Artful environment for strings series

East Van Strings kick off Open Space's High Tension contemporary strings series this weekend.

East Van Strings kick off Open Space's High Tension contemporary strings series this weekend.

The idea of bringing music to the Open Space gallery isn’t new, it’s just been a little sporadic.The gallery’s new music co-ordinator, Andrea Young, hopes to enhance the concept and begin a prominent blending of music with art at the lower Fort Street exhibition space.The transformation begins Saturday (Feb. 26) when the highly improvisational East Van Strings kick off Open Space’s High Tension contemporary string series.“We’ve trying to explore the idea of experimental strings,” Young says, noting the gallery has previously delved into experimental piano.“It’s a curated idea and in that sense, it’s kind of like a gallery (of music). There’s always going to be art all around them.”Hosting East Van Strings is an excellent way to open the series, Young says. Its members; Gordon Grdina (guitar, oud), Peggy Lee (cello), Jesse Zubot (violin) and Eyvind Kang (viola); are highly accomplished in genres from folk to classical to experimental.“They are some of the most famous improvisers in Western Canada … when you put them all together, the musicianship is just excellent. They play anything from string quartet to absolute wild improvisation,” Young says.The High Tension series continues March 10 with the internationally acclaimed Quatuor Bozzini string quartet. It winds up with a March 28 concert by innovative virtuoso Julie-Anne Derome of Montreal, whose show mixes video, electronics and violin music.The hope with the series is to draw a mix of the arts and music communities, Young says. “Anyone with any kind of curiosity about good experimental music, this is the place to find out.”Saturday’s concert starts at 8 p.m. at 510 Fort St. Tickets are $15, or $10 for Open Space members or students. Series passes are $35 and $30. They’re available in advance at the gallery between noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information visit www.openspace.ca or call 250-383-8833.editor@oakbaynews.com