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River's Wish Animal Sanctuary's "Music & Art with the Animals"

Pianist Joanne Kong and cellist Christoph Wagner (L–R), the Vegan Virtuosi, in the SPR performance space
Savanna Rothe
/
Spokane Public Radio
Pianist Joanne Kong and cellist Christoph Wagner (L–R), the Vegan Virtuosi, in the SPR performance space

The piano–cello duo Vegan Virtuosi discuss the alignment of music and animal advocacy

Pianist Joanne Kong and cellist Christoph Wagner, who together comprise the piano–cello duo Vegan Virtuosi, joined E.J. Iannelli in the KPBX studio in anticipation of their concert this Saturday at River's Wish Animal Sanctuary.

The concert is part of an event called Music & Art with the Animals: A Sanctuary Celebration. The activities will also include tours of the facility and an exhibition of artwork by the sanctuary’s co-founder, Kit Jagoda, titled "I Am Someone: Animal Advocacy through Visual Art."

Wagner and Kong gave brief overviews of their individual musical backgrounds and their adoption of veganism before talking about how those two paths ultimately intersected.

Kong is not only a specialist on J.S. Bach but has also given a popular TEDx talk, "The Power of Plant-Based Eating" and edited the book Vegan Voices: Essays by inspiring changemakers. She is also a faculty member and director of accompaniment and coordinator of Chamber Ensembles at the University of Richmond.

Wagner studied the effects of nutrition on physical performance for his PhD and has participated in a residency with the Street Symphony in Los Angeles, bringing music to homeless and prison communities.

In addition to talking about their work, the Vegan Virtuosi also gave two live, on-air performances in the Spokane Public Radio performance space. The first, "Morgen!" (“Tomorrow!”), is one of a set of songs by Richard Strauss. The second was “Requiebros" ("Flirtatious remarks") by the Spanish composer and cellist Gaspar Cassadó.

Music & Art with the Animals: A Sanctuary Celebration takes place at River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary (11511 West Garfield Road in Spokane) on Saturday, May 13 at 2pm. Tickets and more information are available at the sanctuary's website.