Ajijic Scotiabank Music Festival reaches double figures

Chris Wilshere, founder and artistic director of the Scotiabank Northern Lights Music Festival, says he “feels very good” about reaching the event’s tenth anniversary.

“We’ve had our ups and downs over the years,” he admits, “but this year we are already at 150 patrons. I think that’s a record.”

Among the 27 performers coming to Ajijic for this year’s festival – scheduled February 17 to March 1 –  are two debutantes of world-class stature, he says.

Pianist Anton Kuerti (Auditorio de la Ribera del Lago Thursday, February 23, 7:30 p.m. and also Thursday, March 1, 7:30 p.m. in the gala finale) is the “most recorded on the planet,” Wilshere notes, while Christos Hatzis’ “really accessible”  modern compositions represent “the classical music of the future.”

Hatzis’ concert on Monday, February 27, 4 p.m. is a Visionary and Conductors Circle Patrons Only event.   Wilshere says there’s plenty of time to upgrade and experience this “beautiful” music.

In addition, everyone’s favorite flutist, Susan Hoeppner, has just been nominated for a Juno award for “Best Classical Album of the year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble” for her new album, “American Flute Masterpieces.” Her concert at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church is already sold out, but you can catch her at the Festival Orchestra Concert on February 22, 7:30 p.m. at the Auditorium.

Just for the fun of it, virtuoso guitarist Alvin Tung, who opens the festival on Friday, February 17, will take his talents to the stove as a professional cook, competing in this weekend’s Mexican National Chili Cookoff. Look for his Scotiabank Northern Lights Music Festival Chili Opus 1.

Two film makers, Dan Pawlik and Annette Mangaard, are coming to town to make a documentary about the festival, Ajijic and the renowned participating musicians. The perspective will be through the eyes of the young Mexican music students who come to Ajijic to gain experience and mentoring from these musicians. The project is being funded by Scotiabank and should be a great promotion of the Lakeside area and the festival.

Finally, the festival has become the latest victim of the local street banner bandit syndrome. Their banner strung across the Carretera near Auditorio de la Ribera del Lago, the central venue for their event, has been removed and hidden, ostensibly by officers of the La Floresta subdivision.

Tickets for individual events are on sale at the Lake Chapala Society Tickets, Etc. booth and Charter Club Tours in Plaza Montana. For Patrons’ packages contact Judy Parker at (376) 766-5379 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Check out the Festival’s website at www.socitabanknorthernlightsmusicfestival.com for the full schedule (published in the Reporter’s January 28 edition).