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|Edmonton Symphony Orchestra|
|Location||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|Concert hall||Francis Winspear Centre for Music|
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) is a Canadian orchestra based in Edmonton, Alberta. As the professional orchestra of Alberta's creative capital city it presents over 85 concerts a year of symphonic music in all genres, from classical to country. Currently in its 70th season, the orchestra is composed of 56 core professional musicians who perform 42 weeks per season and who play an active role in the musical life of Edmonton and elsewhere as performers, teachers and recording artists. The ESO also performs as the orchestra for Edmonton Opera and Alberta Ballet productions, and its recordings are regularly heard across Canada on CBC Radio 2.
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra was initially formed as Edmonton's community orchestra and performed its first concert on November 15, 1920. The orchestra suspended operations in 1932 due to lack of funds, but was revived on October 31, 1952, when it was incorporated as a registered not-for-profit organization (the Edmonton Symphony Society), and gave its first performance on November 30, 1952. It made the transition to a fully professional orchestra in 1971. In 1973, it was decided to restrict the orchestra to "classical" size.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ESO's budget was over $10 million, and its players were the highest-paid Canadian orchestral musicians west of Toronto.
In September 1997, the Edmonton Symphony Society and the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation successfully completed a two-decade, $45 million capital campaign, and the ESO moved from the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (the orchestra's principal performing venue since 1957) into its new concert hall, the acoustically superb, 1716 seat Francis Winspear Centre for Music. The inaugural gala, at which the ESO performed Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, took place on September 13, 1997.
Each season, almost 30,000 students experience the orchestra's music at the Winspear Centre. The Young Composers Project, with local composers as mentors, allows select high school students to compose orchestral works and hear them in performance. The orchestra's annual outdoor Symphony Under the Sky Festival is a popular destination for Edmontonians on Labour Day weekend.
The ESO's history and the varied nature of its programming reflect its imaginative commitment to its community.
Special ESO concerts drawing sold-out houses have featured, among others, k.d. lang in 1985, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider in 1989, The Arrogant Worms in 2002, Corb Lund in 2005, Paul Brandt in 2006, Video Games Live in 2007, Nikki Yanofsky in 2008, reunion concerts with Procol Harum in 1992 and 2010, Ben Folds in 2012 and 2014, and Ian Tyson on the 100th anniversary of the Province of Alberta on September 1, 2005. In March 2011, the ESO presented a memorable concert devoted exclusively to the music of Frank Zappa, and in December 2005, the orchestra returned to the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium to present two sold-out Christmas concerts with Christian singer/pianist Michael W. Smith. The orchestra continues this tradition of working with musicians from a variety of musical genres. In December 2012, the orchestra performed two Christmas concerts with the Barenaked Ladies. In December 2017, the orchestra performed four Christmas concerts with Jann Arden.
John McPherson was appointed the orchestra's fourth Composer in Residence in August 2016.
Robert Rival, the orchestra's third Composer in Residence (2011-2014) wrote six major works for the orchestra during his residency:
Allan Gilliland, the ESO's second Composer in Residence (2000–2004) composed nine major works for the orchestra, as well as a colorful new orchestration of Canada's national anthem. Before his residency, Gilliland had been commissioned to write two works for the ESO. Following his residency, he was commissioned to write two jazz-flavoured works: a rhapsody for piano and orchestra, and a suite for trumpet and orchestra.
John Estacio was the ESO's first Composer in Residence (1992–1999). He also produced nine major works for the orchestra during his residency:
The ESO has a long tradition of commissioning and performing works by Canadian – and particularly Albertan – composers. On April 29, 2005, the ESO presented a highly acclaimed concert of music by five contemporary Alberta composers – Allan Gordon Bell, John Estacio, Malcolm Forsyth, Allan Gilliland and Jeffrey McCune – in Southam Hall at Ottawa's National Arts Centre as part of the Alberta Scene festival. In May 2012, the ESO performed the US premieres of music by its first three Composers in Residence at Carnegie Hall's second annual Spring for Music festival.
Works commissioned by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra include:
(Procol Harum, Da Camera Singers, Lawrence Leonard conductor, 1972)
(Boris Brott 1 and John Avison 2 conductors, 1973) (CBC SM-284)
(Tommy Banks conductor, 1973) (WB 2WS 2731)
(Members of the Gleichen Alberta Blackfoot Indian Reserve1, Father Colin Levangie chanter1, Father Jacques Jolie chanter1, Father Ubald Duchesneau chanter1, Roy Warhurst fiddle1, Tommy Banks conductor, 1974) (Denali SGLP 1001)
(Pierre Hétu conductor, 1975) (CBC SM-294)
(Pierre Hétu conductor, 1976) (CBC SM-316)
(Uri Mayer conductor, 1984) (CBC SM 5035, SMC 5035, SMCD 5035)
(Louis Quilico baritone, Uri Mayer conductor, 1985) (CBC SM 5043, SMC 5043, SMCD 5043)
(Ermanno Mauro tenor, Uri Mayer conductor, 1986) (CBC SM 5046, SMC 5046, SMCD 5046)
(Uri Mayer conductor, 1986) (SM 5059, SMC 5059, SMCD 5059)
(Uri Mayer conductor, 1986) (CBC SM 5069, SMC 5069, SMCD 5069)
(Uri Mayer conductor, 1987) (RCI 5-ACM 27)
(Gianetta Baril harp, Uri Mayer conductor, 1989) (CBC SM 5086, SMC 5086, SMCD 5086)
(Uri Mayer conductor, 1990) (CBC SM 5093, SMC 5093, SMCD 5093)
(Shauna Rolston cello, Uri Mayer conductor, 1989) (CBC SM 5105, SMC 5105, SMCD 5105)
(Tom Cochrane, Red Rider, George Blondheim conductor, 1989) (EMI C2 0 7777 2654 2 8)
(Uri Mayer conductor, 1993) (SMCD 5123)
(Uri Mayer conductor, 1997) (CBC SMCD 5169)
(William Street saxophone, Amanda Forsyth cello, Grzegorz Nowak conductor, 1997) (SMCD 5180)
(Grzegorz Nowak conductor, 1999) (Music of Central Europe MCE 5001)
(P.J. Perry, saxophone, David Hoyt conductor, 1999)
(The Arrogant Worms, David Hoyt conductor, 2003)
(Mario Bernardi conductor, 2004) (CBC SMCD 5232)
(Steve Bell, vocalist, Rei Hotoda conductor, 2008)
(Jolaine Kerley soprano, Joy-Anne Murphy alto, Benjamin Butterfield tenor, Paul Grindlay bass, André Moisan clarinet, Grzegorz Nowak 1 and Leonard Ratzlaff 2 conductors, 2011; recorded in 2002) (DOREMI DHR-6011-3)
(Antonio Peruch accordion, Grzegorz Nowak conductor, 2011; recorded in 2001) (FisarmonicArt AP201101)
(Angela Cheng piano, Denise Djokic cello, Juliette Kang violin, Jens Lindemann trumpet, William Eddins conductor, 2013) (ESO LIVE 2012-05-01)
(Eleanor McCain vocalist, Denise Djokic cello, Paul Pike native flute, Pro Coro Canada, Martin MacDonald conductor, 2017)
Jan Walter Susskind was a Czech-born British conductor, teacher and pianist. He began his career in his native Prague, and fled to Britain when Germany invaded the city in 1939. He worked for substantial periods in Australia, Canada and the United States, as a conductor and teacher.
Hilding Constantin Rosenberg was a Swedish composer and conductor. He is commonly regarded as the first Swedish modernist composer, and one of the most influential figures in 20th-century classical music in Sweden.
The Kitchener–Waterloo Symphony (KWS) is an orchestra based in the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Its home venue is Centre In The Square in Kitchener, Ontario. The orchestra comprises 52 professional musicians under full-time contract. KWS performs close to 90 performances during a 38-week season for a combined concert audience of over 90,000. The orchestra is regularly heard across Canada on CBC Radio Two. Its current music director is Andrei Feher since August, 2018. The current executive director of the KWS is Andrew Bennett.
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is an orchestra based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The orchestra gives the majority of its performances in the Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons. It is also the resident orchestra for the Calgary Opera, Alberta Ballet Company, and the Honens International Piano Competition.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra based in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore SO has its principal residence at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where it performs more than 130 concerts a year. In 2005, it began regular performances at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda.
Rivka Golani is a world–renowned Israeli-born viola player. She has performed as soloist with many orchestras throughout the world including the Boston Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Hong Kong Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan, Montreal Symphony and the Toronto Symphony.
Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, by the English band Procol Harum together with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, was released in 1972; it was recorded at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on 18 November 1971. The album reached No. 7 in Canada and was very successful on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at No. 5. It is the band's best-selling album, certified Gold by the RIAA. The live version of "Conquistador" from this album became a popular hit on both pop and progressive radio in the United States and reached the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, and the top 10 in several other countries.
August Wilhelm Julius Rietz was a German composer, conductor, cellist, and teacher. His students included Woldemar Bargiel, Salomon Jadassohn, Arthur O'Leary, and Sir Arthur Sullivan. He also edited many works by Felix Mendelssohn for publication.
The Juno Award for "Classical Album of the Year" for ensembles has been awarded since 1985, as recognition each year for the best classical music album in Canada.
Johannes Abraham (Johan) de Meij, born November 23, 1953, in Voorburg, Netherlands, is a Dutch conductor, trombonist, and composer, best known for his Symphony No. 1 for wind ensemble, nicknamed The Lord of the Rings symphony.
Allan Gilliland is a contemporary Canadian composer.
Lawrence Leonard was a British conductor, cellist, composer, teacher, and writer.
The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium is a 4-million-cubic-foot (110,000 m3) performing arts, culture and community facility, located in Edmonton, Alberta.
"Conquistador" is a song by the English rock band Procol Harum. Written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid, it originally appeared on the band's 1967 self-titled debut album. It was later released as a single from the band's 1972 live album Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. It is one of the band's most famous and popular songs and their third Top 40 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 16.
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Tyzen Hsiao was a Taiwanese composer of the neo-Romantic school. Many of his vocal works set poems written in Taiwanese Hokkien, the mother tongue of the majority of the island's residents at the time. His compositions stand as a musical manifestation of the Taiwanese literature movement that revitalized the island's literary and performing arts in the 1970s and 1980s. Hsiao's career in music included additional success as a pianist and conductor.
Lucijan Marija Škerjanc was a Slovene composer, music pedagogue, conductor, musician, and writer who was accomplished on and wrote for a number of musical instruments such as the piano, violin and clarinet. His style reflected late romanticism with qualities of expressionism and impressionism in his pieces, often with a hyperbolic artistic temperament, juxtaposing the dark against melodic phrases in his music.
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Airat Rafailovich Ichmouratov born 28 June 1973) is a Volga Tatar born Russian / Canadian composer, conductor and klezmer clarinetist. He is conductor and composer in residence of Longueuil Symphony Orchestra, clarinetist of Montreal-based Klezmer group Kleztory and invited professor at Laval University in Quebec, Canada. On 21 October 2020 Airat Ichmouratov received Charles Biddle Award. This honour, given by Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, and Culture pour tous highlights the contributions of immigrants to Quebec whose personal and professional commitment contributes to the province’s cultural and artistic development.