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 Beethoven’s 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 WSO’s 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 WSO’s promotional and educational programs.
7. 2nd annual WSO Conducting Symposium attracts international participants
The WSO’s 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. Women’s Committee makes generous contribution to WSO Endowment Fund, in honour of 60th Anniversary
At a recital on November 23, 2008, the Women’s Committee of the WSO presented a cheque for $10,000 in honour of the Orchestra’s 60th Anniversary last year. These funds are to be contributed to the WSO Endowment Fund which is held in the Winnipeg Foundation. The Women’s 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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Monday, December 8, 2008

NACO, Dec. 15-16: Christmas with The King's Singers and the NAC Orchestra

Christmas with the NAC Orchestra and the King’s Singers on December 15 and 16

Ottawa (Canada) – The National Arts Centre Orchestra’s annual Christmas concert features the celebrated King’s Singers in a festive yuletide program on Monday, December 15 and Tuesday, December 16 at 7 p.m. in the NAC’s Southam Hall. The King’s Singers have just this month added a 2009 Grammy nomination to their 40th anniversary celebrations. Christmas with the NAC Orchestra and The King’s Singers is led by Rob Fisher making his NAC Orchestra conducting debut.

For four decades, The King’s Singers have been one of most sought-after vocal ensembles in the world making hundreds of international appearances each season including top venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre, and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Their nearly seventy recordings have garnered critical acclaim and significant awards, including a Grammy in 2001. This Christmas they released the holiday disc Rejoice and Be Merry! with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which will be featured in a television special on PBS on December 24. Their recent Grammy nomination is for Simple Gifts in the Best Classical Crossover Album category.

Performing both with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and in their familiar a capella style, the King’s Singers – David Hurley and Robin Tyson, countertenors; Paul Phoenix, tenor; Philip Lawson and Christopher Gabbitas, baritones; and Stephen Connolly, bass –

will present in three sets such songs as Noel Nouvelet, O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, The Little Drummer Boy, Jingle Bells, the Wassail Song, Wexford Carol and Ding Dong Merrily on High. Between the sets, Rob Fisher will lead the musicians in orchestral works such as Rimsky-Korsakov’s Polonaise from the Christmas Eve Suite and Dance of the Clowns from The Snow Maiden; Anderson’s Bugler’s Holiday with principal trumpet Karen Donnelly and guest trumpets Michael Fedyshyn, and John Ellis; and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves.

In describing the program, conductor Rob Fisher says: “Songs of joy, songs of faith, songs of anticipation – the holidays have inspired great music through the ages. This music connects us to our deepest feelings about the holidays, our loved ones, and the generations preceding ours… Sentimental soul that I am, I look forward to this music every year. For this program, the King’s Singers are performing music that spans many traditions over several centuries. Their choice of holiday music is as timeless as its presentation. May the music connect us all.”

Tickets for Christmas with the NAC Orchestra and the King’s Singers on Monday, December 15 and Tuesday December 16 at 7 p.m. are on sale now at $19.00, $40.00, $52.00, $62.00, $68.00 and $79.00 (GST and Facility Fee included) at the NAC Box Office (Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.), and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111. Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website at

Half-price tickets for students in all sections of the hall are on sale in person at the NAC Box Office upon presentation of a valid student ID card. Live Rush tickets (subject to availability) for full-time students (aged 13 to 29) are $11 at the NAC Box Office from 2 p.m. the day before the concert to 6 p.m. the day of, upon presentation of a valid Live Rush card.

Groups of 10 and more save 15% to 20% off the regular price of tickets to NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances. To reserve your seats call 613-947-7000 ext. 384 or email

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Memphis Symphony Orchestra Agrees on Innovative Contract

Memphis Symphony Orchestra Agrees on Innovative Contract

Memphis, TN --The musicians and board of directors for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) recently approved a new employment contract for the 2008-2009 season that reflects a deepening engagement of professional musicians within the Memphis community.

“This contract supports our mission of creating meaningful experiences through music,” said Ryan Fleur, MSO president and chief executive officer. “It has the potential to transform the way our orchestra will serve the community in the future by allowing us to develop new and diverse partnerships and activities that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

A key component of the contract, Fleur said, is the opportunity for musicians to do community engagement work this season via an optional “engagement contract”. Full-time musicians who opt-in to the contract can receive up to 3 % incentive pay based on the number of community engagement activities they participate in.

“I feel that the days of ‘our job is to play the music, their job is to pay for it’ are long over,” said Scott Moore, MSO principal trumpet player. “It is to everyone’s benefit when musicians are able to more actively engage in the process.”

Examples of community engagement services are mentoring at The Soulsville Charter School and the creation of Leading from Every Chair™, a seminar developed and led by MSO musicians who use music to actively teach teamwork, creativity and leadership skills to corporations and non-profit organizations.

“This agreement combines an innovative way of increasing the pay for our musicians while providing a valuable service to our community,” said John Sprott, MSO principal percussionist and president of the local musicians’ union. “We will be using our talents and training to help others in addition to performing in concerts.”

Working in teams to plan, implement and evaluate community activities, each musician can participate in up to 25 community engagement services during the 2008-2009 season. A “service” is a unit of time traditionally used exclusively to rehearse and perform as a group. Musicians who do not participate in a community engagement contract experience a pay freeze from the 2007-2008 season.

According to Moore, musicians are valuable resources who individually possess knowledge and expertise beyond their abilities on their instruments.

“This unique and innovative new partnership allows musicians and management to work together to find effective ways to connect with our community, and more importantly, to have a positive impact on lives,” Moore said.

In this experimental season, 28 of the Memphis Symphony’s 36 full-time musicians have chosen to participate in the engagement contract.

“The ingenuity of this contract is that it allows us to more fully utilize the services of the musicians to re-define orchestra services for creative partnerships,” Fleur said.

Engagement services are governed by an Engagement Oversight Committee, a team of three elected musicians, three MSO staff members, the music director and board members. The committee will ensure that all re-defined services are artistically meaningful and need-fulfilling for community partners, and are tied to a new revenue source for the Memphis Symphony.

“Our engagement oversight committee permits us to direct services toward planning and evaluation, and ultimately, the delivery of new projects,” Sprott said. “This means our musicians actively influence and shape our community activities, creating a sense of identity, ownership and commitment that is unprecedented.”

“This contract is a marvelous example of what is possible when an orchestra’s stakeholders work collaboratively and creatively; a win-win for the Memphis Symphony family and for their community,” said Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras. “This agreement puts Memphis in the forefront of American orchestras’ exciting movement toward stronger relationships with their communities.”

The new contract was born out of the Memphis Symphony’s planning process in which the organization took a critical look at how it deploys resources and time.

Musicians, board members, staff and community partners looked at each community engagement to see if it is artistically fulfilling to the musicians, meets the needs of the partner organization, is beneficial to the greater Memphis community and can be tied to new revenue sources for the symphony. Out of this dialogue grew the need to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement to address the issue of re-defining orchestra services.

“The language of the existing union contract severely restricted musician time to a simple formula of rehearsals, concerts and education ensemble performances,” Fleur said. “With our evolving community engagement partnerships, we needed flexibility for new kinds of services that stepped beyond the traditional.”

Since 1952 the Memphis Symphony Orchestra has created meaningful experiences through music in the Mid-South. Today more than 400 musicians, staff and volunteers in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Chorus and the Memphis Symphony League operate education programs, organize community engagement events and present concerts within a $4 million budget.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Guests from Europe


Sinfonia Toronto will present a colourful and varied program in a Masterpiece Series concert on Friday, December 12 at 8 pm. The concert will take place under the baton of guest conductor Rista Savic at Grace Church on-the-Hill (300 Lonsdale Road).

The concert titled 'Guests from Europe' will feature Slovenian clarinet virtuoso Darko Brlek performing Weber's Clarinet Quintet in an orchestral version.

Clarinetist Darko Brlek has performed throughout Europe and around the world. He has appears in recital in Italy in Trieste, Firenze, Milan, Rome and Torino; in Austria in St. Polen, Feldkirch and Salzburg; and in Germany in Munich, Frankfurt and the Rheingau Music Festival. He has also performed in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Spain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Lithuania, Egypt, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Turkey and Russia. He has performed as soloist with the Radio Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, Staatstheater Oldenburg, Deutsches Kammerorchester, Sinfonia Toronto, Mannheim Kammerorchester, Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Moscow Soloists, Cannes Symphony, Mexican State Symphony, Lithuanian State Symphony, Macedonian Philharmonic, Sarajevo Philharmonic and many others. He has recorded several compact discs.

Conductor Rista Savic started violin lessons at the age of four and soon showed exceptional interest and talent not only in violin and piano but also in composition and conducting. He worked with many renowned conductors as concertmaster before taking up the baton himself. In 1989 he formed the German Chamber Orchestra Frankfurt am Main. He has led the GCO on European tours and has appeared as guest conductor with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Archi della Scala Milano, Torino Philharmonic, Peking Philharmonic, Shenzhen Symphony, Mexican State Symphony, Sinfonia Toronto, Constance Southwest German Philharmonic, Bari Symphony, Pilsen Radio Symphony, Florence Chamber Orchestra, Virtuosi di Praga, Cluj Philharmonic Orchestra, Rio Camerata (Brazil) and many others. Since 2001 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Peking Philharmonic.

In addition to Weber's exciting Clarinet Quintet, the concert will feature selections from Grieg's colourful Peer Gynt Suite, Holst's St. Paul Suite as well as one of Mendelssohn's brilliant string works Sinfonia No. 10. Toronto composer Ronald Royer's Mistico will open this varied program.
There will be a free post-concert reception, giving audience members a chance to meet the orchestra members, guest-conductor and soloist.

Online discount tickets are $35 adult, $27 senior, $7 student (16-29) and can be purchased at or at regular price by phone 905-825-9477 or at the door.

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Monday, November 10, 2008


Dudamel continues with Gothenburg!

Our Music Director Gustavo Dudamel is one of the world's most sought-after conductors. Prestigious orchestras and concert halls pull him from all sides. But during the recently concluded tour, it became clear - Gustavo Dudamel chooses to extend his contract and stay in Gothenburg.

Gustavo Dudamel and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra have just come back from a two-week tour in Europe with sold out concerts, standing ovations and praise in the press. During the tour, the welcome announcement was made that Gustavo Dudamel extends his contract and remains as Music Director up until the season 2010/2011 with an option to be taken annually for further extension thereafter.

Dudamel explained his personal attachment to the orchestra and their very special way of music making. "They're an amazing group of players and we are growing together - I want to continue being a part of this tradition for years to come".

The first time Dudamel met the orchestra in 2005 produced an instant chemistry and, over the past few years, there has developed a mutual joy to work and collaborate. The two-week, sold out tour in Europe enjoyed standing ovations and extensive praise in the press. Stops in Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Spain with repertoire including Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, Beethoven's Symphony No. 2, Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with the young star violinist Sergey Khachatryan as the soloist received an enthusiastic response from the audiences. Around 15,000 visitors heard the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra during the tour and several encores became a regular feature of each concert.

Chief Executive Edward Smith said “The extension is a huge expression of confidence in the GSO and we are all delighted that what started three years ago as a "substitute" occasion has developed into one of the most fulfilling musical marriages which continues to develop"

For more information about Gustavo Dudamel and the tour, contact CEO Edward Smith on telephone +46 31 726 53 04.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Esprit Orchestra launches 2008-09 season with Inspired by Traditions

Inspired by Traditions

Esprit Orchestra launches its 2008-09 season

Toronto, ON (November 5, 2008)…Esprit Orchestra opens its 2008-09 season on Sunday, November 23, 2008 with Inspired by Traditions, a concert of electrifying music exploring diverse styles from jazz to late-Romanticsm. Alex Pauk, Esprit’s founding music director will conduct the program which features pianist Andrew Burashko and violinist Marie Bérard, Concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

Inspired by Traditions includes John Adams’ exhilarating Short Ride in a Fast Machine, R. Murray Schafer’s romantic Dream Rainbow, Dream Thunder, the North American premiere of Valentin Silvestrov’s Dedication and Aaron Copland’s rarely-performed, jazz-inflected Piano Concerto No. 1.

John AdamsShort Ride in a Fast Machine is a thrilling, joyfully exuberant piece in the established tradition of minimal music. One of America’s most admired and performed living composers, Adams has built a huge audience worldwide through the immediacy and sincerity of his music. Short Ride in a Fast Machine, with its steady beat, and repeating and shifting rhythmic patterns, has become one of the most frequently requested and performed compositions in American concert-halls.

One of Canada’s most highly ranked classical composers, R. Murray Schafer needs no introduction. His work titled Dream Rainbow, Dream Thunder is a sumptuous fantasy for orchestra inspired by Schafer’s visit to Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig’s magnificent Bavarian castle built as an homage to Richard Wagner. Wagner’s influence is detectable in Schafer’s work, as are the styles of other composers. Esprit Orchestra’s recording of Dream Rainbow, Dream Thunder won a Juno Award in 1986.

Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov is beginning to become better known in the West, whereas in the former Soviet Union he has long earned the respect of such contemporary heavyweights as Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt. His Dedication, a symphony for violin and orchestra, is a broadly sweeping, lyrical piece which explores the phenomenon of melody as a symbol of gratitude. In the composer’s words, melody, in its widest sense, “has always been entrusted to us, simply as God’s gift to music.” Joining Esprit in presenting this North American premiere of Silvestrov’s masterpiece will be violin soloist Marie Bérard.

American composer Aaron Copland helped define a twentieth century American sound by creating a musical style that combined the myths of the American West and the styles of Latin American music. His works have great impact and resonance in North America and he has exerted tremendous influence on a huge number of American composers including the likes of Leonard Bernstein. A distinct, Gershwin-like style comes through strongly in Copland’s Piano Concerto No. 1 which will be performed by the accomplished pianist Andrew Burashko.

Concert and Ticket Details

Inspired by Traditions takes place on Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 8 p.m. at the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (27 Front Street East). A pre-concert talk begins at 7:15 p.m. Tickets to Inspired by Traditions are $15 for students, $24 for seniors and $32 for adults. Group rates (8+ people) are $25. Subscriptions to Esprit Orchestra’s 2008-09 season start at $45. For tickets or subscriptions contact the St. Lawrence Centre Box Office at 416-366-7723 or .

About Esprit Orchestra

Esprit Orchestra is Canada’s only orchestra devoted exclusively to performing new orchestral music and developing a legacy of Canadian orchestral music. Founded by composer/conductor Alex Pauk in 1983, Esprit Orchestra is comprised of a core of 45 dedicated musicians with the special skills required to perform contemporary orchestral music. Esprit commissions and premieres new works each season and ensures continued public access to these works through encore performances, radio broadcasts, compact disc and film recordings, and national and international tours. For more information visit

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

NAC Orchestra to perform for 1,400 students and teachers

NAC Orchestra to perform for 1,400 students and teachers at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton on November 4th

First concert ever by a major Canadian orchestra at CFB Edmonton

Edmonton, Alberta Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra will perform a student matinee at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton Field House on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, at 1:15 p.m. This will be the first time a major Canadian orchestra has performed at CFB Edmonton.

Media are asked to report to the front lobby of the Edmonton Garrison Military Fitness Centre on the corner of Range Road 244 and Mons Avenue at CFB Edmonton.

This event is part of the Ottawa-based Orchestra’s three-week Western Canada Tour featuring 13 concerts in 10 cities, as well as 135 education events in 27 communities from Victoria, to the Yukon, to Winnipeg.

During Tuesday’s concert, the NAC Orchestra will perform a program called Bravo Beethoven! for 1,400 students and teachers from the base’s Guthrie Elementary School as well as from other area schools. During the performance, students will be invited to sing and play along on recorders with the NAC Orchestra to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

This special concert will be led by the NAC Orchestra’s Principal Youth and Family Conductor Boris Brott, and will feature young Victoria-born violinist Nikki Chooi, as well as actor Peter Duschenes in the role of Ludwig van Beethoven.

While at CFB Edmonton, selected NAC Orchestra musicians will lead instrumental clinics from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for musicians of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

PSO Presents a Concert for Peace, November 11


PORTLAND, Maine – The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) explores themes of peace and reconciliation on Tuesday, November 11. Music Director Robert Moody conducts Christian Zeal and Activity by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams, followed by Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5, "Reformation," inspired by Martin Luther. The evening concludes with Dona Nobis Pacem, a glorious plea for peace composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, featuring soprano Tracy Dahl, baritone Troy Cook, and the Choral Art Society.

Limited seating is still available for this concert which begins at 7:30 PM in Merrill Auditorium. A Concert Conversation with Robert Moody will be held at 6:15 PM in the Rehearsal Hall.

Canadian Soprano Tracy Dahl has sung at La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Canadian Opera Company and more. She has "a voice filled with sunshine, rainbows and laser light" according to Opera Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle finds her "bright, sparkling, and bouncing, accurate and winning."

Baritone Troy Cook has just performed with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Pacific, Opera Omaha, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Berkshire Opera and others. His voice has been called "supple" and "resonant with a warm tone and solid musicality."

The Choral Art Society, led by Robert Russell, was founded in 1972. Singers are selected by audition and perform in several concerts a year in Greater Portland.

This concert is sponsored by the Canadian Consulate General.

Ticket prices start $17 with special pricing available for students, seniors and groups. All Portland Symphony Orchestra tickets are sold through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or, and new this year, the website offers real-time online seat selection. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. For complete season information, including artist biographies and program notes, visit

The Portland Symphony Orchestra will next perform on November 15 and 16 with Classical Mystery Tour, a tribute to the Beatles.

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Canadian Orchestra Websites Improve for 3rd Straight Year

Canadian Orchestra Websites Rank Higher Than US Counterparts

Annual Orchestra Website Review examines 14 professional Canadian orchestra websites - October 20th, 2008 - Between 10/13/08 and 10/17/08, Drew McManus, a Chicago based nonprofit consultant, examined 14 professional Canadian orchestra websites and ranked them by how well they presented their concert schedule, sold tickets, facilitated making donations, provided organizational information, utilized dynamic content, and on overall functionality.

In a series of articles, the review examines how the scores have changed over the past five years as well as compares specific website components between Canadian and Us offerings. The overall rankings along with detailed orchestra website scores (coming 10/21/08) are available at Adaptistration, one of several blogs featured at; a cultural blogging collective.

Updated for 2008 with new and revised grading criteria, this one-of-a-kind comprehensive examination by industry insider, Drew McManus, shines an intense light on orchestra websites by peeling away the “pretty face” of a home page to examine the five critical components that will make or break an orchestra’s online effort to generate revenue, bring in a new audience, and generate awareness.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

NACO, Oct. 21-22: Pinchas Zukerman and Jon Kimura Parker give preview of Western Canada Tour repertoire

NAC Orchestra led by Music Director Pinchas Zukerman with piano soloist Jon Kimura Parker gives Ottawa a preview of its Western Canada Tour repertoire on Oct. 21-22

Ottawa, OntarioThe National Arts Centre Orchestra will set off on October 24 on a 20-day Western Canada Tour across four provinces and to Whitehorse – the latter marking the ensemble’s first-ever trip to the Yukon. While on tour, Music Director Pinchas Zukerman and musicians will be involved in more than 130 activities in 26 communities, reaching some 8,000 participants. On Tuesday, October 21 and Wednesday, October 22 in Southam Hall, Pinchas Zukerman and guest pianist Jon Kimura Parker will give National Arts Centre audiences a preview of some of the repertoire they are taking on tour.

Jon Kimura Parker, one of Canada’s best known and most popular pianists, guarantees a definitive interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s iconic Concerto for Piano No. 1 in all its romantic ardour. Maestro Zukerman will also lead the Orchestra in the soaring melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

There are free pre-concert talks at 7 p.m. both nights with William Littler, music columnist of the Toronto Star, hosted by Jill LaForty, Radio Music Producer of CBC Radio entitled “Tchaikovsky, the Loved and Hated”.

The NAC Orchestra musicians are joined by the five participants in the 2008-09 NAC Institute of Orchestral Studies. These apprentices have been selected by audition to rehearse, perform and be mentored by the NAC Orchestra musicians during five separate weeks throughout the season. They will join the Orchestra on tour for performances in five of the cities where the NAC Orchestra performs.

Concertgoers are invited to remain in Southam Hall after the concerts on October 21 and 22 for a post-concert talkback during which Jon Kimura Parker will interview the IOS apprentices.

Follow the NAC Orchestra’s Western Canada Tour online at where there are tour blogs, audio clips, a photo gallery, and more.

The National Arts Centre Foundation gratefully acknowledges support for the Western Canada Tour from Presenting Partner EnCana, Signature Education Partner Agrium, and the NAC Friends, a generous group of supporters including True Energy Trust and SaskTel and a number of individual donors who have made the Western Canada Tour possible.

The extraordinary career of internationally acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker has taken him from Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Festival Hall to Baffin Island and Zimbabwe. In recent seasons, he has performed as guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic and the NHK Tokyo Orchestra.

Jon Kimura Parker has a long history with the National Arts Centre Orchestra including a 1998 tour in Canada and a 1996 tour in the Eastern U.S. This season, he is the NAC Orchestra’s first artist-in-residence appearing in concert and in recital, and playing an integral role in education outreach. The Vancouver-born musician is an Officer of The Order of Canada, this country’s highest civilian honour.

Tickets for these Mark Motors Audi Signature Series concerts on Tuesday, October 21 and Wednesday, October 22 at 8 p.m. are on sale now at $19.00, $39.00, $49.00, $59.00, $69.00 with box seats at $86.00 (GST and Facility Fee included) at the NAC Box Office (Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.), and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111. Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website at

Half-price tickets for students in all sections of the hall are on sale in person at the NAC Box Office upon presentation of a valid student ID card. Live Rush tickets (subject to availability) for full-time students (aged 13 to 29) are $11 at the NAC Box Office from 2 p.m. the day before the concert to 6 p.m. the day of, upon presentation of a valid Live Rush card.

Groups of 10 and more save 15% to 20% off the regular price of tickets to NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances. To reserve your seats call 613-947-7000 ext. 384 or email

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

National Arts Centre Orchestra Western Canada Tour, Oct. 24-Nov. 12

Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra led by Music Director Pinchas Zukerman embarks on Western Canada Tour, Oct. 24 to Nov. 12, 2008, including over 130 educational events

OTTAWA, CANADA Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, with Music Director Pinchas Zukerman as conductor and violin soloist, will head to Western Canada for its 2008 tour from October 24 to November 12. The Western Canada Tour, with pianist Jon Kimura Parker, composer Alexina Louie, and guest conductors James Judd and Boris Brott, will include 13 orchestral concerts in 10 cities – from Victoria to Whitehorse to Winnipeg – spanning four provinces plus the Orchestra’s first-ever visit to the Yukon. In addition, the Orchestra will reach thousands of young people through events ranging from masterclasses with Pinchas Zukerman and Jon Kimura Parker to student concerts with the full Orchestra. In total, there will be more than 130 education activities in 26 cities and communities during the 20-day tour.

The Western Canada Tour 2008 will see the National Arts Centre Orchestra performing concerts led by Pinchas Zukerman in Vancouver (Oct. 25 and 27 at 8 p.m.), Victoria (Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.), Calgary (Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.), Regina (Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.), Saskatoon (Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.) and Winnipeg (Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.). Guest conductor James Judd will lead concerts in Prince George (Oct 28 at 8 p.m.), Whitehorse (Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.) and Kamloops (Nov. 2 at 8 p.m.). There will be student matinees led by the NAC Orchestra’s Principal Youth and Family Conductor Boris Brott in Whitehorse (Oct. 30 at 10 a.m.); at CFB Edmonton (Nov. 4 at 1:15 p.m.) as part of an innovative day in residence both on the military base and at the Kipnes Centre for Veterans; and in Spruce Grove (Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m.). Pinchas Zukerman and members of the NAC Orchestra will perform chamber music at the Banff Centre (Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.).

The NAC is donating the performances of the artists and the NAC Orchestra in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Victoria to help host orchestras in those cities with their fundraising, and in Regina in honour of that orchestra’s 100th anniversary season.

The National Arts Centre Foundation gratefully acknowledges support for the Western Canada Tour from Presenting Partner EnCana, Signature Education Partner Agrium, and the NAC Friends and Trailblazers.

A distinguishing feature of any National Arts Centre Orchestra tour is educational outreach to children and youth. These outreach activities are opportunities for Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, guest artists and musicians of the Orchestra to step off the stage and into schools and classrooms to teach, encourage and inspire students, and to leave a real and lasting imprint.

The education events on the Western Canada Tour will include instrumental masterclasses for advanced students led by Pinchas Zukerman, Jon Kimura Parker and musicians of the NAC Orchestra; student open rehearsals with the NAC Orchestra; instrumental clinics in high schools; school concert-demonstrations by NAC Musician in the Schools ensembles in French immersion schools and by teaching musicians with the NAC’s Music Alive Program (formerly Music Ambassador Programme) in Alberta and Saskatchewan; sectional rehearsals with youth and community orchestras; composition lectures/masterclasses and pre- and intermission-concert chats with NAC Award Composer Alexina Louie; and pre-concert lobby performances by local youth choirs and instrumental ensembles. An additional special project is Music Connections - Winnipeg, a 9-week in-school program that integrates Aboriginal and Western cultural traditions and culminates with a live performance by up to 90 participating students with a brass octet from the NAC Orchestra on November 12 at 1 p.m. (location to be determined). Over 50 partners are engaged in helping to present these outreach activities.

In addition, the five participants in the NAC Orchestra’s 2008-09 Institute of Orchestral Studies will join the Orchestra on tour to perform in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. These students, selected by audition, will be rehearsing and performing with the NAC Orchestra during five separate weeks throughout the season.

NAC educational resources to be distributed on the Western Canada Tour consist of the “Vivaldi and the Four Seasons” Teacher Resource Kit, the “Let’s Go Mozart” Teacher Resource Kit, and the “Introducing Beethoven” student newspaper guides. Schools involved in the student matinees on tour, the “Music Connections – Winnipeg” project, and the Music Alive Program will be supplied with the relevant resources.

The Western Canada Tour website to be found at will include a tour blog, audio clips, a photo gallery, and more.

Pinchas Zukerman said: “It is wonderful to be traveling again to the West Coast with the NAC Orchestra. As Music Director, one of my favourite aspects of going on tour is the pleasure of performing for other communities and giving them a feel for what we do at home. We also look forward to our many educational activities which not only utilize the excellent players in our orchestra, but also our Artist-in-Residence Jon Kimura Parker, and NAC Award Composer, Alexina Louie. We hope the communities we meet enjoy these concerts and activities, and that we will see them again in Ottawa!”

“The National Arts Centre belongs to all Canadians... and it’s extremely important to us that we make a real contribution to communities across the country,” said Peter Herrndorf, NAC President and CEO. “NAC Orchestra performance and education tours provide opportunities for Canadians to hear our musicians in concert halls and in classrooms, while enriching our collaborations with Canadian artists, educators and partners on a national level.”

Christopher Deacon, Managing Director of the Orchestra added: “We are grateful for the opportunity to assist some of our fellow Canadian orchestras with their fundraising efforts this season by donating the services of Pinchas Zukerman and the NAC Orchestra in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina and Victoria. This, and the on-going education initiatives that begin during the tour and continue into the future, are ways that we are able to leave a lasting imprint after we tour.


The National Arts Centre Orchestra will perform Alexina Louie’s Infinite Sky with Birds at every public concert. Vancouver-born Alexina Louie, one of Canada’s most frequently performed composers, has been one of the NAC’s three Award Composers since 2002. Infinite Sky with Birds, which had its world premiere at the NAC in 2006, is one of the NAC Orchestra commissions she has composed during this period. Programmes will alternate between the soaring melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s masterful final Symphony (No. 41) known as the “Jupiter”. Some audiences will have the opportunity to hear Pinchas Zukerman, one of the leading string players in the world, as violin soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3. Others will hear the internationally renowned Vancouver-born pianist Jon Kimura Parker performing either Tchaikovsky’s iconic Piano Concerto No. 1 or Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. In Calgary, the NAC Orchestra will combine forces with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.


The NAC Orchestra will again bring its highly successful recipe for interactive Student Matinees on tour to Whitehorse, Edmonton and Spruce Grove led by Principal Youth and Family Conductor Boris Brott. The Orchestra will present Bravo Beethoven! featuring Ottawa-based actor Peter Duschenes, the Artistic Director of Platypus Theatre, as co-host in the role of Beethoven. The matinees will also feature Victoria-born violinist Nikki Chooi, former student at the Victoria and Mount Royal College Conservatories and a participant in the NAC’s Summer Music Institute in 2004 and 2005 performing an excerpt from Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Teachers will be given a teacher guide and class sets of student newspaper guides designed by the Ottawa Citizen to prepare for the matinees. Students will have the opportunity to sing and play along on recorders with the NAC Orchestra to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.


Music Connections is a 9-week project involving up to 90 Grade 3 to 6 students from two inner-city Winnipeg schools – Mulvey and Dufferin Schools – that began on September 11, 2008 and culminates in a final “shared” performance with a brass octet from the NAC Orchestra on November 12 during which the children will perform and sing, and present creative responses to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons through dance, drama, music, visual arts and media. The partners involved are the NAC Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre of the University of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg School Division and Learning Through the Arts of The Royal Conservatory (Toronto).

Teaching artists working with the students include Richard Dubé of Saskatoon who taught them how to assemble, decorate and play the Native American flute; singer/songwriter and storyteller Joseph Naytowhow, of the Woodland Cree Nation from Sturgeon Lake SK, who helped prepare the children to sing his composition “One People” in English and in Cree; and Lacey Eagle, a young opera singer from Flin Flon MB. Beyond the 9-week project, the three local Winnipeg partners will work together to develop a sustainability plan to continue the music programs. In addition, portions will be documented on video and shown at the final performance on November 12th. And from August through December, a research team led by Ann Patteson of Learning Through the Arts will oversee an extensive research component.


The NAC will launch the second phase of its highly successful Music Alive Program (formerly titled Music Ambassador Programme) in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Over the next three school years, 6 professional Alberta and Saskatchewan-based teaching musicians with connections to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Edmonton, Red Deer, Regina and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras will work with classroom teachers and students in 100 schools. The program provides opportunities for students and teachers, primarily in rural schools with limited access to live music and music education resources, to interact with orchestral music and musicians. It also assists generalist teachers in fulfilling provincial curricular objectives for the arts by providing accessible lesson plans. The 2008-09 season will be based on the music of Mozart using the NAC’s Let’s Go Mozart! Teacher Resource Kit and student newspaper guides.


Included in the outreach on the Saskatchewan portion of the NACO Western Tour will be up to 10 performance/presentations and teaching sessions by Saskatchewan-born trumpeter Amy Horvey in her capacity as the recipient of the Richard Li Young Artist Chair for the 2008-2009 season. This honour is awarded annually to an exceptional young Canadian musician under the age of 35 who aspires to, or is in the early stages of, an orchestral career. From Nov 9 to 17, Horvey will visit Regina, Waldeck, Cabri, Vanguard, Swift Current and the University of Saskatoon. The Richard Li Young Artist Chair was established thanks to the generosity of Hong Kong-Canadian businessman Richard Li.


Oct. 25 and 27 at 8 p.m.: Programme 1 (two nights)

Vancouver, BC – Orpheum Theatre, presented by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Includes a 7:05 p.m. pre-concert talk by NAC Award Composer Alexina Louie

Oct. 28 at 8 p.m.: Programme 2

Prince George, BC – Vanier Hall, presented by the Prince George Symphony Orchestra

Includes a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance by District 57 Tapestry Singers and a post-concert Q & A with guest conductor James Judd and soloist Jon Kimura Parker

Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.: Programme 2

Whitehorse, Yukon Territories – Yukon Arts Centre presented by Yukon Arts Centre

Includes a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance by the Whitehorse Suzuki Strings.

Oct. 30 at 10 a.m.: Student Matinee

Whitehorse, Yukon Territories – Yukon Arts Centre, presented by Whitehorse Concerts

Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.: Programme 3

Victoria, BC – Royal Theatre, a Gala fundraiser for the Victoria Symphony and the NAC Orchestra presented by Eric Charman

Includes a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance by Viva Choirs and an intermission talk by NAC Award Composer Alexina Louie

Nov. 2 at 8 p.m.: Programme 2

Kamloops, BC – Sagebrush Theatre, presented by Kamloops Symphony Orchestra

Includes a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance by the Kamloops Thompson Honour Choir.

Nov. 4 at 1:15 p.m.: Student Matinee

Edmonton, AB – Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Field House, presented by CFB Edmonton in collaboration with Guthrie School (located on the Base)

Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m.: Student Matinee

Spruce Grove, AB – Horizon Stage, presented by City of Spruce Grove

Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.: Programme 4 (Finale combined with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra)

Calgary AB – Jack Singer Hall, presented by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Includes a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance by the Arioso Choir of the Mount Royal College Conservatory and an intermission talk by NAC Award Composer Alexina Louie

Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.: Programme 4

Regina SK – Conexus Arts Centre, presented by the Regina Symphony Orchestra

Includes a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance and an intermission talk by NAC Award Composer Alexina Louie

Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.: Programme 5

Saskatoon SKTCU Place, presented by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra

Includes a 6:45 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance by the Saskatoon Strings and an intermission talk by NAC Award Composer Alexina Louie

Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.: Programme 4

Winnipeg MN – Centennial Concert Hall, presented by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Includes a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lobby performance by St. James-Assiniboia Children’s Choir and an intermission talk by NAC Award Composer Alexina Louie.


Programme 1

LOUIE: Infinite Sky With Birds

MOZART: Concerto for Violin No. 3

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5

Programme 2

LOUIE: Infinite Sky with Birds

MOZART: Symphony No. 41

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4

Programme 3

LOUIE : Infinite Sky with Birds

MOZART: Concerto for Violin No. 3

MOZART: Symphony No. 41

Programme 4

LOUIE: Infinite Sky with Birds

TCHAIKOVSKY: Concerto for Piano No. 1

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5

Programme 5

LOUIE : Infinite Sky with Birds

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5

Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra

Pinchas Zukerman has for four decades been recognized internationally as one of the world’s greatest string players. His discography contains over 100 titles, and has earned him 21 Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. Since his appointment as Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1998, he has taken an interest in virtually every aspect of Ottawa’s artistic community while continuing his international career. He is the driving force behind the national role the National Arts Centre plays in education and community outreach, and in the use of new technology to reach Canadians from coast to coast. This includes the creation in Ottawa of the NAC Summer Music Institute which over ten years has provided training from an international faculty to 581 instrumentalists, conductors and composers from 34 countries.

Touring is an important part of the mandate of the National Arts Centre Orchestra which has visited, in its 39-year history, 112 cities in Canada, and 122 cities internationally. The Western Canada Tour is Pinchas Zukerman’s ninth tour with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and eighth since being appointed Music Director in 1998. In 1999 he led the coast-to-coast Canada Tour, followed by Tour 2000 to Israel and Europe, the Atlantic Tour 2002, the United States and Mexico Tour 2003, the British Columbia Tour 2004, the Alberta-Saskatchewan Tour in 2005 and the Quebec Tour in 2006. As guest conductor and soloist in 1990, Zukerman led the Orchestra on a European Tour.

Jon Kimura Parker

The extraordinary career of internationally acclaimed concert pianist Jon Kimura Parker has taken him from Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Festival Hall to Baffin Island and Zimbabwe. In recent seasons, he has performed as guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic and the NHK Tokyo Orchestra.

Jon Kimura Parker has a long history with the National Arts Centre Orchestra including a 1998 tour in Canada and a 1996 tour in the Eastern U.S. This season, he is the NAC Orchestra’s first artist-in-residence appearing in concert and in recital, and playing an integral role in education outreach. The Vancouver-born musician is an Officer of The Order of Canada, this country’s highest civilian honour.

Alexina Louie

One of the most frequently performed Canadian classical composers, Vancouver-born Alexina Louie is a two-time Juno Award-winner of international renown. She has been widely commissioned and performed by Canada’s leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists, and has gained both personal acclaim for her compositions and recognition for Canada’s new music abroad.

Alexina Louie is one of three recipients of the National Arts Centre Composers Awards ($75,000 each) through which she has written three compositions for the NACO and collaborated on a number of educational and outreach programs. She was Lead Composer of the NAC Summer Music Institute’s Young Composers Programme in 2005 and accompanied the Orchestra on its BC Tour in 2004.

James Judd

Considered one of the pre-eminent interpreters of English orchestral music, British-born conductor James Judd is Music Director Emeritus of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, former Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille in France and former Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra where he spent 14 groundbreaking years including its first tour of the major concert halls of Europe. He has amassed an extensive collection of recordings on the Naxos label.

James Judd made his National Arts Centre Orchestra debut in May 2002 and has returned regularly since. He has led major orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic; conducted in the Salzburg Mozarteum and Vienna’s Musikverein, and continues to conduct regularly with all of the major British ensembles.

Boris Brott

Boris Brott is one of the most internationally recognized Canadian conductors. He enjoys an international career as guest conductor, educator, motivational speaker and cultural ambassador. In May 2004, he was named to the newly created position of Principal Youth and Family Conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, where for over 20 years he has regularly been conducting student matinees and concerts for young people. On tour, he has led the Orchestra in student matinees in the U.S. (2003), British Columbia (2004), Alberta-Saskatchewan (2005), and Quebec in 2006.

Mr. Brott is founding Conductor and Music Director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles California. In addition he serves as Artistic Director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Montreal and is Artistic Director of the Brott Music Festival, established in 1988. In Canada, Mr. Brott had developed no fewer than six Canadian Orchestras. Internationally, he has served as Assistant Conductor to the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, and as Music Director and Conductor for the Royal Ballet. In 1987, Mr. Brott became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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