Centric Music festival features music uncommonly heard


 A conversation among a couple friends turned into a full blown music festival.
 Local musician Jesse Plessis is bringing the Centric Music Festival to CASA, June 20, 21 and 23.
 “ It is mostly classical music and we wanted to do something in the summer because everybody wants to listen to nice music in the summer,” Plessis said.Jesse Plessis playing with the New Weather Machine. Photo by Richard Amery

 “ And Lethbridge had just built CASA a year ago,” he said adding he originally just wanted to bring his friend Theresa Thordarson in from Winnipeg to play a concert and the single concert expanded to three days.
“ She ( Thordarson) is a real piano geek. She’s read every book written about piano,” Plessis said.

“ I was talking to Theresa about doing a concert here and she said (Manitoba clarinetist/ composer) Chris would be interested in playing. But that would have been too much music for one night, so it turned into a music festival,” he said.

“So that is three different composers with three different visions of the music,” Plessis said.
 He is excited about Thordarson's  piece.
“ That's an interesting story. Her friend's husband is a poet. So she commissioned her ( Thordarson) to write a piece based on his poetry for  their anniversary in secret,” Plessis enthused.

 The line-up expanded to include Mexican pianist Luis Ramirez, Manitoba composer / clarinetist Chris Byman and several other performers.
“ Chris wrote a piece based on the Legend of Zelda Ocarina video game,” he said adding there will also be an original piece  based on the nonsense poem Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll's work “ Through the Looking Glass.”

 Other highlights will include Manitoba singer/ songwriter Heather Jean Jordan who will be performing some works by French singer Edith Piaf.
There is also Lethbridge talent including Bente Hansen, who will be performing The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Band  album.

“ We performed it together before, but we changed a lot of it. So it is not exclusively classical music and Edith Piaf  is more of a pop musician,” Plessis said. He will be playing a couple of Stravinsky compositions on Friday, June 20.

“ I remember when I was 16 and first heard the music of Stravinsky and it just blew me away. I want other other people to have that same experience,” he said adding he hopes the festival will inspire younger kids who haven’t  formed their musical tastes.
“I hope to have a lot of kids  who haven‘t decided ‘I’m a rock and roll kid,’ or ‘I only listen to hip hop.’ If they like something they’ll tell you. So I want to expose them to music more complex than they are used to hearing,” he said.
Lethbridge soprano Jaimie Jarvie will performing as well.

 University of Lethbridge professor Brian Black will be performing some Schubert.
“He’s one of the most important researchers into Schubert’s music, so he will be playing some Schubert,” he said.
The festival will feature the world premiere of several new compositions.

“ It’s always great to be part of a world premiere,” he said.
“ If it is successful we’ll do another one next year. Money has never been the most important thing for us, but it has to be considered,” Plessis said.

 The first concert, June 20 features Luis Ramirez playing Igor Stravinsky's ballet ‘The Rite of Spring.’ and soprano Jaimee Jarvie's  rendition of Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem Jabberwocky.
 The second concert, June 21 features Winnipeg's Bison Duo (clarinetist Christopher Byman and Theresa Thordarson) along with  Banff musician Heather Jordan performing folk music from England, Canada and Iceland plus songs from Edith Piaf. That includes the world premiere of  Byman's new work  inspired by the Legends of Zelda Video games.

 The last concert features soprano Jaimee Jarvie performing music by Debussy and Brian Black performing Schubert's  Op. 90 “Impromptus.” It will also feature  Bente Hansen and Jesse  Plessis playing  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band album on two pianos.
Tickets  for each individual concert cost $15 for adults, $10 for students.  or festival passes for  $30 for adults, $20 for students. All concerts begin at 8 p.m.

A version of this story appears in  the June 18, 2014 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— by Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 June 2014 09:54 )