Magic

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - EN­TER­TAIN­MENT -

The con­cert also rep­re­sents a water­shed mo­ment for Win­nipeg. It may be a ge­o­graph­i­cally iso­lated Prairie city, but it’s also widely rec­og­nized for its cre­ative spirit that seems to spring from the very loam the com­mu­nity is built on. And the con­cert will re­turn Win­nipeg to the cul­tural spot­light. Carol Phillips, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Win­nipeg Arts Coun­cil, will be in the Spring for Mu­sic au­di­ence on Thurs­day night. She at­tests to the sig­nif­i­cance of the event be­ing held in ar­guably the world’s great­est hot­bed of arts and cul­ture. “I think that New York will find out what we in Win­nipeg al­ready know, that our artists are among the best any­where,” she says. Mu­sic di­rec­tor Alexan­der Mick­elth­wate, who will make his own Carnegie Hall con­duct­ing de­but, brings a unique per­spec­tive. Now in his sev­enth sea­son on the WSO podium, the Ger­man-born mae­stro has lived and worked on two con­ti­nents, in­clud­ing his pre­vi­ous po­si­tion as for­mer as­so­ciate con­duc­tor of the Los An­ge­les Phil­har­monic. “There re­ally aren’t many cities that are as cre­ative as Win­nipeg,” he says. “L.A. is, but it’s a huge cen­tre. We have this mid-sized town with a cre­ativ­ity that is un­prece­dented.” The pro­gram fea­tures three works: Cana­dian com­poser R. Mur­ray Schafer’s Sym­phony No. 1; Derek Charke’s Thir­teen Inuit Throat Song Games, fea­tur­ing ac­claimed Inuk throat singer Tanya Ta­gaq; and WSO com­poser-in-res­i­dence Vin­cent Ho’s The Shaman: Con­certo for Per­cus­sion and Orches­tra, show­cas­ing Scot­tish vir­tu­oso per­cus­sion­ist Dame Eve­lyn Glen­nie, who also gave the piece’s world pre­mière dur­ing the WSO’s 2011 New Mu­sic Fes­ti­val. The Shaman, com­posed spe­cially for Glen­nie, is a pow­er­ful show­case for the mes­mer­iz­ing mu­si­cian. “She has the un­canny abil­ity to draw the au­di­ence into a mag­i­cal world and take us on won­drous jour­neys that are be­yond ma­te­rial ex­is­tence,” Ho says of his muse. “Ev­ery per­for­mance she de­liv­ers leaves the au­di­ence spell­bound and spir­i­tu­ally nour­ished.” Schafer’s evoca­tive, three-move­ment work, com­posed in 2011, also likely grabbed the at­ten­tion of the Spring for Mu­sic com­mit­tee, says Mick­elth­wate, who cu­rated the WSO pro­gram. “R. Mur­ray Schafer is the one com­poser every­one knows out­side of Canada,” he ex­plains. “This very evoca­tive work is like tak­ing sound waves al­most out of the ether, float­ing off other sym­phonies and putting them back to­gether. It’s more an episodic fan­tasy where you get the sense or feel of a sym­phony.” The dy­namic mae­stro is also en­thu­si­as­tic about Charke’s imag­i­na­tive piece, com­posed orig­i­nally for the Kronos Quar­tet, and pre­mièred by the WSO in 2010. Ta­gaq’s am­pli­fied, gut­tural throat singing plays off the string play­ers’ raspy tex­tures. “No­body else has done this be­fore,” Mick­elth­wate states sim­ply. “It’s al­most like eth­nic min­i­mal­ism but in a very an­cient form.” Not least of all in the WSO’s new­est ven­ture is the groundswell of com­mu­nity sup­port it has en­joyed. It has suc­cess­fully “adopted out” all 74 of its mu­si­cians, com­posers, guest artists and the con­duc­tor go­ing to the Big Ap­ple — rais­ing $250,000 to en­sure a vi­able, fis­cally sound tour with a to­tal bud­get of around $560,000. Schroeder also sings praises for the fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers, with the com­mit­tee pro­vid­ing the venue as well as a per­for­mance fee of US$65,000 for each par­tic­i­pat­ing orches­tra.

“I want to give them a lot of credit, in­clud­ing (artis­tic di­rec­tor/CEO) Thomas Mor­ris, (fes­ti­val di­rec­tor) David Fos­ter and (pub­lic re­la­tions di­rec­tor) Mary Lou Fal­cone, be­cause what they have cre­ated is a huge op­por­tu­nity for or­ches­tras,” Schroeder says. The WSO per­forms its all-Cana­dian pro­gram at New York City’s Spring for Mu­sic fes­ti­val at the his­toric Carnegie Hall next Thurs­day, May 8. Tonight, the sec­ond of two per­for­mances of the pro­gram takes place at the Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall, an op­por­tu­nity for the orches­tra’s fans to take in the con­cert for those who are un­able to make the jour­ney to New York.

MELISSA TAIT / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

Dame Eve­lyn Glen­nie will per­form com­poser Vin­cent Ho’s The Shaman: Con­certo for Per­cus­sion and Orches­tra in New York City.

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