What’s In Your Fridge: Nina Horvath

What’s In Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.

On the grill

Nina Horvath

Who are you

I’m the current executive director of Coastal Jazz, and am about to present the 36th TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival from June 24 to July 3. (Go to coastaljazz.ca for the full schedule.) I grew up in the mountains of B.C. skiing more than practicing, but went on to study classical piano all over the place. I spent a little more than a decade studying, performing, and freelancing as a musician before becoming progressively more involved in the admin side of music production.

I joined Coastal in November and am so excited for the full return of the festival with more than 200 shows, 700 artists, and more than 60 free shows! We’ve got so many amazing artists that everyone should come and see! I get really excited about bringing a community together through music—as well as cats, mountains, and tacos. I still try to make as much music as possible whether it’s at the piano or singing with the Vancouver Cantata Singers. (I’m not-so-secretly a giant choir nerd.)

First concert

Do childhood piano recitals count as concerts? Because those would definitely be the first ones. The first concert I can remember buying a ticket to myself was Matthew Good Band when I was about 13. I remember the excitement of going to a concert without parent chaperones, and the delight that a band my friends and I had heard on TV, and on Big Shiny Tunes compilations, was coming to our small town.

Life-changing concert

There have been a lot of these, and in some ways every concert is life-changing. One that sticks in my memory was Swing Soniq. I grew up in Rossland in the Kootenays, and one of the few cultural mainstays was a concert subscription series in nearby Trail that would bring in a variety of performances throughout the year. I remember going to see this trio with my mom when I was about 17. Swing Soniq was an instrumental trio led by Greg Leskiw—formerly of the Guess Who—playing contemporary jazz-swing. I think it was the first time I heard jazz played live and I was blown away by the energy, the skills of the musicians, the creativity of the soloing, and how connected the musicians were with each other. I can still remember how energized I was by that concert for days after.

Top three records

Picking favourite albums or records is always something that stresses me out. I find it so hard to pick just a few favourites, as they are shifting constantly. But here’s a few that jump to mind.

Duke Ellington and Count Basie First Time! The Count Meets The Duke When I was a kid, trips to Vancouver were always exciting, in part because you got to go shopping for music and books. We always did a circuit of Duthie Books, Sikora’s Records for classical records, Ward Music (now Long & McQuade) for sheet music, and HMV for more records. I loved wandering around the treasure trove of more music than I could ever hope to listen to—the amount of possibility was so exciting. I was also young and green and often didn’t know what I was looking for, so I loved going around to the listening stations to discover new ideas. This album was one of those discoveries. The energy is palpable as two of the hottest big bands of the time come together. I feel like you can hear the players grinning with musical glee throughout.

The Monteverdi Choir, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Jon Eliot Gardiner Brahms: Requiem Brahms is my desert-island composer, and if I had to narrow it down to one piece, it would be this one. I’ve been lucky enough to perform this work a few times, and as a singer it is an absolute joy—each line is crafted with utmost contrapuntal care and could stand alone as a melody, but works perfectly with the other parts. It is a piece that I have turned to again and again during times of grief, sadness, longing, change, or even joy. With each event it seems to mould itself to the comfort that you need, and my appreciation for it grows deeper with each listening or performance.

Adria Kain When Flowers Bloom This is a new favourite. Adria Kain is opening the festival on June 24 alongside Janette King at Performance Works. Her voice is silky and soulful and brings a queer-centred voice to the R&B genre. She was also just long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. I’m super excited to hear her show live, as it feels like one of those shows where you’ll be able to say, I remember when I heard her before she got really big.

Video of JP Auclair Street Segment (from Sherpas Cinemas' All.I.Can)

All-time favourite video

So not exactly an official music video, but this clip from the ski film All I Can featuring LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yourself Clean.” Filmed through the streets of Rossland, Trail and Nelson with Canadian skier JP Auclair, the creative use of the city streets and the connection with the music was mind-blowing when it came out. Not to mention the fierce local pride it elicited. I was living back home teaching skiing the year it came out, and that song, that movie, and that clip was everyone’s favourite. Some great nights were spent dancing to it at the ski hill bar or in friends living rooms.

What’s in your fridge

Insulin. I’ve been Type 1 Diabetic since I was 19, so this item is pretty key to continuing to live. Not very delicious (actually I’ve never tried to eat it), but it’s more like a gateway to ingesting other delicious food. Definitely also the most expensive item in my fridge.

Kimchi. My recent guilty pleasure has been cheapo instant Ramen with kimchi dumped into it. Spicy, carby, delicious. Thanks to Maria, the cellist of a trio I play with, for introducing this to me on our last tour.

Frozen cherries. Okay, not technically a fridge item, but fridge adjacent. I love these as a snack. When they defrost just a little bit, they’re so delicious. Also tasty in smoothies. Or with yogurt and granola. Or straight out of the bag. g

The 36th TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival from from June 24 to July 3 at various venues. For full the lineup and schedule go to coastaljazz.ca.

Video of PREVIEW VIDEO | 2022 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

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