Jordan Vermes has had a long love affair with the strings.
“When I was four,” he recounted, “I wanted to play the violin.” His parents thought it was just a phase, and assumed that he would get over it. However, three years later, Vermes was still asking. Apparently, the phase did not pass. At eight-and-a-half, he started classical lessons on the violin.
“It runs in the family,” Vermes said, saying that his great great grandfather was a concert violinist, and his great great grandmother was a concert pianist. “They played for the Queen.”
And, according to family mythology, he was hooked on classical at two years old on first hearing Handel’s Messiah.
Whatever the seed, the violin strings plucked at his heart and resonated right down to his soul.
Twenty-one year old Jordan Vermes will be competing solo as a violist at the upcoming Provincial Performing Arts competition.
Vermes just got word on May 3, having recently completed the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, that he was selected to represent Victoria (but we all know, that really means Sooke) in the Provincial Performing Arts competition, happening from June 3 – 7 in Penticton. Included in this achievement in Greater Victoria, Vermes received the Unaccompanied Back Award, the Outstanding Senior Player, and the Viola Excellence Award.
Three years ago, on the advice of his music teacher, put down his violin and picked up the viola. He’s mastering the viola as well. Slightly larger than a violin, the viola has a deeper sound than the violin. That, and there are fewer viola players compared to those on the violin.
“It’s stiff competition,” he says, speaking of the up-coming Provincials. According to the TourismPenticton.com, it’s a high calibre of musicians who compete in the BC Provincials, where Vermes will be competing as a soloist in the strings category.
“The most promising young performers of the Penticton Kiwanis Festival will continue on to the Provincials which is being hosted in Penticton. Approximately 450 of B.C.’s most promising students of music, dance and speech arts will be recommended by adjudicators to take part in competitions, master classes and workshops.”
Last year, the Collegium String Quartet placed first in the 2013 Provincial Chamber Music and Most Integrated Group Award. The Collegium String Quartet consisted of Blythe Allers, Ceilidh Briscoe, Jordan Vermes, Ethan Allers.
Currently, Vermes is finishing up his second year at Camosun and will be leaving us to study at the University of Toronto.