A Fantasia of Dance

Victoria Symphony is joined by Ballet Victoria for the orchestra’s first pops concert of the 2019-20 season September 28 and 29, 2019

Principal Pops Conductor, Sean O’Loughlin, has created an electric program to launch the Victoria Symphony’s pops season, fusing music and dance and featuring the talented dancers of Ballet Victoria. A Fantasia of Dance is presented at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St., Victoria, September 28, 2019 at 8pm and September 29, 2019 at 2pm.

Conducted by O’Loughlin, with choreography by Ballet Victoria Artistic Director Paul Destrooper, A Fantasia of Dance includes audience favourites from Rodeo, Appalachian Spring, Romeo and Juliet, and Fantasia, along with O’Loughlin’s own creation inspired by the best-selling book, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Concert highlights also include:
Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries
Debussy’s Clare de Lune
Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights
Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain

Paul Destrooper has created original choreography for the concert, playing with the various genres of classical ballet, mixing traditional classical with neo classical style and adding contemporary choreography as well. “I’m focusing on the musical aspect of a work, playing with both melody and rhythm, as well as the dramatic accents and themes of each work”, he explains. “Some works are purely aesthetic and technical, while others develop some narrative content. The whole program is very entertaining and varied, and Ballet Victoria is thrilled to be working with the musicians of the Victoria Symphony.”

A Fantasia of Dance is presented Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm., at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria. Tickets are $33 – $85 and are available from the Victoria Symphony Box Office at 250-385-6815.

Maestro Christian Kluxen opens season with Rachmaninoff & Brahms

Victoria, BC – The VS will join Maestro Kluxen on stage Monday, September 23 as they begin the 79th season of the Victoria Symphony. And the music…the demanding and stunning Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 and Brahms Symphony No. 1.

With a reputation as being one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the standard classical repertoire, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is regarded as the best of his Piano Concertos. Honens International Piano Competition winner Geogory Tchaidze will make his debut with the VS performing this beautifully crafted and emotionally fulfilling concerto. Russian born Tchaidze has performed all over the world including Berlin, Shanghai, Brussels and with Pinkas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The Ottawa Citizen praised his performance: “commendable clarity…unusually powerful a performance of so little ostentation.” Since 2016, he has been the artist in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium
under the direction of famed pianist Louis Lortie.

The second part of the concert features Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. Crafted over 23 years, the Symphony is related spiritually to the symphonies of Beethoven, while written in the Romantic musical language of Brahms. Tragic conflict, folk-like melodies and an intense passion build to a glorious and triumphant conclusion.

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

Single tickets are on sale now.

 

Wagner’s Lohengrin

International soloists join orchestra and Victoria Choral Society to present third act of Wagner’s opera

Victoria, BC – German composer Richard Wagner meets Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in the Victoria Symphony’s big season finale, May 11 and 12, 2019, at Victoria’s Royal Theatre. “We begin with the Prelude from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and flow directly into Sibelius’ glorious and uplifting Symphony No. 7, which was inspired by Tristan und Isolde”, says music director Christian Kluxen. “Then we conclude with a tour-de-force of opera soloists and the Victoria Choral Society for the epic and triumphant third act of Wagner’s Lohengrin”.

Love, betrayal, mysticism, transformation and royalty. These are themes that figure prominently in Wagner’s work. Lohengrin tells the story of a Grail knight sent by heaven, under a condition of anonymity, to be the champion for Elsa, a princess who stands accused of murdering her brother. Lohengrin succeeds in his challenge and he and Elsa fall in love and she vows never to ask his origins. Act three takes place after their wedding and begins as Lohengrin and Elsa are escorted to their bridal chamber with the iconic “Bridal Chorus” (“Here Comes the Bride”). In the privacy of their bedchamber Elsa begins to question her new husband, and, although he begs her to stop, she eventually breaks her oath, and thereby loses Lohengrin forever.

Victoria Symphony is delighted to welcome sopranos Aviva Fortunata and Kari Postma, singing the roles of Elsa and Otrud, tenor Cooper Nolan as Lohengrin, bass Robert Pomakov as King Heinrich, and a chorus from the Victoria Choral Society for this presentation. The opera is sung in German, with English surtitles.

Twice named one of CBC Top 30 Canadian Classical Artists under 30, Italian-Canadian soprano Aviva Fortunata has been praised as being “blessed with a gorgeous voice of richness and amplitude.” She is in demand on opera stages across North America and recently sang the role of Leonore in Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

Norwegian soprano Kari Postma has performed on some of the most prestigious stages in Scandinavia and Europe, including roles at the Komische Oper Berlin, the Norwegian National Opera, Royal Danish Opera and as a member of the ensemble at the Staatsoper Hamburg. Ms. Postma makes her Canadian debut singing the role of Otrud.

American tenor Cooper Nolan, praised for his “bright, shining, tenor” (Musical America) and his “powerhouse voice” (Opera News), is increasingly making a name for himself as an important interpreter of some of opera’s most demanding tenor roles. He makes his Victoria debut singing the title role of Lohengrin.

Canadian bass Robert Pomakov has performed on opera stages around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera. He is currently making his Vancouver Opera debut in that company’s production of Faust and will make his Victoria debut with the Victoria Symphony, singing the role of King Heinrich.

Conducted by Christian Kluxen, Wagner’s Lohengrin is presented Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 2:30 pm., at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria. Tickets are $33 – $86 and are available from the Victoria Symphony Box Office at 250-385-6815 or www.victoriasymphony.ca

Victoria Symphony Announces 2019/20 Season!

Victoria Symphony Announces 2019/20 Season – “Beethoven 250”: 9 Symphonies in 3 Weeks!

Victoria, BC – The Victoria Symphony launched its 2019/20 season today, unveiling concert details for Maestro Christian Kluxen’s third season as Music Director. Kluxen will conduct all nine Beethoven Symphonies over the course of three consecutive weeks in March 2020. This “Beethoven 250” Festival celebrates the composer’s 250th birthday. Says Kluxen, “His music is a universal force. Every note must be a new creation, show a way, comment on its surroundings and show us the bigger picture. Beethoven is the purest example of human struggle and final triumph. Beethoven is humanity.”

The season opens with international sensation Georgy Tchaidze tackling Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.3 (one of the most challenging of the repertoire) and concludes with the triumphant and glorious Mahler Symphony No. 3. In between, audiences will see an incredible lineup of returning artists including Canadians Angela Cheng and Lorraine Min as well as international artists Tobias Ringborg, Eric Lu and Stefan Jackiw making their first appearances in Victoria.

This season also introduces the overarching theme of Under the Northern Lights; a collection of concerts that feature masterpieces from Scandinavian composers mirrored by popular works from the classical repertoire and cutting edge new music. “Naked Classics” animateur Paul Rissmann returns to undress Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Concertmaster Terence Tam performs Lindberg’s mesmerizing Violin Concerto No. 1 and Principal Cellist Brian Yoon brings us Lalo’s Concerto for Cello.

Fresh off of successful Star Wars and Wizard of Oz performances, Sean O’Loughlin returns as Principal Pops Conductor of the VS, bringing in concerts featuring music from Frank Sinatra, James Bond and other spies, Celtic fiddler Maria Millar and the return of Cirque de la symphonie in Cirque Goes to the Theatre.

Other highlights of the season include collaborations with Ballet Victoria and the Victoria Choral Society, the Canadian Brass, music from Frank Zappa and a concert featuring 3D graphics.

This season will again feature the VS performing over 60 concerts in our theatres and throughout our communities. Several of our main stage concert series are changing venues as Masterworks Saturday, Masterworks Sunday, holiday specials (Handel’s Messiah, Canadian Brass and A Viennese New Years) and Concerts for Kids move to the Farquhar at UVic. Masterworks Monday and the Pops Series will remain at the Royal Theatre. Our New Music Festival and Explorations concerts will once again return to the Dave Dunnet Theatre.

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.