Gleusteen & Ordronneau March 11 Concert Review

Mar11-23Like horsehair buggy whips, the bows parried and riposted through the air while resonating melodic strains of classical masterpieces emanated from violins, viola and bass at the March 11th Oceanside Classical Concert (OCC) performance.

For moments on end, the audience was spellbound as Kai Gleusteen and members of the John Avison Chamber Orchestra mesmerized those in attendance.  Taking time to explain the musical offerings and how the ensemble was going to interpret the music, by playing above the bridge and by using the bass for setting a strong tango rhythm, clarified what to expect, but it was the meticulous delivery that made the show.  Precise, clean and inspiring; listeners were treated to shear perfection at its finest.

The intensity, understanding and appreciation for works of Alfred Schnittke, Mozart and Astor Piazzolla left people in awe and the orchestra didn’t disappoint.  Led by Gluesteen and members of the chamber ensemble, the music was magic to the ears, entertaining, playful, challenging and fun, and the personal engagement reflected in the faces of the artists confirmed – they enjoyed what they were doing.

Soloist Catherine Ordronneau’s command of the piano was simply incredible and her delivery on the minuets that transitioned through Mozart’s Piano Concerto #9 were flawless.  The notes jumped off the perfectly tunes strings and were complimented by the haunting accompaniment from the oboe, French horn, cello and bass.  It was a performance well deserving of the standing ovation.

The evening was also a special tribute to George Zukerman, artistic advisor and patron for the OCC.  A world-renowned concert bassoonist himself, his direction, support and mentoring paved the way for the continuing success of the Oceanside series.  At 90-years old he is still a mainstay in bringing traditional music to thousands of people and OCC has grown and shaped a strong destiny because of Zukerman’s passion for classical music.

Saturday’s event marked the end of the third season of the Oceanside Classical Concert series, one that brought to the area some of the finest musicians and classical masterpieces interpreted by masters in their trade.  There was something for everyone this season and more than 300 people agree – they can’t wait for next year’s series.

Written by Don Dempson

A full-house audience at OCC’s Saturday, March 11 season finale was treated to musical entertainment at its best.  The evening’s performance showcased the outstanding talents of violinist Kai Gleusteen and pianist Catherine Ordronneau.

Mr. Gleusteen started off the concert with a humorous, sing-along session focused on cannons, a preview to 20th Century composer Alfred Schnittke’s Moz-Art a la Haydn.  Two string orchestras wrapped up into one, led/soloed brilliantly by Gleusteen, offered this modern-day spoof on the traditional classics in terrific style, acting and all. In a word, Exploring.

After the re-set of the piano to centre stage, Catherine Ordronneau mesmerized the audience with her gorgeous interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Concerto #9 (‘Jeunehomme’) K.271 in E-flat major, accompanied perfectly by Mr. Gleusteen and the strings.  Ms. Ordronneau’s playing was artistry in colour as her fingers danced over the keys.  In a word, Beautiful.

The program wrapped up with Astor Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Portenas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires)…Kai Gleusteen, soloist. The playing here was spectacular…again from Mr. Gleusteen as well as from the orchestra.  Primavera (Spring), Verano (Summer), Otono (Autumn) and Invierno (Winter) – one season flowed into another, each with subtle reminders of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’.  In a word, Powerful.  In another word, Emotional.  The year’s journey in Tango…a perfect ending to a perfect program.

Written by Mary Leigh-Warden

Annual subscriptions for the 2017-18 season are only $95 for 4 concerts and many existing subscribers have already renewed. We expect the season to be sold out and encourage you to purchase your subscription soon. Please visit McMillan Arts Centre or Knox United Church in Parksville to purchase in person. Online sales will be available as of March 15th via the website