New Orford Quartet bows to the greats

Since bringing the The New Orford String Quartet back to life, the stars of the classical music field will be playing in Penticton.

New Orford String Quartet members are playing a concert in Penticton this Friday at the Cleland Theatre.

New Orford String Quartet members are playing a concert in Penticton this Friday at the Cleland Theatre.



After an 18-year hiatus, four talented musicians resurrected one of Canada’s best-known and most illustrious musical ensembles.

“We had just one concert in our first year (2009) and it was a lot of fun. Ever since then everything has blown up. We went from one concert that year to three years later and performing 30 concerts,” said violinist Andrew Wan. “We had an instant spark together.”

Since bringing the The New Orford String Quartet back to life, the foursome has had astonishing success and the stars of the classical music field will be playing in Penticton at the Cleland Theatre as part of the Penticton Community Concert series on Friday.

Wan, who is the concert master for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, has played in hallowed venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and said coming to corners of Canada where they have smaller theatres is just as welcomed.

“It’s awesome. The audiences are really fantastic and they are not only knowledgeable but very enthusiastic. You can feel the enthusiasm and actually it really rubs off on us and is quite exciting,” said Wan. “Playing in these smaller rooms and venues is the way the music was actually intended to be played. It is an intimate setting that I really enjoy personally.”

Wan performs on a Michel’Angelo Bergonzi violin built in 1744 that is on loan from the David Sela Collection. The violin is from the Italian city of Cremona and the luthier’s father lived next door to Antonio Stradivari. Wan had his choice of 18 violins flown in from around the world. He took them to a variety of concert halls in Montreal to test them out and an informal jury of peers helped him with his decision.

“It is incredible to have someone support the arts like this and make it so I can use an instrument that otherwise I would never be able to afford. We all have our own idiosyncrasies as musicians and this really fit my personality,” said Wan. “I feel like it has the type of sound that I always had in my head that I wanted to make. I personally love these older Italian instruments because it is so exquisitely made and so well preserved. It tells a story after 300 years of someone breathing onto it and leaving their mark on it. It is incredible.”

The New Orford Quartet, which consists of Wan, Jonathan Crow on violin, Eric Nowlin on viola and Brian Manker on cello, has received two Opus Awards for Concert of the Year, applause from critics and a 2012 Juno nomination. All of the members are principal players in the Montreal and Toronto symphony orchestras who came together to revolutionize the concept of string quartet playing in Canada.

“This is a completely different skill-set. We all love the variety and this repertoire is amazing,” said Wan. “We are all equal members and it is really humbling for us because we are leaders of our sections and are used to a certain amount of say of how things are going to be done. With the quartet there is a lot of discussion making it a completely different dynamic.”

The members provide a fresh perspective on interpretations of standard string quartet repertoire and are dedicated to promoting Canadian works. At the Penticton concert, New Orford are playing music that spans over 225 years from Haydn to Beethoven and a modern piece from Canadian composer Jacque Hétu. The New Orford String Quartet is performing at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:45 p.m.) at the Cleland Theatre as part of a 16-concert tour in Western Canada. Individual tickets for this, and all, Penticton Community Concerts can be purchased at the Shatford Centre. Prices are $30 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the door as well.

Just Posted

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read