Friday, February 10, 2006

Gubaidulina, Schafer, Yi, Sallinen, Turnage in Winnipeg

Edge of the World

WSO expanding its horizons with 15th International New Music Festival

By David Schmeichel - February 8, 2006
From The Winnipeg Sun

At least a dozen different countries will be represented at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's 15th anniversary fest, which features cutting-edge compositions from some of the globe's gutsiest composers.
"We've tried to represent the different points on the compass," says festival co-curator T. Patrick Carrabre. "We've got composers from Asia, composers from Europe, Cuba, Australia, Canada, America ... we tried to cover as much ground as we could."
With all that continent-crossing, the festivals' planners found it a bit difficult to settle on just one theme this year. Co-curator Andrey Boreyko -- the WSO's outgoing composer-in-residence and maestro -- scrapped his initial plan to focus on nature's four elements, opting instead to include multiple pieces by the same composer.

This year's featured composers include Phillip Glass -- whose upcoming local appearance Feb. 21 is ironically not part of the festival -- along with Guido Lopez Gavilan, Chen Yi, Glenn Buhr, Sid Robinovitch, R. Murray Schafer and Carrabre himself. Instead of one guest composer as in past years, at least five will attend.
In addition to the evening concerts, the festival's program will once again include free lunchtime concerts at Millennium Centre, industry workshops, pre-concert lectures and post-show discussions. All evening performances take place at Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall, with the exception of Sunday's show, which will be held at Westminster United Church.
Passes are $69 ($59 for students and seniors), and are available at the WSO box office, 949-3999.
Here's our pocket guide to the festival. For more details, go online to

- Earth to Heaven (Sat, 8 p.m.)
Celebrating the elements earth and air, this year's opening program includes Olga Victorova's Rhythms of the Earth, solo flautist Wang Xiao Nan trilling on Jim Hiscott's North Wind, and special guest Sofia Gubaidulina (Russia), composer of And: The Festivities at Their Height.

- From the Dark Reaches (Sun., 8 p.m.)
A night of chamber and choir music, Sunday's show at Westminster United features the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, the Winnipeg Singers, the world premiere of R. Murray Schafer's 9th String Quartet, and David R. Scott's Tranquility and Order, commissioned by the CBC in the wake of 2004's Asian tsunami.

- Melting Pot (Mon., 7:30 p.m.)
Combining fire and water, Monday's roster includes Tec Voc teacher Gerry Semchyshyn (The Approach), performed with dancers from the school, the world premiere of 85-year-old Manitoba composer Robert Turner's House of Shadows, and Chinese composer Chen Yi's Burning, written for the firefighters who died on 9/11.

- The Four Corners of the Earth (Tue., 7:30 p.m.)
A multi-cultural Valentine's Day program for strings, featuring Ruth Cansfield Dance, Cuba's Guido Lopez Gavilan, and Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen's take on a funeral march for the fiddle.

- East Meets West (Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.)
"Smaller" chamber music, including Andrew Waggoner's Livre (for cello), Glenn Buhr (the NMF's original composer-in-residence) and Commedia (string quartet, musical saw and drum kit) and Calgary's Vincent Ho, winner of the Prairie Region Young Composers Competition.

- Higher and Louder (Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.)
The WSO's wind, brass and percussion players are joined by musicians from the U of M and Vincent Massey Collegiate Bands on Sid Robinovitch's West of Bali, Roger Bergs' Attractive Metal, and Michael Daugherty's Superman-inspired Bizarro.

- Kick it Up (Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.)
After all that new music, the festival closes with some old favourites: Repeat performances of music from past festivals, including Phillip Glass's Violin Concerto (with Gwen Hoebig), Osvaldo Golijov's The Night of the Flying Horses (with soprano Valdine Anderson) and Mark-Anthony Turnage's Momentum.

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