Victoria Symphony’s 2022/23 Season: Light and Darkness

Light and darkness are indivisible and inevitable forces that will forever continue to agitate our minds, propel our lives, and shape our world. This is a story that influences our 2022/23 season. In the words of Leonard Cohen, “Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Watch the Season Preview

Read the Brochure

Our Concert Series

Sundays at The Royal

Season Opening: Schubert Unfinished

Sunday, September 18, 2022, 2:30 pm


Brahms, Violin Concerto
Schubert, Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”)
Stravinsky, Firebird Suite (1919)

Two years of cancelled plans and shifting waves have left us with an appreciation for work interrupted. In our season opening we include Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8 – and challenge audiences to decide for themselves whether it is incomplete or utter perfection. Alongside it, we take a celebratory turn, with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite raising us up, while Concertmaster Terence Tam inspires with Brahms’ virtuosic Violin Concerto.

This concert is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Fritz & Dora Boehm.

Read the Program Notes here.

Being Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 4

Sunday, November 27, 2022, 2:30 pm

KRISZTINA SZABÓ, mezzo-soprano

Mendelssohn, The Fair Melusine
Ian Cusson, Songs From the House of Death (Poems by Joy Harjo) *VS co-commission, with the support of the Hugh Davidson Fund at the Victoria Foundation
Britten, Lachrymae, op. 48a
Schumann, Symphony No. 4 (1841)

A program of love & loss, story & song built around what would become Schumann’s Symphony No. 4. The heartfelt evening features Krisztina Szabó’s clarion tones in the Victoria Symphony premiere of Ian Cusson’s meditative song cycle, while principal violist Kenji Fusé offers the sublime reflections of Britten’s Lachrymae.

Read the Program Notes here.

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9

Sunday, February 5, 2023, 2:30 pm

RYAN COLE, trumpet
RUSSELL BAJER, English horn

Copland, Quiet City
R. Strauss, Metamorphosen
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 9

As World War II ended, Soviet composers were expected to produce bombastic music proclaiming victory, but Shostakovich hesitated. In these dark hours, under a regime of control, he instead gave voice to light – in the bright and brief Symphony No. 9. Accompanied by Richard Strauss’ contemporaneous 1945 string masterpiece and Copland’s haunting score, this is a program of expectations defied and beauty found in the strangest places.

Kluxen & Kahane: A Musical Journey

Sunday, March 26, 2023, 2:30 pm


Janáček, The Village Fiddler’s Child
Ravel, Piano Concerto in G major
Sibelius, Symphony No. 1

Maestro Kluxen leads a musical tour through rural Bohemia, Jazz Age Paris, and Finland’s lush arboreal landscapes. Internationally renowned special guest pianist Jeffrey Kahane will enchant audiences with Ravel’s jazz-influenced Concerto in G major, while the Symphony No. 1 by the Nordic composer Sibelius will immerse listeners in the rich, luxurious tones of this mainstay of the Romantic repertoire.

Ballet Edmonton: Music in Motion

Sunday, April 23, 2023, 2:30 pm
Monday, April 24, 2023, 7:30 pm* *Additional performance

WEN WEI WANG, choreographer

Vivaldi, The Four Seasons 
Ravel, Ma mère l’Oye Suite
Ian Cusson, Le loup de Lafontaine – Suite for orchestra in three scenes

The exquisite artists of Ballet Edmonton, led by Artistic Director Wen Wei Wang, arrive to set music in motion with a dazzling choreographic collection. The eclectic evening features dance set to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a new choreographic commission of Ian Cusson’s instrumental telling of the legend Le loup de Lafontaine by the Victoria Symphony in partnership with Dance Victoria. In between those two choreographed works we present Ravel’s fond tribute to children’s fairy tales, with his “Mother Goose” suite.

Sundays at The Farquhar, UVic

Tania Miller: Science & Symphony

Sunday, September 25, 2022, 2:30 pm

TANIA MILLER, conductor
DR. JOSÉ FRANCISCO SALGADO, astronomer and filmmaker

Debussy, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
John Estacio, Aurora Triptych *
Debussy, Clair de lune *
Dvořák, Symphony No. 7
* Science & Symphony Project,

A captivating program that dances along the border between fact and fancy. Guided by an astronomer and filmmaker, Aurora Triptych is a multimedia blend of music, photography, and visual storytelling that follows the Northern Lights on a far-ranging journey from the Sun to Earth’s upper atmosphere. This celestial voyage is complemented by Maestra Miller transporting us to realms of imagination with dream-like Debussy and a passionate proclamation from Dvořák.

Brahms Symphony No. 2

Sunday, November 6, 2022, 2:30 pm


Grace Williams, Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes
Elgar, The Wand of Youth Suite No. 1
Brahms, Symphony No. 2

While labouring over his second symphony, Brahms told his publisher – with a wink in his eye – to expect melancholy. Instead, he produced his most idyllic, amiable, and uplifting score! To share this symphonic sunshine – along with charming reflections on childhood from Elgar and Grace Williams – we welcome special guest Holly Mathieson. The New Zealand-born, Glasgow-based conductor, recent mother, and social activist serves as Music Director of Symphony Nova Scotia, and promises to bring wit & warmth to her Victoria Symphony debut.

Angela Hewitt: Bach Concerti

Sunday, March 5, 2023, 2:30 pm

ANGELA HEWITT, pianist and leader

Bach, Concerto No. 4 in A major BWV1055
Bach, Concerto No. 2 in E major BWV1053
Bach, Concerto No. 5 in F minor BWV1056
Bach, Concerto for flute, violin & keyboard in A minor BWV1044
Bach, Concerto No. 7 in G minor BWV1058

In demand around the globe as a recitalist and soloist, this Canadian treasure’s interpretations of Bach launched her into the classical music stratosphere. In this abundant, all-Bach program, Victoria audiences will have the rare opportunity to witness Hewitt conducting from the keyboard, as she skillfully leads our musicians through a collection of five concerti.

Amanda Forsythe: Mozart & More

Sunday, April 2, 2023, 2:30 pm


Webern, Symphony, op. 21
Handel, “Tornami a vagheggiar” (Alcina)
Tippett, Lament (Variations on an Elizabethan Theme)
Handel, “Piangerò la sorte mia” (Giulio Cesare)
Handel, “Da tempeste il legno infranto” (Giulio Cesare)
Mozart, Mitridate, Rè di Ponto Act 2 “Grazie ai numi parti…Nel grave tormento”
Mozart, “Exsultate, Jubilate”
Haydn, Symphony No. 34

Acclaimed for her “light and luster” and “wonder¬ful agility and silvery top notes,” (Opera News) Amanda Forsythe is recognized internationally as a leading interpreter of baroque and classical rep-ertoire. She is showcased here in a dazzling array of arias. In Vienna in the days of Mozart and Haydn, strictness of form, and economical use of orchestral forces were some hallmarks of style – and they were echoed in Vienna 150 years later. Join Forsythe and Maestro Kluxen to discover these connections through the ages.

Being Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 3

Sunday, April 30, 2023, 2:30 pm


Schumann, Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish”
Cassandra Miller, VS co-commission, with the support of the Hugh Davidson Fund at the Victoria Foundation
Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1

After relocating from Leipzig to Düsseldorf, and with his physical and mental health failing, Schumann experienced one of his final creative outbursts. In his third symphony, he evokes the pastoral calm, euphoric bliss, and living spirit of the Rhineland. Accompanying and informing the piece is the premiere of a work commissioned in response to Schumann’s music from Metchosin-born composer Cassandra Miller. The program concludes with audience favourite Lorraine Min sharing music from Schumann’s dear personal friend, Johannes Brahms.

Pops at The Royal

Van Django: Nuits de Paris

Saturday, October 1, 2022, 7:30 pm

Sunday, October 2, 2022, 2:30 pm


In the French cafés of the 1930s a new, high-spirited sound was ringing out from violinist Stéphane Grappelli, guitarist Django Reinhardt, and the Hot Club of France. Their driving rhythms, infectious melodies, and flights of fancy sing out once again in the talents of Van Django. This concert promises boundless fun with tunes like Sweet Georgia Brown, Swing 39, Blue Moon, and more.

Music That Goes Bump in the Night

Saturday, October 29, 2022, 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 30, 2022, 2:30 pm

SEAN O’LOUGHLIN, conductor

A symphonic ‘spooktacular’ brings frights and delights with some of the most chilling compositions from the concert hall and silver screen. From Saint-Saëns’ eerie Danse macabre to John Williams’ heart-racing Jaws score, music has the remarkable power to evoke some of our most primal emotions. In this Hallowe’en celebration, we share works that are guaranteed to set your pulse pounding and send chills down your spine.

A Brooke White Christmas

Saturday, December 10, 2022, 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 11, 2022, 2:30 pm

SEAN O’LOUGHLIN, conductor
BROOKE WHITE, vocalist

This American Idol finalist blew the judges away and Carly Simon declared Brooke’s covers exceeded the original recordings! Tracing her inspiration to vocalists such as Karen Carpenter, Joni Mitchell, and Kelly Clarkson, the talented singer/songwriter Brooke White applies her exquisite voice to a program of seasonal classics and holiday hits.

Mash-Up: Movies and the Masters

Saturday, January 28, 2023, 7:30 pm
Sunday, January 29, 2023. 2:30 pm

SEAN O’LOUGHLIN, conductor
LISA DONDLINGER, violin & vocals

How would Beethoven’s Ninth float next to music from Pirates of the Caribbean? Or Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite wash with Slumdog Millionaire? Braveheart with Jupiter from The Planets? In this unconventional program, violinist Lisa Dondlinger merges, mashes, and re-mixes some of Hollywood and classical music’s most iconic melodies to amazing and surprising results. Equally at home in classical and pop, Dondlinger has performed and recorded with top artists such as Céline Dion, Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, and more.

The Nat King Cole Songbook

Saturday, March 11, 2023, 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 12, 2023, 2:30 pm

SEAN O’LOUGHLIN, conductor

With songs such as Unforgettable, Nature Boy, and Mona Lisa, audiences have been falling in love with – and falling in love to – the music of Nat King Cole for decades. In this gorgeous and poignant tribute, beloved Canadian jazz artist Denzal Sinclaire applies his superlative voice and engaging rapport to an unforgettable evening of Nat’s greatest hits. Full of variety, the concert’s arrangements are specially prepared by Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik.
A Schirmer Theatrical/Greenberg Artists co-production.

The Doo Wop Project

Saturday, May 6, 2023, 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 7, 2023, 2:30 pm

SEAN O’LOUGHLIN, conductor

Nothing sets bodies swaying or toes tapping quite like the classic sounds of Frankie Valli, The Drifters, and artists of the Doo Wop era. In this playful project, Sean O’Loughlin leads audiences on a journey that starts with its humble origins – and leaps forward in time to imagine how modern hits might sound, given the same treatment. Featuring stars of Broadway smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, The Doo Wop Project revisits and recreates some of the greatest music in pop and rock history!

Saturdays at the Farquhar, UVic

Maxwell Davies: The Turn of the Tide

Saturday, November 19, 2022, 7:30 pm


Frederick Delius, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring Summer-night on the River
Rita Ueda, forty years of snowfall will not heal an ancient forest
Kelly-Marie Murphy, Rains of Ash and Embers
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, The Turn of the Tide
Randall Thompson, Choose Something Like a Star

Climate change is an issue of concern for us all, but most of all to the youth who will inherit the planet. British composer Peter Maxwell Davies was an outspoken voice for protecting the environment for these future generations. His 1992 work The Turn of the Tide engages young choristers, alongside the musicians of the Victoria Symphony, in a creation story that sets out the diverging paths before us. It is shared alongside similar meditations on ecosystems and impacts.

Supported in part by The Gail O’Riordan Climate and the Arts Legacy Fund at the Victoria Foundation.

Read the Program Notes here.

Being Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto

Saturday, January 21, 2023, 7:30 pm


Kelly-Marie Murphy, Dragon, Unfolding
Schumann, Cello Concerto
Rodney Sharman, After Schumann
Louise Farrenc, Symphony No. 3

The music of the 19th century French composer Louise Farrenc was much admired by Robert Schumann – but while Schumann gained lasting celebrity, Farrenc’s works were unjustly neglected. She was a virtuoso concert pianist (like Clara Schumann), but as a woman, was denied composition classes at the Paris Conservatoire. The influences and echoes between the duo are highlighted by Maestra Léonard in a program that pairs Farrenc’s Symphony No. 3 with Schumann’s Cello Concerto – given dazzling life by prize-winning young cellist Stéphane Tétreault – as well as two contemporary compositions.

Musical Genius: Pundits & Puzzles

Saturday, February 11, 2023, 7:30 pm


Biber, Battalia à 10
Friedrich Gulda, Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra
Oliver Knussen, Music for a Puppet Court – puzzle pieces for two chamber orchestras after John Lloyd
Mozart, Symphony No. 35 “Haffner”

While we often celebrate music’s emotional expressiveness, this concert is all about compositional feats of intellectual genius! From the clockwork intricacy of Biber’s Battalia to Gulda’s bizarre orchestral ‘battle of the bands;’ from a dashed-off Mozart masterpiece that surprised even himself to a literal puzzle-piece by Knussen; these works comprise a dazzling showcase of the crystalline visions and inspired minds that could conceive such brilliance.

Giordano Bellincampi: Dvořák Symphony No. 8

Saturday, March 18, 2023, 7:30 pm


Stravinsky, Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra
Gary Kulesha, Oboe Concerto
Dvořák, Symphony No. 8

The happy spirits and bucolic folksiness of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 dance alongside Stravinsky’s playful suite and a dazzling new concerto. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Canadian oboist Bede Hanley collaborated with conductor Giordano Bellincampi in a 2020 concert and live radio broadcast to showcase Gary Kulesha’s new creation. The reception for the work was rapturous and enthusiastic – sentiments that are certain to return here, at its Canadian premiere.

Season Finale: Mozart Requiem

Saturday, May 13, 2023, 7:30pm

ANDREA HILL, mezzo-soprano
TYLER DUNCAN, baritone

Ligeti, Lux Aeterna
Mozart, Requiem

A season of light and darkness concludes as the VS, stellar vocal soloists, and Vox Humana bathe in the eternal radiance of Mozart’s Requiem. Commissioned by a mysterious, grey-clad figure whose identity is unknown to this day, an ailing Mozart raced against time – and ultimately failed – to complete this work. It would fall to his student, Franz Süssmayer, to close the gaps and launch the manuscript on its path to immortality. Alongside Ligeti’s luminously beautiful choral work, experience Requiem in a new way – as we close our season on a contemplative and hopeful note.

Kids at the Farquhar, UVic

Superheroes & Bad Guys

Sunday, October 23, 2022, 2:30 pm

MIGHTY MAESTRO, superconductor

Mighty Maestro needs your help! We’re calling all superheroes in Victoria to unite with the VS and thwart the villains running amok in our theatre. Featuring music from Spider-Man, Star Wars, How to Train Your Dragon, and more, this concert is sure to set young minds soaring. Grab your cape, mask, and costume and leap into action for an exciting afternoon of blockbuster music!

Carnival of Our Animals

Sunday, February 12, 2023, 2:30 pm

WILLIAM ROWSON, composer and conductor

The beloved Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns is re-imagined and presented with animals of the Pacific Northwest in an original composition by William Rowson. Created in partnership with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, stories of the Thunderbird, Salish Woolly Dog, and Eagle are shared as we explore connections between music and storytelling.

Rhythm in Your Rubbish

Sunday, March 19, 2023, 2:30 pm


Magic, music, and wonder fill the air with lovely reverberations, as two wandering guests from Platypus Theatre discover beauty in unexpected places. A saw plays a duet with a cello. Bottles and flutes interweave in a beautiful serenade. Pots, bowls, horns, and even sandpaper transform into magical instruments. After an enchanting black-light dream sequence, the wanderers, orchestra, and audience finish off this mesmerizing show with an epic percussion battle.


A Brooke White Christmas

Saturday, December 10, 2022, 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 11, 2022, 2:30pm

SEAN O’LOUGHLIN, conductor
BROOKE WHITE, vocalist

This American Idol finalist blew the judges away and Carly Simon declared Brooke’s covers exceeded the original recordings! Tracing her inspiration to vocalists such as Karen Carpenter, Joni Mitchell, and Kelly Clarkson, the talented singer/songwriter Brooke White applies her exquisite voice to a program of seasonal classics and holiday hits.

Handel’s Messiah

Friday, December 16, 2022, 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 18, 2022, 2:30 pm

ALLYSON McHARDY, mezzo-soprano

Associate Conductor Giuseppe Pietraroia leads four internationally-renowned Canadian soloists, the Victoria Symphony, Vox Humana, and friends in a complete performance of Handel’s sublime seasonal masterpiece. Brimming with dramatic arias, resplendent passages, and the iconic Hallelujah Chorus – the oratorio may be the most famous piece of classical music in the world.

The Hockey Sweater & The Snowman

Saturday, December 17, 2022, 4:30 pm

Abigail Richardson-Schulte, The Hockey Sweater
Howard Blake, The Snowman

A perfect pairing of children’s classics are brought to life in a special holiday event combining multimedia storytelling with live musical accompaniment. Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater brings a uniquely Canadian tale of rivalry, community, and belonging. Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman whisks audiences away on a winter adventure with a young boy and his beloved magical playmate.

New Year’s Day Celebration

Sunday, January 1, 2023, 2:30 pm


Start off the New Year with a program every bit as effervescent as a glass of bubbles! All-star guests will be dropping by to share delightful highlights from favourite operas, operettas and musicals. Join us for one of the season’s most anticipated and playful traditions!