South Shore Breaker

LAMP set to showcase young artists

Performers excited about getting music careers back on track

- PAUL PICKREM SOUTH SHORE BREAKER paulpickre­m@gmail.com

Mezzo-soprano Jillian Clow’s music career was on the right track when COVID pandemic health restrictio­ns brought the curtain down unexpected­ly.

Originally from Prince Edward Island, Clow received her bachelor of music from UPEI in 2015 and graduated from UBC in 2018 with her master of music in opera under the guidance of Rhoslyn Jones. Clow spent a summer studying at the Chautauqua Institute of Voice and spent time as an artist in residency at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performanc­e (LAMP). She was also featured in a concert of opera excerpts performed at Under the Spire Music Festival last summer.

However, for Clow and countless other young emerging artists, COVID lockdowns scuttled most opportunit­ies for live music performanc­es and even auditions. Travel restrictio­ns led to border closures far and wide. This left Clow, who had returned to her Prince Edward Island home in Maple Plains, hunkered down at home without a music career to support herself. Clow had to take an administra­tive job in her family’s business to pay her bills.

“With the pandemic, all of my singing options were taken away,” Clow said during an interview. “The longer you are sitting somewhere, you put down more roots and end up buying a car. So, you have to pay for that now even though you were planning to go do something else and not stay home long enough to have to have to be owning things like cars,” she said.

At first, Clow lived with her parents to avoid a rental lease in case she did have an opportunit­y pop up elsewhere. Eventually, Clow got married during the pandemic and bought a house.

“It felt like a window was closing. It felt like you spent your whole life building this strange niche ability. And then if you think about it ending without a career, what a strange thing to spend so much time on if I am not going to do it,” Clow said.

“I can sing opera. But now I am a receptioni­st.”

As pandemic restrictio­ns are being lifted, however, Clow hopes to change her career trajectory when she performs in the upcoming LAMP spring concert series in the title role in a full concert performanc­e of Rossini’s

La Cenerentol­a. But even though the role is enticing and would benefit her career, choosing to take time off work is not an easy decision for Clow and many other young artists.

“Now when opportunit­ies like LAMP come up, I have to think I do have to pay my phone bill and my car payment and I have to pay my mortgage. And those are things I wasn’t really planning on having, but I have been tied to this place long enough that your life continues on, and these things become part of your life,” Clow said.

Burt Wathen is the academy’s artistic director. Wathen said LAMP, which opened in 2014, regularly attracts 100 young emerging artists and

35 faculty from across Canada and the world to its postgradua­te music programs, offering personal instructio­n in distinct discipline­s, including opera and vocal training, strings, percussion, winds, piano and compositio­n encompassi­ng early, classical, chamber, jazz, new and world music.

However, according to Wathen, LAMP has lost four of the singers who were committed and desperatel­y wanted to perform in the Rossini opera scheduled to open LAMP’S opera academy in April.

“I would say we have lost at least 50 per cent of that generation of graduating musicians who have gone on to take other jobs or other training because they saw no future, at least in the immediate future, and had to pay the bills and to put food on the table,” Wathen said.

“I feel devastated for these young artists. That this has befallen them out of the blue. And they are victims of something they have no control over,” Wathen said.

“Following the setback of these past two years and a crippling loss of opportunit­ies due to the pandemic, we fear the arts sector may be one of the last to recover, and emerging young artists may be the last to benefit,” Claireloui­se Osmond of LAMP said.

“It is so important we find more ways, especially now, to subsidize the specialize­d training and creative experience offered by LAMP and get these talented young artists back to making serious music again.”

Tong Wang, a Canadian pianist, based in Montreal, has participat­ed in three residencie­s at LAMP and is looking forward to the upcoming programs.

“Whenever I think of LAMP, it is always a special place for me because of its intimacy. There is a particular­ly supportive and inspiring atmosphere because the community is so close-knit and very committed and passionate about each concert and each participan­t and artist there,” Wang said.

“It can be very intense for music making. I always feel like when I do a residency there, I grow a lot as a musician.”

Wang is looking forward to taking advantage of new opportunit­ies to perform and collaborat­e with other emerging artists at LAMP and around the world.

“There is a new kind of energy and appreciati­on for live music. And there are going to be opportunit­ies popping up because more people are interested in creative programmin­g and multi-disciplina­ry work,” Wang said.

Meanwhile, Clow is looking forward to the curtain rising again on her first lead role in a major production.

“To put on a full Rossini opera is going to be very exciting,” she said. “I do feel an upswing of optimism looking into the future.”

“I kind of got settled in here on P.E.I. And I have to get used to the idea of leaving again if this is what I want to do.”

Informatio­n about the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performanc­e and the Spring 2022 Concert Series is available at www.lampns.ca.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Mezzo-soprano Jillian Clow of Prince Edward Island is looking forward to performing a lead role in the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performanc­e’s Spring Concert Series performanc­e of Rossini’s La Cenerentol­a.
CONTRIBUTE­D Mezzo-soprano Jillian Clow of Prince Edward Island is looking forward to performing a lead role in the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performanc­e’s Spring Concert Series performanc­e of Rossini’s La Cenerentol­a.
 ?? RAOUL MANUEL SCHNELL ?? Burt Wathen is the artistic director of the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performanc­e.
RAOUL MANUEL SCHNELL Burt Wathen is the artistic director of the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performanc­e.

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