LSM Newswire

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thrills and chills in weekend of Halloween Pops concerts - Oct. 30 & 31

Robbins Pops
Trick-or-treat through a ghoulish graveyard of unnerving melodies

Halloween: The Concert
Friday, October 30th – 8:00 pm
Saturday, October 31st – 8:00 pm

Edmonton, AB … Expect the unexpected when your Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO), conductor Bruce Hangen, and a creepy cast haunt the concert hall with a frightening mix of music. In this Halloween weekend of concerts, the orchestra will send all the right chills down your spine, while filling the Francis Winspear Centre for Music with a spooky spirit.

These ghoulish performances with eerie special effects will see a number of musicians from the strings to the brass dressed up in cryptic costumes, performing suspenseful selections from Phantom of the Opera, Psycho, and Pictures at an Exhibition. Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Saint-Saëns’ Danse macabre are also daunting highlights in these concerts of grave consequences.

Wear your most spooktacular Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat down to the Winspear Centre Box Office for tickets. Ticket prices range from $24 – $79 (agency fees apply). Purchase by phone at (780) 428-1414 or 1-800-563-5081, or online at

The next Robbins Pops performances – the most anticipated of the season – take place on December 18th and 19th. Steve Reineke returns to conduct our yearly tidings of carols, light classics, and sing-a-longs in A Very Merry Pops.

Thank you to our generous series’ sponsor, Bill and Mary Jo Robbins, and our season media sponsor CBC.

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, marking its 58th season in 2009-2010, has taken its place as one of Canada's foremost orchestral ensemble. Its current roster includes 56 musicians from Canada and around the world, performing a wide-ranging repertoire from the great classical masterworks to pops and children's concerts. The presence of the orchestra and its enrichment of the community's quality of life are key elements in the stature and profile of Edmonton on the national and international scene.

Winspear Centre Box Office:
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
(780) 428-1414 or 1-800-563-5081

Bruce Hangen is Director of Orchestral Activities at the Boston Conservatory, serving as the Conservatory’s principal orchestral conductor as well as director of both the orchestra and conducting programs. The 2008/2009 season marked his 11th season as the Music Director of the Indian Hill Symphony. Recently, Mr. Hangen completed his tenure as the Principal Pops Guest Conductor of the Boston Pops. This position was created in May 2002 especially for Mr. Hangen, reflecting the strong musical relationship built over two decades of regular guest conducting. Other past positions include Music Director of the Omaha Symphony. From 1998 to 2000, he was Acting Resident Conductor of both the Utah and Kansas City Symphony Orchestras. Mr. Hangen was for ten seasons (1976-86) Music Director and Conductor of the Portland (Maine) Symphony; 1973-79 Associate Conductor of the Denver Symphony; 1975-79 Music Director of the Arapahoe Chamber Orchestra in Denver; six summer seasons (1966-72) Assistant Conductor of the Colorado Philharmonic.

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music with a major in conducting, Hangen was also a conducting fellow at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood for two summers, where his conducting teachers included Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. His recent appearances have included concerts with the Florida Philharmonic and Boston Symphony as well as the orchestras of St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Naples (FL), and Houston. His repeat engagements with the Boston Pops and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestras alone totaled well over 200 performances since 1979. Mr. Hangen is the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of New England, and in Omaha he received the ICAN Foundation’s 1990 Browning Award for Career Excellence and Vision. Bruce Hangen was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and was raised in Great Falls, Montana.

Mr. Hangen last appeared with the ESO in September, 2008.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sunday Showcase series is Taking Flight with utmost musicianship - Oct. 18

Sunday Showcase: Promising young talent and a composer from the ESO’s ranks propel series opener

Taking Flight
Sunday, October 18th – 2:00 pm

October 8th, 2009 - Edmonton, AB … Performing timeless musical works, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) and Music Director William Eddins kick-off the newly formatted Sunday Showcase series by Taking Flight at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music. Bringing a new, unique essence to the series, these matinee concerts can be considered the perfect stepping stone for families with teens and young adults.

In this diverse and lyrical showcase of music, 17-year-old prodigious Canadian violinist and student at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, Maia Cabeza, demonstrates the technically brilliant style of Glazunov’s Violin Concerto. ESO Principal Trombone John McPherson will be featured soloist in his own composition Walk in Beauty, and Bill Eddins and the orchestra bring nature’s music to the concert hall with Respighi’s sparkling suite Gli uccelli (The Birds). Mozart’s “Prague” Symphony, written in gratitude for the people of Bohemia, closes the series opening concert.

Following the performance, join Resident Conductor Lucas Waldin and violinist Maia Cabeza in the main lobby for our Sunday Coffee Shop. Audience members are invited to ask questions about the performance in a casual, relaxed, and fun atmosphere.

In appreciation of educators in our community, the ESO welcomes Kathy Goudreau, new principal of A. Blair McPherson School to the matinee concert. Ms. Goudreau will be available to speak with students, their parents, and all ESO patrons. Join her to learn about the progress on the building and discover her unique vision for the school, which opens in September, 2010. It was previously announced that John McPherson’s father, a strong advocate and volunteer for public education, would be granted a namesake school.

Many of the ESO musicians are also educators, active in the community as private music lesson instructors. An online directory of these musicians and their current instruction offerings is now available on the ESO website.

Ticket prices for Taking Flight range from $20 – $65 (agency fees apply), and are available through the Winspear Centre Box Office. Youth tickets are only $20 (plus fees). Call (780) 428-1414, toll-free 1-800-563-5081, or purchase online at

The next performance of the Sunday Showcase series takes place on January 17th, 2010. ESO Principal Trumpet Robin Doyon and Canadian pianist Daniel Fung create music of medieval magic and folk-art celebration, together with Bill Eddins, in European Inspirations.

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, marking its 58th season in 2009-2010, has taken its place as one of Canada's foremost orchestral ensemble. Its current roster includes 56 musicians from Canada and around the world, performing a wide-ranging repertoire from the great classical masterworks to pops and children's concerts. The presence of the orchestra and its enrichment of the community's quality of life are key elements in the stature and profile of Edmonton on the national and international scene.


Canadian violinist Maia Cabeza started violin studies in Toronto at the age of four. Accepted at 13, she is currently a student at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where Ida Kavafian and Joseph Silverstein are her violin teachers. She had her first soloist performance with orchestra at the age of 10, and more recently, she performed with the Reno Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony at Meadow Brook Music Festival, and with the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra. In 2004, she was loaned an 1892 Gragnani violin by the Stradivari Society of Chicago, and in 2005, she was awarded a fellowship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development towards advancing musical studies. A finalist in the 2009 Albert M. Greenfield Philadelphia Orchestra Competition and a semi-finalist in the 2008 Yehudi Menuhin International violin competition, Ms. Cabeza has won prizes in numerous competitions.

Now 17, Maia Cabeza has performed as a soloist with several orchestras, including the Orquesta Academica del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Chapel Hill Philharmonia, the Duke String School Chamber Orchestra, the Danville Symphony, and the Triangle Youth Philharmonic. She was the concertmaster of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic for the 2005-2006 season, and has worked under conductors such as Simon Rattle, Christoph Eschenbach, and Charles Dutoit as a member of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Past violin teachers include Patinka Kopec (Manhattan School of Music), Richard Luby (UNC), and Robert Lipsett. Maia has attended several prestigious summer festivals including the Verbier Festival Academy in Switzerland, Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, Encore School for Strings, and the Aspen Music Festival and School.

This is Ms. Cabeza’s debut with the ESO.

Since 1980, John McPherson has been Principal Trombone of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. A native Edmontonian, John has been both a trombone and euphonium soloist with the ESO. In addition, the orchestra has performed many of his compositions. Previous orchestral experience includes the Toronto Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, and the Canadian Opera Orchestra.

An active musician in many areas, John has played with the Tommy Banks Band, the New Orleans Connection, the Canadian Hot Stars Dixieland Band, the Alberta Jazz Repertory Orchestra, the Bad for Business Big Band and many others. As a chamber musician, John has performed and recorded as a member of the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, the Malcolm Forsyth Trombone Ensemble, the Albertasauras Tuba Quartet, the Old Strathcona Town Band, and the Plumbers Union. He is a founding member of E-SWAT, a tactical musical strike team of the ESO which launches surgical attacks of music where it’s least expected.

As an educator John has been part of the ESO’s Adopt a Player program, taught at numerous music camps, and since 1985 has been Visiting Assistant Professor of Trombone and Euphonium at the University of Alberta.

Composition has become an increasingly important part of John’s career. He has received commissions from Grande Prairie Regional College, the Wild Rose String Quartet, and the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts. His works have been performed by such groups as the Edmonton Symphony, the Hammerhead Consort, Take 3, the NOWage Orchestra, the Beau String Quartet of Calgary, Basstiality of Toronto, and the Festival City Pops Orchestra. Many of these performances have been recorded and broadcast on programs such as Arts National, Two New Hours, and Alberta In Concert.

Under Music Director William Eddins’ charismatic and energetic direction, the Edmonton Symphony has attained a level of musicianship and profile in the community it has rarely achieved. He has conducted performances in nearly every subscription series the ESO has presented, as well as a wide variety of special concerts and galas.

Bill’s musical life began at age five when his parents bought a Wurlitzer Grand piano at a garage sale. He attended the Eastman School of Music, graduating at age eighteen, making him the youngest graduate in the history of the institution. He also studied conducting with Daniel Lewis at the University of Southern California. Previous positions include a five-year tenure as Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland) and as Resident Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Bill Eddins continues to pursue many varied interests, both personally and professionally. While conducting has been his principal pursuit, he continues to perform on piano in Edmonton and elsewhere. He recently built a state of the art recording studio and has begun work on a series of chamber music recordings. He blogs regularly on and has done a series of podcasts called Classical Connections available at

Committed to his leadership of the ESO, Mr. Eddins accepts a limited number of guest appearances elsewhere. He led a highly-acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess for Opéra de Lyon in June 2008, which he will reprise during the summer of 2010, and most recently toured South Africa in August 2009 with the stunning soprano Renée Fleming and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. His latest recording, of American music for Cello and Piano, has been released on the Naxos label.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Bill currently resides in Minneapolis with his wife Jen, a clarinetist, and their two boys, Raef and Riley.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Geordie goes West with The Jungle Book tour!

Geordie Productions logo
"A endearing story featuring the right mix of humour and suspense." - Kathryn Greenaway, Montreal Gazette

October 7, 2009 (MONTREAL) - Geordie Productions heads out this Friday to tour its 2008 smash hit, The Jungle Book to Western Canada with 39 performances scheduled in Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Rudyard Kipling's classic collection of short stories, adapted by Tracey Power and directed by Dean Patrick Fleming, premiered on Geordie's Montreal Mainstage in May 2008. Hailed a success by audiences and critics alike, the production was recognized with 3 MECCA nominations, and was the winner in the category for Best Costume Design. With a series of sold-out shows at the D.B. Clarke Theatre, it played to over 5,500 children, teachers and grown-ups from the Greater Montreal area. Now, with tour dates in Edmonton's The Citadel Theatre (October 17 - November 1) and Winnipeg's Manitoba Theatre for Young Audiences (November 6 - 15), it will have the opportunity to reach nearly 20,000 new audience members.

Although Geordie has a strong history of presenting traveling plays to communities across Quebec and Eastern Canada - for over 28 years the Geordie School Tour travels over 27,000km annually, and has performed in the Far North and the U.S. - this will be the first time the company will tour a Mainstage production that has been designed specifically for a fully-equipped major venue.

"Being able to tour a production of this scale, both in technical set-up and stage requirements, is a tremendous opportunity. We are honored that our colleagues from across Canada have invited us to perform on their stages so that this show can be shared with many more Canadians outside our Montreal community." - Dean Patrick Fleming

Design team include: Lighting Design by Ana Cappelluto; MECCA-nominated Sound by percussionist Kristie Ibrahim; MECCA-nominated Set Design by Amy Keith; MECCA award-winning Costume & Mask Design by Susana Vera. Stage management is provided by Melanie St-Jacques.

The touring cast features many of the same accomplished actors from the original production: Glenda Braganza, Chip Chuipka, Paula Jean Hixson, and Oliver Koomsatira, who received the Elsa Bolam Award for Best Emerging Artist in his portrayal of Mowgli; with new cast members Alain Goulem and Mike Payette.

[photo: The Jungle Book]

THE JUNGLE BOOK | Adapted by Tracey Power | Directed by Dean Patrick Fleming
Raised by a pack of wolves and other creatures of the wild, Mowgli is still growing and learning his true nature. When Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger, threatens the way of the jungle, Mowgli must find the courage that sets him apart from his friends and family.

The Citadel Theatre, Edmonton
Box Office: (780) 425-1820
October 17 - November 1, 2009

MTYP, Winnipeg
Box Office: (204) 942-8898
November 6 - 15, 2009

Geordie Productions gratefully acknowledges The Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, for their financial support of this tour.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baroque repertoire showcased with Canadian piano sensation - Oct. 14

Midweek Classics
Graceful, elegant style of guest pianist merges with sophistication of Baroque repertoire

Wednesday, October 14th – 7:30 pm

Edmonton, AB … The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) welcomes accomplished and innovative Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear back to the Francis Winspear Centre for Music to open the ESO’s Midweek Classics series. Music Director William Eddins and Resident Conductor Lucas Waldin will lead the orchestra and gifted pianist through a program of shimmering concertos, a magical operatic overture, and a symphony of utmost sophistication.

Bill Eddins opens the evening by taking a seat at the harpsichord, conversing with the orchestra as both a soloist and conductor in the highly exuberant Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major by Bach. A showcase of virtuosity on the keys will close the evening as well, with Mr. Goodyear bringing his unique cadenza improvisation ability to his performance of Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A minor. Lucas Waldin brings the uncanny finesse of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte overture to life, while Mr. Eddins unleashes the extraordinary spirit that the same composer infused into the “Prague” Symphony, a piece composed in honour of a city that so readily welcomed his music.

In appreciation of educators in our community, the ESO is pleased to welcome hundreds of teachers from school boards in Edmonton and surrounding areas to this concert event. Many of the ESO musicians are also educators, active in the community as private music lesson instructors. An online directory of these musicians and their current instruction offerings is now available on the ESO website.

The Edmonton Symphony’s educator recognition week continues through Sunday, October 18th, when Kathy Goudreau, new principal of A. Blair McPherson School, joins us in Taking Flight, the kick-off to the ESO’s newly formatted Sunday Showcase series. Our Sunday matinees are a perfect stepping stone for families with teens and tweens, and feature young, promising musicians playing with your ESO. Last season, it was announced that the father of ESO Principal Trombone John McPherson, would be granted a namesake school.

Ticket prices for Inspirations range from $20 – $65 (agency fees apply), and are available through the Winspear Centre Box Office. Call (780) 428-1414, toll-free 1-800-563-5081, or purchase online at

The next performance of the Midweek Classics series takes place on January 27th, 2010. Guest conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni is joined by Canadian soprano Simone Osborne in an inspiring program that includes Bach’s beloved “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” and Schubert’s celebrated “Unfinished” Symphony.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Rich Mozart masterpieces in series opening showcase - Oct. 8

Robbins Lighter Classics
Showcase of treasured works by a cherished composer

Our Favourite Mozart
Thursday, October 8th – 8:00 pm

Edmonton, AB … In the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s (ESO) Robbins Lighter Classics series opener, conductor Bob Bernhardt and Edmonton’s finest musicians perform their Mozart favourites from the rich treasure trove of music by the genius from Salzburg. ESO Resident Conductor Lucas Waldin, Principal Clarinet Julianne Scott, Principal Harp Nora Bumanis, Principal Flute Elizabeth Koch, guest soprano Jolaine Kerley, guest pianist Michael Massey, and guest organist Jeremy Spurgeon are all featured artists with the orchestra at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music.

The celebratory program, all encompassing the most famous child prodigy in the history of western music, will include movements and selections from one of the most instantly recognizable works in all of music, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and one of Mozart’s finest operas, The Marriage of Figaro. Julianne Scott solos in the last movement of the composer’s final concerto, Clarinet Concerto in A major, Nora Bumanis and Elizabeth Koch duet in the breezy Concerto for Flute and Hap in C major, Jolaine Kerley sings the brilliant “Alleluia” from Exsultate, jubilate, Michael Massey plays a movement from the fascinating Piano Concerto in G major, and Jeremy Spurgeon performs the Epistle Sonata in C major on the striking Davis Concert Organ.

Ticket prices range from $20 – $69 (agency fees apply), and are available through the Winspear Centre Box Office. Call (780) 428-1414, toll-free 1-800-563-5081, or purchase online at

The next performance of the Robbins Lighter Classics series takes place on November 19th, when Bill Eddins leads a concert of Celtic traditions. The Knock School of Irish Dance joins the ESO in Celtic Kaleidoscope.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Mercury Opera presents Il Tabarro on the Edmonton Queen Riverboat

Mercury Opera presents


Rollin' on the river with the small but hot opera company

All aboard the Edmonton Queen Riverboat as Mercury Opera presents Puccini's one act opera Il Tabarro. This shocking story of a passionate and tragic love-triangle sets sail on the August 13th and 15th at 7.30pm. Admission, which is $75, includes a riverboat cruise, hors d'hoeuvres, as well as a cash bar, followed by Mercury Opera's intimate and stunning performance of Il Tabarro. Tickets for are on sale now at TIX On The Square, call 780-420-1757 or visit

Il Tabarro (The Cloak), the first in Puccini's Il Trittico, a triptych of one-act operas, is the brooding tale of a barge owner, Michele, and his younger wife, Giorgetta. Traditionally set in 1910 Paris, Mercury Opera's production takes its audience to the banks of sultry New Orleans, where Giorgetta and Luigi, a stevedore, reveal their secret mutual love. As Michele reflects on his marriage's happier days and attempts to uncover his wife's seducer, Luigi plots to kill Michele and flee with Giorgetta.

Mercury Opera's production of Il Tabarro features Georgian baritone Zurab Ninua in his debut as Michele, Edmonton-native and soprano Darcia Parada as Giorgetta, and American tenor Christian Šebek as Luigi, as well as Boris Derow, Roland Burks and Lilia Krieger as Tinca, Talpa and Frugola, respectively. The cast includes Mark Gowda, Dan Rowley, Michael Otto, Adam Arnold, Paul Chachia, Russ Bergen, Matt Kinsman, Jonathan Vanderzyde, Connor Meeker, Claire Meeker, Joseph Chambrinho, Jessy Mossop, Michelle Diederichs, Regina Landek, Amanda Clark, Sanja Szakanji, and Nansee Hughes.

A professional company recently relocated to Edmonton from New York, Mercury Opera is tiny but hot, like the planet nearest the sun. With a mission to mount and stage imaginative opera performances in a non-traditional arena, the company presents innovative multimedia productions in intimate settings, making the audience feel it's a part of the action. Proving opera doesn't have to be big to be grand, Pagliacci, Mercury Opera's Edmonton premiere, enjoyed rave reviews last summer, capturing the imaginations of critics and audiences alike during its runs inside a tent in Giovanni Caboto Park and the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

For more information about Mercury Opera or its production of Il Tabarro, please visit

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Naked Body Stands in for Humanity

Her Naked Body Stands In For Vulnerable Humanity

4th Annual Human Body Project
At the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival
August 13-23, 2009

Click link below to watch the Human Body Project video (2 min.)

Barack Obama observes that the global empathy deficit is far more serious than the financial one. As a mother, it feels intensely urgent to me that we humans address this issue. This project, me volunteering as a "sample human," is my way to do whatever I can do to move humanity forward.

I am an artist. For ten years I lived on the edge trying to make it as a painter. I am also a longtime yoga practitioner, a college instructor, and a former journalist. My events reflect who I am, my wisdom, and my depth. Rather than a separate public persona, I show up as a real, struggling human. The events are in the moment, workshop-like, contemplative. One participant said it was like a new religion, sacred.

I use my 47-year-old naked body (no plastic surgeries, two babies, flabby, not what you'd call titillating) to create a felt, visceral experience of shared vulnerability. I also write about my life, as authentically as I am able to, on my blog.

It's hard! I am not comfortable without my defenses. Who I am is a heartful person. Or, at least, this is what I want to own as a human being and what I want all of us to own as human beings. This is the most vulnerable thing to be. I have learned that being naked is way easier than being openhearted.

Sacredness, authenticity, heartfulness, these attitudes or qualities are mostly missing from how we live. For instance, I often feel painfully disconnected when I participate in or am complicit in the many superficialities and detachments from heartfulness that life presents. But how do we create or deal with or engage with heartfulness? I certainly haven't been taught how. In fact, I learned quite the opposite: not to deal with these qualities, not to "go there."

It is a profoundly difficult dilemma that must be understood in a visceral sense, beyond intellect and cognition. Our separation from sacredness has led to everything from individual health problems (such as my own, which I sometimes write about) to global issues like climate change and poverty. It's mine, but it's yours too.

When I conceived this project in 2006 I decided to commit to do at least one annual public event until I die, partly as a chronicle of my sample human body and the changes that take place in it over the years. I also hope to continue to provoke a serious consideration of vulnerability, our own, as humans in a body, and, by extension, the troubled planet's.

Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." By choosing to use my own body and life experience, I have chosen to "be" and represent that which we all share: physicality, mortality, fragility, and vulnerability. It may be mine you're looking at, but it's yours too.

Location at the Edmonton Fringe
Venue #3
Acacia Hall
10433-83 Ave.

Dates and Times at the Edmonton Fringe
August 14 10:45pm-12:15am
August 16 2:15pm-3:45pm
August 17 6:00pm-7:30pm
August 19 12:30pm-2:00pm
August 20 4:00pm-5:30pm
August 22 8:15pm-9:45pm

$12 regular
$10 for students and seniors
(18 and over)

About the Artist
Tasha Diamant has paintings in hundreds of corporate and private collections. She has been a journalist for national newsmagazines including Maclean's and Australia's Who Weekly. She has also been a yoga instructor and experiential workshop facilitator at the largest holistic health facilities in the US, Kripalu Center and the Omega Institute. She now teaches public speaking at Lethbridge College. Tasha lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, with her husband and two daughters.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sobeys Symphony Under the Sky brings summer sounds to Hawrelak Park

Your Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concludes summer with the 15th annual

Sobeys Symphony Under the Sky

Friday, September 4th - Monday, September 7th

Heritage Amphitheatre, Hawrelak Park

Edmonton, ABConcluding the summer festival season in Edmonton is Sobeys Symphony Under the Sky. Taking place Labour Day weekend, September 4th – 7th, 2009, this annual festival is sure to delight concert-goers of all ages, by bringing the invigorating sounds of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) to the beautiful river valley setting of Hawrelak Park.

Charismatic Conductor Bob Bernhardt returns to lead the ESO in five outdoor concerts that will celebrate the 15th annual outdoor festival of orchestral music. Over the course of four days, audiences can sample the varied music programming presented by the ESO all through the concert season. From classical masterpieces, operatic classics, Hollywood movie favourites, and a tribute to Sinatra, there is something for every musical taste and style!

“It is with delight and great pleasure that I’m back for my fourth season of Sobeys Symphony Under the Sky” says Maestro Bernhardt. “As always, we strive to provide a wide variety of excellent and entertaining programs for the entire family that has become the hallmark of this festival. We hope that you find much to enjoy!”

This year, the ESO is also extremely pleased to have Bullfrog Power as a partner to lower the electricity-related emissions footprint of the festival with Alberta-made wind power. Bullfrog Power is a leading Canadian provider of 100 per cent green electricity, and the only all-green electricity provider in Alberta. Providing green power for this event will not require any special equipment or wiring. Bullfrog Power will simply inject clean, emissions-free EcoLogoM-certified electricity to the Alberta electricity grid to match the amount of power used by the event, just as it does for thousands of homes and hundreds of organizations in Alberta and Ontario.

“By choosing to use Bullfrog Power, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is setting an important example about how easy it is for organizations and companies to lower their electricity-related emissions footprint,” says Theresa Howland, Vice President, Western Region, Bullfrog Power.

On Friday, September 4th, the festival opens with ESO Music Director Bill Eddins stepping into the role of guest piano soloist, taking on Gershwin’s vivacious, jazz-influenced Concerto in F. Bob Bernhardt will conduct two other treasured works of classical music, Mussorgsky’s rousing A Night on Bare Mountain and Mendelssohn’s shimmering “Italian” Symphony, in this 7:00pm concert of Sparkling Classics.

Saturday, September 5th welcomes Canadian soprano Kathleen Brett for an afternoon performance of operatic delights, and an evening performance of glorious music from Oscar-winning movies. The 2:00pm matinee concert Operamania!, will bring some of the greatest orchestral as well as vocal works from opera to the Amphitheatre stage, with a showcase of music by Mozart, Rossini, Léhar, and Strauss.

Following the matinee, stick around for the 4th annual Family BBQ, as ESO musicians cook up burgers from Sobeys on party-sized BBQs provided by Big Top Rentals. All proceeds to support Kids Kottage – a charity that assists families in crisis situations.

The day concludes with Hollywood Adventures and Romances – our annual “movie night” which has rapidly become one of the festival’s favourite concert programs. Enjoy a summer night of familiar music and themes from The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, The Lord of the Rings, and so much more! This evening performance begins at 7:00pm.

The festival continues on Sunday, September 6th, at 2:00pm, with a move-along, sing-along event for the entire family, The Hi-Lo Big Top Circus. In a colourful and lively circus setting, parents and children will learn musical concepts through storytelling and audience participation. This hour-long concert which will highlight music of the great composers of classical music, including Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn, does not include musicians of the ESO.

Fun for the whole family continues immediately following the concert with the Teddy Bear Picnic! Enjoy games, face painters, and inflatable activities, plus meet ESO musicians and make some music at the ESO’s original instrument petting zoo! Instruments are provided in part by the Edmonton Public School String Enrichment Program. Festival favourite Fat Franks will also be onsite selling delicious hot dogs, with all proceeds to support the ESO’s education programs.

Sunday concludes with a tribute concert to Old Blue Eyes himself. Steve Lippia brings his uncanny Sinatra style to the Heritage Amphitheatre for a night of vocal magic in Simply Sinatra with Steve Lippia, at 7:00pm. Bob Bernhardt conducts your ESO through songs that include New York, New York, My Way, That’s Life, You Make Me Feel So Young, Cheek to Cheek, and many more.

Finally, on Monday, September 7th, at 2:00pm, your ESO wraps up its annual summer festival in a tradition of grand proportions. Hometown favourite trumpeter Jens Lindemann brings extraordinary musicianship and a disarming stage presence to the festival’s final afternoon, presenting a dynamic mix of virtuosity and lyricism. Following dramatic pieces by Gershwin, Haydn, and Bizet, the guns of the Royal Canadian Artillery, as ever, will supply the awe-inspiring cannonades to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture in the weekend’s grand finale.

This year, do your part and join your Edmonton Symphony in going Green! Thinking of driving to the park? Avoid the long waits in your car and limited parking space at the park – simply leave your vehicle at the U of A Stadium lot (pay-parking lot located northwest of the Butterdome – 116 St and 88 Ave) and ride Hybrid ETS buses for free directly to Hawrelak Park. Or better yet, ride your bike! Free, supervised bike racks will be available on site, courtesy of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society. Bringing a picnic lunch for the family? Summertime snacks have never tasted better than when they come packed in reusable containers!

This year’s festival will once again play host to our digital concert attendees - bloggers and tweeters. Blogging Under the Sky is open to anyone with a personal blog/Twitter account, who is interested in blogging/tweeting live from Sobeys Symphony Under the Sky. Those interested should email their blog address to Festival tickets will be given to participating bloggers and tweeters.

For a full concert listing of Sobeys Symphony Under the Sky, please visit All events will be held at Hawrelak Park.

In case of inclement weather, listen to Shine 105.9 FM. Any venue changes will be announced on air, posted on and, and noted at (780) 428-1414 and 1-800-563-5081.

In addition to the generous support of Sobeys, festival supporters include Bullfrog Power, TELUS, the City of Edmonton through the Edmonton Arts Council, The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton, The Edmonton Journal, AM 930 The Light, and 105.9 Shine FM.

The Monday, September 7th performance is generously sponsored by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada.

Ongoing support to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is provided by The Canada Council for the Arts, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and The Edmonton Arts Council.

Box Office and Tickets

The Box Office at Hawrelak Park opens two hours prior to the first performance of each day of the festival. The amphitheatre gates open one hour prior to each performance. The amphitheatre is closed between matinee and evening performances.

Weekend passes range from $82 to $120, and single tickets prices range from $18 to $27. All child grass seating is FREE* and child reserved tickets are $13. Agency fees apply. The 2 for 1 New Subscriber Promotion applies to weekend passes.

Non-refundable/non-exchangeable tickets are available now through the Winspear Centre Box Office: in person at #4 Winston Churchill Square, by phone: (780) 428-1414 or 1-800-563-5081, or on-line at Please note that the Hawrelak Park Amphitheatre Box Office is CASH ONLY. An ATM machine will be available on site.

*Ticket still required for child grass seating.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009


Experience the inimitable glory of operatic self-delusion that is Florence Foster Jenkins while supporting the inimitable glory that is Edmonton Opera with Shadow Theatre's June 4th production of Glorious! The evening begins with complimentary refreshments at 7pm, followed by a 7:30pm performance, both at the Varscona Theatre (10329 83 Avenue). Tickets, available by calling 780-424-4040 ext. 231, are $60*, and proceeds from the ticket sales benefit Edmonton Opera directly.

Peter Quilter's Glorious! tells the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the 1940's eccentric and enthusiastic soprano whose voice left much to be desired. Possessing a voice of extraordinary volume but minimal beauty, she is determined to share her gifts with the rest of the world… Whether it wants them or not. This hilarious and heart-warming comedy takes audiences though the sonic glory of her charity recitals, extravagant balls, bizarre recording sessions and ultimate triumph at Carnegie Hall, and sets out to prove real talent may only be a secondary concern in becoming a world famous performing artist.

Florence was a New York legend: a lady who believed she was blessed with a divine voice and that it was her duty and pleasure to delight her friends and later, the public, with her arias. Sadly, her voice, though powerful, rarely stayed on pitch or hit the correct note, making her renditions discordantly appalling - yet strangely appealing.

Glorious! premiered in September 2005 in England, was at least the third play about Florence. In November 2005, it transferred to London's West End, where it ran for more than 200 performances, and was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award as Best New Comedy. More than 20 countries worldwide have produced the hit show in 13 languages. Shadow Theatre's production is directed by Wayne Paquette, stars Leona Brausen, Coralie Cairns and Darrin Hagen, featuring set and lights by April Viczko, costumes by Brian Bast, production management by Scott Peters and stage management by Elizabeth Allison.

"As a comic tribute to bullet-proof joie de vivre and boilerplate self-confidence, it's hard to fault... Glorious! is pitch perfect." --Sun Herald

"A huge hilarious surprise...delightful and heart-warming... Glorious! is aptly named."

Warning: Glorious! contains bad singing.

For information about the benefit performance of Glorious! or the 2009-2010 Edmonton Opera season, call 780-424-4040 ext. 231 or visit

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009 Shean Strings Competition Results

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Edmonton, AB – On Friday, May 15, 2009 – after two days of amazing competition – Ewald Cheung, violin (19 years old), from Edmonton, AB, was awarded the $8,000 top prize in The Shean Strings Competition. He has also won the opportunity to play with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at a future date. Ewald was one of 6 finalists chosen from a field of 24 entries from across Canada to compete in the 2009 Shean Strings Competition on May 14 and 15.

The complete results of the Competition were as follows:

  • First Place and $8,000 – Ewald Cheung, violin
  • Second Place and $5,000 – Alissa Cheung, violin
  • Third Place and $4,000 – Aaron Schwebel, violin
  • Fourth Place and $3,000 – Emily Westell, violin
  • Fifth Place and $2,000 – Meghan Nenniger, violin
  • Sixth Place and $1,000 – Wook (Luke) Young Kim, violoncello

Ewald Cheung also won $1,000 for the Best Performance of the Test PieceScherzo-Tarantelle, Op. 16 in g minor by Henryk Wieniawski.

The adjudicators for this year’s competition were David Hoyt, Chair; David Colwell, violin; Jack Mendelsohn, violoncello and Brian Finley, piano.

The 2010 Shean Piano Competition takes place in Edmonton on May 20 and 21, 2010 in Edmonton with an $8,000 top prize and $1,000 prize for best performance of the test piece.

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Media Contact: Alternate Contact:

Kent Sutherland Paul J. Bourret

Sutherland Productions Chair, The Shean Trust

P: 780.982.9916 P: 780.436.3412


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Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra announces 2009/2010 season

Listen… Your ESO is Playing!

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra 2009-2010 Season

Edmonton, AB The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) and Music Director William Eddins today announced exciting details of the upcoming 2009-2010 season. Audiences are invited to experience the inspiration and indulge in the celebration of the new season which will feature rousing concerts, acclaimed conductors, and renowned guest artists. Leading the ESO into their 58th season, and his fifth as Music Director, Bill Eddins will conduct concerts in every series including the Classic Landmarks Masters, Sunday Showcase, Robbins Lighter Classics, Midweek Classics, Robbins Pops, Symphony for Kids, and ESO Specials.

"In this uncertain time that we find ourselves living, it is comforting to know that some things do not change - great soloists, a great hall, and the fabulous Edmonton Symphony Orchestra back for another year of music to delight and surprise you with. Come join us as we hold the torch of civilization high and remind our community that these are still wonderful times to enjoy classic music, and that there are even better times ahead." ~ Bill Eddins

Internationally renowned artists Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Dawn Upshaw, Manuel Barrueco, Karen Gomyo, and Marc-André Hamelin are just a few of the very special guests who will grace the Winspear stage with the ESO throughout the 2009-2010 season.

While Mr. Eddins will conduct over 30 programs this upcoming season, the ESO will also be led by returning guest conductors and audience favourites Robert Bernhardt, Jacques Lacombe, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Giancarlo Guerrero, Bruce Hangen, Jack Everly, Erich Kunzel, and Steven Reineke. Making their conducting debuts with the ESO this season are Eri Klas and Alondra de la Parra.

Beginning his first season with the ESO will be new Resident Conductor, Lucas Waldin. He will begin his tenure with the ESO at the start of the 2009-2010 season, under the mentorship of Music Director Bill Eddins. This is a two-year appointment, funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Musicians of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra will take centre stage in a variety of series this coming season. Charles Pilon (Assistant Principal Viola) and Colin Ryan (Principal Cello) will be featured in the Classic Landmarks Masters series. Lidia Khaner (Principal Oboe) and Robin Doyon (Principal Trumpet) perform in both the Classic Landmarks Masters and Midweek Classics series. John McPherson (Principal Trombone) and Robin Doyon are both featured in the Sunday Showcase series, Nora Bumanis (Principal Harp) makes an appearance in both Sunday Showcase and Robbins Lighter Classics, and Elizabeth Koch (Principal Flute) appears in the Robbins Lighter Classic series.

The 2009-2010 season begins on September 14th, 2009, as the ESO welcomes one of the great voices of the century, internationally acclaimed baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, for a special Gala performance with conductor Bill Eddins. In this spectacular orchestral event, ESO patrons have a rare opportunity to hear the expansive, refined, and powerful voice of this world-renowned Russian opera singer. This will be Mr. Hvorostovsky’s debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Many ESO Specials highlight next season’s calendar. The orchestra and conductor Bob Bernhardt proudly present the Canadian debut of Sonnenschein Express in Oktoberfest!, a family friendly event showcasing the lively tradition of Bavarian alpine music. Beloved Canadian tenor John McDermott will offer a heartfelt salute to those who have bravely served their country in Lest We Forget, while jubilant Christian artist Sandi Patty sings timeless hymns and inspirational classics about the struggles, joys, and moments of peace in our life’s journey. And finally, it will be a potent panoply of piano pleasures in a tuneful evening of solos, duets, and excerpts from concerti. Piano Spectacular will present an unforgettable evening of enjoyment with pianists Angela Cheng, Jon Kimura Parker, Michael Massey, and Bill Eddins.

The ESO’s flagship series, the Classic Landmarks Masters, features a diverse blend of great classics and captivating discoveries. From time-honoured masterpieces including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto, and Bartók’s Violin Rhapsody, plus music by Brahms, Mahler, Mozart, Respighi, and Schubert, this series continues to serve as the core of the 2009-2010 season. Among a number of Edmonton Symphony Orchestra premieres is a titan of the opera repertoire, Wagner’s glorious Die Meistersinger, arranged as a lush 50-minute orchestral tone poem and given its first Canadian performance.

Some of the most lauded musicians in the world today appear with the ESO in The Classic Landmarks Masters series lineup next season. Jacques Lacombe, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Giancarlo Guererro, Eri Klas, and of course Bill Eddins, all take to the podium to the lead the orchestra, while George Gao (erhu), cellist Julie Albers, violinists Karen Gomyo and Lara St. John, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, pianists Marc-André Hamelin and Katherine Chi, sopranos Dawn Upshaw, Laura Whalen and Lyne Fortin, and the Richard Eaton Singers all make guest appearances.

Audiences are invited to try something different next season. Late Night with Bill Eddins is all about being able to enjoy great music in a relaxed atmosphere. Taking place on two (2) Friday evenings at 9:30 pm, audiences can hear music of the masters in these spontaneous, intermission-free concerts. Following an evening celebrating Beethoven, and a springtime journey featuring the music of France, guests are also welcome to relax after the concert with some live music and cocktails in the lobby.

The ESO Presents is another new addition to the season lineup that will certainly appeal to all audiences. Working with some of today’s brightest young musicians, the ESO will bring future stars on their way to the top right to the Winspear stage. These two (2) special concerts will feature debut artists in performance with the ESO in the first half, then in solo recitals in the second half. Dazzling pianist Gabriela Montero, who recently performed with former ESO Gala artist Yo-Yo Ma at the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama, will first perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2, then proceed to connect to her audience in a completely unique and powerful way through improvisational performance. Cameron Carpenter will make his brilliant Canadian debut in a performance you’ll have to see to believe, with breathtaking performances on the Davis Concert Organ.

Meet a soloist from the ESO and a young, imminent musician in our Sunday Showcase performances which blend timeless masterpieces and new discoveries. Sparkling suites, medieval magic, tango tradition, and an enchanting fusion of ballet and salon music, are all highlights of this series’ rich music programming. Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra, renowned for her orchestral leadership and founding of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, will be joined by marimbist Pius Cheung. Young Canadian violinist Maia Cabeza and pianist Daniel Fung join conductor Bill Eddins.

The Midweek Classics series returns for its fourth season, as a sanctuary of beloved music from the heart of the baroque and classical repertoire. Providing audiences a refuge in the midst of their busy weeks, these four vibrant concerts interspersed throughout the season will feature soloists from the ESO, plus special guests including pianist Stewart Goodyear, soprano Simone Osborne and Edmonton organist Jeremy Spurgeon, performing a dramatic baroque concerto on the Davis Concert Organ. Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Lucas Waldin, and Bill Eddins all conduct colourful, inspiring, and groundbreaking showpieces, including Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in the Midweek Classics.

Accessibility continues to be the premise of the Robbins Lighter Classics series, as some of music’s “greatest hits” are presented live on stage by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. These six Thursday evening themed concerts are hosted by engaging conductors including Bob Bernhardt, Bill Eddins, and Steven Reineke. Whether delving into the breadth of Celtic music, the treasure trove of Mozart, tapping into a rich vein of holiday sentiment, or celebrating athletic excellence through musical exuberance, this series will be an unforgettable musical journey for concertgoers. The ESO will be joined by soprano Jolaine Kerley, pianist Michael Massey, organist Jeremy Spurgeon, baritone Nathan Berg, pianist Sarah Ho, the Richard Eaton Singers, and the Knock School of Irish Dance.

The ESO is once again offering a remarkable lineup of Robbins Pops concerts. Pops master Jack Everly and an all-star cast of singers and dancers will kick-off this spectacular series with Disco Days and Boogie Nights, a tribute to the 70s featuring disco anthems, monster rock hits and classic ballads. Returning for a ghoulish evening of spine-tingling music is Bruce Hangen conducting Halloween: The Concert, while the Òran and Kokopelli Choirs join American pops legend Erich Kunzel to lead audiences down The Great White Way with Broadway’s most recent hits. The excitement continues as violinist Roby Lakatos takes the passionate, hot-blooded tradition of gypsy music and creates musical fireworks as the “devil’s fiddler” in an Eastern European feast for the senses. Rounding out this dazzling series will be the return of Edmonton-favourite Jack Everly with the Richard Eaton Singers performing a choral of classical and operatic treats, and Bill Eddins spending A Night at the Oscars, celebrating timeless cinematic music as film scenes are projected on a screen above the Winspear stage.

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra prides itself on offering innovative programs for young audiences. The ESO’s family series Symphony for Kids will offer four eclectic and interactive orchestral matinees, best enjoyed by children aged 5 – 12. Families are first invited to haunt the hall in their Halloween costumes for Spooktacular with conductor Bruce Hangen, then bring the wee lads and lasses back to embark on A Celtic Adventure with Bill Eddins. Families will need to help the orchestra restore the musical silence that has plagued the hometown of a little girl who loves to sing, in Dandi Productions’ The Mysterious Maestro, adapted from the 2003 Governor General’s Award-nominated book The Maestro. Conductor Lucas Waldin and the ESO bring Mozart to life through his stories and most famous classical works, with a guest appearance by the genius himself!

However you celebrate the holiday season, the ESO presents the perfect blend of festive music to add that extra sparkle to one of the most magical times of the year. Our perennially popular performances of Handel’s Messiah will feature four young Canadian singers and two of Edmonton’s finest chamber choirs, University of Alberta Madrigal Singers and i Coristi Chamber Choir. In one of the most anticipated performances of the season, lustrous baritone Tyler Hamilton, along with the Greenwood Singers will create A Very Merry Pops with conductor Steven Reineke. Mr. Reineke and the ESO will also tap into a rich vein of holiday sentiment and memory with A Lightly Classical Christmas, and they will be joined by conductor Lucas Waldin and special guests in A Family Christmas Concert. The incredibly powerful and diverse voices of the Canadian Tenors will return to the Winspear Stage for an evening of holiday favourites.

Concluding the summer festival season in Edmonton is Sobeys Symphony Under the Sky. Taking place Labour Day weekend, September 4th – 7th, 2009, this annual festival is sure to delight concert-goers of all ages, by bringing the invigorating sounds of the ESO to the beautiful river valley setting of Hawrelak Park. Conductor Bob Bernhardt returns to lead the ESO in five outdoor concerts, showcasing classical masterpieces, operatic classics, and Hollywood favourites. Not to mention a tribute show to Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, featuring the the guns and members of the Royal Canadian Artillery, will wrap up the festival in this tradition of grand proportions. Soprano Kathleen Brett, vocalist Steve Lippia, hometown favourite trumpeter Jens Lindemann, and Bill Eddins on piano are all part of the stellar lineup celebrating our festival’s 15th anniversary.

Purchasers of ESO subscription packages can save up to 36% percent off single ticket prices, depending on the series and the seating. Subscribers also have the opportunity to purchase single tickets to ESO concerts before they go on sale to the general public. Subscription prices have not been raised for the upcoming season.

Once again, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s innovative 2 for 1 New Subscriber Promotion will be offered for the upcoming season. This fantastic offer gives every new subscriber household the opportunity to purchase 2 subscriptions for the price of 1 in their first year. More subscriber information is available online at The 2 for 1 subscription campaign is generously sponsored by Maclab Enterprises.

Subscription packages for the 2009-2010 season are on sale now.

Subscriber Single Tickets on sale & Sampler Pass redemption begins August 11th.

Single tickets for the season go on sale to the general public on August 18th.

For a full listing of the 2009-2010 season, please visit

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