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Lukáš Vondrácek's recital - Farewell to Sikora's

This coming Sunday, February 3rd, at 3:00 p.m., do come to the Playhouse and join us for Vancouver debut of this remarkable young musician!

Vancouver music lovers are no doubt saddened by the news that Sikora’s Classical Records will be closing its doors after 40 years of business. At the concert this Sunday, we will have a special ceremony to acknowledge and thank our friends at Sikora’s, for their loving service to Vancouver music lovers, and for their support of The Vancouver Chopin Society.

There will also be a draw of 15 fabulous CD’s. Come and say goodbye to our friends Ed and Roger, and show them our support and gratitude.

Those interested in this special event can avail themselves of our special offer - a 20% discount off the regular ticket price for friends and supporters of Sikora's. To purchase tickets, simply visit our website and use the special promo code: Sikoras.

In order to make this event a true celebration, The Vancouver Chopin Society is sponsoring a special deal on champagne purchased at the bar of the Vancouver Playhouse. Pick up a special voucher from our hospitality desk during intermission, and pay only $3 for a glass of champagne. EACH voucher will be valid for one glass of champagne. Another good reason to come and drink a toast to Sikora's, and to music!

Tobias Koch, Feb 22 and Feb 23, 2019

After our highly successful collaboration with Early Music Vancouver in February last season, we are happy to again work with our friends at EMV to bring you another remarkable artist in a pair of recitals on a period piano.

Tobias Koch is considered the foremost specialist in the field of historically-informed performance practice. Koch has recorded more than 20 CD’s, and is the author of many scholarly publications.

For his Vancouver appearance, Koch will present two different programmes, for details please visit our website.

The first recital will be a recreation of Chopin’s last recital in Edinburgh on October 4, 1848 where he played on the Broadwood piano. Just as Chopin did, Tobias Koch will also be performing on a beautifully restored 1852 Broadwood grand piano.

For his second recital, Koch will present a recital of Polish Romantic music, composers who lived before and at Chopin era. Through this performance, we hope that you would have a more in-depth understanding of the music styles that influenced Chopin and how Chopin influenced other composers. Please read a short essay below.

The Polish Romantics

We all know and love Chopin’s Polonaises and Mazurkas. But how much do we know about these two quintessentially “Polish” dance forms? And what does it mean when we talk about the “Polish” quality inherent in this music?

In 19th century Poland, both professional and amateur composers were writing Polonaises and Mazurkas. As early as 1794, Michel Oginski composed what was to become an extremely popular work, Polonaise in A minor, subtitled “Farewell to the Homeland”. The melancholy tone of this music became almost a sublimation of the composer’s patriotic feelings as well as a lament for Poland’s tragic history.

As a young composer, Chopin would model his early Polonaises after those composed by Maria Szymanowska, Jósef Elsner (his own composition teacher), and Karol Kurpinski. Of course we are all very familiar with the polonaises he wrote as a mature composer.

In the mazurkas, we can really trace the evolution of Chopin as a composer. Chopin wrote more than 40 mazurkas, in addition to some in manuscript form. In writing the mazurkas, he drew upon the Polish tradition of folk mazurkas – music that he heard in the Polish countryside during his summer holidays. But he was also inspired by mazurkas written by other Polish composers. Again, names like Kurpi?ski, Szymanowska and Dobrzynski come to mind.

After Chopin, Mazurkas were written by Karol Mikuli, his own student, as well as Ignacy Friedman, a pianist well known for his playing of Chopin’s Mazurkas.

On February 23rd, come and hear the music by these “Polish Romantics”, music that expresses the range of emotion – sadness, suffering, a feeling of passing, and of loss.

Come and hear the music that defines a nation. For the programme details, please visit our website

The story of Sikora’s


Sikora’s Classical Records began in 1979, after Rod Horsley ended his partnership with the then Magic Flute Records and teamed up with Richard and Dorothy Sikora to start the iconic Vancouver record store.

Edward Savenye started at Sikora’s as a casual employee, when a sales clerk left Sikora’s to work at the newly opened Virgin Megastore. It was in the spring of 1998, when Ed began his full-time tenure. Roger Scobie started as a Sikora employee in 1988. In summer of 2000, Rod Horsley was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer, and passed away in May 2001. Rod bequeathed the store to Ed and Roger in his will, and they assumed ownership of the store after Rod’s death. Ed said, “I call Rod my professional father. He was an absolutely awesome guy.”

Through the years, Ed and Roger lovingly kept the store going, against increasingly difficult odds.

Changing times…

Ed acknowledged that after forty years, the conditions that have been swirling around in the (music) industry, in retail and in changing demographics, left them no choice but to end the business. “Sales had been pretty consistent until about five years ago, when we started to see some decreases,” Ed said. “It was in Christmas of 2016 that we really saw a significant decline in the business,” he added. It was a particularly cold winter, and people did not go Christmas shopping. Ed and Roger thought that sales would improve next year, but the amount of traffic into the store kept declining. “So whether we decided to, or whether we just passively waited, we’d probably still be forced to make this decision,” Ed conceded.

The nature of supply and demand has now created a situation where it’s become more and more difficult to get the store’s core inventory, because distributors are just not stocking many recordings in Canada. “It has become a case of import on demand,” Ed said. So instead of getting a CD in a week, it now takes three to four weeks to get it into the store, sometimes even two to three months. He added, “That is lethal to any business. And then people would go online; point and click, and the CD would arrive in a matter of days. You can’t compete with that.”

Ed said he laments not just for his own store, but also for the future of all of retail. He fears that character stores like Sikora’s will become a thing of the past. For him, the saddest part is to see his loyal customers age, and to see their health beginning to fail. He said, “You see these people for five, ten, twenty years, and now you are seeing them fade, and that’s tough.” On a happier note, he told the story of getting to know a couple, through the store, from the early stages of their relationship until the present when they now come in with their 7-year-old daughter!

He said that what he will really miss is the feeling of family that he has with Sikora’s many loyal customers. “After forty years, I would just describe us as a big, fun-filled family, with all the dynamics that come with any normal family – all the personalities and all those interesting quirks,” said Ed.

The future…

Ed recently bought a cello, and has been taking cello lessons. He said that he plans to devote much of his time to practicing. He is also planning to get back into regular yoga practice, and in addition, he plans to spend some time taking care of himself, and being “constructively selfish.”

Ed and Roger, good luck to you both, no matter where life takes you. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all you have done for Vancouver’s music lovers.

On a personal note…

I think I probably bought the bulk of my record collection from Sikora’s. When I was in my teens, I used to look forward to the latest recordings by Rubinstein, Gould, and all the greats. I loved the records that Ed and Roger played in the store, usually a new recording they wanted to promote. I can’t tell you how many times I discovered new music because of what they were playing. I will miss Sikora’s very much, and the feeling of warmth and of welcome every time I walked into Ed and Roger’s store.

Patrick May, President



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Next Concerts

2018/19 SEASON

Lukas Vondracek
Feb 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm
Vancouver Playhouse


Tobias Koch
Co-presentation with,
Early Music Vancouver
Feb 22 and 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Christ Church Cathedral

Last Chopin Concert
The Polish Romantics

Nelson Goerner
April 7, 2019 at 3 pm
Vancouver Playhouse


Kate Liu
May 19, 2019 at 3 pm
Vancouver Playhouse


Alan Walker
May 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm
Vancouver Playhouse Salons



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