Later this month, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra kick off their new music festivals, the VSO’s four-concert event running from January 15-18, and the WSO’s eight-concert festival going from January 31-February 7. Here’s a rundown of what each orchestra has in store.
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s festival is now in its second year, and has been jointly designed by VSO music director Bramwell Tovey and resident composer Jocelyn Morlock. Featured performers include Vancouver’s virtuosic Standing Wave ensemble, Vancouver’s Phoenix Chamber Choir, VSO musicians Christie Reside (flute) and Nicholas Wright (violin). Festival repertoire is an intriguing mix of Canadian and international work, and includes music by Canadians Claude Vivier, Nicole Lizée, Jocelyn Morlock, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Marcus Goddard, and Frederick Schipizky, and such international composers as Harrison Birtwistle, Toru Takemitsu, John Luther Adams, and Arvo Pärt. Each evening will include a pre-concert talk with the composers and a short preconcert performance by young artists; following each concert there will be a post-concert Cabaret, with cash bar.
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s annual New Music Festival was established (by Bramwell Tovey!) in 1992, and it has established an enviable international reputation for the scope of its programming and the devotion of its audience. This year’s festival features the Arditti Quartet, choirs Camerata Nova and Prairie Voices, video artists Viewing Method Group, Ursula Oppens, and Rob Menard; featured composers include Violet Archer, Ann Southam, Larysa Kuzmenko, Kati Agocs, Orjan Sandred, Nicole Lizée, James Tenney, John Luther Adams, and Frederick Rzewski. Parties, talks, and events abound around the festival, and include the opportunity to participate in the creation of a multitude of festival collages, thanks to well-supplied art tables set up in the lobby and Piano Nobile levels of the Centennial Concert Hall.