Alon Sariel at Early Music Vancouver’s Bach Untamed

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

Alon Sariel is as comfortable on the mandolin as he is on the lute, the archlute, the oud, and on the podium as a conductor. Based in Germany, Sariel first met Early Music Vancouver’s (EMV) artistic director, soprano Suzie Leblanc, at the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht. A few “very fruitful conversations” later, it was clear that Sariel had much to offer EMV audiences. 

 

Sariel

Alon Sariel

Sariel was thus named EMV’s Resident Artist for their 2024 Summer Festival, Bach Untamed, which runs from July 25 to Aug. 8. He has been preparing for the appointment since his initial meeting with Leblanc in Utrecht. 

As part of the festival, Sariel will participate in six concerts—Viva Vivaldi!, Vocal Landscapes of India & Italy, A Tribute to Gabrieli, Plucked Bach, Bach Motets, and Bach & Mandolin—all of which highlight his passion for musical diversity, and cross-cultural collaboration.

Sariel describes the festival’s programming as providing “the opportunity to reveal early music in a new way.” In Bach Motets, for example, vocal soloists will perform ornamented chorales based on both Bach’s ornamentation styles, and on Indian classical and Middle Eastern ornamentation techniques.

Vocal Landscapes of India and Italy will pair western classical music traditions with Hindustani and jazz musical styles. Singers Shruti Ramani and Charles Daniels, keyboardist Alexander Weimann, and Sariel will explore the juxtaposition of 17th-century Italian classical improvisation and Indian classical singing. “There are commonalities between the two styles, and also really interesting differences,” says Sariel. “Some of the forms have similar meanings, or goals.”

Sariel’s own virtuosity will be on display in Plucked Bach, in which he will play mandolin (his first instrument), lute, and oud. The concert, which he presents after having recorded two albums as part of the same project, is a program that he “really adores.” 

“I often use more than one instrument when I play recitals,” he says. Taking things one step further, Sariel will perform Bach’s music, which he has arranged himself for mandolin and other plucked instruments, with improvisation in the style of the oud. Sariel will also play works by Abel, Weiss, and his own Mandolin Partitia.

Sariel will also run a course for bowed and plucked string players, called The Unconventional Bach. “We have a really exciting group of mandolin players of all ages, coming from around the world to participate. Some people are very young, at 18 or 19, and others are seasoned amateur and professionals,” he says, adding: “I love getting to know the community, off of the stage.” He hopes the week-long course’s daily sessions will inspire players and audience members alike. 

Through the course, and his six concerts, Sariel looks forward to collaborating with a team of fantastic artists. “The opportunity to collaborate with artists of all kinds, from such a wide variety of musical and personal backgrounds,” in beautiful British Columbia: what could be better?

Early Music Vancouver’s 2024 Summer Festival, Bach Untamed, will run from July 25 to August 8: www.earlymusic.bc.ca
Alon Sariel’s Plucked Bach I and II are available for streaming: www.pentatonemusic.com

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

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