Those who are looking forward to another instalment of the Pacific Region International Summer Music Association (PRISMA) Festival this June may want to circle March 12 on their calendars. Vancouver-born violinist Julie Lin, winner of PRISMA’s 2019 concerto competition, is set to return to Powell River for a concert all her own.
PRISMA music director and cellist Arthur Arnold, who along with pianist Paul Williamson will be joining Lin for a portion of the program, is still buzzing from her captivating performance last June.
“The level of students that PRISMA attracts is getting higher and higher, which is obviously reflected in the performances of the concerto competition,” said Arnold. “Julie played the Samuel Barber concerto so lyrically and profoundly. It’s such a treat to be able to invite her back to play a full concert for us.”
Lin was one of 64 students last year whose participation was made possible by PRISMA’s Musical Merit Scholarship Fund.
“We’re using this spring concert to thank our donors for sharing PRISMA’s vision to provide learning opportunities for talented musicians who truly deserve it,” said Arnold.
Lin is currently at the halfway point of a Bachelor’s degree at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, and it was there she first met Williamson and began collaborating. Their program next month will feature works by Shostakovich, Messiaen and Brahms, in addition to Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 5, better known as the “Spring Sonata.”
Less famous, but with arguably the most intriguing story of all, is a trio piece by Auschwitz victim Bob Hanf, who wrote it under a false name while hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.
“He lived with other artists in Het Nieuwe Suykerhofje, hidden behind the Prinsengracht, the canal we know so well from Anne Frank,” said Arnold. “Only the manuscript is available but it contains some bow markings in pencil which lead us to believe he and a cellist and a pianist played it there together.”
Arnold will visit Powell River Public Library at 4 pm on February 27 to unpack the full story and play several excerpts of the composition on his cello, before he and Lin and Williamson present its long-overdue premiere two weeks later. The performance will serve as a look ahead to the 2020 PRISMA Festival, June 15 to 27, which will highlight several pieces from the Second World War, and, of course, play host to the annual concerto competition.
Looking back fondly on last year’s event, Lin describes her experience as a transformative one that exceeded her expectations both personally and musically.
“PRISMA impacted me more than I imagined it would,” she said. “The short couple weeks were an intense dive into a professional world. This taste of a packed schedule that encapsulated all aspects of being a violinist – orchestral studies, chamber music, solo, score studying, spending time with and learning from amazing artists and colleagues – truly opened my eyes and renewed my passion for being a violinist and having a profession in this field.”
Even some nine months later, appreciation for the arts demonstrated by the local crowd remains vivid in her mind.
“The amount of support and sincere love the PRISMA audience pours out into the music as well as the musicians is truly extraordinary,” said Lin. “While my heart pounded during my time at PRISMA last summer from the excitement of competing in the concerto competition and performing solo with the orchestra, the anticipation for this spring concert is even greater for me. I want to show an improvement in artistry, and cannot wait to connect with those who supported me throughout the festival.”
Lin’s performance will take place at 7:30 pm on Thursday, March 12, at Max Cameron Theatre. General admission tickets are available at prismafestival.com and at the PRISMA office in Town Centre Mall, across from Subway. Operating hours are 1 to 5 pm, Tuesday to Thursday.
Tickets and passes are also on sale for the PRISMA Festival.