Two local professional concert pianists in collaboration with other art organizations in Vancouver are launching Musica Lanterna in October, a Classical Concert Series Project, to challenge the perception of how classical music is viewed by taking it out of the concert hall and into the community.

“Our vision embodies and transcends the listening experience,” said Dimitri Zhgenti, owner and manager of Musica Lanterna. “We believe music brings people together, and our vision is to unite the community around art issues in our community and in the world.”

The concert series will take place in Tandem Hall at Boomerang Bistro located at 808 Main Street in Vancouver. Zhgenti explained the venue is a modern non-concert hall. This means there is no elevated stage separating the artists from the audience, which makes the experience and connection more intimate. “There are no walls,” said Zhgenti. “It draws and brings the audience into the artist’s space.”

There are six planned concerts a year, and the series is based mostly on classical music and piano. Future possibilities are plentiful and include jazz, chamber music, guitar and clarinet duos, and classical flamenco music. Included in the mission is to feature young talented musicians through a selection process as well as provide a venue for visual artists to showcase their works. Another feature will include open talks with the artists. The audience will have the chance to ask questions about the music, background, and artistic inspiration.

“It’s all in development,” said Anton Zotov, owner and manager with Zhgenti. “The arts and music are deeply connected, and we want to provide variety and have a lot of ideas.”

Zotov and Zhgenti are creating a platform, they said, to reach out to new audiences and share through the art of music. The hope is to inspire discovery and creative collaborations that lead to sustainable partnerships. “We want to contribute to our cultural life,” said Zotov. “The idea of sharing whatever you have with the community around you is a very important aspect of life.”

“We also know high-level musicians,” said Zhgenti. “And we want to bring in musicians who might never have come to Vancouver and give them an opportunity to perform and share their talent with our community.”

The name for the concert series was thoughtfully chosen and carries a lot of meaning for Zhgenti and Zotov. Lanterna means lantern and symbolizes different layers of fire, which connects to light and leads to inspiration, progress, imagination, warmth, illumination, enlightenment, new ideas, and thoughts.

“We are tying it (the name) into our region since it symbolizes expansion in the Pacific Northwest,” said Zhgenti. “It’s about discovery.”

Zhgenti said now is a great time to do something like Musica Lanterna because there is so much growth in the city. The Classical Concert Series Project is a contribution to this growth. The musicians are open for sponsorships of different kinds and would like Musica Lanterna to be based on community support and interest of the audience.

“Sources of inspiration in life are family, professional life, and the arts,” said Zotov. “It’s the same thing with concerts and music – they act in the same manner – You get inspired and then you bring it home.”

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— Jackie Genis