LSM Newswire

Friday, May 29, 2009

WSO Remembers Max Tapper

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is saddened to recognize the passing of former WSO Executive Director Max Tapper.
Tapper came from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to serve as Executive Director from 1985 to 1991, before moving on to become Managing Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure at the WSO, Tapper is credited with hiring Artistic Director Bramwell Tovey as well and the WSOs first Composer-in-Residence Glenn Buhr. Together with Tovey and Buhr, he worked to establish the organizations world-renowned New Music Festival.
We are very saddened to learn of his passing. He was a brilliant negotiator and a terrific salesman and he brought an intense passion to his work with the orchestra. Our condolences go out to his family on behalf of the musicians, said Principal Harp and board member Richard Turner.
A service will be held for Tapper on Sunday (May 31) at 2 pm at Cropo Funeral Chapel.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Rainer Hersch with the WSO

Rainer Hersch presents new orchestra show:
Last Night of the Proms...Ever!
Rainer Hersch, musician, comedian and conductor
Lindsay Sutherland Boal, soprano soloist
Friday, March 27 at 8pm
Saturday, March 28 at 8pm
Sunday, March 29 at 2pm
You really have to see (Hersch) live to appreciate how skillfully he can weave together music and mirth. And the beauty of it is that you don't have to know your Bach from your Elgar to appreciate the punch lines."
- Evening Standard Comedy Choice
A perennial favourite of Winnipeg Symphony and Fringe Festival audiences, Rainer Hersch (click for bio) returns to the river city, following a year hiatus, to perform a brand new show with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The Last Night of the PromsĶEver! pokes fun at all things British and musical and parodies the jewel of the British concert season, the BBC Proms**.
Though Britain has no official national anthem, several songs have made their way in to the heart of British patriotic repertoire Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, God Save the Queen, Danny Boy and Scotland the Brave and Rainer (respectfully) takes aim at them all.
With the help of the top-notch WSO musicians and soprano Lindsay Sutherland Boal (click for bio), Rainer will navigate the world of pomp and circumstance that is British classical music. Whether you know anything about classical music or not makes no difference maestro Rainer Hersch presents a program of truly classic comedy.
Caring for the Caregivers
This concert, an uplifting mix of music and comedy, is also an opportunity for the WSO to honour Winnipeg healthcare workers for their outstanding contributions to our community. Thanks to generous support from Manitoba Lotteries Corporation Great-West Life and Manitoba Artists in Healthcare, the WSO has invited these caregivers to the Friday night performance.
Ticket Info
Tickets for Rainer Herschs Last Night of the Proms range from $28.50 to $65.00 and are available through the WSO box office at 949-3999, online at or at any Ticketmaster outlet.
As a thank-you for their hard work and dedication to our community, Winnipeg firefighters, police and paramedics may purchase tickets for any of the three performances for $25 (best available seats, excluding loge).
**The BBC Proms is an eight-week concert series featuring daily classical music events throughout London that has been a tradition for over one hundred years. The Last Night of the Proms concert features light classics and the most well-loved and patriotic of British music, including Elgars Pomp and Circumstance Marches.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

WSO Supports Heart Month- Tchaikovsky 6


The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Tchaikovsky 6
Friday, February 13 at 8pm
Centennial Concert Hall
Saturday, February 14 at 8pm
Centennial Concert Hall
Sunday, February 15 at 3pm
Brandon Western Manitoba Auditorium

Featuring -
Alexander Mickelthwate, conductor
Gwen Hoebig, violin

February 5, 2009 -- To commemorate Heart Month, The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will give back to the Heart and Stroke Foundation on Valentines Day with Dinner and a Symphony, a stunning concert package featuring WSO Concertmaster Gwen Hoebig as our featured soloist and Tchaikovskys 6th and final symphony.

As part of the package, concertgoers can enjoy a three-course dinner (beef or vegetarian menu options) at the Concert Hall prior to the concert. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will be given to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba.

The concert features Gwen Hoebig performing Hungarian composer Bla Bartks optimistic Violin Concerto No. 2, a piece with which Gwen has a very personal history. In 1992, she studied the concerto with Zoltn Szkely, a friend of musical collaborator of Bartks and the violin virtuoso who commissioned and premiered the work.

In the concerts second half, the WSO performs Tchaikovskys Symphony No. 6 (Pathtique). Premiering just nine days before his death, Tchaikovsky was convinced this was his greatest masterpiece, writing without exaggeration, I have put my whole soul into this work.

Tchaikovsky 6 takes place on Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14 at 8pm at the Centennial Concert Hall and Sunday, January 15 at 3pm at the Western Manitoba Auditorium in Brandon. Concert tickets range from $26.25 to $61.00 and are available through the WSO box office at 949-3999, online at or at any Ticketmaster outlet. The Valentines Day dinner (February 14) begins at 5:30pm - tickets for the Dinner and a Symphony package start at $75.00 per person and the deadline for booking is Tuesday, February 10.

Wednesday, February 11 1:30 to 4pm
Thursday, February 12 10am to 12:30pm
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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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WSO Shares Stage with Young MB Musicians

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

WSO to Share the Stage with Manitobas Young
Musical Talent in 1st Annual Rising Stars Concert
February 3, 2009 -- On February 19, some of Manitobas most talented young musicians and singers have the rare opportunity to perform side-by-side with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, during the first annual WSO Rising Stars concert.
Rising Stars is a new education and outreach initiative that partners the WSO with the Winnipeg Youth Symphony Orchestra, an honour choir of Manitoba high school students, the Winnipeg Boys Choir and soloists from the University of Manitoba to perform Carl Orffs Carmina Burana.
Conducted by WSO Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate and Assistant Conductor Rei Hotoda, the concert will feature over 400 musicians performing together on stage.
The Rising Stars program was created to showcase outstanding young musical talent across Winnipeg and Manitoba, said Tanya Derksen, WSO Education and Outreach Manager. We want to celebrate what these young people can do by giving them a professional symphony orchestra experience.
The concert will also highlight cellist Ariel Carrabr, violinist Joshua Peters and soprano Sage Robinson. All three high school students won competitions to perform solo pieces with the WSO during the concert. The winners were selected by a panel of music educators and WSO musicians and staff (including Rei Hotoda).
Students of the youth orchestra (the oldest of its kind in Canada) are excited to be a featured guest of the WSO and to be collaborating so closely with professional musicians, said Daniel Scholz, conductor of the Winnipeg Youth Orchestra and the WSOs principal viola. I still remember the first time I played with the WSO as a member of the Youth Orchestra. This is an amazing experience that they will not forget.
The 300-member High School Honour Choir is a diverse group of dedicated choral students who represent nearly 20 Manitoba high schools. They will be led by Elroy Friesen, the Director of Choral Activities for the University of Manitoba.
Rising Stars takes place Thursday, February 19 at 8pm. Tickets are $20 (general admission seating), available through the WSO box office at 949-3999, online at or by calling 452-3112.

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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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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Canadian Tenors Debut in Winnipeg

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Rising Stars The Canadian Tenors Perform for the First Time in Winnipeg with the WSO

Friday, January 23, 8pm
Saturday, January 24, 8pm
Sunday, January 25, 2pm
The Canadian Tenors:
Remigio Pereira, Fraser Walters, Jamie McKnight, Victor Micallef
Rei Hotoda, conductor

December 17, 2008 - On the heels of releasing their debut album in November, the up and coming quartet The Canadian Tenors perform for the first time in Manitoba with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, January 23, 24 and 25.
The Canadian Tenors: Remigio Pereira, Fraser Walters, Jamie McKnight and Victor Micallef perform songs that dynamically showcase their diverse cultural and musical backgrounds. The concert with the WSO, as well as their self-titled debut album, features a blend of influences, from musical theatre (Les Miserables) to classical opera (Puccinis Tosca) to French, Irish and Canadian cultures (Rita McNeil and Leonard Cohen).
"The Tenors are steeped in talent, have a strong artistic base and are all classically trained but they exude a seriously Canadian feel. No over-the-top histrionics, no oozing charm, or cheesy remarks. Instead they are personable, heartfelt, and authentic." Victoria Times Columnist 2007
All four Tenors have extensive musical backgrounds. First, Pereira is a classical guitarist and songwriter who has released two solo albums, one featuring Spanish guitar and the other, a c.d. of Italian opera arias.
Micallef studied opera in Italy before returning home to join the Canadian Opera Company. McKnight has a musical theatre background and performed in the Toronto production of The Producers and starred as Ren in Footloose with Rainbow Stage.
Finally, Walters is a former member of the Grammy award-winning a cappella ensemble Chanticleer and also performed in the Lord of the Rings musical in Toronto.
Founded in 2007 by composer Jill Ann Siemens following a national casting call, The Tenors have already performed more than 80 concerts around the globe and have attracted the attention of some of the industrys biggest names.
"Performing on three continents and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity, opening for [former] President Bill Clinton and performing for Canadian legend David Foster, this multi-talented foursome has already established themselves as four of Canada's strongest new voices." Heather Reisman, Chapters Indigo Books
The Canadian Tenors perform with the WSO on Friday, January 23 at 8pm; Saturday, January 24 at 8pm and Sunday, January 25 at 2pm. Tickets for all three performances range from $28.50 to $65 and are available through the WSO box office (555 Main St.) at 949-3999, online at or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WSO Premiere Victor Davies Tuba Concerto

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WSO Presents World Premiere of Victor Davies Tuba Concerto

December 16, 2008 On Friday, January 16 the WSO and Principal Tuba Chris Lee have the rare opportunity to present the world premiere of a tuba concerto: Victor Davies Concerto for Tubameister and Orchestra. Even more unique is the story behind the pieces creation.

Three years ago, The Winnipeg born Davies (composer of Transit of Venus for the Manitoba Opera) was contacted by a retired US Naval Commander about creating a concerto for his son, a professional tuba musician.

Commander Chip Sherman had spent years ferrying his son, JC, to lessons, concerts, rehearsals and competitions and he noticed that tuba players often played music written for cello, horn or other instruments and almost never played music written for tuba.

Sherman soon came to realize that there are relatively few concertos written for tuba, all of them with a markedly modern sound. As an avid supporter of the arts, Sherman decided the best remedy was to commission a work of his own for JC to play. The first name that popped into his head was Victor Davies.
I had heard [Davies] Mennonite Concerto on the radio in Alaska when I was there on a business trip more than 15 years ago, said Sherman. I had liked it enough to write down his name and purchase the music when I returned to Washington.

Many conversations between Davies and Sherman about the intentions for the work resulted in a concerto that skillfully showcases the tubas many voices and moods.

The second movement, Waltz for Franco, was written when JC's first son was born and shows the tuba in a serious lyrical mood, said Davies. And the third movement, Sancho Panza Goes to the Bull Fight, has a Latin flavour, not often associated with the tuba.

Accompanying the tuba concerto for this concert will be three works that are sure to be uplifting on a bitter winter evening: Beethovens Symphony No. 8, perhaps his most lighthearted work; Springs Promise by Canadian composer John Estacio and Gran duo concertante for violin and double bass by Giovannni Bottesini featuring Karl Stobbe and Meredith Johnson. WSO Assistant Conductor Rei Hotoda leads the orchestra.
The concert, entitled Beethoven 8, plays Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17 at 8pm at the Centennial Concert Hall. Tickets range from $26.25 to $61.00 and are available through the WSO box office (located inside the Concert Hall at 555 Main St.) at 949-3999, online at or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WSO New Music Festival 2009 Program Info

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WSO 2009 New Music Festival Spotlights Musical Innovation

December 11, 2008 - The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras New Music Festival, sponsored by IMRIS Inc, is sure to heat up Winnipeg stages January 31 to February 6, with the theme: Extase.

Passion and ecstasy are perfect words to describe this years NMF concerts, which will include several world premieres, fantastic Canadian and internationally-renowned talent such as cellist Matt Haimovitz, filmmaker Guy Maddin, pianist Pascal Gallet, and percussion group Scrap Arts Music and the use of newly invented and unusual instruments.

"Innovation is a major sub-theme of the festival this year," said Vincent Ho, WSO Composer-in-Residence and NMF curator, who will also premiere two of his own pieces during the festival. "I am so excited about the vast amount of creative energy and amazing talent weve been able to put together for this years festival lineup. Every one of the seven concerts offers something different and engaging,"

The opening night concert on Saturday, January 31 sets the tone for the festival, with Turangalila-symphonie by Olivier Messiaen. Inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde, the epic ten-movement symphony speaks to themes of romantic love and loss. The symphony also features soloist Jean Laurendeau on ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument, whose eerie and wavering sound has been used in such recent film scores as Amlie and There Will Be Blood.
An interesting use of instruments highlights two other concerts in the festival. On Thursday, February 5, Scrap Arts Music excites the senses with intricate rhythms, raw energy, athletic choreography and the hottest and most inventive reuse of materials on stage today.

The Festival closes on Friday, February 6 with a blast of innovation as musical Renaissance man (and member of Scrap Arts Music) Greg Kozak unveils his latest invention, The Chariot of Choir. The 32-foot stainless steel percussion instrument will be used in the world premiere performance of Kozaks CBC-commissioned Composition for Chariot of Choir and Strings.

Another notable concert will be the presentation of the 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc, performed live with the score Voices of Light, written in 1994 by Richard Einhorn for choir, soloists and orchestra. Guy Maddin hosts this special event on Wednesday, February 4, to offer his insight into the film, which is considered a cinematic landmark.

Tickets for the 2009 New Music Festival are on sale now. Pass prices are: $69.00 (regular), $59.00 (seniors), and $39.00 (students). Single tickets are $16.50 (regular) and $10.00 (students). Single ticket prices do not include the opening night concert (regular Masterworks pricing applies) and the closing night concert (regular Musically Speaking pricing applies). NMF programs will be available for purchase at a cost of $2.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

WSO Deconstructs the Planets

WSO Deconstructs Music, Science, Mythology in The Planets

OCTOBER 27, 2008 - Music is inspired by a variety of, sometimes opposing ideas. In 1914, composer Gutav Holst drew on his interests in astrology and astronomy to create The Planets, now one of the most popular classical works by any British composer. On Thursday, October 30 and Saturday, November 1, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presents The Planets in a new way, exploring both the science and mythology behind Holt's famous piece. The science aspect will be represented through visuals of the solar system, displayed throughout the piece to enhance the musical imagery. Volunteers from the Manitoba Museum Planetarium and the Manitoba branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will also be available in the lobby prior to the performance to provide audience members an even more interactive experience. "We will have telescopes and other equipment on hand for people to try," said Scott Young, Planetarium Manager. "We hope to give people a better idea of what astronomy is all about and, in turn, get them excited about what we do."

The astrological origins of The Planets will be explored at Thursday's Musically Speaking concert, where conductor and host Alexander Mickelthwate will deconstruct each of the piece's seven movements. Each distinct movement represents the astrological perceptions of a planet: Mars (Bringer of War), Venus (Bringer of Peace), Mercury (the Winged Messenger), Jupiter (Bringer of Jollity), Saturn (Bringer of Old Age), Uranus (the Magician) and Neptune (the Mystic). Thursday night's concert also gives Manitobans a second opportunity to experience this season's new Musically Speaking format. Concertgoers are invited to an after-party on the Piano Nobile mezzanine featuring live entertainment, this week, from local rock/alternative band HundredFold.

For the Saturday Masterworks concert, The Planets will be paired with the world premiere of Red Zen, a new piece by WSO Composer in Residence Vincent Ho. According to Ho, like The Planets, his piece was also inspired by a fusion of ideas. "The creation of Red Zen was part of my ongoing creative and spiritual journey in discovering the confluence of Eastern and Western musical languages," said Ho. "So, my piece should match well with The Planets, a piece that combines music with science and mythology." The Planets Plugged In plays Thursday, October 30 at 8 p.m., followed by The Planets on Saturday, November 1 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $61 and are available through the WSO box office at 949-3999 on online at

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WSO Performs Mt. Everest of Piano Works

WSO and Rising Canadian Musician Perform Mount Everest of Piano Works

OCTOBER 14 -- On October 17 and 18 at the Centennial Concert Hall, Russian-Canadian pianist Sergei Saratovsky and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will scale the worlds highest peak in a musical sense as they perform Sergei Rachmaninoffs Piano Concerto No. 3.

Rachmaninoffs third piano concerto is considered by many in the classical music world to be a pianists technical and emotional Mount Everest. With a reputation for being one of the most challenging concertos in the piano repertoire, the piece has often come to represent, as in the 1996 film Shine, triumph over great obstacles.

Saratovskys long list of triumphs ensures that, this weekend, the piece will be in good hands.

Originally from Karelia, Russia, Saratovsky moved to Canada in 2002 to complete a Masters degree in Piano Performance at Brandon University. He has won numerous International competitions and awards, including one from Russian President Vladimir Putin, recognizing his outstanding achievements in music. Most recently, Saratovsky was selected to play for Governor General Michaelle Jean, as the lone Canadian to reach the finals of the Montreal International Musical Competition. At the concert, in May 2008, Saratovsky also received the award for Best Canadian Artist.

"The sheer power and complexity of this Rachmaninoff piece is something Winnipeggers will want to hear," said WSO Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate. "And we are very lucky to have such a promising Canadian talent perform it with us."

This weekends concert will also include the Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22, by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The piece, which was originally conceived as a mythological opera and evokes themes of Finnish history and nationalism, will feature Robin MacMillan on English horn.

Rachmaninoff 3 "Shines" takes place Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $26.25 to $61.00 and are available at the Centennial Concert Hall, by phone 949-3999, online at or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

WSO Recognizes William & Shirley Loewen

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
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October 9, 2008 - The position of Director Emeritus of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra was created to honour those who have demonstrated long-term involvement with the organization at an extraordinary level.

On Saturday, September 27, 2008, WSO Board President, Dorothy Dobbie officially recognized two outstanding supporters with this honour prior to the start of the season opening concert.

William and Shirley Loewen have provided leadership, expertise, direction and financial support to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years. Shirley has been an active member of the Women's Committee and a participant and leader in many special events and programs over the years.

William Loewen has served the organization on committees and as a board member and president of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In 1998, William Loewen was the recipient of the WSOs Golden Baton Award for his exceptional contribution to the WSO, but also to the arts community in Winnipeg and across Canada. Over the years, the WSO has benefited from his time, wisdom and significant philanthropy.

Together William and Shirley Loewen, and the W.H. & S.E. Loewen Foundation, have also provided generous financial support to the WSO over many years. Through their foundation, numerous works were commissioned for the New Music Festival and their company TelPay was the title sponsor for the 2007 New Music Festival.

The WSO recognizes and thanks Mr. and Mrs. Loewen for close to four decades of generous support and encouragement.

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