After a 16-year hiatus, the re-imagined PianoSIX New Generation returns to provide quality classical music to small and remote communities throughout Canada, including Squamish.
"Live performances offer so much more than even a recording. If you're right there seeing the artist perform, you see how much skill and effort it takes," Howe Sound Performing Arts Association's Joanna Schwarz said. "There's something about being in a concert hall with other people of like minds that gives a different experience."
On Feb. 21, the New Generation Artistic director, Daniel Wnukowski will perform for the public at the Anglican church in Squamish and conduct a private workshop to local piano students. Wnukowski is an accomplished Polish-Canadian pianist who has performed at Carnegie Hall and works with various orchestras performing throughout Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
The original nation-wide PianoSIX program ran from 1994 to 2004 and focused on bridging the cultural gap created by the lack of access to live performance in many small and remote Canadian communities, Schwarz told The Chief.
"The New Generation PianoSIX is more interactive than in the past. People maybe assume... you sit there quietly and there's no interaction with the artist, but they do get up and explain their pieces. They help to educate the public about what they're performing," she said.
Of Wnukowski coming to Squamish, Schwarz said, "We're getting someone with a very stellar reputation coming to perform on our lovely grand piano."
In 1997, the highly esteemed pianist and original program founder Janina Fialkowska teamed up with the Howe Sound Performing Arts Association and the Rotary Club of Squamish to host a fundraising gala that raised $23,000 toward a $46,000 grand piano.
Over the years, several of the PianoSIX artists have made sold-out appearances in Squamish, including four performances by Fialkowska herself.
This time around, six artists will each devote a week of their touring schedule to perform in remote communities at a reduced cost. Artists will also involve students in a separate interactive program, including lessons and workshops. Touring begins in April and carries over to December of the following year. Pianists are assigned regional tours and a typical visit lasts two to three days.
"These artists travel the world. They have established careers, and they're willing to share with the public. I think it's a great privilege to hear them perform," Schwarz said.
For more details and tickets visit www.howesoundarts.ca.
~With files from Keili Bartlett.
**Please note, this story has been updated since it was first posted to clarify that the $23,000 raised was toward the piano, and did not cover the full cost.