The New Year, 2016, begins with a favourite tradition: A Salute to Vienna, with members of the VSO in the company of the Strauss Symphony of Canada, vocal soloists and ballroom dancers for an enchanting selection of waltzes and operetta highlights. Take a trip down the Danube right here at home, New Year’s Day at 2:30pm in the opulent surroundings of the historic Orpheum Theatre!
The New Year also offers both new and familiar faces on the podium. VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey is in Alberta for much of the month of January preparing to conduct the Canadian premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die tote Stadt with Calgary Opera (January 30, February 3 & 5). As a result, Associate Conductor Gordon Gerrard (seen left) raises his baton in no less than six concerts! First up, in the popular Tea and Trumpetsseries hosted by Christopher Gaze, there’s a program inspired by Myths and Legends (January 7) that will include Wieniawski’s Legend performed by the young violin soloist Kurt Chen. At the start of February the focus will turn to operatic favourites for An Evening in Roma. Frederik Robert and Sheila Christie are the featured vocalists (February 4).
Kids’ Koncerts are an important part of the VSO’s range of programming and Maestro Gordon Gerrard has contributed greatly to the success of the series since he joined the VSO artistic team in 2012. In the weeks ahead he will lead two distinct programmes focusing on composers from opposite sides of the musical fence. On January 10th Classical Kids Live! presents Gershwin’s Magic Key, in which a poor newspaper boy in New York City meets up with the great American composer, George Gershwin, and discovers the key to his own musical potential. On Sunday February 7th, the composer who is brought to life for a younger audience is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in a production by Magic Circle Mime Co., as a mischievous street musician experiences a very human story of what life was like for Mozart in the late 1700s.
Perhaps most notably, Gordon Gerrard makes his debut in the Goldcorp Masterworks Gold (January 30 & February 1) and Rogers Financial Symphony Sundays series (January 31). He leads the orchestra in Beethoven’s popular Coriolan Overture, as well as the dramatic Symphony No. 2 of Sibelius, and joins with the distinguished Canadian pianist Louis Lortie in the “Egyptian” Piano Concerto by Saint-Saëns. Finally, Gordon welcomes theLunar New Year (February 13) in the company of pianist Avan Yu and the romantic melodies of Rachmaninoff, as well as violinist Lucy Wang (a VSO School of Music student and Concerto Competition winner) in the Butterfly Lovers Concerto. In July of 2016, Gordon Gerrard assumes his new post as Music Director of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Thank you, Gordon, for your fine work over the last four seasons! In the fall of 2016, the VSO will welcome William Rowson to the position of Assistant Conductor.
Concentrating on a couple of NEW faces in the New Year, Finland’s John Storgårds – who earlier this season became Principal Guest Conductor of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra – will be on the VSO podium (January 16 & 18) for his VSO debut and the much anticipated return of Warner Music Prize winner Augustin Hadelich in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, There’s also a lush, “long-lost” symphonic fantasy inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen tale of The Little Mermaid, composed by a contemporary of Mahler,Alexander Zemlinsky. The Dutch conductor Otto Tausk (a former assistant to Valery Gergiev in Rotterdam) makes his VSO debut in A Bohemian Rhapsody (January 23 & 25) conducting the music of Mozart, Liszt and Smetana, along with pianist Simon Trpčeski [“SEE-mahn tir-r-r-p-CHES-skee” ]
Steven Reineke returns to the Pops podium (January 8 & 9) along with actress, singer and impressionist Christina Bianco for a survey of music As Heard on TV! From Masterpiece Theatre’s Downton Abbey to your favourite game show themes, it’s a trip down memory lane. And on February 5 & 6, conductor Jeff Tyzik trips the light fantastic in The Soul of the Tango , along with the passionate vocalist, musicians and dancers of Tango Caliente.
Towards the end of February, children’s entertainers Lisa and Linda return (February 19 & 20) in Jumpin’ Jazz Time, a Tiny Tots production at the Playhouse Theatre in Vancouver and the Anvil Centre in New Westminster. Meanwhile, the Chan Centre at UBC and the Annex will “Ring out the Old and Ring in the New” with VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey in programs that focus on Exhilarating Soundscapes of the 20th century and reinventions of classic works in Something Old, Something New. And for all the latest sounds, the VSO New Music Festival wraps up the month, with special guests the Kronos Quartet (February 25-28).
Finally we’ll take a small leap into the month of March to mention a very special appearance by the one and only Itzhak Perlman. Simply one of the greatest musicians to ever hold an instrument, the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman returns to the VSO (March 2) to perform one of the popular and lyrical of showpieces: Bruch’s remarkable Violin Concerto No. 1. VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey conducts this once-in-a-lifetime concert. Don’t miss out!
Tickets for all concerts available at www.vancouversymphony.ca or through VSO Customer Service at 604.876.3434.