Victoria Symphony forced out of its home at the Royal Theatre

Victoria, BC – After decades of performances at its home base at the Royal Theatre, the Victoria Symphony has announced that it is being forced out of the Theatre due to exorbitant rental increases and curtailed access to booking dates.

Recent changes to rental fees and newly created priority scheduling policies and procedures developed by the Board of the Royal Theatre have created an untenable situation for the Victoria Symphony. “We have been forced to make some difficult decisions in the interest of our long term viability and sustainability,” says Chair of the Symphony Board Alan Hollingworth. “With the new policy our rent will increase by 100%, and combined with significantly reduced access to available dates in the Theatre we can no longer continue to offer our series of concerts.”

The Symphony will pull out close to 50% of its season offerings from the Royal and take them to the Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria beginning in September 2019 and going forward. Effective September 2019 Saturday and Sunday Masterworks concerts will be presented at the University of Victoria, while Monday Masterworks will remain at the Royal Theatre. The Pops Series will remain at the Royal Theatre on Saturday and Sunday, with the Friday option now removed. The Christmas Special, Viennese New Years and Concerts for Kids will all take place at the University of Victoria.

Kathryn Laurin, CEO of the Symphony says, “We are counting on the understanding and continued support of our valued patrons to make this important transition with us. It will be challenging but certainly feasible.”

The Victoria Symphony is now in its 78th season and has been a long-standing contributor to a vibrant arts community in Victoria and the region, presenting over 60 different concert programs each year and providing a musical experience to over 18,000 school-aged students in Victoria and surrounding areas through its Education and Outreach programs.

More details on the transition will be forthcoming to patrons in the New Year.

VS Welcomes New Composer in Residence and Debuts his First VS Commission

Victoria, BC – Marcus Goddard, Associate Principal Trumpet with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, has joined the Victoria Symphony as the new Composer in Residence. His inaugural commission, Concerto for Trumpet, has its debut on November 3 with Principal Trumpet Ryan Cole performing the piece.

Goddard is the latest in a series of talented Canadian composers who have held the position of Composer in Residence with the Victoria Symphony including Jared Miller, Michael Oesterle and Victoria’s own Christopher Butterfield. Goddard will be developing music for the VS as well as leading workshops with aspiring young composers (14 – 21 years old) and providing feedback for composers during the Hugh Davidson Composer Readings where the orchestra will perform compositions from upcoming composers.

His Concerto for Trumpet, his first large-scale work for solo brass instrument, was inspired by both the strength of the trumpet’s fanfare figures and its cozy lyrical side. Elements of jazz can be heard throughout the colourful composition that Goddard describes as “an intense, seat-gripping ride.”

“While working on the concerto,” says Goddard, “I had frequent collaborative discussions with soloist Ryan Cole. Ryan’s observations and suggestions during these talks were a great way for me to stay connected to the integration of the entire piece and to create a work that truly leaps out of the instrument.”

Guest conductor Berhard Gueller returns to conduct Dvořák’s Czech Suite to open the concert. Composed in 1879, the richly melodic Suite is comprised of three movements named after folk dances and reflect Dvořák’s nationalistic style. Schumann’s joyous and effervescent Symphony No. 1 concludes the program.

Please join the Victoria Symphony in welcoming new Composer in Residence, Marcus Goddard.

Single tickets are available here.

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.