Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
June 14, 2024
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Sophisticated music festival showcases an international cast of performers at stunning locations across the County in late summer
<p>Violist Ryan Davis, aka Radia at the Drake Devonshire (Photo: Chris Fanning / Gazette Staff)</p>
Violist Ryan Davis, aka Radia at the Drake Devonshire (Photo: Chris Fanning / Gazette Staff)

Young, genre-bending violist Ryan Davis, aka Radia, brought his stringed instrument and some technology to the Drake Devonshire last week in a sold-out concert performance. 

Offering everything from straight up Bach to, well … Drake, the musician wove together rhythms and musical patterns by means of digital looping, laying down one track and then accompanying himself in many layers. At times it sounded like a string quartet with a hip-hop beat. 

By sampling spontaneous sounds, including some from the audience, and repeating them one on top of another, he created a soundscape, often minor and melancholy, sometimes evoking an explicit mood or place.

An appreciative audience, a spacious and colourful room, and a grand view of the lake was the perfect backdrop for Biglake’s announcement of its summer concert series, introduced in a video featuring the festival’s co-founders, Johannes Debus and Elissa Lee. The theme is “Evolution,” which takes up musical change and progression: the development of genres, or of a single composer, or the interplay of technology and composition.

There are two teaser events to the festival proper. The “Concert in a Barn” fundraiser at Edwin Farms features the The New Zealand String Quartet on July 14. This is followed on July 24 by the Art of Time Ensemble, who will perform Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in a
co-production with Base 31.

Evolution Festival

The Festival itself takes place the last week of August. The lineup has a bias toward classical, and offers a great deal of variety and innovation in performance structures and venues, which range from barns and churches to historical houses and pubs. 

The theme is 
which takes up 
musical change and progression: the 
development of genres, or of a single composer, or the 
interplay of 
technology and 

Johannes Debus

The great pianist Louis Lortie, who has a decades-long international reputation, is a major presence for the full week. He performs Chopin in a dedicated concert. 

The series is singularly inventive. The musicians taking part in a “Beethoven Marathon” will perform all ten of the violin and piano sonatas in three concerts spread over a full day, with plentiful food and drink offered in between the performances.  

One of Toronto’s great jazz ensembles, the Carn-Davidson 9, a unique nonet led by Juno-award winning trombonist William Carn and saxophonist Tara Davidson, is a not-to-be-missed treat. Meanwhile, a Candlelight strings Concert at Cunningham House 1804 is another gem. A folk fiddle extravaganza will fill the historical Christ Church of the Mohawks of Tyendinaga with rhythm. The violin duet of Timothy and Nikki Chooi performs at Wild Lot Distillery. The young artists of the Canadian Opera Company will close out this festival at an Opera Gala. They offer a chance to see the next generation of opera stars.

“This year, we examine how profoundly interdependent various musical elements have always been, and the impact that changing even one single element has on another,’’ said Johannes Debus. “We are thrilled to present our diverse lineup of remarkable performances that truly celebrate the evolution of music.” 

For complete details and the full schedule, including 11 programmes, click HERE

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 15 edition of The Picton Gazette
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