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The Composer is Here!

April 20 @ 3:00 pm

Known for his kid’s concert hit, “Wall to Wall Percussion,” Vern Griffiths leads this fun, family-friendly performance that explores what it means to be a composer. The afternoon features works by legendary composers such as John Williams, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky along with creative collaborators based in BC. The audience will get in on the action and help compose a brand-new work to be performed live by the Victoria Symphony!

Arrive early to take part in the pre-concert activities starting at 2:00 pm:

-Instrument petting zoo: try the violin, cello, trumpet, and trombone!
-Composition station: draw your own graphic score and have it played back to you by musicians from the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra!


Vern Griffiths, conductor

Percussionist and conductor Vern Griffiths is the Principal Percussionist of the Vancouver Symphony. He is also known for writing fun and engaging kids concerts, and his hit show Wall to Wall Percussion has been performed over 60 times across Canada (and recently into the US), with the symphonies of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Lima (OH), and Toronto. He has performed Wall to Wall Percussion 10 times with the Victoria Symphony!

His second kids show, The Composer Is Here, explores in a fun and participatory way the creative act of writing music. We’ll meet and hear music by several local composers, ranging from wily veterans to emerging students, and also learn about composers like Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and John Williams. The climax is when the audience and Vern will write a melody together — live, onstage — and then sing this new piece together with the Victoria Symphony!

Otherwise, Vern is a musician wearing many hats. Aside from playing with the Vancouver Symphony, he is also a member of the award-winning new music ensemble Standing Wave, has recorded movie soundtracks for Disney, ABC, IMAX, NFB, EA Sports, and Dreamworks. He has been teaching percussion at the UBC School of Music since 1997. Vern is also a composer, and recently had two of his works recorded by the Vancouver Symphony.

As a conductor, he has led pops shows featuring stars like Stewart Copeland and Holly Cole, as well as other kid’s concerts and quite a bit of contemporary music. He has a particular interest in working with contemporary Canadian composers, and has conducted works by Jocelyn Morlock, Rodney Sharman, Alfredo Santa Ana, Dorothy Chang, John Estacio, Anna Höstman, Nico Muhly, Rita Ueda, Andrea Tarrodi, Laura Pettigrew, and Marcus Goddard. His third kids concert, called What Do YOU Play?, will debut with the Vancouver Symphony in May of 2024.


April 20
starts at 3:00 pm


Victoria Symphony


Farquhar at UVic
University Farquhar Auditorium, Ring Road
Victoria, BC V8P 5C2 Canada
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Concert Credits