Extraordinary Chan Centre concert was fitting testimonial to Bing Thom’s incredible career

Bing Thom

Bing Thom

Today’s Vancouver Recital Society concert at the Chan Centre, starring Uzbek pianist Behzod Adburaimov, was the only tribute architect Bing Thom, who died suddenly Oct. 4 of a brain aneurysm, would have accepted.

Adburaimov’s extraordinary performance seemed to underline how Thom’s presence in the city will linger for generations, resonating through architectural interventions as dramatic as Robson Square, which he delivered under Arthur Erickson’s guidance, through to the Chan Centre itself, one of Thom’s masterpieces.

At the time of his death, Thom was celebrated globally for his work on a performing arts centre in Washington and was deeply engaged in the construction of a new opera house in Hong Kong.

Regrettably, he did not live to see some of his dreams for Vancouver realized.

Abduraimov takes his leave after Chan Centre triumph.

Abduraimov takes his leave after Chan Centre triumph.

One was the replacement of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts, which he quietly championed for decades. Another was the revitalization of Chinatown, where he was mentoring an emerging new generation of activists to play a role in the community’s future. There’s little doubt, however, that both will work their way to a successful conclusion.

There was music, but no speeches at today’s event. As VRS director Leila Getz announced at the beginning, that’s all Thom would have accepted. The music was more than enough, with the packed audience calling Adburaimov back for two encores in Thom’s beautiful music box.