Nothing small about this summer music festival

Oboist Pierre Cayer and cellist Laura Backstrom are both performers and artistic directors of the Eine Kleine Summer Music festival.

Chamber music festival has developed a grassroots reputation

If the Eine Kleine Summer Music festival is part of your annual tradition, you better buy your tickets in a hurry.

The first and last of the four-concert series are already sold out.

“It’s a bit ridiculous,” said Laura Backstrom, co-artistic director and performer since 1999.

“It’s very unusual (for chamber music) … We may have to start thinking about playing some of the concerts twice.”

The annual festival, held at the First Unitarian Church of Victoria, 5575 West Saanich Rd., generates a kind of buzz and belies its translated name. Eine kleine, taken from Mozart’s composition “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” means “a little” in English.

“We don’t really need to advertise – it’s just people talking to each other and it helps that it’s in such a beautiful spot.”

The festival features talent from home and away.

“We always like to get a special guest but this year we have two,” said Backstrom, explaining it’s part of the ramping up for the festival’s 25th anniversary in 2012.

Pianist Jane Coop of Vancouver and cellist Shauna Rolston of Vancouver will perform on June 5 and June 26, respectively.

From Victoria, three of the musicians: Terence Tam, Lorraine Min and Kenji Fuse, were featured soloists with the symphony this year.

“I just feel excited about having those three local artists who are really at the peak of their career and getting such a following,” Backstrom said.

For the uninitiated, chamber music is played without a conductor. “You just play by the visual and aural cues that you get.”

And unlike an orchestra, which features sections of musicians, a chamber ensemble sees only one person play each part. That allows the musicians to be more expressive, Backstrom said.

“Other (musicians) are going to allow that and adapt to that because there are fewer people … I find it really distills music down to its essence and it’s very powerful.”

Mark your calendar

• Eine Kleine Summer Music takes place every Sunday between June 5 and June 26 at the First Unitarian Church of Victoria, 5575 West Saanich Rd.

• Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the concerts start at 2:30. To order tickets, call 250-413-3134 and leave a message.

• For more information, visit

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