Montreal’s i Musici starts 2020 with François Girard’s Le Violin Rouge of interpreted and presented by celebrated Canadian violinist Kerson Leong.
Sinj Karan: Can you please speak about the Red Violin by Girard, and why you decided to bring to life again through your interpretation?
Kerson Leong: I was asked by I Musici to do this piece with them. It’s interesting because I have played another piece by Corigliano also derived from his score to the Red Violin called the Red Violin Chaconne for violin and full orchestra, so this Suite from the Red Violin feels familiar enough and yet fresh from the rearrangement of certain themes and material. I’ve been aware of the film The Red Violin for a long time, having seen it quite early on already -it’s about a violin imbued with the fate of its maker’s late wife and its course through history. We can only imagine what our instruments have seen over the course of history.
SK: Arvo Part and his music has been influenced by religion and classical music. How have you personally been affected and affected by his music?
KL: Arvo Part may well be the most played composer alive – it was great to have the chance recently as part of my being in an official delegation accompanying the Governor General on her trip to Estonia to have played some of his music at the newly built Arvo Part Centre. He writes in a beautiful minimalist style and for me this emphasizes the importance of the notion of being able to convey and say a lot with very little.
SK: Do you think that in the fundamental themes of the two forms, there are similarities between film and symphony?
KL: This piece draws on the same themes of the soundtrack for the film. The composer felt to use the form of a chaconne (a repeated pattern of chords) to play to the idea that the film follows this particular violin through history and that it is the never-changing idea even through all the different episodes of the story.
SK : Can you tell us about your collaboration with i Musici ?
KL: My first collaboration with I Musici was when I was very young – perhaps 7, 8 or 9 years old. It’s because of this long history that I Musici has a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to make music with them again.
SK : Can you share more details of the concert with us?
KL: The Red Violin Suite was conceived in 1999 by composer John Corigliano and draws on the same themes from his soundtrack of the film. The Arvo Part’s Los Angeles Symphony was his first symphony to be written in his signature minimalist ‘tintinnabuli’ style and was commissioned by the LA Philharmonic Association, hence the name Los Angeles.
The concert will be at La Salle Bourgie, at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts: 1339 Sherbrooke West. On Januyary 23, 2020 – with presentations at 11 am and 6 pm. For tickets and details: Billetterie Ticketpro – 514 790 1111 / 1 866 908 9090 or Imusici.ticketpro.ca Starting at: 15$