Prepare to be transported by “Under a Veil of Stars”


Finally, Kevin Lau’s new piano trio, “Under a Veil of Stars”, is about to be unveiled.

Commissioned in 2020 by the AYR trio of pianist Angela Park, late violinist Yehonatan Berick and cellist Rachel Mercer, “Under a Veil of Stars” was scheduled to premiere in Lau’s hometown of Toronto in April 2021. The pandemic , however, changed those initial plans.

It will now premiere Saturday, April 30 at 2:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, 170 Dundurn St. S., sponsored by Mercer’s 5 at the First Chamber Music Series with Mercer, Park and violinist Scott St. John in a program composed entirely of Kevin Lau aptly titled “Music of Kevin Lau”.

“All three of us performers have a history and intimate knowledge of Kevin’s music, having performed and created many of his works over the years,” Mercer said. “Kevin has an inimitable sonic universe that has the ability to transport the listener out of their daily lives on an auditory journey through beauty, emotion and fantastical lands. With his nature of curiosity and exploration, she touches on spiritual or universal subjects, or simply a sense of play, her music creates a whole universe that seems to lift us out of the physical world.

As for “Under a Veil of Stars,” Mercer said the artwork pushes the boundaries that Lau is currently exploring while retaining its unmistakable elements.

“Prepare to be transported,” Mercer said.

The bill also includes Lau’s 2017 solo piano composition, “The Dreamer.”

“It’s a play about dreams, both literal and figurative,” Lau wrote in her program notes. “A gentle melody unfolds against a steady pulsation – meaning the sleeper – weaving its way into the territory of the imagination.”

Lau completed ‘If Life Were a Mirror…’ for violin and piano in early 2020 and premiered it with violinist Lynn Kuo in Cobourg in November.

“In this work, I wanted to explore the idea that our outer and inner worlds are fundamentally linked, that life, that is, the reality we experience, is indeed a mirror of our inner lives,” said Lau writes. “The resulting work is like a landscape dotted with familiar musical artifacts, in the form of quotations and “stylistic memories”, fragments of music (by Bach-Busoni, Beethoven, Handel, Saint-Saëns and pieces progressive rock) which are not direct references, but which evoke specific musical styles and eras.

“Intuitions No. 2” was composed in 2020 for Mercer and his partner, Yehonatan Berick, who died later that year.

“This particular piece embraces a kind of exploratory dialogue between violin and cello,” Lau said. “The dialogue is sometimes passionate, sometimes playful, unfolding like a dance that oscillates between multiple traditions, but with partners always in step with each other. The piece was inspired by and is dedicated to Yehonatan and Rachel and the dance they created together.

The one-hour concert will take place without intermission. Proof of vaccination or a negative test plus a mask are required.

Tickets to$21.59, student/senior $16.54, under 12 free.

On Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m., Hamilton Music Collective’s Jazz at The Gasworks, 141 Park St. N., presents Who It Is! with Steve Strongman and Laura Cole. The Shuffle Demons appear Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets at $45, student $25.

On Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Church, 29 Park St. W., Dundas, David Holler’s 35-voice Hamilton Chorus and 25-voice Fanshawe Chorus London perform “Hope & Healing” featuring features Fauré’s “Requiem” with soprano Vania Chan, baritone Peter Bass, organist Brent Fifield and accompanist Erika Reiman.

“We will include some readings and reflections on the challenges the world has faced in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine,” Holler said. “We will perform the Ukrainian national anthem and a new piece by Jeff Enns called ‘Litany for Ukraine’, as a symbol of support for the Ukrainian people.”

The 75-minute concert also includes Lauridsen’s “O magnum mysterium” and Lotti’s “Crucifixus”.

Tickets at the door or at $25. Obligatory masking.

On Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. at Melrose United Church, 86 Homewood Avenue, Valerie Tryon is in recital for the Duet Club’s “Youth in Music” Scholarship Fund. Tickets: $40, student/senior $35, child (under 10) $20; online $30, family online $50. Complete vaccination and wearing a mask is mandatory for participants. Call 226-938-7959 or connect to [optional edit ends]


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