For Immediate Release - November 16, 2020
The internationally-renowned Rolston String Quartet performs on Friday November 20 at 7:30 pm, concluding Guelph Musicfest’s 14th season in the beautiful Recital Hall of the Guelph Youth Music Centre.
The pandemic has not been kind to music ensembles around the world with performance restrictions cancelling most live music everywhere, and cutting off income for most of the professional performing artists on the planet. But the Rolston Quartet has survived, although needing to replace two of its original members since March. It is now made up of violinists Luri Lee & Jason Issokson, violist Hezekiah Leung, and cellist Yoshika Masuda.
Although the original performance date was delayed until this Friday, Guelph Musicfest is proud to present the Rolston Quartet, and to have not cancelled any of its 2020 season concerts.
In order to pay the bills for the concerts, Digital Musicfest was introduced so that income from the smaller audiences dictated by COVID-19 restrictions could be supplemented by tickets to watch videos of the concerts online. All the performances are recorded in HD video and high-quality stereo sound, and replays are available on the web for one week following each concert. Virtual concertgoers say that Digital Musicfest presentations are almost like being in the Recital Hall—you get the best virtual seat in the house and great audio.
Guelph Musicfest 2020 began as a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and the Rolston Quartet’s programme reflects that:
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 18, No. 3
Haydn: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No. 3 (“Rider”)
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 7, Op. 59, No. 1 (“ Rasumovsky”)
Friday’s concert, with the audience size limited to 50, is sold out but music lovers anywhere who want to experience this great concert by one of the world’s best string quartets can buy a Digital Musicfest ticket.
Guelph Musicfest director Ken Gee has worked hard to keep the festival alive during the pandemic, intuitively rescheduling concerts originally slotted for late May to early June, and managing to present the entire series live. It turned out that Guelph Musicfest was one of the only series anywhere to not cancel its 2020 concerts. Loyal core supporters of the series made it all possible by their willingness to watch online and not worry about early purchases of live performance subscriptions. As well, many generous music supporters gave donations to the festival.
People who have been able to attend the concerts in person have been moved to tears by the live music, especially in the first concert after the restrictions beginning in March silenced stages for months. For Ken, it made the work especially rewarding, and an inspiration to plan next season with optimism.