Nina Horvath. Vancouver’s 2022 Jazz Festival
i. My name is: Nina Horvath
ii. I am a: musician
iii. I work as a: professional pianist and vocalist, primarily in the classical realm. My work focuses on collaborative piano, including chamber music, vocal coaching, and education. I also love to sing, and perform with the award-winning Vancouver Cantata Singers as an alto.
iv. I am also: an arts administrator working as the Executive Director of the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society. We are BC’s largest not-for-profit music presenter producing the annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, as well as presenting local, national, and international artists throughout the year.
VCS Bach Finals. Photo By Michelle Koebke
v. Before working with the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society:
I was the Executive Director for the Vancouver Bach Choir for five seasons. The Bach Choir is a tremendous organization and community to learn and grow with – it was my first ED position. Working as an ED can best be described as being a generalist – you need to know a bit about many things.
For me, it is about connecting and empowering people to bring their best selves to their work. It is about engaging a community and finding the perfect position for each interested party and how they can help make the organization its best. It is about being able to dream big and then finding a way to make those dreams turn into a feasible reality. And it is about bringing as much art and music to as broad an audience as possible.
vi. What it has been like starting with Coastal Jazz:
A whirlwind! The last five months have been a time of significant transition for the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, and it certainly presented a challenge to get up to speed as quickly as possible. It has also been energizing and engaging to get to know my new colleagues, musicians, and community members and get excited about being able to produce live music again.
Jazz Festival. Photo by Rebecca Blissett
vii. What role do you think the festival plays in Vancouver:
I think the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival plays a big part in signaling the start of summer for many Vancouverites. We are one of the earlier music festivals of the season, and with the two large outdoor weekends of free programming, it marks the start of long summer weekends spent in the sun listening to great music with friends and family. It is also a substantial economic and artistic driver.
In pre-COVID years the festival would generate approximately $42 million in economic impact. The festival is also known worldwide for its support of the best experimental artists in the business and is renowned for bringing them to Vancouver.
viii. How Vancouver’s Jazz festival compares to those in other cities:
That’s difficult for me to say since I am so new to the position still. Unfortunately, many of the festivals run concurrently, making it hard to visit them! I would say that our festival is unique in the balance of programming it provides. Founding artistic director Ken Pickering and his successor Rainbow Robert were tireless champions of the experimental and avant-garde and prioritized giving a prominent voice at the festival. This has made the festival unique and made us known and loved worldwide. Our artistic team continues to be committed to carrying on those values and finding a way to balance that with various genres and artists from the newly discovered to the mainstream.
Jazz Festival. Photo by Rebecca Blissett
ix. Big picture description of Coastal Jazz 2022:
2022 is all about celebrating a return to live music. We want to make this year’s festival a giant party. From the outdoor weekends to our new stage at Ocean Art Works on Granville Island we’ll have artists who will get you on your feet and dancing. Our ticketed performances highlight soul-stirring music from traditional stylists to cutting-edge adventurers. We will be celebrating large-scale events to intimate club experiences and everything in between. We look forward to celebrating music that appeals to those from many cultures and generations and that is above all, joyous, jubilant and celebratory. We also look forward to the return of our Sounds of Youth stage, highlighting the best young jazz bands of the region, as well as additional educational opportunities at free workshops throughout the festival.
x. Some of the BC participants in the festival:
I can’t reveal all our programming just yet, but we’ve got some great artists from BC showcased at this year’s festival, including an exciting slate of Indigenous artists co-produced with the help of Full Circle: First Nations Performance. Some of these include Brad Turner, Peggy Lee, and Cory Weeds. You’ll have to stay tuned to our next announcements on May 9th and 16th to find out who the rest are!
xi. Some of the non-BC participants in Coastal Jazz 2022:
This year has slightly fewer international artists than we would have in a typical year, but we’ve still got a lot of talent from Canada, the United States and beyond. Some of those include our marquee acts – Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams, Cécile McLorin Salvant and GoGo Penguin. Our Performance Works series has artists from as far as Niger- the mesmerizing Les Filles de Illighidad to Inuit throat singers and electronic artists PIQSIQ. Our Jazz at Pyatt Hall Series was also recently announced and showcases some of the best jazz talents from across Canada and the United States.
xii. One thing that’s been particularly fun in developing this festival:
It’s been fun getting to know the staff, the artists and the incredibly passionate community members involved in making this festival a reality each year. There is such a wealth of passion and knowledge present that it is exciting to play a part.
xiii. One challenge in developing the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival for 2022:
Well, the elephant in the room is the same one that’s been here for more than two years – COVID-19. We are still at a stage where none of us can predict what will happen. Factoring in so much uncertainty in planning events is destabilizing for everyone. Still, we keep moving forward and keeping all our fingers and toes crossed that the public health situation continues to improve.
Lucinda Williams. Photo By Danny Clinch
GoGo Penguin. Photo by Emily Dennison
xiv. What’s it like to attend the festival as a pianist:
This will be my first festival as Executive Director. While I’ve gone to shows in the past, I’m not sure if I use the lens of being a pianist when I attend concerts. I like to go as a curious, music-loving person who is excited about hearing new sounds, finding a new favourite artist, and being wowed by the creative genius of these artists. My skills as a pianist lie in the realization of other composers’ works, and I have never been a strong improviser, so anyone who excels in that area of music-making, I’m absolutely in awe. While I love the piano, I also like to embrace the opportunity to hear other instruments and voices and any unusual combos of instruments and sounds I might not come across in my day-to-day life.
xv. Anything to add:
This year, the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival is held in multiple locations across Vancouver, with 700 artists and 200 performances at 19 venues, including 86 free shows. For tickets or festival schedules, please visit coastaljazz.ca.
Header Photo: Nina Horvath. Photographed by Erik Zennstrom