We have another very special post for our 40th birthday:
Ken Stephen’s Festival Top Ten
With Festival season rapidly approaching, this seemed like a good time to go through the brochure and highlight my personal Top 10 of performances which I am looking forward to this summer.
Actually, this is a bit difficult to do because one of my biggest highlights is going to be the day-long Celebration Day on Friday, August 9. All the brochure tells us is that 40 musical works will be performed in honour of the Festival’s 40th Anniversary.
That day will include a morning musical cruise, several hours of daytime concerts (venues TBA), a celebration tea, a musical barbecue, and an evening celebration concert.
It’s difficult to say what music might appeal to me in this musical marathon when even the musicians don’t know yet what they will be playing (so a little bird told me last week)!
So, aside from the Celebration Day, here is my Top 10 list of personal highlights which I eagerly anticipate:
 Good Friends. Jim Campbell and the New Zealand Quartet join together in a celebration of 15 years of their musical friendship. It’s a friendship that has greatly enriched Festival audiences throughout those years too. Beethoven, Haydn, and Corlis will be played. Wednesday, August 7 at 7:30 pm.
 Gillian’s Viola. A rare chance to hear the alto voice of the string instruments highlighted. Gillian Ansell will also talk about her Amati viola, made in 1619 (yes, that is 400 years ago this year!). Wednesday, August 7 at 1:30 pm.
 National Academy Orchestra. Boris Brott returns with his orchestra in a programme of well-loved orchestral warhorses. Ravel’s “Bolero,” Smetana’s “Moldau,” the “Capriccio Espagnol” of Rimsky-Korsakov they’re all great pieces.But I’m especially anticipating the chance to hear Alexander Tselyakov in the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto # 1. Saturday, August 10, 7:30 pm.
 Hannaford Brass and Russell Braun. Spectacular brass music from Gabrieli and Handel to Lennon/McCartney and Harry James. Tuesday, July 23 at 8:00 pm.
 “And So We Began.” On the same day of the year, at the same time, the exact all-Beethoven programme which kicked off the very first Festival of the Sound 40 years ago in the high school gym. Monday, August 5 at 2:00 pm.
 “Sounding Thunder.” A film double bill of a documentary, “The Making of Sounding Thunder” and a video of last year’s premiere performance in the Stockey Centre. It will be great to see this spectacular creation again. Tuesday, August 6 at 2:00 pm.
 Anagnoson and Kinton in Recital. The four-hand arrangement of Stravinsky’s sparkling ballet score, Petrouchka, accompanied by original artwork of Alan Stein portraying each scene of the story. Tuesday, July 23 at 1:30 pm.
 Janina Fialkowska Plays Chopin. One of the great Chopin interpreters of our time – need I say more? Friday, July 26 at 2:00 pm.
 Mahler’s Masterpiece. The National Youth Orchestra fills the stage and the hall with the resplendent music of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 pm.
And my Number One most anticipated event of this summer’s 40th annual Festival of the Sound is:
 Beethoven II. Pianist Leopoldo Erice and cellist YegorDyachkovin music by the great master. We’ll hear Beethoven’s delightful variations for cello and piano on “Ein MädchenoderWeibchen” from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” and the Cello Sonata # 4 in C Major, Op. 102, No.1. Much as I love both of those pieces, my personal highlight will be the great Piano Sonata # 32 in C Minor, Op.111. Tuesday, July 30 at 1:30 pm.