RECLAMATION: A Passion Project

The newest video project from Looking at the Stars features parolee James Ruston speaking eloquently and philosophically about his experience in the judicial system and his epiphany as a prisoner exposed to world-class musical presentations produced by Looking at the Stars within the prison system.

His very personal narrative, interspersed with full performances of best-in-class classical music presentations is a moving testament to the power of such music to deliver hope and dignity to those who might need it most and expect it least. The entire production was shot on location in Toronto, Ontario.

Technically, the video production features sublime lighting and intimate camera work that draws the viewer into a personal experience with the Looking at the Stars project. We cannot help but feel how exposure to such compelling work can impact those whose liberty, dignity and prospects for the future are compromised by the dehumanizing effect of incarceration.

The passionate commitment of Executive Producer Dmitri Kanovich, Looking at the Stars Founder and CEO, and Director Henry Less, award-winning documentarian, inform every second of this extraordinary video project. The emotional power of this production should drive Looking at the Stars to even greater outcomes in their work going forward.

Stay tuned for the formal release of this amazing production.

Maestro Gidon Kremer to perform at Bath Medium Security Institution on November 1, 2021

Looking at the Stars is announcing that classical violinist Maestro Gidon Kremer’s Canadian and U.S. Tour, celebrating his 75th Birthday, will include an historic concert at the Bath Medium Security Institution, in Bath, ON, on Monday, November 1, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. Kremer will be joined by a string quintet from his orchestra Kremerata Baltica.

His engagement at Bath Medium Security Institution, on November 1, marks the violinist’s second event with Looking at the Stars. In 2020, he performed at the Pacific Institution/Regional Treatment Centre while on tour in British Columbia. He was also appointed Honorary President of Looking at the Stars after seeing the effect of a classical performance on the inmates and felt the need to endorse the work of this now six-year-old charitable arts organization.

The performance at the Bath Medium Security Institution will feature Kremer and five string musicians from his orchestra, performing a program that celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Astor Piazzolla and the 75th Birthday of Kremer, with a special homage to Canada’s own Glenn Gould. Kremer founded his orchestra Kremerata Baltica 20 years ago. The orchestra consists of the best young musicians from the Baltic States (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia).

Return to Prison

Lithuanian pianist Darius Mažintas received six standing ovations and interacted with the grateful crowd of 80 Canadian prisoners at Millhaven Maximum Security Institution and Bath Medium Security Institution on October 5. The deeply emotional performance of Chopin’s Nocturnes program mesmerized the audience. The men wouldn’t let pianist Darius Mažintas leave the gym.

Looking at the Stars enjoyed a very successful return “back to business,” gifting interactive classical music concerts to Canadian federal prisoners after nearly two years of a pandemic-related forced absence from these venues.

Looking at the Stars Lithuania

Looking at the Stars is successfully setting foot in the European Union. Our Lithuanian team presented FIVE classical music events to three Lithuanian prisons and a special last-minute event to refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq in a local Refugee Reception Centre in Rukla.

Top Lithuanian performers, pianist Darius Mazintas, violinist Dalia Dedinskaite and cellist Gleb Pyshniak gifted classical music masterpieces from Chopin, Halvorsen, Schuman, and others to an audience of approximately 500 inmates and 100 refugees.

Our prison concerts are actively supported by the Prison Department of the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice. All four prison concerts were attended by the Head of the Department and his cabinet members.

Except for the Refugee event, which was a last-minute surprise, all concerts were covered by Lithuanian National media. We are encouraged by the reception our events received and we are looking forward to many more such events in the future.