Cellist Ian Hampton was presented with a Barbara Pentland Award of Excellence at the CMC BC book launch on Saturday, June 23, at 4pm in the CMCs Murray Adaskin Salon for Ian’s new memoir Jan in 35 Pieces published by The Porcupine’s Quill.
Introducing Ian to the standing room only crowd overflowing the Murray Adaskin Salon, BC Director Sean Bickerton asked the audience to cast their minds back fifty years to an equally fractious, tumultuous time in history. His remarks follow:
“You may recall North America experienced something of a youth-quake in the 1960s. A British cultural invasion personified by a mop-headed quartet of four, rambunctious young musicians playing long-necked, stringed instruments whose music changed everything, forever.
“And yes, as you’ve no doubt guessed, I’m speaking of the four new principal strings of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra brought over from London by then-Music Director Meredith Davies — the new Concertmaster, Norman Nelson; Principal Second Violin Raymond Ovens; new Principal Viola Simon Streatfield; and the ringleader of this new cultural revolution, Principal Cellist Ian Hampton.
“Vancouver has never been the same since!.
“It’s hard to believe, now it’s such a fixture of our cultural lives, but we would not have the Orpheum Theatre without the effort led by Ian’s colleague, Simon Streatfield, along with Bob Creech and many others.
“We wouldn’t have the Vancouver Cello Club, or the Baroque Strings of Vancouver which blossomed into a vibrant early music scene; both founded by Ian Hampton.
“Without those four, young, musical dynamos, we wouldn’t have the Purcell String Quartet they co-founded; or the Courtenay Youth Music Camp they helped start, which I remember attending for the first time in 1968 at Puntledge Elementary School as a boy of twelve. It was a life-changing experience, setting me on the path to a lifetime’s involvement in the world of music, for which I’ll always be grateful.
“The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra they helped build has reached its apotheosis under another Englishman, Maestro Bramwell Tovey. But the distinctly rich, sonorous, VSO string sound we so love today originated with that remarkable quartet imported from the London Symphony Orchestra.
“The Orchestra of the Vancouver Opera, which is cherished by audiences here, is all the better for the extraordinary musicianship Ian brought to leading the cello section, as he did with the CBC Chamber Orchestra.
“He has taught hundreds of young people how to play the cello, sending many onto international, professional careers. Our own Librarian, composer in residence and cellist-in-demand Stefan Hintersteininger, studied with Ian Hampton.
“In short, Ian Hampton and his wonderfully funny confrères turned this sleepy little provincial city on, musically speaking. They rocked our world. They changed everything.
“Early in his absolutely charming and captivating narrative — Jan in 35 Pieces —Ian observes that it’s “a long and perilous adventure on which a cello student embarks from that very first bowed open string down the long road to performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.”
“The son of another renowned cellist, Colin Hampton of the celebrated Griller Quartet, Ian was a longstanding member of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh String Quartet; co-founder of Academy of St. Martin’s In The Fields; and Principal Cellist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Chamber Orchestra, and Vancouver Opera Orchestra. He has also conducted the Nanaimo Symphony & Surrey Youth Orchestra; and was one of the most loved Principals of the Langley Community Music School. He received a BC Arts Council Award in 1999 for his extraordinary contribution as a performer, teacher, and administrator; was named an Ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre in 2009, and awarded an honourary doctorate by Simon Fraser University in 2011.
“Throughout his time in Vancouver, Ian Hampton has been a devoted champion of Canadian music, having performed countless numbers of new works and having commissioned many others as a cellist and on behalf of the Purcell Quartet and Langley Community Music School.
“And so it is truly my pleasure today to introduce Ian and his new book Jan in 35 Pieces.”