Wednesday, June 1 at 7.00 pm
Performer: Simon Johnson (Westminster Cathedral, UK)
Special Guests: Kit Pearson & Rande Cook
Having recently taken up the post of Master of the Music at Westminster Cathedral in London, Simon Johnson directs one of the greatest choirs on the planet. In his first west coast appearance, he plays his own transcription of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolff”. Johnson is joined by internationally renowned children's author Kit Pearson, who will narrate the piece.
Introducing the concert is guest speaker and Earth Songs artist-in-residence, Rande Cook, who will speak about artists, scientists, and land conservationists joining forces to protect old growth and and how important trees are to our traditional lands. Mr. Cook has created a special art piece for the concert series that will be on display in the cathedral from May 27 through to the end of the series.
Born in culture-rich Alert Bay BC, Rande Cook was surrounded by the beauty of the land and groomed by the strong teachings of his grandparents. While growing up, Cook and his grandfather observed and discussed the traditional art forms of their Kwakwaka'wakw heritage. As Cook got older, his love for culture never faded and his desire to be artistically creative continually evolved. With many years of apprenticing with well-known master carvers and traveling the world, Cook developed and perfected his craft gaining 27 years as a professional artist. More recently, Cook completed his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria and continues to explore innovative ways in advancing his creative knowledge. Cook and his artistic children and life partner established Leaf Modern Gallery as another avenue for Cook to explore and celebrate new works, in hopes, to make a difference and be part of the solution in unifying our environment, people, and world. Supporting Cook's works is supporting the environment, culture, love and unity and most of all, it is supporting his passion of being an artist! leafmodern.ca
Kit Pearson was born in Edmonton in 1947. She worked for ten years as a children’s librarian in Ontario and B.C. Since 1986 she has written twelve novels for children. Kit has won seventeen awards for her writing, including the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. In 2018 she was appointed a member of the Order of Canada. Kit lives in Victoria with her partner Katherine Farris and their dog Brio. www.kitpearson.com
Simon Johnson has been the Organist of St Paul’s Cathedral for 12 years. During this time he has played for Her Majesty the Queen, the Dalai Lama, numerous Prime Ministers and Archbishops, and at all the state occasions that have taken place at St Paul’s during his tenure. Recitals have taken him all over the USA and Europe, including a Royal Festival Hall debut in 2017. Last year, St Paul’s was sold out for his performance of Holst’s The Planets with link-ups to NASA and the International Space Station. Forthcoming work includes two solo tours of the USA. As a Director, Simon has played an important role in the Cathedral’s ongoing partnerships with leading orchestras in London, conducting many significant works from the repertoire by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Bruckner, Saint-Saëns, Strauss, Gershwin, Poulenc, Duruflé and Messiaen. Previously he enjoyed a distinguished tenure as Director of St Albans Abbey Girls’ Choir, leading them in several highly-acclaimed recordings and tours. Simon’s advice and analysis is sought worldwide: in 2018 he was a keynote speaker at the Pontificium Consilium de Cultura at the Vatican; he is presently Consultant for the new 4-manual Harrison and Harrison organ in St Jude’s Cathedral, Lagos; and he is on the Academic Board of The Royal College of Organists, for whom he is also an examiner. Simon has performed with groups such as the LSO, RPO, and The Sixteen, recorded for Decca and Hyperion, been published by OUP and Peters, and worked on the Oscar-winning soundtrack for The Grand Budapest Hotel. www.simonjohnsonmusician.com
Simon Johnson will also be offering a special workshop for the Cathedrals' Young Choristers on May 28th as a fundraiser for the choir's tour to Edinburgh in 2023. All are invited to observe the choral rehearsal!
The morning’s event is a unique opportunity to look inside the anatomy of a choral rehearsal. Johnson will work with the young singers for about 30 minutes, teaching them new warm-ups, working on repertoire and skills, and leaving them with a bit of that “secret sauce” which makes his choir in the UK one of the world’s best. We’ll also have an opportunity to hear a bit about the busy musical life of London’s cathedrals and ask questions about Simon’s experience of rebuilding the choral foundation post-pandemic. The morning will conclude with a reception of coffee and pastries.
What: Observed workshop with Simon Johnson (Westminster Cathedral) and Christ Church Cathedral’s Young Choristers
When: Saturday, May 28, 10:30am-12:00pm
Where: Christ Church Cathedral (Chapel of the New Jerusalem)
Tickets: $75 for event and reception (includes $50 charitable receipt)