Quills Quotes & Notes: Articles and Stories by Rosemary Phillips

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Pierre Simard - Artistic Director - Vancouver Island Symphony

2014-2015 - Celebrate 20! An Awesome Party!

Sat. October 25 - "Celebrate with Tetsuumi & Elgar" - Tetsuumi Nagata, Violin
Wed. November 12 - "Lest We Forget" - Victoria Symphony
Sat. November 22 - "Mozart & Friends" - Choral Groups & Soloists
Sat. January 22 - "Friendship: Ian & Beethoven" - Ian Parker, Piano
Sat. April 18 - "From Pierre with Love" - Ariel Barnes, Cello

Sat. December 13 - "A Festive Brassy Christmas"
Thurs. Fri. & Sat. February 12-14 - "He Sings, She Sighs" - Ken Lavigne, Tenor. Nadya Blanchette, Soprano.
Sat. March 21 "Tonight... Piaf" - Joelle Rabu, Actor and Singer

Sat. March 14, 7:30 p.m. Showcasing supreme scrumptious talent

All concerts (except Feb. 12 and 13) at 7:30 p.m. in the Port Theatre, Nanaimo BC
Pierre Simard conducting, except for November 12 and March 14
Tickets: 250-754-8550
For updated news releases visit Spotlight above.

Pierre Simard - Canadian Conductor

Pierre Simard
Artistic Director
Vancouver Island Symphony

Creating new music-lovers

An interview article by Rosemary Phillips, 2007

Pierre Simard, at the time of this interview, was a candidate for the position of artistic director for the Vancouver Island Symphony. The program for the concert he was to conduct was very dramatic and included a performance by Canadian pianist Ian Parker playing "Rhapsody in Blue". It was a sensational evening, and Pierre was successful in his bid for the position. Now (2015) in his seventh highly successful season with the Vancouver Island Symphony, he is loved by audiences for his enthusiasm and passion. (See below for links to his formal biography and the VI Symphony.) He is certainly very dynamic and brings wonderful music and energetic programs that inspire audiences of all ages - creating new music-lovers!

It was a quiet afternoon in the Simard household. When the phone rang, two-month-old Antonin woke from his nap. Pierre Simard, an emotionally charged and engaging young conductor and composer picked up the baby as he answered, and young Antonin lay gurgling and smiling on his knee. “As long as the baby doesn't cry I'm all yours,” said the maestro softly.

While Pierre's wife, soprano Nadya Blanchette, took a nap, young Antonin was in his care. “Antonin is our third child. We already have two daughters so it is a very lively household. The children are not yet into music, and we don't want to push them,” he said. But when Pierre is working on a new program for young audiences, “I ask myself if my 5-year-old would laugh here, or what emotion would inhabit her at this point.”

When he returned to Montreal after completing his Masters Degree in Conducting at the Peabody Institute he was put in charge of creating award-winning shows for youth. “In a very humble and realistic way we are bringing to these audiences the love for music and art; opening their minds. There is more to entertainment than TV and sports. There's a whole heritage out there, and we as artists have the responsibility to introduce youth to it.”

Pierre Simard - Canadian Conductor

Fortunately for Pierre, he has always had music around him. “My parents were club musicians, and my dad played drums. There was no classical music in the house so I became interested in it through the school symphony orchestra."

But while Pierre played oboe he was never satisfied with one instrument. “I wanted to learn about all of them. I got to conduct on occasion and became enamoured with the orchestral sound. From then on I became more and more passionate about music. I have never lost that passion.”

He has since conducted in France, Belgium, Ukraine, Mariutius and Reunion islands, USA and throughout Canada for highly diversified ensembles in various settings, including large-scale choral and symphonic works, voice and chamber orchestras, and award-winning productions designed for youth. His upcoming conducting appearances will be with orchestras in Milwaukee, Toronto, Ottawa (NAC), Tucson and Hamilton.

Said one reviewer, “Simard knew the music from inside out. In the first half of the program he conducted from memory, giving him the freedom to pay full attention to the myriad details of orchestration and interpretation.”

“I believe in being prepared at all times,” said Pierre. “If you come prepared then you are better able to respond on the spot when a decision needs to be made or when a musician asks a question.”

Pierre also believes in community involvement, inside and outside the concert hall. “I am strongly committed to forging strong links with the listeners, to creating new music-lovers and reinventing the concert experience.”

In recent years, as resident conductor with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), his role, along with being responsible for the mainstage classical series, pops and special concerts and outreach, has also returned him to youth programs. “I started inventing education shows using the orchestra as the instrument and involving other forms of art, going from Beethoven to Mozart and ending up with Jimi Hendrix. I always bring it back to the importance of music.”

For more information, a formal biography about Pierre Simard and his programs for the 2014-2015 season, visit the Vancouver Island Symphony web site.

Note: There are many more articles on this site. Follow the link to view the Index of Articles.


Copyright Rosemary Phillips, Quills Quotes & Notes Enterprises, 2015
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