LSM Newswire

Monday, December 22, 2008

WSO's 12 Reasons to Celebrate!




The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
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WSO Enters the Holiday Season with 12 Reasons to Celebrate
December 22, 2008 - In this festive season, even with the economic challenges Canada currently faces and the arts community perpetually faces, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has many successes to celebrate for 2008.
Ticket sales have been strong for the first half of the season and there is a positive outlook for the remaining concerts, including the presentation of Beethovens 9th symphony on April 11, which is already projected to sell out.
1. Alexander Mickelthwate commits to 3 more years with the WSO
Our Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate, currently in his third season with the WSO, has signed on for a second three-year term.
We are thrilled to have engaged Maestro Mickelthwate for a second term. His positive energy and enthusiasm inspire everyone who comes into contact with him. We are looking forward to building on the warm relationship he has with the orchestra and the community."
- WSO Board Chair Dorothy Dobbie
2. WSO Winnipeg education & outreach programs will continue thanks to a generous contribution from the Richardson Foundation
The Richardson Foundation has confirmed a lead role in supporting the WSOs Up Close and Orchestral program. The program takes the full WSO into seven high schools annually to perform for and interact with high school students in their own environment.
The WSO concert at our school was a watershed moment for many of the students in attendance because a good proportion of them had never seen (due to social or financial barriers) an orchestral performance before. Our students silence during the music and raucous applause after the music was a ringing endorsement of the WSO and the Up Close and Orchestral program.
- Dan Steinhilber, Music Director, Transcona Collegiate.
3. Richardson Foundation supports new Rural Outreach program
The Richardson Foundation has committed to a lead role in supporting a new Rural Outreach program. This program, to be launched in the spring of 2009, will see the WSO take its Adventures in Music and Up Close and Orchestral programs to a rural community each year.
The Richardson Foundation is proud of its history with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and we are confident that our continuing partnership will assist in sustaining the WSO as a world-class orchestra and community outreach innovator,
- Hartley Richardson, President & Chief Executive Officer, James Richardson & Sons, Limited
4. WSO Accepted into Arts Stabilization Manitoba
The WSO has been officially accepted into the Arts Stabilization Manitoba program. This program provides support to arts organizations committed to maintaining effective administrative strategies. The program will contribute $500,000 to the WSO over five years, provided that the Orchestra remains in the black and is engaged in accomplishing its business objectives. The first allocation of $100,000 was presented to the WSO board of directors on Wednesday, December 17.
5. Wawanesa helps to fund new chairs for WSO musicians
Wawanesa Insurance is making an important contribution to the health and optimal playing ability of the WSO musicians by donating funds to replace the orchestra chairs. The new chairs are specifically designed for orchestra musicians and include a number of ergonomic refinements for posture and back support. Audiences will see the new chairs early in the new year.
6. Advance Electronics donates cameras and televisions
Advance Electronics has made a very generous donation of digital cameras, flat-screen televisions, and other electronic equipment to assist with the WSOs promotional and educational programs.
7. 2nd annual WSO Conducting Symposium attracts international participants
The WSOs new Conducting Symposium is a ground breaking program to develop the skills and approaches needed for professional orchestral conductors. The program has attracted over 50 applicants from around the world, and 12 participants have been selected. The program will run January 16 to 19 and will include opportunities to work with conducting and dramatic coaches, meet with orchestral agents, the press, and conduct the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. One of the participants in the Symposium will be considered for the position of WSO assistant conductor, to replace Rei Hotoda who is moving to an assistant conductor position with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
8. Womens Committee makes generous contribution to WSO Endowment Fund, in honour of 60th Anniversary
At a recital on November 23, 2008, the Womens Committee of the WSO presented a cheque for $10,000 in honour of the Orchestras 60th Anniversary last year. These funds are to be contributed to the WSO Endowment Fund which is held in the Winnipeg Foundation. The Womens Committee has been an active supporter of the WSO for generations, and they annually contribute $30,000 toward WSO operations, through sales of merchandise at WSO concerts, and through special events.
9. WSO brass ensemble performs at Canadian Museum for Human Rights groundbreaking ceremony
WSO brass musicians and students from Mulvey and Dufferin schools performed O Canada and a specially-composed piece One People for the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on December 19th. These students, along with the brass ensemble participated in a multi-faceted arts outreach program over the fall months in conjunction with the National Arts Centre.
10. NAC Orchestra Benefit Concert a Great Success
The National Arts Centre Orchestra benefit concert and special event held at the Concert Hall on November 10, 2008, was extremely well received by those in attendance and contributed $30,000 toward Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra operations.
11. WSO looks forward to a first-of-its-kind Indigenous Festival
From April 27 to 30, 2009, the WSO presents a celebration of Indigenous cultures from around the world including Australia, Europe, South America and North America. The 4-day festival includes performances by local aboriginal artist Corey Campbell and internationally acclaimed band Eagle & Hawk and is curated by composer Andrew Balfour.
12. WSO to present World Premiere of Holocaust memorial work I Believe
Last week, Arnold Frieman hosted a launch party to raise awareness for the World Premiere of I Believe by Winnipeg composer Zane Zalis, which the WSO presents on May 21, 2009. Selections of the work have already received standing ovations at sold-out WSO community performances over the past three seasons.

For additional information, photos or to schedule interviews please contact:

Sheena Stemler
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
(204) 949-3970
(204) 290-7484
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is the celebrated hub of Winnipeg's rich cultural life, delighting more than 100,000 audience members each year with innovative programming and musical excellence. The WSO presents educational programs for more than 25,000 students annually and tours outside the city reaching out to communities across Manitoba.


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