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.