Cellist makes Sinfonia debut with Brahms' Double Concerto

Rebecca Wenham featured as soloist in concert at Centennial

Lions Gate Sinfonia’s Majesty and Meditation with Andrea Siradze and Rebecca Wenham, Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. at North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre. Tickets ($39/$35/$18/$12), visit centennialtheatre.com.

This Saturday evening, the members of Lions Gate Sinfonia are celebrating the culmination of their 2014-2015 season with Majesty and Meditation, a concert at Centennial Theatre showcasing the talents of two accomplished soloists as well as young artists on the rise.

The North Shore orchestra’s concertmaster Andrea Siradze will share the spotlight with guest cellist Rebecca Wenham, who’s making her Sinfonia debut.
“I’m very excited to be playing with Sinfonia,” says the Vancouver resident.

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The duo, good friends who play regularly together as members of the Microcosmos string quartet, which formed in Vancouver in 2010 with an intention to perform repertoire written in the past 100 years, will be tackling Brahms’ “Double Concerto for violin and cello.”

“I've been wanting to play the Brahms Double since I was a teenager. I used to get together and read the solo parts with friends in high school. There is something great about sharing the experience of performing a concerto with another person. Andrea and I play a lot of chamber music together; this is like that on an extremely grand scale. But we are usually playing Bartok or someone modern, so this is different,” says Wenham.

In addition to her work with Microcosmos, Wenham also serves as principal cellist of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, plays regularly with a number of other ensembles and performs as a solo artist. For example, she’s looking forward to an upcoming Music on Main performance May 31 at the Fox Cabaret. While she has performed numerous times over the years as part of the adventurous series, which aims to offer audiences impressive performances in unique spaces, “this is my first time doing solo cello,” she says.

For the concert Wenham will be performing music that was written in the last 50 years.

“I have not specifically chosen to place a greater emphasis on modern music, but I am featuring music by a number of composers who are women, and the last 50 years or so is when a lot of this great music has started to emerge,” she says.

Wenham’s repertoire for the evening is diverse and includes works by Music on Main composer-in-residence Caroline Shaw, Ana Sokolovic and a rock piece by Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld.

In addition, she’s looking forward to performing a piece she commissioned from local cellist and improviser Peggy Lee.
“Peggy has an understanding of cello playing that evolves naturally from her way of improvising, so she sometimes might ask me to use the instrument in a way I'm not used to, a way she made up. So you get lots of unique sounds mixed in with traditional sounds,” says Wenham.

At this weekend’s Lions Gate Sinfonia performance, Wenham will join the orchestra for their performance of Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony. Also joining the orchestra for the work is the 30-piece Lions Gate Youth Orchestra.

Other works on the evening’s program, led by founding conductor and music director Clyde Mitchell, include “Meditation” from Thaïs and Ernst Bloch’s soulful “Prayer.” Mitchell will offer a pre-performance chat at 6:30 p.m. in the theatre lobby.

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