Okanagan classical music celebrity turns 80 - InfoNews

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Okanagan classical music celebrity turns 80

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Opera Kelowna
April 18, 2020 - 1:53 PM

Chamber Music Kelowna is still finding reasons to celebrate even though its 40th anniversary concert season was cut short by the ongoing pandemic.

One of the most frequent and beloved performers in the CMK concert series, classical pianist Arnold Draper, turns 80 today, April 18. 

"Draper’s milestone birthday is especially significant as it coincides with what would have been the final concert of the 40th Anniversary season. With performances currently suspended, however, it is an ideal time to reflect upon the accomplishments of this cherished local celebrity and on the vital role he continues to play in the Central Okanagan’s classical music scene," according to the chamber in a news release.

READ MORE: No large events will be held this summer, says provincial health officer

Originally from the U.K., Draper worked as professor of music and professional accompanist at the University of Cardiff in Wales before immigrating to the Okanagan in 1989. It was music as well as a love interest, whom he would later marry, that brought him to Kelowna.  His first performance for Chamber Music Kelowna, then known as the “Concert Series,” came in 1990 and he has since become the most frequent performer in the CMK series with 10 main concerts and numerous fundraisers to his credit, according to the news release.

Eileen Powell, a founding member of CMK, said Arnold Draper was, “the catalyst that elevated the quality of the music scene in the valley to a new level,” in the news release.

In addition to his work with CMK, Draper has been an integral part of the classical music evolution in the Okanagan Valley.

"He is a pillar of support throughout the local musical community by performing with various B.C. artists in the Okanagan, and by being involved with a number of festivals and musical events crucial to arts and culture development of the region. His impressive body of work also includes composing original pieces, recording the works of some of his favourite composers, and performing with Ballet Kelowna, Opera Kelowna, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and the opera ensemble, Candesca," according to the release.

Though his upcoming engagements with chamber music performers have currently been put on hold, Draper continues to prepare new chamber music for a local string quartet group with which he plays regularly. At 80, Draper maintains a rigorous routine of daily practice and plans to continue a busy performance schedule. He remains very much in demand by musicians across B.C. for recitals and fundraising causes.

One of Draper’s most significant contributions to local classical music is his dedication to supporting the careers of emerging artists in the Okanagan, and Chamber Music Kelowna is establishing an award in his honour to assist young musicians as they pursue their careers.


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