You ain’t heard nothin’ yet

Randy Bach­man joins the WSO for 2013-14 sea­son — and there’s a lot more on tap

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - FRONT PAGE - JEN ZORATTI

FOR its 67th sea­son, the Win­nipeg Sym­phony Orches­tra drew in­spi­ra­tion from the open­ing of the city’s new­est cul­tural in­sti­tu­tion: the Cana­dian Mu­seum for Hu­man Rights. The 2014-15 sea­son, which opens Sept. 26 and 27 with ac­claimed soloist Natasha Parem­ski per­form­ing Gersh­win’s Piano Con­certo, fea­tures 39 con­certs that “cel­e­brate the hu­man spirit.” “When people think about ‘hu­man rights,’ they of­ten think of hu­man atroc­i­ties, but that’s not it,” says Trudy Schroeder, the WSO’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “It’s about the power of the hu­man spirit and the way we’ve been able to, as hu­man be­ings, work to­gether to find rights for women to vote, or rights for people of dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties to be fully en­gaged in our so­ci­ety. Race re­la­tions, lib­er­ties of speech — those are all hu­man rights and all things we can be proud of.” Sev­eral shows in the sea­son speak to the sea­son’s theme di­rectly, says Alexan­der Mick­elth­wate, the WSO’s mu­sic di­rec­tor. Sch­warz & Co­p­land Third, which runs Nov. 14 and 15, will fea­ture three works with a hu­man rights bent. The first is Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s Fire and Light, which tells the story of the Chick­a­saw Na­tion. “We don’t of­ten do First Na­tions works in the reg­u­lar sea­son, so it’s ex­cit­ing to have it,” Mick­elth­wate says. That piece will be joined by John Wil­liams’ evoca­tive score from Schindler’s List and Aaron Co­p­land’s Third Sym­phony, known for its fa­mous Fan­fare for the Com­mon Man. “(Co­p­land) was the ul­ti­mate Amer­i­can com­poser in a way, get­ting away from Europe and no­bil­ity. Fan­fare for the Com­mon Man was his way of say­ing ev­ery­one is equal,” Mick­elth­wate says. The pro­gram will be con­ducted by Amer­i­can mae­stro Ger­ard Sch­warz, in his WSO de­but. Later in the sea­son, on March 27 and 28, 2015, Mick­elth­wate will con­duct Ben­jamin Brit­ten’s cho­ral mas­ter­piece, War Re­quiem, in­spired by poet Wil­liam Owens, who was killed in the wan­ing days of the First World War. “It’s one of the most pow­er­ful works ever writ­ten,” he says. In the fall, the WSO will be mount­ing a week-long Nordic Fes­ti­val, which will fea­ture two of Ice­land’s leading mu­si­cians, violinist Si­grun Ed­valds­dot­tir and pi­anist Vikingur Olaf­s­son, on Oct. 24 and 25 and Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, re­spec­tively. Ed­valds­dot­tir will per­form works by Jean Si­belius — re­garded as Fin­land’s great­est com­poser — as well as Credo, a piece by for­mer Sigur Rós key­boardist Kjar­tan Sveins­son. Olaf­s­son will play pieces by Nor­we­gian com­poser/pi­anist Ed­vard Grieg, Dan­ish com­poser Carl Nielsen and Man­i­toba com­poser Ken­ley Kristof­fer­son, whose Morgun honours the 125th an­niver­sary of Man­i­toba’s Ice­landic com­mu­nity in Gimli.

The most buzzed-about show in the WSO Air Canada Pops se­ries is un­doubt­edly Randy Bach­man’s Sym­phonic Over­drive, which runs Dec. 5-7. The Guess Who/Bach­man Turner Over­drive found­ing mem­ber/gui­tarist will treat au­di­ences to hits such as Amer­i­can Woman and These Eyes, re-imag­ined with an orches­tra for the first time. “It’s very his­toric. We’ve been try­ing to get him here for a long time,” Mick­elth­wate says. “I’m ex­cited it’s hap­pen­ing.” For the hol­i­days, the WSO will be of­fer­ing a new take on an old chest­nut. The Mes­siah Sin­gA­long on Dec. 12 will al­low en­thu­si­as­tic con­cert­go­ers the chance to belt out Han­del’s clas­sic. The peren­ni­ally pop­u­lar Prairie Christ­mas Cel­e­bra­tion will re­turn for a third year on Dec. 14. The new year brings a first for the WSO. On Jan. 16 and 17, 2015, renowned violinist Jeanne La­mon, mu­sic di­rec­tor of Toronto’s ven­er­ated Tafel­musik, will join the orches­tra for a pro­gram of Bach, Mozart, Corelli and Haydn the way they were meant to be ex­pe­ri­enced. “For us, it’s go­ing to be a very dif­fer­ent thing,” Schroeder says. “There will be no con­duc­tor. She’ll be leading from the vi­o­lin.” The La­mon pro­gram rep­re­sents a goal the mae­stro is work­ing to­ward. “We are known for con­tem­po­rary pro­gram­ming, but I want us to be­come known for play­ing high-level baroque mu­sic.” Of course, the WSO will con­tinue to build its rep­u­ta­tion for pre­sent­ing cut­ting-edge con­tem­po­rary works with the New Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, which will re­turn for its 24th year on Jan. 31, 2015 with the world-renowned string quar­tet Arditti Quar­tet. “Arditti is very highly re­garded,” Mick­elth­wate says. “You can’t go higher than them. I’m very hon­oured they’re com­ing.” Arditti will per­form works by such for­ward-think­ing com­posers as Ma­son Bates, the Chicago Sym­phony com­poser-in-res­i­dence and am­bi­ent mu­sic pioneer Brian Eno. The reg­u­lar sea­son will see a host of guest artists re­turn to the WSO, in­clud­ing young con­duc­tor Aziz Shokhaki­mov, who im­pressed last sea­son. He’ll lead the orches­tra for a pro­gram that in­cludes two mas­ter­works — Brahms’ Fourth Sym­phony and El­gar’s Cello Con­certo — on Oct. 10 and 11. An­other re­turn­ing favourite is blind-since­birth pi­anist Nobuyuki Tsu­jii, who also wowed con­cert-go­ers in 2013. He’ll per­form Beethoven’s Em­peror con­certo on May 8 and 9, 2015. WSO com­poser-in-res­i­dence Vin­cent Ho will pre­mière a new work this sea­son, which will be per­formed by Cana­dian violinist Nikki Chooi as part of a pro­gram on Feb. 27 and 28, 2015, that will also fea­ture melodic, ro­man­tic works by Dvorak and Rach­mani­noff. The pop­u­lar Sound­Bytes se­ries will re­turn in the 2014-15 sea­son. De­signed for first-time sym­phony-goer and the sea­soned sym­phony lover alike, this three-con­cert se­ries fea­tures shorter ex­cerpts from fa­mil­iar clas­si­cal pieces. On Jan. 23 and 24, 2015, the WSO will mount Beethoven: Sym­phony No. 5 — Be­yond The Score, a multimedia pre­sen­ta­tion cre­ated by the Chicago Sym­phony Orches­tra. It’ll be a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence this iconic work in a new way. “It’s like see­ing the Eif­fel Tower or go­ing to the Pyra­mids,” Schroeder says. “Sym­phony No. 5 one of those cul­tural things an aware hu­man be­ing should ex­pe­ri­ence in their life­time.” (Ear­lier in the sea­son, Sound­Bytes will fea­ture Emily Bear, the 13-year-old piano dy­namo who stunned on The Ellen Show. She per­forms Nov. 29.)

This, of course, is just a high­light reel of all the pro­gram­ming the WSO has on tap. “It’s amaz­ing how many dif­fer­ent con­certs we have,” Schroeder says. “We are ful­fill­ing our mis­sion, which is to pro­vide ex­pe­ri­ences of mu­sic won­der and ex­cel­lence for Man­i­to­bans. And, of course, Man­i­to­bans don’t have one taste. They’re not one de­mo­graphic.” The some­thing-for-ev­ery­one ap­proach to pro­gram­ming is pay­ing off. Ac­cord­ing to Schroeder, the WSO has seen a 170 per cent in­crease in sin­gle-ticket sales and a 70 per cent in­crease in sub­scrip­tion sales over the past seven years. And that au­di­ence is skew­ing younger, dis­pelling the myth that the sym­phony is the sole prov­ince of an ag­ing de­mo­graphic. The or­ga­ni­za­tion has found suc­cess with its Sound­check pro­gram, which al­lows the 30-and-younger crowd to at­tend reg­u­lar-sea­son con­certs for $15, or the en­tire sea­son for $85. “When I got here six years ago, we had 345 mem­bers in the Sound­check pro­gram,” Schroeder says. “Now we have 2,500 mem­bers.” She would like to see more pa­trons take ad­van­tage of the WSO’s Sym­phony Lover Pass, which grants ac­cess to ev­ery show in the reg­u­lar sea­son. While a pa­tron may not be able to at­tend ev­ery con­cert, she en­cour­ages Win­nipeg­gers to think about WSO sea­son tick­ets the way they think about Jets sea­son tick­ets. “That way, you can sup­port that com­mu­nity amenity while shar­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence with oth­ers.” Early­bird sea­son tick­ets for the WSO’s 2014-15 sea­son go on sale May 15. For full de­tails, visit www.wso.ca.

The world-renowned Arditti Quar­tet will per­form dur­ing the 2015 New Mu­sic Fes­ti­val.

Please see

MARK MARYANOVICH

Guess Who and BTO found­ing mem­ber Randy Bach­man will per­form hits

from his sto­ried ca­reer re-imag­ined with orches­tra for the first time in De­cem­ber.

DAN HARPER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

SIAN RICHARDS

Mick­elth­wate, left (in­side the Cana­dian Mu­seum for Hu­man Rights), says sev­eral shows fo­cus on hu­man rights. Jeanne La­mon, right, of Toronto’s Tafel­musik, will per­form with the WSO in Jan­uary.

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