Beethoven’s Ninth Comes to Peterborough!

08 Apr 2014, Posted by admin in News
  • For immediate release:
  • April 8, 2014
  • For interviews contact:
  • Tori Owen, General Manager: 705-742-1992

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For PHOTOS visit:

  (Leslie Fagan, Soprano) https://www.dropbox.com/s/um02fslsxgr3j38/Fagan3880cr.jpg

 (Marion Newman, Mezzo) https://www.dropbox.com/s/boukluykl491ggo/marion_newman_headshot_clr.jpg

(Adam Bishop, Tenor) https://www.dropbox.com/s/hcgc71j5e0p58nf/AdamBishopweb.png

(Giles Tomkins, Bass) https://www.dropbox.com/s/2w37bi4f0kzoa0t/Giles_Tomkins_Headshot.jpg


Beethoven’s Ninth comes to Peterborough!

Beethoven's Vocal Soloists

Leslie Fagan, soprano; Adam Bishep, tenor; Giles Tomkins, bass; Marion Newman, mezzo

Peterborough, ON – On Saturday, April 26th, The Peterborough Symphony will bring Beethoven’s marvelous Ninth, with its rapturous “Ode to Joy” finale to Peterborough’s Showplace stage! Considered by many to be the greatest piece of music ever written, Beethoven’s immortal, beloved Symphony No. 9 is an extraordinary ode to hope, joy and brotherhood. Featuring the region’s premiere choral singers and four of Canada’s finest soloists, the PSO completes their Beethoven cycle in a triumphant culmination of symphonic joy!

 Music Director, Michael Newnham and Beethoven Chorus Director, Arlene Gray have been preparing for over a year for this Peterborough-first.  “All of us at the PSO are very excited to be able to present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.” Says Maestro Newnham. “This is the result of many years of planning, and this is the first time this monumental work will have been played live in our fair city. Beethoven’s Ninth has been said to be the equivalent in music to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The difference is that you don’t have to go to Rome to hear it!”

Arlene Gray has over thirty years of experience working with choirs, and is Music Director for George St. United Church, the Kawartha Lakes Singers, the Bonachord Male Chorus and Jubilaires Women’s Chorus: “I am very excited to work with the Beethoven chorus in conjunction with the PSO.  Friedrich Schiller’s poem ‘An die Freude’ (“Ode to Joy”) included in Beethoven’s final Symphony #9 was surely a pivotal point in the transition of classical to romantic symphonic styles.” Gray goes on to say that this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for singers to perform this great work and there are still a few spots left in the choir for those who want to check this off their bucket list!

Resonating through the centuries with its emotional message and sheer power, hearing Beethoven’s Ninth is one of the most inspiring and thrilling musical experiences you can have in a concert hall.  The premier took place on May 7, 1824 and aroused “frenzied applause” which Beethoven, with his back to the audience, neither heard nor saw until the contralto soloist turned him around to see the response.  Beethoven was seated at the front of the stage but the “real” conductor had instructed the players not to watch the composer who was totally deaf and in fact was several measures off at the end.

The fourth movement, the famous “Ode to Joy” choral finale, is Beethoven’s musical representation of universal brotherhood.  The symphony will be joined on stage by soprano Leslie Fagan, mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, Tenor Adam Bishop, Bass-baritone Giles Tomkins and the Beethoven Chorus, which includes the region’s finest choral singers!

Soprano Leslie Fagan‘s exceptional artistry and talent continue to garner much attention on international stages. Having performed under the batons of such noted conductors as Hans Graf, Sir David Willcocks, Jukke Pekke Saraste, Kent Tritle and Daniel Lipton, Ms. Fagan has delighted audiences and critics alike at Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Bordeaux Opera House, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. Ms. Fagan can be heard frequently on CBC radio and has appeared on CBC television and both BBC radio and television. Leslie Fagan’s recordings include her debut solo album “le miroir de mon amour” and “A Song for all Seasons” with The Toronto Children’s Chorus.

…her voice sounds nothing short of astonishing….she is in a class of her own.
                                                                 – Robert Thomas, Wholenote Magazine

Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations mezzo-soprano Marion Newman’s “beautiful voice has heft and power, but at the same time an innate sweetness” (Opera Canada) and she has been noted as “a show stealer” (BBC Music Magazine). In her debut with Cork’s Opera 2005 in the title role of Carmen, she was widely praised for her “superbly sinuous sexuality” and “as a very exciting new talent” by the Irish Examiner. Marion has also demonstrated her “luscious mezzo soprano voice and captivating vivacity” on television, having been featured five times as a soloist on CBC’s National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, and opening the 2002 Royal Golden Jubilee Gala at Roy Thomson Hall, where she performed the National Anthem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Tenor Adam Bishop has performed for audiences across Canada, the United States, and Austria in the art song, oratorio, and operatic genres. Amid these performances, he has had the privilege of performing for former Prime Minster Jean Chrétien, and HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York.  Adam is pursing Master’s-level studies in Vocal Performance at the University of Toronto, and is a recent graduate of the Artists Diploma program at The Glenn Gould School. He studies with the renowned tenor Dr. Darryl Edwards. Former teachers include Monica Whicher, Carol-Lynn Reifel, and Peterborough’s own Fr. Paul Massel. Beyond school, he has participated in summer programmes with the Highlands Opera Studio under Richard Margison, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. Adam has strong regional roots as a Peterborough Singers alumnus, is a graduate of Lakefield College School and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music (Performance) from Queen’s University, Kingston.

Bass-baritone Giles Tomkins is recognized as one of Canada’s most promising young singers, widely praised for his vocal virtuosity and lyricism in an impressive range of repertoire. His performances in the United Kingdom have included King Arthur (Purcell) at the Aldeburgh Festival and the European premiere of Queen of Puddings Music Theatre’s production of The Midnight Court at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  Giles has become a familiar figure as Colline in La Bohème, in recent years performing the role with Scottish Opera, as well as in Saskatoon, Kingston, and with Pacific Opera Victoria. Recent concert performances included Messiah with Aradia Ensemble and Symphony Nova Scotia, as well as The Damnation of Faust with Vancouver Bach Choir.He will be returning to Vancouver Opera this season to perform Leporello in Don Giovanni. Upcoming concert performances include the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with both Peterborough Symphony and Symphony New Brunswick, as well as the St John Passion with Thirteen Strings in Ottawa.

This event is the season finale concert for the Peterborough Symphony, which launches Symphony Week in Peterborough and is their Subscription launch for the 2014/15 season. Tickets for this April 26th concert are available from Showplace Box office or online at www.Showplace.org.



Beethoven’s Ninth

Saturday, April 26th, 2014 at 8:00pm, Showplace Performance Centre (290 George St. North)

GUEST ARTISTS: Leslie Fagan, soprano; Marion Newman, mezzo-soprano; Adam Bishop, tenor; Giles Tomkins, bass-baritone; The Beethoven Chorus

Tickets: $39.50/36.50/28.50 for Adults | $15 for Students & Rush Seats | $15 for Tweet Seats (#psolive) | $5 for eyeGO


The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra Music Director Michael Newnham celebrates his 13th season with the orchestra.  Maestro Newnham begins each concert evening at 7:10pm with fascinating and engaging pre-concert chat, which can include guest appearances and multi media presentations.



The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra is celebrating 46 years as a cultural cornerstone of our community, and has developed a reputation as being one of the best community orchestras in Canada.

Learn more at www.thepso.org or by calling (705) 742-1992.


The Peterborough Symphony is generously supported by:



Glen Colbourne Fund at the Toronto Community Foundation

City of Peterborough

Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation

The Pilkington-Henniger Charitable Trust

The Dawe Family Foundation

The Barns Donation Fund

The Peterborough Foundation

RBC Emerging Artists Program

Glen Colbourne Fund/Toronto Community Foundation

The Ontario Arts Council

The Peterborough Examiner

The New Classical 103.1



Peterborough Inn & Suites