VS Welcomes new Principal Pops Conductor

Victoria, BC – The Victoria Symphony’s new principal pops conductor, Sean O’Loughlin, launches the orchestra’s 2018-19 season of pops concerts on September 22 and 23 with a salute to Broadway and Bernstein. Concerts are presented Saturday, September 22 from 8pm to 10pm, and Sunday, September 23 from 2pm to 4pm, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria.

Born 100 years ago, composer Leonard Bernstein enjoys a hallowed place in the history of Broadway. From his sensational debut in 1944 as the composer of the Broadway musical On the Town, to his final composition for the Broadway stage in 1976, Bernstein worked to blur the lines between the Broadway stage and the New York concert hall. He followed the success of On the Town with the ballet Fancy Free and then returned to more traditional Broadway style with Wonderful Town. He enjoyed continued success with the operas Trouble in Tahiti and Candide, and then teamed with lyricist Stephen Sondheim for West Side Story. Broadway & Bernstein celebrates the music of the legendary composer as well as his contemporaries and inspirations, including Rodgers & Hammerstein and Sondheim. The orchestra is joined by soprano Lara Ciekiewicz and tenor David Curry.

O’Laughlin has been conductor and/or arranger with some of the most popular pop artists of the century including Adele, Jerry Garcia, Steven Tyler, Kelly Clarkson and Josh Groban. He claims that one of his big breaks was a collaboration with Sarah McLachlan. After writing her orchestra arrangements, she invited him to tour as her conductor. The connections made during that tour led to an invitation, from the Victoria Symphony, to conduct his first stand-alone pops concert.

“Sean has come full-circle with the Victoria Symphony, from his guest appearance and personal debut as a pops conductor with a symphony orchestra, to the launch of his first season as our principal pops conductor”, said CEO Kathryn Laurin. “He has a natural connection with the Victoria Symphony Pops audience and has built a wonderful relationship with the musicians over the past few years. We all look forward to welcoming him to the podium.”

Single tickets are on sale here.

Maestro Christian Kluxen opens season with Mahler No. 4

Victoria, BC – 74 musicians will join Maestro Kluxen on stage Monday, September 17 as he begins his second season as the Music Director of the Victoria Symphony. The Symphony…Gustav Mahler’s majestic and spectacularly orchestrated Symphony No. 4.

Last played over 12 years ago, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 reflects a short-lived spiritual period in his life; a gentle and beautiful symphony that is a delight to all. This piece combines Mahler’s love of nature, humour, scintillating orchestration, and a search for meaning amid the great questions of life into one masterful symphony. Additional horns, strings and brass musicians will take the stage to bring Mahler’s work to life. Support for this concert is provided by the Egon Baumann Music Foundation, celebrating Baumann’s life-long passion for the music of Mahler.

Canadian soprano Leslie Ann Bradley will sing the final movement of Mahler’s Symphony as well as Alban’s Seven Early Songs. A veteran of both operatic and symphonic performances throughout North America, Bradley has been described as giving performances of “sweeping virtuosity and radiance…her brightness dazzled, her mid to lower range open-hearted and warm.” (Opera Going Toronto).  Last performed by the VS in 1991, Berg’s Seven Early Songs, although composed under his mentor Schoenberg in a structured formal manner, retain a lyrical, sensitive tone that comes across as haunting and other-worldly as sung by the memorable Leslie Ann Bradley.

The concert opens with Danish composer Hans Abrahamen’s Nact und Trompeten, a reflection and memory of both modern music and music from the past and how they interact and unravel in today’s modern society.

This concert will be a powerful opening to the VS season and not to be missed.

Single tickets are on sale HERE.

$1,000,000 donation


Victoria, BC – CEO Kathryn Laurin announced the largest private donation in the Victoria Symphony’s history today, $1,000,000 gifted by Len Chapple and his late wife Dallas.

“Dallas and Len Chapple’s gift is unprecedented in the arts community and creates an extraordinary legacy for the Victoria Symphony,” said Laurin. “It’s a leadership gift and the largest private donation in the Symphony’s history, demonstrating the impact that classical music and the Symphony in particular, can generate within the community and the region.”

Dallas Chapple, known for her contributions to the community, served two terms on the Victoria Symphony Board of Directors. Her most recent term ended in September 2017, just a few months short of her passing in December 2017. The successful real estate agent frequently attended concerts and Victoria Symphony events and served as the chair for the Festival of Trees, Victoria Executive Management Club and Rotary Club of Oak Bay.

“Dallas had a passion for music,” said VS Board Chair Brian Butler. “She was a dedicated Board member, always happy to lend support or find a way to get things done. The Chapple donation reflects her passion for music and their spirit of philanthropy, and serves as an example for us all.”

Len Chapple, her husband of 37 years, joined Dallas in her enthusiasm for music and community. “We loved each other, and the Victoria Symphony was the other love in our lives. It’s as important to the city of Victoria as any other non-profit organization. I hope that others will take advantage and come to the Symphony to find their own love of music.”

The Victoria Symphony will be acknowledging the $1,000,000 over the next few seasons, recognizing the Chapples as season underwriters and underwriting the Christmas Pops concerts.  “Christmas Pops was always one of Dallas’s favourites,” said Len.

The Victoria Symphony is thrilled and extremely grateful for their generous support.

Grand Opening Concert for the 75th Season

Victoria, BC – September 11, 2015

The Victoria Symphony has grand plans for the opening concert of the 75th Anniversary season. The gala concert celebrates the past, present and future with incredible energy, popular repertoire and some very special guests.  The concert takes place Monday, September 21, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria, with guests, The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy, and pianist Alexander Korsantia.

At the first concert of the inaugural season in 1940, musicians of the Naden Band joined with local musicians to form the Victoria Symphony.  On September 21st The Royal Theatre stage will be filled to the brim with brass and wind instruments as The Naden Band joins the orchestra for the first time to honour those early years when over half of the musicians were in military uniform.

Copland’s powerful Fanfare for the Common Man kicks off the evening, which continues with Bach’s famous organ piece, Toccata and Fugue in D minor (familiar to fans of Dracula movies), and the world premiere of a new work by local composer Christopher Butterfield.

Georgian-born pianist Alexander Korsantia is acclaimed for his versatility, power, and the unique sincerity of his playing. He’s a distinguished soloist and has been featured with symphony orchestras across the US, Israel and Russia. His tour-de-force performance of Prokofiev’s lyrical and witty Piano Concerto No. 3 will conclude the first half of the concert.

The second half begins with another fantastic fanfare, Janacek’s Fanfare from Sinfonietta, followed by Barber’s Commando March and Wagner’s epic Ride of the Valkyries (which we all recognize from  Bugs Bunny cartoons). The concert finale is Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: Symphonic Picture, an expanded musical look at one of Gershwin’s finest achievements – Porgy and Bess.

Victoria Symphony Music Director Tania Miller leads the concert.  “The evening will be over-the-top and thrilling, with a few surprises”, declares Miller. “The audience will never doubt that it is a truly Grand Opening to our 75th season!”

VS Executive Director Announces Departure

Victoria, BC – March 13, 2015

Mitchell Krieger, Executive Director of the Victoria Symphony since January 2009, will be stepping down from his position after the 75th Anniversary season, in June of 2016.

“When I leave the Victoria Symphony, it will be with a heavy heart. It’s a wonderful organization fully committed to enriching lives through the shared experience of extraordinary music. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together, and I look forward to a yearlong celebration of the 75th Anniversary,” Krieger said in his message to staff and the Board of Directors earlier in the week. “But with the impending birth of a granddaughter in New York, and the long distance from my family there and in other Eastern locations, my wife Sarah and I have decided that we need to be closer to them.”

Krieger has worked closely with Music Director Tania Miller during his tenure, and the organization has seen a continued growth in artistic programming, with numerous highlights including internationally renowned soloists, artists and conductors such as Anton Kuerti, Jan Lisiecki, Cirque de la Symphonie and James Ehnes, to name a few. He has also been instrumental in sourcing new financial support, and overseeing growth in the development and marketing departments of the VS, and initiated programs reaching out to the community for both sponsorship and artistic support.

Krieger believes that the Victoria Symphony has a key role to play in creating value and connections within the arts community and with new audiences. He’s spearheaded community collaborations such as the Chinatown Celebration, the Emily Carr project and most recently the Lest We Forget collaboration with partners including the Greater Victoria Public Library and Royal BC Museum, culminating in the Victoria Symphony concert at the Bay Street Armoury with the Canadian Scottish Regiment.

Praising his colleagues, Krieger says “the Victoria Symphony is blessed with immensely talented musicians, a strong and devoted board, an amazingly creative and hardworking staff, hundreds of wonderful volunteers, and innumerable supporters. The Victoria region is a terrific hotbed of world-class arts, and I believe the Symphony is the crown jewel of them all.”

The board of directors is starting a search for Krieger’s successor.