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Symphony Week in Peterborough: January 30 to February 5

26 Jan 2017, Posted by Sarah Lazure in News

Peterborough Symphony Orchestra has a reputation as one of Canada’s finest community-based orchestras. Founded in 1967, it has been a cultural cornerstone in Peterborough for 50 years, a milestone that the PSO has been honouring throughout the organization’s 2016/17 concert season. Now Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett will help commemorate the PSO’s 50th anniversary achievement by proclaiming January 30 through February 5, 2017 “Symphony Week in Peterborough”. The proclamation will be signed in Council Chambers at Peterborough City Hall at 1:30pm on Monday, January 30. The media, community members, PSO supporters, musicians and their friends and families are encouraged to attend this exciting distinction.

Symphony Week in Peterborough will continue with other special events planned in celebration of the PSO’s 50th anniversary, leading up to a gala concert on Saturday, February 4.

On Thursday, February 2, the PSO and Lakefield Intermediate School will present the 2017 Intermediate Band Festival. Generously funded by the Pilkington-Henniger Charitable Trust, 200 intermediate music students from nine area schools will attend the Band Festival at Adam Scott Collegiate Vocational Institute for free. After opening remarks from PSO Music Director & Conductor, Michael Newnham, students will attend instrument-specific master classes led by PSO musicians. Students will then rehearse as a massed band with Maestro Newnham. The day will culminate with performances by each individual school band and a special massed band performance directed by Maestro Newnham, in front of the students’ peers and teachers. The media are invited to attend for photo, video and interview opportunities.

Also part of the PSO’s 2016/17 education initiative, the PSO has organized several workshops for students and young musicians with Canadian composer Christine Donkin. Christine was commissioned by the PSO and The Canadian Canoe Museum to compose a new work in honour of the organizations’ 2016/17 partnership and their respective 50th and 20th anniversaries. This initiative is made possible by the Ontario Arts Council, and the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, Community Foundations of Canada, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast. The resulting piece, “Canoe Legends”, will have its world premiere at Northern Voyage. But on Thursday, February 2, Christine will travel to Apsley for three school workshops, and on Saturday, February 4 she will host two workshops for young musicians in Peterborough, all made possible by funding from SOCAN.

Symphony Week in Peterborough will culminate with Northern Voyage on Saturday, February 4 at 7:30pm at Showplace Performance Centre. Northern Voyage is a 50th anniversary gala concert celebrated through a partnership with The Canadian Canoe Museum. Presented by Terry Windrem, Northern Voyage will take audience members on a tour around the Arctic Circle, via the music of Grieg, Svendsen, Sibelius and Borodin. The concert will be hosted by adventurer, author and Director of External Relations at The Canadian Canoe Museum, James Raffan. James will narrate the concert with inspiration from his travels and bestselling book, Circling the Midnight Sun.

As mentioned, Christine Donkin’s new music, “Canoe Legends”, will debut at Northern Voyage, featuring the wordless water song of local Indigenous vocal ensemble Unity. An important component of the piece is that it must always be performed in collaboration with Indigenous musicians. “Canoe Legends” explores water and the canoe, which are integral to our identity as Canadians and residents of the Peterborough area. It also draws inspiration from the Indigenous legend of The White Stone Canoe, and the voyageurs legend of The Flying Canoe (La chasse-galerie).

Also joining the PSO for the Northern Voyage celebration is internationally-renowned American classical violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn. Elizabeth is the owner of the legendary 1720 Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius, a violin with a mysterious past that inspired the Academy Award-winning 1998 film by Canadian director Francois Girard, The Red Violin. Elizabeth will perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto on her beloved instrument for the PSO audience.

Northern Voyage concert tickets are available now online (showplace.org), by phone (705-742-7469) or in-person from the Showplace box office (290 George St. N, Peterborough) at a cost of $50 each. Ticket holders are also invited to attend “Meet the Maestro”, a free pre-concert chat in the Showplace theatre at 6:40pm. After the concert, a special 50th anniversary reception for audience members, musicians and guest artists will be held in the Nexicom Lounge at Showplace.