Co-Founders/Co-Creative Administrators Johannes Debus & Elissa Lee Discuss About BIGLAKE Pageant 2024

L-R: Festival co-founders & co-artistic directors Johannes Debus & Elissa Lee; Pianist Louis Lortie (Photo: Elias Photography); Sarah Slean performs alongside Johannes Debus and the BIGLAKE Orchestra (Photo courtesy of BIGLAKES)
L-R: Pageant co-founders & co-artistic administrators Johannes Debus & Elissa Lee; Pianist Louis Lortie (Photograph: Elias Pictures); Sarah Slean performs alongside Johannes Debus and the BIGLAKE Orchestra (Photograph courtesy of BIGLAKES)

The 2024 BIGLAKE Pageant explores the theme of evolution in varied methods, and takes place from August 23 to 31 in Prince Edward County, Ontario. The scenic atmosphere of lakeside farmland, vineyards, distinctive places and venues is the backdrop for a assorted menu of live shows and occasions.

The Pageant is the brainchild of co-founders and co-directors Johannes Debus and Elissa Lee — the previous is the Music Director for the Canadian Opera Firm, and the latter a JUNO Award-winning violinist. Collectively, they shaped BigLake Arts, and created a competition for distinctive and intimate experiences in and round Wellington, in Prince Edward County.

The Evolution competition takes place August 23 to 31, however kicks off weeks earlier, on July 14, with a Live performance within the Barn fundraiser and the New Zealand String Quartet. They’ll be performing a program of Gareth Farr: Te Kõanga, Leoš Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer”, and Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 71 No 3. Edwin County Farms in Picton performs host to the catered occasion.

Creating A Pageant

“I had some pricey associates that lived in Wellington County,” recollects Elissa. The connection led to extra visits, and so they each fell in love with the area. “It was so much quieter then,” she recollects. “The county has grown immensely.”

As Johannes relates, it was the circumstances of the pandemic that led to among the extra inventive programming that the competition is thought for. The competition because it exists now grew out of Wellington Water Week, which was held for 2 years from 2018 to 2019. The city’s picturesque frontage on Lake Ontario led to its present title. In 2021, they had been seeking to transfer ahead regardless of ongoing restrictions. “We wanted venues to carry out outside on the time.”

They approached native companies and property homeowners. “They’d open their barns and different venues for us,” he says. The supportive atmosphere helped cement the thought of situating a competition within the area on an annual foundation. “We each felt that each place had one thing distinctive to supply.”

Attending the live shows in varied venues makes viewers members into explorers. “In Wellington the place we really feel at house, there’s an exquisite outdated music corridor,” Johannes says. The Corridor is an space constructing with what Johannes calls a “checkered historical past”, and was revived as a live performance corridor by BIGLAKE in 2022.

“It’s nonetheless slightly mysterious,” Elissa says. Extra work shall be finished in its ongoing revitalization, with acoustics adequate to warrant the difficulty. It’s one thing of an space secret, identified to the locals. “Persons are tremendous comfortable that we’re reactivating it,” she says.

In the meanwhile, the uncooked edges of the area add to its atmosphere. “It speaks to that concept of popping up in area.” And, additionally to the idea of Evolution. The music corridor was constructed in the course of the late 1800s at a time when Wellington County was flourishing, and the corridor was a centre for the world’s leisure.

After the primary season’s success, as soon as the restrictions had been lifted, they mirrored on the thought of protecting the unfold out over a variety of several types of venues.

BIGLAKE 2024: Evolution

The competition’s choices are eclectic and curated to be carried out in a wide range of settings.

Programming the competition annually sometimes begins with the works that they need to current. A Beethoven Marathon, consisting of all of the composer’s sonatas for violin and piano unfold over three live shows, takes over the Wellington Music Corridor on August 25. That’s the place Evolutions started.

“If there may be one fixed in life, it’s that there’s evolution,” Johannes says, including that it’s meant as an inspiration slightly than a field to restrict curation. “The Beethoven marathon — you see how a composer has advanced by means of his life,” he provides. “We will personally relate to it.”

The Opening Night time’s theme is Evolution Of The Piano with Ilya Poletaev, who’ll be acting on the spinnet, the harpsichord, and the grand piano

“Ilya is a performer who can play all these devices,” Elissa says. “I met Ilya at a home live performance in Toronto.” That was years in the past, and the competition invited Ilya to carry out Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 2021. By means of conversations, they realized that he was additionally a prolific harpsichordist, and was adept at most historic keyboard devices. “Ilya is, I feel fairly distinctive in that on the earth of keyboard gamers,” she says.

It led to a return invitation to delve into the instrument’s historical past. “A number of the older stuff is way tougher to play on trendy devices,” Elissa notes.

Canadian piano legend Louis Lortie performs a program of Frédéric Chopin on August 30. “We’re completely thrilled that he’s coming,” Elise says. “He’s additionally such a flexible artist and musician. It’s a blessing to have him come.”

Lortie has visited the competition earlier than, and carried out at one among their fundraisers. Elissa says he too was charmed by the world’s bucolic atmosphere.

“Festivals do lean a lot on their atmosphere,” she notes. She says Lortie additionally appreciated the chance to carry out in Canada. “I feel it’s good once you’re creative director and you may determine who you want.”

The venues and music have been matched to create simply the appropriate environment. At occasions, potential venues have approached the competition first, resulting in inventive considering on what to current and when. “To deliver [audiences] one thing that is smart,” Elissa explains.

The not surprisingly in style Musical and Edible Promenade returns on August 24, together with as but to be introduced pop up occasions involving native cooks and eating places. “It makes a whole lot of sense in a small neighborhood. Everyone knows one another,” Elissa notes. “It’s about constructing neighborhood. Everybody’s been massively supported.”

As she factors out, it’s a distinct enterprise mannequin than is typical for a music competition.

The Musical and Edible Promenade, which is basically a strolling tour involving meals tasting paired with music, takes members by means of the city of Wellington. “It’s turn out to be staple,” Johannes says. The occasion entails 4 mini live shows in undisclosed places – all the things, together with the menu, is a thriller till the day of. The competition works with an area chef to curate and coordinate.

It’s for the adventurous minded. “For many who don’t need to sit for 2 hours,” Elissa factors out. “It’s ended up being an elevated eating expertise.”

Working annually with the identical chef, he’s despatched the music first. He takes inspiration from it in creating the menus. “It’s fairly enjoyable,” he says. “It’s an annual factor that folks have requested for.”

Different Pageant Highlights

  • The Artwork of Time Ensemble’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Membership Band (July 24) in a BIGLAKE/Base 31 co-production;
  • The HATCH collection of live shows, spotlighting rising expertise in ink-still-wet modern chamber music;
  • JUNO-award-winning trombonist William Carn and saxophonist Tara Davidson lead their ensemble Carn Davidson 9 in an modern jazz program on August 24;
  • The Chooi Brothers (Nikki and Timothy) present the fireworks for Virtuoso Violins on August 26;
  • A Candlelight Live performance of Dvorak’s String Sextet and Joachim Raff’s Octet on August 27;
  • Métis fiddler Alex Kusturok and pianist Jeremy Rusu carry out within the historic Christ Church of the Mohawks of Tyendinaga on August 28;
  • Saint Saëns’ “Carnaval des animaux” with additional actions by composer William Rowson impressed by animals of the Salish Coast on August 29.

Johannes’ brings the artists of the Canadian Opera Firm’s Ensemble Studio to the competition for an opera gala on closing evening, August 31.

  • Discover extra info, tickets, and passes [HERE].

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