Bringing Music to Life

By Alixe Wallis


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Music has been central to George Corwins life since childhood and he vividly recalls raising his 10-year-old voice in a performance of St. Matthew's Passion.

Born in the States, George's many faceted musical talents were honed and polished at Ithaca College and, during this period, along with his singing, he performed with orchestras and bandsas percussionist and trombonist - emerging as a triple threat.

In the 60s, he enrolled in the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where his outstanding abilities soon marked him as a candidate for their faculty.

George immigrated to Canada in 1969 and became part of the UVIC Music Faculty, until he retired as Professor of Music in 1995.In that capacity, he founded and conducted the University Orchestra together with a faculty/student chamber orchestra and the University Chorus and Chamber Singers.He also presided as artistic director of the Festival Contemporary Music Ensemble for 17 years and, if that wasn't enough, he continued to conduct throughout Canada, the U.S. and South East Asia to glowing notices.

He speaks of the influence of such luminaries as Vaughan Williams and Igor Stravinsky, revealing it was advice from Stravinsky that led him on his lifelong quest to truly bring to life each composer's unique musical voice. George says his favourite times are when he is studying musical scores - trying to pull each nuance from the notes the composer has written.Each bar and musical phrase holds an important key that unlocks the composer's voice.One of his favourite quotes is from Mendelssohn: "The meaning of music is too precise for words."

"But, I am not a creator, says George, I am a re-creator.My job is to bring to life the musical words exactly as the composer would have expressed them." When attending concerts, he takes along the score as he simultaneously reads and emotionally absorbs the music.

The Civic Orchestra of Victoria has been fortunate to have Maestro Corwin at the helm for the past 10 years. This will be his final season.

Orchestra Manager Sally Clarkson says, "As a conductor, he is both supportive and demanding.What is evident is his commitment to the orchestra, his sense of humour, his passion for what he does and the people with whom he does it."
While the search is on for a new conductor, the COV, together with the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society, is busy rehearsing for their firstconcert of the season.With a cast of 50 singers, accompanied by 50 orchestra members, this three-performance concert version of *The Mikado* will be a combination of introductory dialogue leading into the universally loved music and lyrics of the famed duo Gilbert and Sullivan and will be a first for Victoria audiences, says George.

Though hell be celebrating 80 years on his next birthday, George says he doesn't yet feel 60!Theenthusiasm and vigour with which he discusses his lifelong affair with music gives truth to themantra,80 is the new 60!

"The Mikado in Concert"
Saturday Nov. 7th -Victoria High School Theatre
Saturday Nov 14th -Duncan Christian Reformed Church
Sunday Nov. l5th -Mary Winspear Centre
All performances 2 p.m.
Tickets -$25 adults $20 students/seniors
Info:250-477-8868 or www.civicorchestraofvictoria.org

 

NOVEMBER 2009 SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER ISLAND

 

 

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