Concerto in A minor is astounding. His fingers fly along the keys so quickly that they are almost a blur. What great energy he puts forth as he commoves his whole body into every note. His performance is absolute perfection, and he receives a standing ovation. An added note of interest is that Jon Kimura Parker is an Officer of The Order of Canada, our country’s highest civilian honor.

Composer in Residence, Edward Top should be proud. His Totem (VSO Commission/World Premiere) with its fabulous percussion and complex pulsations is almost tribal; it’s a work of musical genius.

Tovey’s conducting is amazing and just as amazing are the many musicians producing such intricate sounds that their performance may leave you in disbelief. Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 is a difficult piece and the VSO performs it astoundingly well.

It is a full house, and as the evening comes to an end the maestro leads the orchestra in an encore with Hungarian Dance, which causes a wave of happy heads to nod back and forth in time to this lively piece. These incredible sounds stay with us well after we leave the theatre.

Yes, it was an evening to remember.

© 2013 Karen Fitzgibbon