Simon Docking, artistic director of the Scotia Festival of Music, can’t really pick what he’s most excited for at this year’s festival, happening from May 29-June 12.
It could be Kerson Leong’s opening night set, which features an ambitious, violin rendering of Schubert that he calls “an extraordinary six-minute piece…There's only a handful of people in the world that can play this piece, and Kerson is one of them.”
It could be the show Being Lost, taking over Citadel Hill for a day with three performances blending music and storytelling. “It’s about 16 or 17 little, mini pieces of music that make up the show. Some of them involve a bit of audience participation. Some of them explore themes of social justice—and I think [show creator Tom Allen] has made something very up-to-the-minute,” Docking adds, speaking with The Coast by phone.
Or maybe the thing he’s most excited for is seeing Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, who readers might best know for conducting Symphony Nova Scotia, bringing his talents to the Scotia Festival of Music for a closing gala rife with historically significant works by African American composers.
“We have a wonderful audience that is really ready to follow us anywhere, in terms of our programming,” says Docking of the often sold-out Scotia Festival. “I think the atmosphere of Nova Scotia, in general, is part of what makes Scotia Festival so magical.”
“Piano music is about emotion, it's about passion. It's about people. It's about communication. Like what all music is supposed to be about,” Docking continues. “And what you will see if you come is people who are putting their emotions and their life and their experience 150 percent into what they are performing. It doesn’t matter what you wear. It doesn’t matter where you sit. Those things don’t matter. What does matter is that you get this wonderful experience of the power and of the communication of music."