Yule­tide Splen­dour

New as­sis­tant con­duc­tor to lead K-W Sym­phony’s Christ­mas con­cert

Waterloo Region Record - - Front Page - VA­LERIE HILL Water­loo Re­gion Record

KITCH­ENER — Van­cou­ver-born Alexan­der Can­non trained as a trum­pet player and ad­mits there are not a lot of jobs avail­able for pro­fes­sional trum­pet play­ers in clas­si­cal mu­sic or­ches­tras or en­sem­bles.

“It’s been a bit of a strug­gle,” said the 36-year-old. “Then this op­por­tu­nity came up.”

That op­por­tu­nity was as the Kitch­ener-Water­loo Sym­phony’s new as­sis­tant con­duc­tor, a three­year term de­signed to give tal­ented young mu­si­cians an op­por­tu­nity to learn and to grow while di­rect­ing one of the coun­try’s most ac­com­plished or­ches­tras.

In­tim­i­dat­ing? Per­haps. But Can­non, who will lead the orches­tra Dec. 14-16 for the an­nual Yule­tide Spec­tac­u­lar at Cen­tre in the Square, is keen to learn and share his ideas through this unique pro­gram.

“I knew about the sym­phony as a premier sym­phony in Canada,” he said, adding with a laugh, “I feel like I’m be­ing paid to learn.”

Can­non’s ear­li­est mem­ory of be­ing in­volved in mu­sic was singing in chil­dren’s choirs, and his fa­ther was also a trum­pet player. His ca­reer path seemed des­tined.

“I never re­ally thought of any­thing else,” he said. “At 15, I started com­pos­ing.”

Can­non holds a PhD in mu­sic from the Univer­sity of British Columbia, where he was twice the re­cip­i­ent of the univer­sity’s grad­u­ate fel­low­ship.

He was the as­sis­tant con­duc­tor of the Van­cou­ver Phil­har­monic Orches­tra.

As a trum­pet player, Can­non per­formed with en­sem­bles in­clud­ing the Van­cou­ver Sym­phony Orches­tra, Van­cou­ver Opera, Van­cou­ver New Mu­sic and the Van­cou­ver Cham­ber Choir.

Can­non was also head of brass at the Van­cou­ver Academy of Mu­sic at SK Lee Col­lege where he con­ducted youth or­ches­tras at the Saint James Mu­sic Academy.

Can­non’s roles in mu­sic have in­cluded con­duct­ing, com­pos­ing and ad­ju­di­ca­tion.

There is hardly a role in mu­sic he has not ex­plored, and now he has brought all that am­bi­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence to the K-W Sym­phony.

“It’s not about one per­son’s idea for a group of peo­ple,” he said.

“It’s tak­ing the best part of ev­ery­body, bring­ing out the best qual­i­ties.

“If you’re a strong mu­si­cian, it doesn’t mat­ter what in­stru­ment is in your hand.”

The in­stru­ment in Can­non’s hand for the Yule­tide con­cert will be a ba­ton, and given this is one of the largest an­nual con­certs the sym­phony presents, he will have his hands full, con­duct­ing 200 per­form­ers on stage in a tra­di­tion that is as much about fun as it is great mu­sic. That suits Can­non fine.

“I’m def­i­nitely a jokester,” he said, not­ing the con­cert will al­low him to re­lease his goofy side.

This year, this hol­i­day con­cert will fea­ture sto­ries about “Scrooge,” the “Gift of the Magi,” “The Nutcracker” plus “The Grinch Who Stole Christ­mas,” and there is al­ways a carol singalong which can be quite pow­er­ful with nearly 2,000 au­di­ence mem­bers in­volved.

Mostly in tune. Al­ways with spirit.

The con­cert will fea­ture spe­cial guests in­clud­ing ac­tress and singer Gly­nis Ran­ney, dancers from Carousel Dance Com­pany per­form­ing ex­cerpts from “The Nutcracker,” plus the 125-voice Grand Phil­har­monic Choir and its chil­dren’s choir.


K-W Sym­phony’s new as­sis­tant con­duc­tor, Alexan­der Can­non, wi­ill lead the orches­tra Dec. 14-16 for the an­nual Yule­tide Spec­tac­u­lar at Cen­tre in the Square..

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