Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

“We are start­ing what I hope will be a new tra­di­tion,” Mick­elth­wate ex­plains, “which is a fes­ti­val ev­ery year where we fo­cus on one clas­si­cal com­poser. This year, it’s Tchaikovsky, who is very well known. The point of it is two weeks when we really dig into the mu­sic — not just us; we will col­lab­o­rate with other or­ga­ni­za­tions in town like the phil­har­monic choir, the cham­ber mu­sic so­ci­ety and even the movie the­atres.

“We will play a cou­ple of the ‘great­est hits,’ but then we’ll also get into some of the more ob­scure pieces.”

Novem­ber brings an ap­pear­ance by 12-yearold pi­ano prodigy Umi Gar­rett (who will turn 13 in Au­gust), win­ner of the In­ter­na­tional Chopin Com­pe­ti­tion and J.S. Bach Com­pe­ti­tion, for a pro­gram that in­cludes Arvo Pärt: Can­tus in Me­mory of Ben­jamin Brit­ten; Chopin: Pi­ano Con­certo No. 1 in E mi­nor; and Mozart: Sym­phony No. 41 in C ma­jor (Jupiter).

The De­cem­ber sched­ule in­cludes a re­turn en­gage­ment for Cape Bre­ton fid­dler Natalie MacMaster, as well as the tra­di­tional re­vival of Han­del’s Mes­siah. The new year be­gins with two Jan­uary events: Four Horns & Beethoven, fea­tur­ing con­duc­tor José Luis Gomez and mem­bers of the WSO’s horn sec­tion, and Sym­phony Idol, a pops-se­ries con­cert fea­tur­ing the re­turn of Amer­i­can Idol alumna Lak­isha Jones.

In Fe­bru­ary, the WSO goes a lit­tle bit coun­try with an ap­pear­ance by Nashville-based Cana­dian star Lindi Ortega, who will un­veil her new sym­phony show (un­der di­rec­tion of ar­ranger/ con­duc­tor Charles Cozens) be­fore a Win­nipeg au­di­ence.

March features the re­turn of vi­o­lin­ist Au­gustin Hadelich for a per­for­mance of Men­delssohn’s Vi­o­lin Con­certo in E mi­nor; the equinox-wel­com­ing pro­gram also in­cludes Mahler’s Sym­phony No. 4 and an ap­pear­ance by so­prano Val­dine An­der­son. Also in March, the WSO cel­e­brates a half-cen­tury of 007 mu­sic with Bond & Be­yond, fea­tur­ing vo­cal­ist Deb­bie Gravitte and con­duc­tor Michael Kra­jew­ski.

Af­ter that, the WSO rocks, as JunoFest hits Win­nipeg in late March and the sym­phony presents a three-night cel­e­bra­tion that puts five lo­cal bands — Imag­i­nary Cities, Chic Gamine, Royal Ca­noe, Nathan and the Lyt­ics — into the spot­light.

In April, the WSO opts for a vis­ual spec­ta­cle as the Pek­ing Ac­ro­bats re­turn for a trio of per­for­mances (April 25-27) backed by the sym­phony un­der the lead­er­ship of con­duc­tor Ju­lian Pel­li­cano.

On May 3 and 4, the WSO gives con­cert­go­ers a pre­view of the show it will per­form at Carnegie Hall — Derek Charke’s Thir­teen Inuit Throat Song Games (fea­tur­ing Tanya Ta­gaq), com­poser- in-res­i­dence Vin­cent Ho’s The Shaman: Con­certo for Per­cus­sion and Orches­tra (fea­tur­ing Dame Eve­lyn Glen­nie) and Cana­dian com­poser R. Mur­ray Shafer’s Sym­phony No. 1.

“I’m so thrilled about ev­ery piece of this pro­gram,” says Mick­elth­wate. “Tanya Ta­gaq is so Cana­dian, so pri­mal and beau­ti­ful and dif­fer­ent; The Shaman is some­thing that Vin­cent and Eve­lyn worked on so hard; it has this spir­i­tual kind of feel that one as­so­ci­ates with Win­nipeg and First Na­tions and the way they come to­gether here.

“And if there’s a god­fa­ther of Cana­dian mu­sic, it’s Mur­ray Shafer; he’s com­pa­ra­ble to Bern­stein or Co­p­land in the States, a rene­gade who never wanted to write in the tra­di­tional form. Only last year, he wrote his first sym­phony — Sym­phony No. 1 — and he’s in his 70s, so it’s kind of a big thing to be bring­ing this to Carnegie Hall.”

And that, adds Mick­elth­wate, barely scratches the sur­face when it comes to the WSO in 2013-14. The sched­ule (full de­tails and tick­ets are avail­able at has been cre­ated with one over­rid­ing goal in mind:

“To be cur­rent, mean­ing­ful, rel­e­vant; no mat­ter what it is, it hits you — spir­i­tu­ally, as en­ter­tain­ment, as some­thing you are in awe of. There is ac­tu­ally a vis­ceral re­ac­tion to ev­ery con­cert, from deep emo­tion to giddy fun.”


Nathan, Pek­ing Ac­ro­bats and Natalie MacMaster (right) will be guest per­form­ers with the WSO.

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