Meet Toronto Consort Patron and Supporter
Vivian E. Pilar
Ms Pilar began supporting the Toronto Consort back in 2010. She rarely misses a program and is always positive and supportive of our work! Thank you Vivian!
TTC: What might we be surprised to find out about you?
VEP: Well, I am an enthusiastic animal lover, who, in my younger years grew up spending every spare moment at my grandparents thoroughbred breeding farm and devoting as much time as possible to being on the back of a horse! Secondly, I was given my first camera at about age 10 and very quickly became an avid photographer. This engaging activity has been a part of my life continuously since that time and I hesitate to even try to calculate the tens of thousands of photos I’ve taken in so many parts of the world.
TTC: Do you have a memorable Toronto Consort performance?
VEP: There have been many so it’s difficult to choose! A very special one was The Queen which was presented a number of years ago. The costumes and stories together with the music were so fascinating. I can still see that performance in my mind’s eye to this day. A more recent special memory was the first time that Charles Daniels sang the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610. It is a daunting piece and he presented the audience with such a magnificent performance. I am very much looking forward to listening to him sing the Vespers again this coming Spring.
TTC: You like to travel. Where have you been recently?
VEP: I love to travel but I haven’t been able to do much of it lately. I am particularly fond of France and have spent a lot of time there.
I’ve attended a couple of ballet galas there over the years which were spectacular and the last time I was in Paris in 2012 it was to attend the opening of Armide at Versailles, which, being the first time Opera Atelier performed there was truly the experience of a lifetime. On another occasion I made a fun trip from Paris to Barcelona to visit Michael Maniaci while he was singing at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. We also took in a concert at Palau de la Música Catalana which has to be one of the most spectacular concert halls I’ve ever been in!
TTC: The Consort covers a lot of territory, both musical periods and geography. Do you have a favourite? VEP: I think for the most part I appreciate the renaissance period the most. First of all it centres on Europe which I have traveled from one end to the other over the years commencing in 1969 so I have a feeling for the area and have learned a reasonable amount about it. I find that there is a softness to the music of that period which no doubt is attributable to the type of instruments which were predominant at the time: The harp, lute, recorder and harpsichord are favourite instruments of mine together with viol and violin.
TTC: You are a major supporter of the Consort. Why do you choose to support the Consort?
VEP: I think that the programming and quality of the TC are quite unique. There is obviously a lot of imagination together with a love of the art of the period which comprises a presentation by this group. Given the ingenuity which keeps surprising and enchanting audiences I find it easy to support such an organization.
TTC: If you could play an early music instrument, which one would it be?
VEP: I’m fascinated with the sound of the harpsichord so that would be a definite first choice. It has a beautiful delicate sound which I find totally charming and I never tire of listening to it. The other instrument which I love to listen to is the hurdy-gurdy. It seems like it would be such fun to play!
TTC: If you could go back in time to a medieval or renaissance court which would you want to visit?
VEP: I think it would be the court of Elizabeth I. She was such a warrior and so bright, albeit brutal. While undoubtedly fearsome to be in that court, it must have been fascinating to be witness to all the machinations which took place. Never a dull moment there!
TTC: If you could step into David Fallis’ role as Artistic Director to program a concert, what would you program?
VEP: While I would never be so presumptuous as to even try to step into David Fallis’ shoes, given the opportunity I think I would try to create a program which involves music, costumes, visuals and perhaps a speaking role. I think that would be really interesting and certainly fits into the past accomplishments of the Consort. This seems to be something that the Consort excels at so I’m sure something amazing could be arranged!
TTC: Are you musical? If yes, what is your earliest musical memory?
VEP: My earliest memory regarding music was sitting on my great-grandmother’s lap as a tiny tot while she played classical music on a beautiful upright grand piano which she brought from London. I’ve always loved that piano; it is made of burled walnut with brass candelabra, is dated 1892 and is now in my living room. She was a concert pianist so music was a constant sound in our house. From time to time my father would join in singing opera. He had a beautiful baritone voice which I can still hear in my memory. From the time they were married until some years later my parents lived together with my grandparents and great-grandmother. I was exposed to classical music before I was even born. Many years ago I completed the Conservatory exams on the piano and later played the same music on a beautiful guitar which I bought in Madrid. I lost the opportunity to play the piano on a regular basis having lived away from home in a number of faraway places and working hard from the time I was eighteen. Since I’ve inherited my great-grandmother’s piano, I hope that one day I can find the time to review and start playing again.
TTC: What are you reading these days?
VEP: This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science Of A Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin.
TTC: What are you listening to these days?
VEP: Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Mozart played by various artists, Angela Hewitt (just about anything she plays!).
TTC: Do you have a favourite Toronto Consort recording?
VEP: I enjoy them all!
TTC: Name your top three all time favourite recordings.
VEP: There are too many to choose from! I have hundreds of possibilities available and I just pick what suits my mood at the time. However, I must add that all of it is classical and some standouts would be Tafelmusik with Bruno Weil conducting Beethoven 5th and 6th, Ensemble Masques, A Baroque Odyssey, J.S. Bach concertos for three and four pianos by Ensemble Orchestral de Paris are stunning in their perfection, Julian Bream on Spanish Guitar playing J.S. Bach, and Agnus Dei by Accentus with transcriptions by Laurence Equilbey which is some of the most beautiful choral music I’ve ever heard.