Remarkable Vancouver Island cellist Helena Jung is the guest artist for this autumn’s Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra (NCO) concert Sun., Nov. 13, at St. Edmunds Church in Parksville.
Well known in the Comox Valley for her high level artistry, both in standard classical repertoire and more eclectic fare, Jung is sure to have the audience totally engaged as she plays Haydn’s masterful Concerto in C Major.
The Director of the orchestra, Karl Rainer said Jung is only performing the one piece and the orchestra will accompany her.
He agreed it is a challenging piece.
“We have to find a balance so everyone can hear her while we play in the background. That is where three months of rehearsal comes in,” he said.
Rainer admitted Jung has been practicing her solo for six months and he is sure the audience will be thrilled.
“Jung is fantastic. It is going to be an incredibly exciting concert,” he stated.
Jung got her Master’s Degree in Cello Performance at Ewha University in Seoul, Korea in 1996.
A resident of the Comox Valley since 2006, she plays with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra (VISO) in Nanaimo and has volunteered her musical talent for many community events. Rainer said she has also taught some of the cellists in their orchestra.
Also featured in Sunday’s concert is A Downland Suite by John Ireland, a 1932 composition that elicits musical images of the very English Sussex countryside. Other works include: Three Pieces in Baroque Style by Krzysztof Penderecki (1963); two pieces by William Walton from the 1944 film, Henry V; and Handel’s Concerto Grosso op.6, No.1.
Rainer said in the Handel piece there will be two violin solos that will be very pleasant to listen to.
Rainer not only directs the orchestra, he performs as well and said while it is unusual to have no conductor in an orchestra, it is not unheard of. He pointed to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra out of New York City, which for decades has been performing to audiences around the world without a conductor.
Rainer said because the NCO has no conductor, their members also get to take a more active role in the orchestra and have a lot of fun playing violin, viola, cello and double bass.
He admitted the format works for an orchestra their size with 20 to 25 people, but with a big orchestra things would likely fall apart without someone waving a baton.
The ensemble of approximately 25 string players continues to mature under the direction of Rainer and represents a most worthy source of live chamber music in the mid-Island region.
Rainer said they have been together for about seven years and perform three major programs a year.
The NCO performance is Sun., Nov. 13, at 2:30 p.m. at St. Edmunds Church in Parksville. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for students and children under 12 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the Port Theatre or at the door.