LSM Newswire

Friday, June 13, 2008

The VSO Announces Major International Tour

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Announces Major International Tour

Vancouver BC The VSO announced today an Asian-Pacific tour that will see the orchestra perform in China, South Korea, and the Special Administrative Region of Macau, from October 10th through the 20th, 2008.

This major international tour represents an exciting bookend to an extraordinary year for the VSO, a year that featured GRAMMY and JUNO awards, record single ticket and subscription revenue, and record revenue from sponsorships and individual donors.

The VSOs Asia-Pacific Tour will include eight concerts in the following cities:

- Seongnam, South Korea

- Daejeon, South Korea

- Beijing, China

- Shanghai, China

- Guangzhou, China (Sister City to Vancouver, in the Sister Province to British Columbia)

- The Special Administrative Region of Macau

This tour will mark the first time a Canadian symphony orchestra will perform at the prestigious Beijing Music Festival. Past invitees to this festival include the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra de Paris, Kirov Orchestra, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. The VSO will also be the first Canadian symphony orchestra to perform in China in thirty years (the Toronto Symphony Orchestra toured China in 1978).

VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey will conduct all concerts. The VSO is also very happy to have as its very special guest, internationally-renowned, GRAMMY Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn. Concert repertoire will include Shostakovich Symphony No.5; Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite; Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique; Tchaikovskys Violin Concerto; and Canadian composer and former VSO Composer-in-Residence Jeffrey Ryans The Linearity of Light. In addition to the main concert performances, the VSO will present numerous educational activities during the tour featuring members of the orchestra and Maestro Tovey. A highlight of these activities will be a concert for children and families in Beijing, featuring the entire orchestra in a performance of light and popular classics, conducted and hosted by Maestro Tovey, and preceded by the VSOs much-loved Instrument Fair, which allows children to play real orchestral instruments and compose music with the help of VSO musicians.

International orchestral tours are important for a variety of reasons. They bring significant attention to the orchestras home city, province and country; assist in establishing long-lasting business relationships in each tour country for sponsors and funders; raise the civic, national and international profile of the orchestra and its city; raise the artistic level and capacity of the orchestra; and improve the orchestras ability to attract and retain top talent.

We are delighted to be able to undertake this historic tour, said VSO President & CEO Jeff Alexander. I would like to applaud the Governments of Canada and British Columbia and our corporate sponsors for their vision and generosity in supporting this important cultural milestone.

One hundred percent of the tours $1.2 million budget is covered by a combination of performance fees, government and private support. The Vancouver Symphony is grateful to the following funding agencies and corporate sponsors for their support of this tour:

- Government of Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

- Canada Council for the Arts

- Province of British Columbia

- Teck Cominco

- Longview Capital Partners/ Oriental Minerals

- Gateway Casinos

- Air Canada


Bramwell Tovey, VSO Music Director

A musician of striking versatility, Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and his warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Toveys career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective. His tenures as Music Director with the Vancouver Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras have been characterized by his expertise in operatic, choral, British and contemporary repertoire.

The 2007-08 season holds many highlights for Tovey. A recent recording with violinist James Ehnes brought a 2007 Grammy Award to the soloist, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Tovey. In his eighth season with Vancouver, Tovey collaborates with guest artists Ben Heppner and Evelyn Glennie and leads the orchestra through an in-depth six-concert Beethoven festival, featuring performances by Lang Lang and Anne-Sophie Mutter. He also appears with orchestras across East Asia, in the spring of 2008, in advance of the orchestras fall 2008 tour of China. Highlights for 2008 in the United States include Toveys appointment as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. The post, last held by Leonard Slatkin, includes general programming and conducting of Los Angeles Philharmonic concerts in its famed summer venue. Tovey also has been commissioned to write a work for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics respective 2008 summer seasons.

Prior to his music directorship in Vancouver, Tovey spent twelve years as music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, where he founded its highly regarded New Music Festival. A significant milestone in the ensembles exploration of new music, the festival premiered more than 250 works by diverse international and Canadian composers under Toveys leadership, with every performance broadcast on Canadas CBC Radio.

In 2004, he founded the New York Philharmonics Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall, and presides annually as its host and conductor. Chief critic of The New York Times Anthony Tommassini has written, The New York Philharmonic values the British conductor Bramwell Tovey as the host of its Summertime Classics series not only because he is a good musician, but also because he brings such a delightfully avuncular sense of humor to the job of introducing the pieces on the program.

During his four years as the music director of the Luxembourg Philharmonic, from 2002 to 2006, Tovey led three successful tours in Europe, the Far East and the eastern United States, traveling to China, Korea, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Holland and Belgium. In 2004, Tovey and the orchestra were awarded the Orphe dOr of the Academie Lyrique Francaise, for their critically praised recording of Jean Cras opera, Polyphme. The following year, in celebration of the opening of Luxembourgs new Philharmonic Hall, Tovey conducted the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Europa Academie Choir in the world premiere of Pendereckis 8th Symphony, composed especially for the occasion.

An esteemed guest conductor, Tovey has worked with orchestras in the UK and Europe including the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Bournemouth, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, and the North Netherlands Symphony where he will lead the Dutch premiere of Pendereckis 8th Symphony in 2008. In a review of a performance with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra the Scottish Herald wrote Ķ.hes a sophisticated entertainer, a refined malt whiskey of a man.Ķ.(Tovey) produced polished playingĶthat is too rare in performances of this music. In North America, along with his work with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Tovey has made guest appearances with the orchestras of St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle, Toronto and Montreal. A recent review in The St. Louis Post Dispatch noted Ķthe orchestra played brilliantly, responding to Toveys direction like a well-tuned race car.

With a profound commitment to new music, Tovey has established himself as a formidable composer. He has been commissioned by the Calgary Opera to compose the companys third original full-length opera. Written with librettist John Murrell, this work is based on the extraordinary life of Alexander Sandy Keith, a notorious 19th century con artist and criminal from Halifax, Nova Scotia. An immense undertaking, the piece will premiere in Calgary in January of 2011. Toveys other accomplishments as a composer include receiving the Best Canadian Classical Composition 2003 Juno Award for his Requiem for a Charred Skull, performed and recorded by the Amadeus Choir and the Hannaford Band in Toronto. Tovey has also built a strong reputation as an accomplished jazz pianist with two recordings to his name.

Renowned as a choral conductor, Tovey has performed works ranging from Mahlers Symphony No. 8 to Bachs Mass in B Minor. In opera, his repertoire includes works by Puccini, Strauss, Mozart, Menotti, Poulenc, Britten and Stravinsky. In 2004, he premiered a new opera by John Estacio, jointly commissioned by the Banff Centre and the Calgary Opera, which he reprised for the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 2005.

Tovey has made memorable appearances on television, including two documentaries with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a 1996 CBC TV broadcast of Victor Davies Revelation, a full-length oratorio based on the Book of Revelation, with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded several DVDs, of works including Holsts The Planets Suite with distinguished guests such as percussionist Evelyn Glennie, among many others.

Awarded numerous honorary degrees, Tovey has received a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary Doctorates of Law from the University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba and Kwantlen University College, as well as a Fellowship from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1999, he received the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, a prestigious Canadian prize awarded to premier artists for outstanding contributions in professional performing arts organizations.

Hilary Hahn, violin

At the age of 28, Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn is one of the most compelling artists on the international concert circuit. Renowned for her intellectual and emotional maturity, she was named "America's Best" young classical musician by Time Magazine in 2001, and appears on a regular basis with the world's great orchestras in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Hilary Hahn records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon. Her most recent album, released in October 2006, is an unusual pairing of Paganini's Concerto No.1 and Spohr's Concerto No.8, with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue. Deutsche Grammophon released her recording of four Mozart sonatas played with her longtime recital partner Natalie Zhu. Her first two albums on the label were the Elgar Violin Concerto and Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis, which won the "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik"; and four violin concertos by Bach with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Jeffrey Kahane.

Prior to signing with Deutsche Grammophon, Ms. Hahn made five recordings for Sony Classical. Her first album, featuring Solo Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach, won Diapason's 1997 "d'Or of the Year" and spent weeks as a bestseller on the Billboard classical charts. Her next recording, concertos by Beethoven and Bernstein, brought her first Grammy nomination, as well as a second Diapason "d'Or," the Echo Klassik award for 1999, and Gramophone Magazine's "CD of the Month"; and her third release - American concertos by Samuel Barber and Edgar Meyer - won the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis and the Cannes Classical Award. Her 2001 recording of the concertos of Brahms and Stravinsky won her a Grammy Award in addition to Gramophone "Editor's Choice and Monde de la Musique's "Choc". It also became Ms. Hahn's fourth consecutive classical bestseller. In the autumn of 2002, Sony released her fifth album, concertos of Felix Mendelssohn and Dmitri Shostakovich.

She has also recently collaborated on several albums with non-classical musicians, appearing on Worlds Apart by Austin alt-rockers ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and on Tom Brosseau's upcoming album to be released in January 2007. She can be heard as featured soloist on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to M. Night Shyamalan's film The Village.

Admitted to Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music in 1990 at the age of ten, Hilary Hahn made her major orchestra debut a year and a half later with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In March 1995, at age 15, Ms. Hahn made her German debut playing the Beethoven concerto with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a concert broadcast on radio and television throughout Europe. Two months later she received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 1996 Ms. Hahn signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical, and made her Carnegie Hall debut in New York as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Alongside her solo work, Ms. Hahn has long been interested in chamber music. Nearly every summer since 1992 she has appeared at the Skaneateles Chamber Music Festival, performing both as chamber musician and as soloist with the festival orchestra. Between 1995 and 2000, she spent four summers studying and performing chamber music at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. From 1996 to 1998 she was an artist-member of the chamber music mentoring program of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, with whom she subsequently appeared as a frequent guest artist.

Hilary Hahn was born in Lexington, Virginia. At the age of three she moved to Baltimore, where she began playing the violin one month before her fourth birthday in a local children's program. From age five to ten, she studied in Baltimore with Klara Berkovich, a native of Odessa who taught for 25 years at the Leningrad School for the Musically Gifted. From ten to seventeen she studied at Curtis with the legendary Jascha Brodsky - the last surviving student of the great Belgian violinist Eugene Ysae - working closely with him until his death at the age of 89. Though she completed the Curtis Institute's university requirements at age 16, Ms. Hahn deferred graduation and remained at the school for several more years, taking additional elective courses in languages and literature, coaching regularly with Jaime Laredo, and studying chamber music with Felix Galimir and Gary Graffman. In May of 1999, at the age of 19, Ms. Hahn graduated from Curtis with a bachelor of music degree

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