Tickets Tonight Featured Artist

Tickets Tonight Featured Artist

Joan Blackman, former Associate Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony, enjoys a vibrant and varied musical life. She has performed and recorded as soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, CBC Radio Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, and the Banff Festival Orchestra, and has played chamber music with premier groups such as the Penderecki String Quartet and the Purcell String Quartet. She has performed on Music in the Morning, Music Fest Vancouver, the Pender Harbour Music Society Concert Series, various concert series throughout BC, The Jeffrey Concerts in London, Ont., and the American String Project, which brings together concertmasters and soloists throughout North America. Joan has also appeared at numerous summer festivals including the Hornby Island Festival, the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival, and the Victoria Summer Music Festival.

Joan answered a few questions for us so we could get a peek into the life of a professional musician.

What called you to pursue music professionally? How did you know the performing arts were where you fit?

It is not so much that I was called as the music called me. I have a memory of playing some Bach at a young age (11?) thinking “oh wow! This music is a secret, magical language that goes straight to the truth of things and I understand it!!!” Later I attended Pearson College, a school which was about International Understanding, and music was merely a course I took. It was a great opportunity to go there, and I had always told my violin teachers that I didn’t want to think of violin as a career, because that would spoil the fun of it. But halfway through the 2 year program I did an about turn and realised I could not live without music. I told my advisor (a math professor) that I had figured out the best way I could contribute to International Peace and Understanding was by playing music for people. Sucky yes, and he looked at me like I was a waste of a scholarship but in my young idealistic and naive way, I was right. It is what I can bring to the world.

Do you prefer solo performances or playing with a group? What are some of the advantages to working with ensembles and orchestras?

I have had the opportunity to perform as a soloist but it is not my favourite thing. My favourite soloists actually engage with the group and make it in to a collaboration. Chamber music is the perfect mix for me, because it is small enough that everyone has a voice. For me the interaction, spoken, played, and chemistry is the delight.

How do you relax? What’s your favourite “downtime” activity in Vancouver?

I love nature and a walk around Stanley Park is the best! Lately I have also been attending plays and art galleries- something I never had time for when I was younger.

“Shapelier phrases and sweeter tone would be hard to imagine”, “a ravishing tone”, “first rate soloist”, “exchanged lines meltingly in a flawless performance” “playing with lyricism, precision, and evident joy”; are some of the accolades that have graced Joan’s reviews. You can hear for yourself when Joan takes the stage with Jane Hayes and Francois Houle for Vetta Chamber Music January 21 & 22. Tickets available at ticketstonight.ca

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