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The Halton Youth Symphony and the Mississauga Youth Orchestra are pleased to announce the appointment of their new Music Director, Dr. Gregory Burton. Burton comes to the organizations as they plan an amalgamation that will form the Halton-Mississauga Youth Orchestra. Gregory Burton has been a leader in the field of orchestral conducting and education for the past 25 years. He conducted the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra for 18 seasons, from 1988-2006. He recently completed a 7-year tenure as Music Director of the York Symphony Orchestra. Burton has also been Music Director of the Mississauga Youth Orchestra, and has held conducting positions at University of Toronto, McMaster University, Acadia University and Brandon University.

After eight years with Symphony Nova Scotia as CEO, Erika Beatty has stepped down from the role, effective immediately. Speaking about the change, SNS Board Chair Bret Mitchell said, “Erika has been a strong and vocal advocate for the arts and creative industries in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, and nationally. She has built a sustaining network of support both provincially and nationally which will serve Symphony Nova Scotia and all arts organizations well in the future. She has helped grow the Symphony Nova Scotia Endowment Fund, increase audiences to 50,000 annually, and expand the diversity of community and educational programming available to citizens.” An interim CEO will be appointed shortly, and a national search will be launched for Ms Beatty’s successor.

The Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO) has announced that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has agreed to renew his Royal Patronage of the RSO until 2018. The organizations to which His Royal Highness gives his patronage reflect the Prince’s personal interests – and this renewed honour follows the RSO’s command performance for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during the 2012 Royal Tour.

Congratulations to Trudy Schroeder, executive director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, who was recently presented with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her leadership as Executive Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and also for her earlier work as the Executive Director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. The award was presented to her by Manitoba Premier Gary Selinger at the provincial legislature building.

As is its pleasant custom, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will be recognizing important community and artistic partners at its annual gala on April 25. This year’s honorees include Winnipeg’s Richardson Foundation, cited for transforming the connection WSO has with Manitoba students and for its ongoing collaboration with the WSO “to plan a dynamic presence in downtown Winnipeg”; and singer/songwriter Steve Bell, cited for taking “a musically interesting and entrepreneurial approach to the development of products and performances with the WSO…connecting his loyal audience base to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.”

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Icelandic Focus for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival

Icelandic Focus for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival

January 28 to February 3, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presents its 21st annual New Music Festival (NMF) – this year focusing on music from Nordic cultures, particularly Iceland.

The festival is a typically intrepid NMF mix, marrying outstanding local and Canadian artists with distinguished international visitors. Here’s a quick rundown:

Local stars: the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, led by Alexander Mickelthwate; the Canadian Mennonite University Chorus; Prairie Voices; WSO principal violist Daniel Scholz (featured in Giya Kancheli’s Styx); Groundswell Ensemble; and composers Vincent Ho, Jim Hiscott, Gordon Fitzell, Michael Matthews, Diana Macintosh, and Jesse Plessis (a student at Brandon University who recently won the Canadian Music Centre’s Emerging Composer award).

Canadian guests: cellist Shauna Rolston (performing a new concerto by Vincent Ho for carbon fibre cello and orchestra), dance troupe La La La Human Steps, composers Alexina Louie and Tim Hecker.

International visitors: violinist Jennifer Koh, composers Kaija Saariaho, Daniel Bjarnason, Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Gavin Bryars, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Atli Heimir Sveinsson

Venues: Centennial Concert Hall, Westminster United Church, Winnipeg Art Gallery

In line with Glenn Buhr’s long ago comment that “the New Music Festival is better than Christmas: it lasts longer, and it’s way cheaper”, Festival passes are a distinct bargain: $99 (regular) $89 (senior) $59 (student). For more information please visit newmusicfestival.ca.

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