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Cello in the spotlight for New Year's Eve show in Coquitlam

Reg Quiring and Rosemary O'Connor are set to host their annual QuiRing in the New Year at the Evergreen Cultural Centre.

Classical music for the strings — and especially cellos — is on the program for QuiRing In the New Year, which returns to Evergreen Cultural Centre for its 14th show on Dec. 31.

Reg Quiring (viola) and Rosemary O’Connor (piano) are back at the Coquitlam venue (1205 Pinetree Way) next Saturday to usher in 2023 with four other professional and highly acclaimed musicians:

  • Catherine French, violin with the Boston Symphony
  • Lucia Roh, first violin with the Pro Nova Quartet and conductor of the Coquitlam Junior Youth Orchestra
  • Sunyong Lim, cello with the Borealis Quartet
  • Cristian Marko, cello with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

On Monday (Dec. 19), the Coquitlam couple told the Tri-City News they'll start their annual concert with a welcoming piece: "Suite for Viola and Piano" by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

"Vaughan Williams loved the sound of the viola and created a wealth of wonderful music for that instrument," O'Connor said.

And their duet will be followed by two major works with "especially great cello parts," she said.

Often called the "Werther Quartet" after Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther," Johannes Brahms' "Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor Piano, Opus 60" is played in four movements to feature the violin, viola, cello and piano.

"The Brahms Quartet reminds us of winter solstice: dark, intimate and mysterious," O'Connor said, adding, "It has one of the most beautiful Andante movements ever written, which brings the audience temporarily out of the darkness into beauty and light and pure love.

"The last movement remains a big mystery and Brahms wanted it that way."

By comparison, "String Quintet in C Major, D. 956. Op. 163" — Franz Schubert’s final chamber composition — is an "exuberant, joyful, playful bright work, which will end the program in a positively high and celebratory mood," she said.

Sometimes called the "Cello Quintet" as it’s scored for a standard string quartet plus another cello instead of an extra violin, it will be performed by two violins, two cellos and viola.

After the event, ticket-holders to QuiRing in the New Year will be treated to a complimentary sparkling wine reception; the musicians will be in attendance to mingle with the audience.

For tickets to the Dec. 31 concert ($44/$35/$16), call the Evergreen Cultural Centre box office at 604-927-6555 or visit the facility's website.