LSM Newswire

Monday, January 26, 2009

The VSO raW

Symphony at the Roundhouse: contemporary music

in the cool, intimate surroundings of the

Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown

Vancouver BC The VSO presents the Vancouver Sun Symphony at the Roundhouse, a three-concert series featuring a wide and eclectic range of contemporary orchestral music including works by cutting edge Canadian composers at the Roundhouse Community Centre in downtown Vancouver. An important aspect of the orchestras artistic operations, the Roundhouse series features Music Director Bramwell Tovey, as well as Assistant Conductor Evan Mitchell, and a number of soloists from the orchestra. Each concert is carefully programmed by Composer-in-Residence Scott Good, ensuring an interesting and exciting mix of music that reflects what is current in the orchestra music scene and showcases the extraordinary talents of VSO musicians.

The first concert of the series this season is performed on February 9, at 8pm. The VSO raW features works by James Rolf, Helena Tulve, Ka Nin Chan and VSO Resident Composer Scott Good. Assistant Conductor Evan Mitchell conducts.

In raW (2003), by Toronto composer James Rolfe, J.S. Bachs Second Brandenburg Concerto is heard as if filtered through Bob Marleys War (Bachs first movement), Burning Spears The Invasion (second movement), and John Philip Sousas Stars and Stripes Forever (third movement). These pieces were melded together over the course of many drafts, as if by an artist who alters a photograph by hand creating a new work with fleeting echoes of the originals. It was written just before the American invasion of Iraq, although the connection of the titles of the source pieces was only made in hindsight. raW was commissioned and premiered by Ergo Concerts with the assistance of a grant from The Toronto Arts Council. It received the 2006 Jules Lger Prize for Chamber Music, and has been performed across Canada, as well as in the U.K. and Scotland. (Program Notes 2008 James Rolf)

Helena Tulve has studied composition at the Estonian Academy of Music with Erkki-Sven Tr and has graduated from Jacques Charpentiers composition class at the Conservatoire Superieur de Paris. At present Tulve teaches composition at the Estonian Academy of Music. Her music has been performed in Europe, USA and Canada. travers (1998) was commissioned by The NYYD Ensemble. The piece begins with the flute in a high register and then unhurriedly changes to lower ones. Given the general slowness of the musical course, a few unexpected gestures brief oboe solos, the entering of brass instruments are heard as major events. At the end of the piece the flute returns to its initial material but is now joined by the whole ensemble, implying a renewed context. The musical setting itself will give us a clue to a possible meaning of the title of the piece. (Program Notes 2008 Helena Tulve)

Commissioned by the Ensemble Contemporain de Montral with a grant from Canada Council, Par-i, par-l is a social comment on the diversified cultures of Canada. The French title reflects the composers interest in Quebecs heritage. The words, par-i, par-l [this way, that way] which are quite musical in themselves, are sung by the instrumentalists in this one movement work. On a personal level, this work also reflects the composers search for his own identity. Born in Hong Kong as a British subject of Chinese origin, Ka Nin Chan has spent two-thirds of his life in Canada. The composer laments the fact that when China took over Hong Kong in 1997, his birthplace began to treat him like a foreigner. The music expresses this inner conflict throughout. The spatial location of the musicians in relations to the audience enhances visually and aurally this personal musical statement. (Program Notes 2008 Ka Nin Chan)

The compositional emphasis of Scott Goods Variations for Chamber Orchestra is to explore a variety of timbres, moods, and structures for a chamber orchestra with a single connecting thematic idea. Chamber orchestra is a unique ensemble. It is the synthesis of the intimacy of chamber music with the size and sonic impact of an orchestra, thus, posing an interesting challenge to explore the dichotomy of these contrasting musical concepts. (1) Theme The theme is presented over the opening gesture. As each note is sounded, the orchestration and harmony thickens. Starting with solo flute, the ensemble builds to a dense and loud texture. (2) Fast Fleeting gestures are paired with long melodies in the beginning of this movement. Constantly surging, a groove is finally established, and rushes the work to the ending. (3) Slow The low instruments are featured in this dirge like movement. Relating to instruments and are paired with long melodies above. Jazz like harmonies are eluded to throughout. (4) Spirited This quick little movement is defined by a complex repeating eight measure rhythm. The theme is divided into three distinct sections, yet still maintaining the regularity of the unusual rhythmic pattern. (5) Fugatto The subject of this fugue consists of four distinct melodic riffs. The countersubject contrasts the subject with irregular short note gestures. This movement is an experiment in erratic form, and should feel at times improvised, although it is highly notated. (Program Notes 2008 Scott Good)


The Vancouver Sun Symphony at the Roundhouse Series:

the VSO raW

Monday, February 9, 8pm, Roundhouse Theatre

Evan Mitchell, conductor

James Rolf raW

Scott Good Variations for Chamber Orchestra

Helena Tulve Travers

Ka Nin Chan Par-i, Par-l

Tickets $27 (Student, Senior and Subscriber discounts available)

Tickets available by phone at 604.876.3434 or online at

Generously Supported By:

Series Sponsor: The Vancouver Sun

Financial Support By: Socan Foundation


Evan Mitchell, Assistant Conductor

Conductor Evan Mitchell is proving to be one of Canadas most promising young conductors. Currently the Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony, Evan is slated to play a key role in programming, artistic development and of course performance with the VSO, leading the orchestra through a wide assortment of concerts.

Equally at home with chamber music, opera and full symphonic masterpieces, Evan has enjoyed critical acclaim with recent operatic performances including Brittens Albert Herring, Wards The Crucible, Hindemiths Hin und Zuruck and the world premiere of Glenn James opera To Daniel. Evan also won positions with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada for four consecutive years as both conductor and percussionist and now holds the title of Associate Mentor with the orchestra. Highlights include conducting violin soloist Elizabeth Pitcairn, the concertmaster of the New West Symphony and owner of the Mendelssohn Stradivarius 1720 Red Violin.

Evan is an advocate of contemporary music. Recently the resident conductor of NUMUS New Music Ensemble, he has premiered several new works, toured across Canada conducting a festival of contemporary Chinese music and recorded works for the CMC, collaborating with such Canadian artists as the Pentaedre Wind Quintet, Penderecki String Quartet and Dancetheatre David Earle. Evan has also conducted and performed works during the highly acclaimed Open Ears Festival.

As a percussionist Evan has enjoyed equal success. In demand as a recitalist and concert soloist (recent performances of the Rosauro Marimba concerto and the Mayuzumi Xylophone concerto), Evans percussive performance has been hailed as breathtaking in (his) sensitivity as well as wizardly and awe-inspiring. Evan has toured Canada, the United States and abroad, including a memorable tour as Canadian ambassador during a concert tour with virtuoso composer/percussionist Nebojsa Zivkovic, during which he performed as concert soloist and along with the composer in a sold out performance of Zivkovic's celebrated Trio per Uno at the Stuttgart International Theatre. Evan is a frequent performer with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and has performed with Orchestra London and the Toronto Symphony. Evan has also been a faculty member and guest lecturer with Wilfrid Laurier University, primarily as Music Director of the Flute Ensemble.

Awards include First Prize at the Werlde Musik Kontest in Kerkrade, Netherlands, finalist at the upcoming TD Canada Trust Elora Festival Competition and Winner in Marching category as part of the Kavaliers DCI Drum Corps. Evan is also the winner of the 2006 Pioneer Leading Edge Arts Award.

Evan is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University where he completed an Bachelor of Music degree as a percussion major; he is also a graduate of the University of Toronto, where he studied on a full scholarship sponsored by Elmer Iseler and Victor Feldbrill, earning a Masters degree in conducting. His principal conducting teachers include Raffi Armenian, Doreen Rao, Paul Pulford and Boris Brott. Additionally, he has studied and performed in concert series with Denise Grant, Martin Fischer-Dieskau and most notably, Helmuth Rilling, in the inaugural Toronto Bach festival.

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