2020/21 Season

VSkicks off the festive season with Magic of the Holidays

Victoria Symphony kicks off the festive season with Magic of the Holidays featuring soprano Betty Waynne Allison and the Vox Humana Chamber Choir

Victoria, BC – The Victoria Symphony is joined by soprano Betty Waynne Allison and the Vox Humana Chamber Choir for a magical concert to kick off the Christmas season.  Featuring favourite carols and familiar orchestral selections, the Victoria Symphony bundles the sentiment and the excitement of the season into Magic of the Holidays.   Performances take place Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 8 pm and Sunday, December 15 at 2 pm at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria.

Vox Humana is a chamber choir of approximately twenty-four singers that frequently collaborates with soloists, small groups of instruments, other choirs, and full orchestras.  Vox Humana joined the Victoria Symphony for the first time in a 2004 Christmas Pops concert where the singers displayed their versatility, performing everything from Praetorius to Britten to popular Christmas standards.  The choir has been a frequent and popular guest of the Victoria Symphony since then with collaborations such as Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Britten’s powerful War Requiem.

Canadian soprano, Betty Waynne Allison is a singer who “combines it all — voice, acting ability, presence and beauty — in one highly impressive package” (Toronto Sun).  Based out of her home in the Cowichan Valley, Ms. Allison is a former member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble and has appeared in leading roles with opera companies across Canada. She is equally comfortable on the concert stage, with her rich and florid interpretation of pieces such as Symphony VIII by Mahler and Brahms’ Requiem.

Conducted by Giuseppe Pietraroia, Magic of the Holidays will delight and inspire with selections such as the Polonaise from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Christmas Eve Suite, Fraser’s This Christmastide (Jessye’s Carol), Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, and Anderson’s Sleigh Ride.  A touch of additional magic is provided with selections from John Williams’ score for Harry Potter.

Magic of the Holidays is presented December 14, 2019 at 8 pm with matinée December 15, at 2 pm, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street. Tickets are $33 – $85 and are available from the Victoria Symphony Box Office at 250-385-6815 or www.victoriasymphony.ca




Victoria, BC – This season our Explorations series begins with a program that discovers the similarities as well as the  juxtaposition between sight and sound. From very real environmental concerns facing our society to abstract concerns that are more existential in nature; each piece is raw and captivating in its own unique way.

Strangely Elated
This piece is based on the life and work of Canadian experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett (1936-1986). Lipsett was a director of short, avant-garde films who used montage and found-footage to create immaculately edited works of incisive, satire: hyperreal portraits of society juxtaposed to reveal the beauty, comedy and depravity of contemporary life.

Under Bleak Skies
Composer Jennifer Butler wrote this piece thinking about the impact of humans on our oceans. We are constantly bombarded with news of symptoms warning that our oceans are in danger: higher PH levels, orca whale numbers dropping lower each year, fish populations that are near collapse, and the vast plastic gyre in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Under Bleak Skies is a musical lament for the ocean. In the beginning of the piece the sea is calm and two birds circle overhead. However, a feeling of alarm and panic gradually enters the musical texture, until all the  instruments are sounding an alarm.

This is the World Premiere of the Hugh Davidson Fund (through the Victoria Foundatin) commissioned piece Confluence created by filmmaker Lindsay Dobbin and our own VS Composer-in-Residence Marcus Goddard. The film is of the meeting place of fresh and salt water. Located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of Lnu’k (Mi’kmaq), and about thirty minutes from K’jipuktuk (Halifax) along the Eastern Shore, these meeting waters are found in a tidal river that carries salt water in and out of a marsh. The film includes both a meditative-like calmness and a virtuosity of light, colour, and texture. The music is structured in three large sections that reflect on and interpolate Dobbin’s three part poem. The texture shifts very gradually from murmuring and gently sweeping lines to soloistic colours that kinetically refract in imitative bursts across the stage.

What makes one artistic decision better than another? Where does the music go from where it is right now? This is something that comes to mind when trying to understand the mind-boggling Many-world theory. It deals with a very large, perhaps infinite number of universes; and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but didn’t, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes.

Of course it is impossible to describe this in a piece for orchestra. But Manyworlds deals with many “parallel musics” where every music contains the seed of all the other musics. We can therefore travel from one music to another within a fraction of a second, and one musical situation can have one outcome one time, and later a totally different one. Hmm. Sounds like the description of a symphony? Well, maybe composers and quantum physicists are more similar than we think?

Old Blue Eyes: Music of Frank Sinatra

Tony DeSare, star of the off-Broadway hit Our Sinatra, joins Victoria Symphony for Old Blue Eyes:  Music of Frank Sinatra

Victoria, BC – Described by the New York Times as “two parts young Sinatra to one part Billy Joel”, Tony DeSare joins the Victoria Symphony in a tribute to the legendary Frank Sinatra, Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 8pm and Sunday, November 3 at 2pm.  Both performances are at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria.

Frank Sinatra crooned the tunes that defined the 20th century and today, more than twenty years after his death at age 82, Sinatra’s music is as popular as ever.

VS Conductor Giuseppe Pietraroia and the orchestra welcome singer/pianist Tony DeSare, who starred in the Off-Broadway show, Our Sinatra, to sing many of Sinatra’s hits. Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, DeSare has appeared in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to jazz clubs. He’s headlined in Las Vegas, appeared with major symphony orchestras throughout North America, and he has three top-ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt. With a distinctive swinging style that’s all his own, he takes on the legend of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, delivering a fresh take on Frank’s music in an outstanding, critically-acclaimed homage that includes “Come Fly with Me”, “Just in Time”, “My Way”, “Night and Day”, “One for my Baby”, and many more.

Old Blue Eyes: Music of Frank Sinatra is presented November 2, 2019 at 8 p.m. with matinée November 3, at 2 p.m., at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street. Tickets are $33 – $85 and are available from the Victoria Symphony Box Office at 250-385-6815.


Victoria Symphony Announces Contract Extension for Maestro Kluxen

Victoria, BC – CEO Kathryn Laurin took to the stage at the Royal Theatre last night ahead of the opening night concert to announce that Maestro Kluxen had signed a contract extension securing him as the VS Music Director through the 2022/23 season.

Maestro Christian Kluxen made his debut with the VS in April 2016 and was announced as the Symphony’s 10th Music Director in October, 2016. The Danish-born Kluxen began his tenure in September 2017. Now in his third season, Kluxen’s extension will see him returning to Victoria for three more seasons.

“We’re thrilled to have Maestro Kluxen remain with the Victoria Symphony until at least 2023,” said Board President Alan Hollingworth. “He’s built a wonderful rapport with the orchestra and brought new ideas to the concert stage. He’s grown deep roots in our community and really connected with our audience.”

Kluxen’s resume includes being the Chief Conductor of the Arctic Philharmonic in Norway and work with many significant orchestras across Europe including the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Strasbourg Philharmonic and Netherlands Philharmonic orchestra. He’s recently made debuts with the Auckland Philharmonia and Tasmania Symphony Orchestra. A Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he acted as assistant conductor to Gustavo Dudamel and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Highlights of the Victoria Symphony 19/20 season include Beethoven 250 festival with the VS performing all nine Beethoven Symphonies during a three week period and the return of animateur Paul Rissman in Naked Classics: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique).

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.