Pianist set for ‘bucket list’ performance

Oak Bay Matinee welcomes Vancouver pianist Rachel Iwaasa on Sunday

Vancouver pianist Rachel Iwaasa comes to Oak Bay to perform one of her favourite works

Vancouver pianist Rachel Iwaasa brings a “bucket list” performance for the next Oak Bay Matinee.

Iwaasa will perform Bach’s Goldberg Variations on Sunday at St. Mary the Virgin.

“The Goldbergs are kind of the Everest for piano, one of those pieces that every pianist who likes to perform Bach will have on their bucket list, it is so monumental,” said Iwaasa. “It’s a massive work, a terrific challenge, something I always wanted to play.”

Oak Bay Matinée is a monthly concert series presented by Oak Bay Music Society.

“I personally have known Rachel for a long time,” said Erik Abbink, artistic director for Oak Bay Music.

They started working together a decade ago as students at UBC. When he asked if she’d be interested in performing in Oak Bay, she already had the work in mind.

“She’s been wanting to play it for a long time but not had the opportunity to play it,” Abbink said. “It’s a beautiful piece. She calls it monumental because it’s big and because it’s so long and pianists have this tradition of memorizing pieces. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

The performance is at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 19 at St. Mary the Virgin, 1701 Elgin Rd. Advance tickets ($20/$15/$10) are available at Ivy’s Books and online. Tickets at the door are $25/20/10.

“I’ve heard this piece many, many times in recording but I’ve never heard it live,” Abbink said. “Everybody knows it [but] hardly anybody has heard it live. I think it will be an incredible experience.”

It’s a return to the Island for Iwaasa, who spent her undergraduate years studying with pianist Robin Wood at the University of Victoria.

“Studying with Dr. Wood was an incredible opportunity. His legacy is still pretty strong,” she said. “I have a lot of really fond memories of Victoria, and I am going to dedicate this concert to Dr. Wood.”

For more information go to oakbaymusic.ca.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

 

 

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