Artist Profile: Daniel Bolshoy

Guitarist Daniel Bolshoy and violinist Jasper Wood are internationally recognized artists who are performing as part of out Resonate Series. The superb duo merge classical, jazz and world music, taking a musical journey evoking Argentinean tango, Brazilian bossa nova and Parisian café society eras.

Jasper has performed with many of North America’s finest orchestras, in cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Buffalo and throughout Europe. He has performed under the batons of Gregory Novak, George Cleve, Georg Tintner, Bramwell Tovey and Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Jasper has also garnered acclaim for his performances as a recitalist and chamber musician which have taken him to major cities worldwide in venues such as Dame Myra Hess (Chicago), Carnegie Weill Recital Hall (New York) and the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts. Jasper has been equally committed to performing in Canada’s smaller communities.

One of Canada’s leading concert artists, Daniel has performed as a soloist with over sixty orchestras internationally including the Mexico City Philharmonic, Israel Chamber, Volgograd Symphony (Russia), and the symphony orchestras of New Mexico, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Kingston, Victoria, Okanagan, Saskatoon, Nova Scotia, as well as the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Ottawa Chamber, and many others.

A devoted music educator, Daniel has recently been appointed to the faculty of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, where he directs the guitar program.

We talked to Daniel about the collaboration and what to expect at the concert this Sunday.

Jasper & Daniel.jpg

How did you meet? And when did you form Duo Rendezvous?

Jasper and I have known each other for close to 20 years now. We were managed by the same company, Richard Paul concert artists, and that meant we sometimes performed in the same venues, and at several point we had shared the stage. When I moved to Vancouver, where Jasper was living, we immediately formed the duo, as we already knew that this would be a collaboration we'd very much enjoy pursuing. It was a great addition to our regular performing careers as soloists, in that it allows us to focus on a small and intimate ensemble, in which we both have a lot of individual presence and also we get to create a sound together. It was the right kind of challenge and had lots of appeal to us at the time we formed the ensemble in 2011-12, and it still does, six or seven years later.

How often do you get to play together?

We perform together often, although there is no regularity to it. Our last concert together happened in late November, so fairly recently. We do several projects a season, which is just right to keep the ensemble fresh and give us time to work on other projects as well. I now live and work on the east coast, teaching at the University of Georgia in Athens. This means that we can do special presentations together, when the logistics make sense. It is a great joy for me to come back to perform in the lower mainland, so we make sure that we tour BC often, and make appearances in the Vancouver area.

How do you feel the dynamics of playing as a duo differ from larger ensemble groups?

Performing in this duo allows us to be chamber musicians and soloists at the same time. This means that we react to each other, and maintain an "intense musical dialogue" while keeping our individual differences and presenting at times varied approaches to a musical idea. This is different than having to blend into a larger sound, or follow an external leader. We share all the musical material, and we are always fully engaged and committed to the creation of the music together. We also have challenges that are similar to playing solo recital repertoire. We play virtuosic music, and we strive to create a full sound world with minimal resources.

The repertoire you’re playing on Sunday spans centuries and continents, how did you choose the program?

We have created several programs over the years, and there are special pieces that we come back to with delight. This Sunday's program features our favourite pieces to perform. We enjoy the variety of the styles and moods. From more "serious" Bach, to very passionate Spanish music by Falla and Sarasate, and exciting and romantic South American music by Piazzolla, Tom Jobim and Barrios Mangore. We also feature touches of Gypsy violin and other sounds that are hopefully as enjoyable for the audience as they are for us.

You and Jasper are both university educators as well as musicians. What advice do you give your students for starting out performing live?

I think we both emphasize the importance of performing live as frequently as possible to our students. In the studio we work hard to develop each student's individual sound, and achieve technical security and musical understanding, but this has to be let-go a little when coming to the stage. Performing is an art that happens in the moment, so we encourage letting-go and trusting the work we've done. There is no substitute for performing often.

Who are you listening to these days?

I think we are both very eclectic listeners, although Classical music is at the centre of my playlists. I also let my kids control the music selection in the car (I often regret this when they make their choices...). Honestly, as musicians who spend all day with music, I appreciate time away from music as well. It is important to be able to clear the air sometimes.

Join us for Duo Rendezvous on Sunday, January 27 at 3pm.

Zoe Quinn