For the 9th year in a row young musicians of Ottawa teamed up to present a concert in aid of homes for orphaned, homeless children in Cambodia. This concert took place at the MacKay United Church in New Edinburgh today and the local city councillor and neighbourhood businesses supported it. I found the advert for the concert yesterday while we were lunching at Da Bombe on Beechwood. When the owner saw me looking at the advert he said, "Here's a complimentary ticket we can't use. Would you like it?"
So I went to the concert for free this afternoon (leaving a donation). Some members of the Cambodian community of Ottawa––there's a Cambodian Association of the Ottawa Valley––were there too. The young man who introduced the concert said that the first wave of Cambodian immigrants settled here after the horrors of the Khmer Rouge régime in which 2 million people were wiped out.
The first musical item on the programme was an astonishing performance of the first movement (the orchestral parts transcribed for piano) of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto by a 13 year old, Maria Krstic. She couldn't half play, from memory too, but was shy about acknowledging the audience's applause and making eye contact with us. The rest of the performers, a few of them seeming rather scared of the audience too, were older, either undergraduates or very recent graduates from Ottawa University and McGill. Six of them were violinists and there were three violists (Tobi Nussbaum the councillor said that he had once played the viola), three pianists, two cellists and Kristina Slodki, a harpist, introducing us to a piano piece transcribed for the harp by her teacher, who had apparently "fallen in love with it"––an Impromptu by Hugo Reinhold.
The violinist Christina Deauville owned a resonant instrument and played a long movement from Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto which I don't remember hearing before and would like to hear again.
We listened to three items for chamber ensembles: the first movement of Schumann's E-flat major piano quartet, a couple of movements from Beethoven's Opus 95 and finally an original composition for string quartet by another of the violinists, Kyle Burghout, who had written these Tunes from the Blue Ridge during his stay in North Carolina last summer.