World-Renowned Violinist Gidon Kremer to Perform at Pacific Institution Regional Treatment Centre

  • Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will partner with Looking at the Stars Foundation to bring world-renowned violinist to perform for inmates at Pacific Institution Regional Treatment Centre in Abbotsford, B.C.
  • Audience members will include inmates, staff, and volunteers of the centre.

Vancouver, Canada (January 24, 2020) — On January 29, 2020 the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) will partner with Looking at the Stars Foundation (LATSF) to bring world-renowned violinist Gidon Kremer to the Pacific Institution Regional Treatment Centre (PIRTC) in Abbotsford, BC to perform the music of Bach for an audience of inmates, staff, and volunteers.

“I am honored to support Looking at the Stars and its wonderful and important work with my performance at Pacific Institution Regional Treatment Centre. By performing works by Bach and Weinberg in the circumstances and surroundings of a prison, I will do my small part to bring humanity and art into the inmates’ everyday life. I am sure it will be a unique and special performance for me and hopefully an inspiring event for the audience,” said violinist, Gidon Kremer.

“The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to help present the VSO’s guest artist Gidon Kremer in performance to the inmates, staff, and volunteers of the Pacific Institution Regional Treatment Centre,” said Angela Elster, President and CEO of the VSO. “Meaningful partnerships are central to the VSO robust community engagement strategy and we are pleased to work with Looking at the Stars Foundation on this project. We know that music has incredible power to heal and connect. Part of our mission is to connect all people in our community, even those most marginalized in society.”

“We are delighted with the opportunity to collaborate with a virtuoso such as Gidon Kremer through our engagement with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. This partnership elevates our work that brings hope and dignity to the recipients of our classical music gifts in the darkest corners of our society,” said Dmitri Kanovich, Looking at the Stars Founder and CEO.

A former refugee to Canada, Lithuanian-Canadian Dmitri Kanovich founded Looking at the Stars Foundation as a way to give back to Canada — the country that has been so kind to him and his family since his immigrated in 1983. Since 2015, the charity has delivered more than 40 musical gifts to more than 3,500 recipients in venues across Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. These venues include long-term care institutions, hospitals and correctional institutions with intimate presentations including personal interaction between performers and audience members to elevate the recital experience from passive consumption to interactive engagement.

About Gidon Kremer

Over the past five decades, Gidon Kremer has established and sustained a worldwide reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation. He has appeared on almost every major concert stage as recitalist and with the most celebrated orchestras of Europe and North America, and has worked with many of the greatest conductors of the past half century.

Gidon Kremer’s repertoire is unusually wide and strikingly varied. It encompasses the full span of classical and romantic masterworks for violin, together with music by such leading twentieth and twenty-first century composers as Berg, Henze and Stockhausen. He has also championed the work of living Russian and Eastern European composers and has performed many important new compositions by them, several of which have been dedicated to him. His name is closely associated with such composers as Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Sofia Gubaidulina, Valentin Silvestrov, Luigi Nono, Edison Denisov, Aribert Reimann, Peteris Vasks, John Adams, Victor Kissine, Michael Nyman, Philip Glass, Leonid Desyatnikov and Astor Piazzolla, whose works he performs in ways that respect tradition while being fully alive to their freshness and originality. It is fair to say that no other soloist of comparable international stature has done more to promote the cause of contemporary composers and new music for violin. To read his full bio, click here.

About Looking at the Stars

Looking at the Stars ( is based in Toronto, and its main purpose is to deliver classical music recitals performed by world-renowned artists as gifts to institutions and organizations whose members may not have an opportunity to experience live classical music in a traditional setting, or those without access to traditional venues.

Since their start in 2015, they have delivered more than 40 musical gifts to long-term care facilities, hospitals and correctional institutions in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and, most recently, in a pilot program in the European Union.

Canadian and international performers who have given recitals for Looking at the Stars include: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Chamber Soloists, students from The Royal Conservatory of Music Glenn Gould School, pianist Lukas Geniušas and violinists Aylen Pritchin and Barry Shiffman.

About Pacific Institution Regional Treatment Centre

Pacific Institution is a multi-level complex located about 80 kilometres east of Vancouver in the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia. Pacific Institution is co-located on the Federal Reserve land housing the Matsqui Complex with Matsqui Medium Security Institution, Fraser Valley Institution for Women, the Community Corrections Administration Office and the Regional Supply Depot.

In 1966, Pacific began as the Matsqui Women’s Satellite Unit for female drug addicts. In May 1972, the addiction treatment facility was replaced with the Regional Psychiatric Centre. Later, it was renamed as the Regional Health Centre and then Regional Treatment Centre (RTC). This became the first institution in North America to achieve full accreditation as a hospital.

Pacific Institution is a structured campus layout consisting of all living units organized around a central courtyard with a yard post in the centre.

About the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is one of the largest arts organizations in Western Canada, Canada’s third largest orchestra, and one of the few orchestras in North America to have its own music school. The VSO and Music Director Maestro Otto Tausk celebrated the orchestra’s 100th anniversary season in 2018-2019.

The mission of the VSO is to create, curate and connect irresistible musical experiences. The VSO fulfills its mission by presenting passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular, and culturally diverse music; creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds; and developing and delivering inspirational education and community programs. Performing more than 150 concerts per year throughout Vancouver, the surrounding communities, and the province of British Columbia, the VSO serves over 270,000 patrons annually, including 50,000 children and young adults. The VSO has an operating budget of $18 million, 104 full-time employees (70 musicians and 34 staff), and is governed by a 21-member board of directors.

For more information on the January 29 performance at Pacific Institution Regional Treatment Centre, click here.


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