Laura Altenmueller

posted in: News

When Laura Altenmueller takes the stage at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium on Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m., the audience will welcome one of its own back to Abbotsford.

The Valley Concert Society takes pride in looking throughout our province, our country, and around the world for outstanding musical talent to share with you. We love to bring musicians to our stage whom you are otherwise unlikely to ever hear in live performance.

While looking abroad, however, we always keep an eye on the musical scene at home and follow artists who once made the Lower Mainland their home and have gone on to develop careers elsewhere.

In 2016, we brought tenor Colin Balzer who grew up in Abbotsford and now has a distinguished career in Europe. In 2017, Mission native Paul Williamson gave a piano recital here. He has gone from being an outstanding student to teaching at several academies. In 2019, mezzo-soprano Megan Latham returned for her second performance in her hometown. Megan has built a fine career singing in operas, oratorios, and recitals across our country.

Laura continues this fine tradition of Abbotsford young people who have gone on to achieve a very high level of musicianship. She took up the piano at age four and eventually earned her ARCT studying with Dr. Betty Suderman and Joyce Janzen, one of our board members. A Bachelor degree followed at the University of Victoria where she studied with Michelle Mares. That led to the University of Ottawa and a Masters degree under David Jalbert.

Laura earned her doctorate and was recognized with scholarships at the University of Western Ontario for her research on Maurice Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin. Laura continues to make her home in London, Ontario, where she is the music director at Oakridge Presbyterian Church. She also teaches, performs as a collaborative pianist, directs several choirs, and sings.

Laura’s program next Friday will feature two cycles of preludes by Messiaen and Chopin. She opens the recital with a rarely heard gem by Sergei Bortkiewicz, Lyrica Nova.

It is hard to believe that Bortkiewicz could compose such a buoyant and charming piece of music given all the difficulties that beset him. It was the two great wars that resulted in numerous setbacks for him throughout his life.

Born in the Ukraine, he pursued musical studies in Europe and was enjoying a burgeoning career in Berlin when the outbreak of World War I forced him back to his homeland. The Russian Revolution drove him away from home and eventually back to Europe via Constantinople. World War II again forced relocation and damaged his ability to make a living.

In the midst of all these tribulations, Bortkiewicz produced this optimistic and effervescent work. It is a thoroughly delightful way to open a concert.

Tickets are available online at at $32 for adults/seniors and $20 for students. For more information call 604-289-3377.

John Wiebe -President

The Valley Concert Society