LSM Newswire

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lemony Snickets childrens story comes alive withĮ composer Nathaniel Stookey

Winnipeg, MB - October 13, 2009 Admired childrens author Lemony Snickets The Composer is Dead comes to Winnipeg in a breathtaking interactive performance of a symphonic murder mystery perfect for families being performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO). Mr. Snicket is also known for the wildly popular book: A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Composer Nathaniel Stookey presents and narrates this best selling novel with original text by Lemony Snicket on Sunday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m. at the Centennial Concert Hall in the Great-West Life, Great Explorations Sundays with the Family concert series. Original music by Mr. Stookey is based on symphonic masterpieces.

This New York Times best-selling picture book, with music by Nathaniel Stookey, is a mystery that needs to be solved at the Centennial Concert Hall, and all the suspects are lurking somewhere on stage! Each instrument is brought to dramatic life in this engaging introduction to the sections of the orchestra.

Its a guide to the orchestra in the guise of a murder mystery, says composer Mr. Stookey. The narrator takes the role of the inspector who is investigating the murder of the composer. He interrogates all the sections of the orchestra as to why they would have wanted to off the composer. And they all have very good reasons.

Nathaniel Stookey, a native of San Francisco, CA, has collaborated with a remarkable range of artists, from The Mars Volta to the Philadelphia Orchestra. At 23, he was awarded the first Hall Orchestra Composition Fellowship, serving as resident composer under Kent Nagano from 1993-1996. In 2006, the San Francisco Symphony premiered their commissioned work, The Composer is Dead, with libretto by Lemony Snicket, which was immediately taken up by the Toronto Symphonys New Creations Festival and has since been programmed by orchestras across North America.

In partnership with Music for Young Children, families can also participate in pre-concert musical activities at 1:00 pm with crafts, rhythm ensembles and round-singing. Children can visit the Conducting Station where they get a chance to conduct a group of musicians or visit the Instrument Petting Zoo.

Sundays with the Family concert series is sponsored by Great-West Life.
Nathaniel Stookey is an accomplished living composer who is not entirely above suspicion in this perplexing murder mystery and available for interviews. Also available for media interviews is former Winnipegger Susan Rich who is Lemony Snickets Editor.

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World famous pianist Andr Laplante appears with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Winnipeg, MB - October 13, 2009 The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is proud to present world famous Canadian pianist, Andr Laplante, in two concerts this week.

Over the last decade, Canadian pianist Andr Laplante has firmly established himself as one of the great romantic virtuosos. He garnered international attention after winning prizes at the Geneva and Sydney International Piano Competitions, then capturing the silver medal at the International Tchakovsky Competition in Moscow.

In 2006, Mr. Laplante was awarded the prestigious Opus Award for Best Performer of the Year. He was honored to be named an Officer of the Order of Canada. His performance of Jacques Hetu's Piano Concerto No. 2 for CBC Records won the 2004 Juno award for orchestral recordings, as well as the Western Canadian Music Award.

In February 2008, the worlds leading classical music magazine Gramaphone voted Laplantes recording of Brahms Sonata No. 3 as its top pick among all currently available CDs of that work.

In recent years, Laplante has appeared as soloist with the Montral and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, on tour in Europe with the Toronto Symphony under Andrew Davis and with the Royal Philharmonic under the baton of the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin during their extensive North American tour.

Mr. Laplante will be performing Beethovens Piano Concerto No. 5 at the Centennial Concert Hall on October 16 at 8:00 pm in the Musically Speaking series. In addition, patrons are invited to explore the long-standing connection between music and royalty with composers Handel, Johann Strauss and Antonio Salieri.

Mr. Laplante will also be performing Beethovens Piano Concerto No. 5 at the October 17 Masterworks concert at the Centennial Concert Hall at 8:00 pm; in addition patrons will be able to hear Brahms masterpiece: Symphony No. 4.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roy and Gaudet - Winnipeg Debut

WINNIPEG October 9, 2009 On Saturday, October 17, 2009, Virtuosi Concerts will host the western Canadian debut of violinist Jean-Sbastien Roy and pianist, Mathieu Gaudet. CBC radio will record this Winnipeg concert which is also the first in a series of appearances under the auspices of Prairie Debut that will take the duo across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

"As this will be the first time either of us has performed in Winnipeg, we are particularly pleased to include Quebec composer, Andr Mathieu in our programme," says Roy. "We've enjoyed a revival of his work in our home province but not many western Canadians have had the pleasure of discovering what I could only call his genius."

Jean-Sbastien Roy studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montral, earning his first prize at the Conservatory with great distinction. He also obtained his master's degree in interpretation from the Universit de Montral in May 2004. During his career, Roy has won top prizes, including the Cleveland Institute of Music Competition and the OSM contest, the Prix d'Europe and the Prix Joseph Rouleau at the Concours International de Musique de Montreal. He has performed across Canada, the United States and Europe where he recently performed in London, Munich and Paris.

Since his acclaimed dbut in Baltimore, USA with Brahms' Piano Concerto No 2, Pianist Mathieu Gaudet has become much in demand as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. He is the co-founder of Gros Morne Summer Music, a highly successful concert series in Newfoundland, Canada. In addition to his busy musical life, Mathieu Gaudet is studying medicine at Universit de Montral.

Programme: MATHIEU, Sonata for violin and piano; BLOCH, Nigun; FAUR, Quatre pices; FRANCK, Sonata for violin and piano; SAINT-SAENS, Introduction and rondo capriccioso

Concert Information: 8PM, Eckhardt-Grammatt Hall, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Ave. . For Tickets call 786-9000: Adults $29 / Full-time post-secondary students $10/ High-School students $5 (subject to availability at door)

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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 Qubec, for their financial support of this tour.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Winnipeg High School Students get Up Close & Orchestral with the WSO

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.

Winnipeg, MB - The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras (WSO) Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate and the WSO will go back to school as the Up Close and Orchestral program enters its fourth year on Tuesday, October 6 with a 2:10 PM performance at Miles Macdonell Collegiate. The program runs from October 6 to October 9 and will see the WSO performing in six different public school divisions, including a school in the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine, as well as one independent school.ĮĮWere thrilled to build on the excitement weve generated in the last three years of the program, says Tanya Derksen, the WSOs Director of Education and Outreach. Up Close and Orchestral is a terrific way for students to get to know the musicians of the WSO and to develop an appreciation for the music.ĮĮ

The WSOs Up Close and Orchestral program is designed to introduce high school students to orchestral music in a unique, up close and personal way. The performances will also feature Brandons Justin Hickmott, winner of the WSOs Student Soloist Competition. Justin will perform a movement of Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto in the schools with the WSO.ĮĮ

Students from participating schools are also invited to attend the WSOs October 30 Masterworks concert, Dvoraks New World Symphony.ĮĮ

Up Close and Orchestral program scheduleĮĮ
Tuesday, October 6Į
Miles Macdonell Collegiate - Performance at 2:10 PMĮĮ
Wednesday, October 7ĮSt. Johns-
Ravenscourt School - Performance at 10:30 AMĮ
Collge Jeanne-Sauv - Performance at 2:00 PM
ĮĮThursday, October 8Į
Oak Park High School - Performance at 10:30 AMĮ
St. James Collegiate - Performance at 2:00 PM
ĮĮFriday, October 9
ĮCentre scolaire Lo-Rmillard - Performance at 10:30 AMĮ
R.B. Russell Vocational School - Performance at 2:00 PM

ĮĮUp Close and Orchestral is a program that makes a direct connection with high school students. Led by our talented and vibrant conductors, more than 3500 students receive a rare opportunity to meet the WSO and experience an up close and personal orchestra performance in their school.

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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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Monday, December 22, 2008

WSO's 12 Reasons to Celebrate!

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

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

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

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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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Thursday, October 16, 2008

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

Canadas 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 Canadas 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 Orchestras 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 Orchestras 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 orchestras 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 NACs 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 Orchestras 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 Lets 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 its 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 Louies Infinite Sky with Birds at every public concert. Vancouver-born Alexina Louie, one of Canadas most frequently performed composers, has been one of the NACs 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 Tchaikovskys Symphony No. 5 and Mozarts 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 Mozarts Violin Concerto No. 3. Others will hear the internationally renowned Vancouver-born pianist Jon Kimura Parker performing either Tchaikovskys iconic Piano Concerto No. 1 or Beethovens Piano Concerto No. 4. In Calgary, the NAC Orchestra will combine forces with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Tchaikovskys 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 NACs Summer Music Institute in 2004 and 2005 performing an excerpt from Beethovens 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 Beethovens 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 Vivaldis 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 Dub 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 NACs Lets 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 SK TCU 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 Childrens 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 worlds 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 Ottawas 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 Zukermans 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 Londons 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 Orchestras 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 countrys 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 Canadas leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists, and has gained both personal acclaim for her compositions and recognition for Canadas 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 Institutes 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 Viennas 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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