Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/1/2016 (1985 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After scarcely pausing to catch its breath over the holidays, Winnipeg’s ever-lively concert scene roars back to life with an abundance of great music. Here are 10 picks for 2016 that have caught my eye, listed in chronological order:
- The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s annual New Music Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a series of nightly concerts and events from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29. One show already generating plenty of buzz is Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic, which is being staged at the Pan Am Pool, complete with synchronized swimmers. You can catch the English composer’s watershed work described as "devastatingly poignant" on Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. For more information visit wnmf.ca.
- Westminster Organ Series treats organ buffs to a solo concert by acclaimed Canadian David Enlow on Feb. 28 at 2:30 p.m. at Westminster United Church. The New York City-based artist has been lauded for his virtuosity and his gutsy, sensitive playing. For more details go to westminsterchurch.org.
- Camerata Nova digs deep into Winnipeg’s rich cultural heritage with Nortendluvsongs, a celebration of the city’s storied North End including songs about people’s passions for curling, hockey and perogies. Two shows led by Mel Braun will be held March 12 at 8 p.m. and March 13 at 3 p.m. at the Ukrainian Labour Temple, 595 Pritchard Ave. Get there 45 minutes early to hear a special performance by the Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra. Visit cameratanova.com for ticket info.
- Canzona performs its second musical offering of the season, Musikalische Exequien — Funeral Music for the Season of Lent, on March 20 at 7 p.m. at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church. The concert features baroque works by Schütz, Praetorius, Gabrieli and Monteverdi, with artistic director Elroy Friesen leading the 25-voice ensemble, accompanied by members of the WSO. See canzonachoir.com.
- This year, Manitoba Opera is making good on its promise to offer more non-traditional fare with its local première of American composer/librettist Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. Based on John Steinbeck’s tale of two migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression, the three-show run opens April 23 at 7:30 p.m. and ends April 29 at the Centennial Concert Hall. See manitobaopera.mb.ca.
- The Winnipeg Singers join forces with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and Arrowhead Chorale of Duluth, Minn., for its latest instalment in the series Icons & Incense: Music of the Russian Orthodox Tradition on May 15 at 4 p.m. at Westminster United Church. The 100-plus mass choir promises to excite listeners with its rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, led by maestro Yuri Klaz. For more information, see winnipegsingers.com.
- It’s always cause for celebration whenever Brandon’s dazzling violin virtuoso James Ehnes sweeps into town. The multi-award winning artist, accompanied by pianist Andrew Armstrong, performs an intimate chamber program as part of a national 2016 recital tour. The concert is slated for May 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Westminster United Church and also features a world première composed by former WSO maestro Bramwell Tovey for the occasion. For more details see themco.ca.
- First out of the gate this year for spring festivals is the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society’s annual Mozart and More!, which runs May 29 and May 31 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Two eclectic programs performed by the Clearwater Quartet feature the Wunderkind’s Piano Trio in E major, K542 and String Quartet in D major, K499, as well as a few tongue-in-cheek surprises, including Shchedrin’s comical Let’s Play an Opera by Rossini. Check out wcms.mb.ca for more info.
- Also celebrating its first-quarter century, Virtuosi Concerts holds a gala 25th anniversary concert showcasing Canadian pianist Angela Cheng on June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The solo concert titled Poet of the Piano includes works by Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin. More details are at virtuosi.mb.ca.
- Finally, the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival returns with another terrific lineup of concerts featuring a host of guest artists, as well as its founding artistic director, cellist Paul Marleyn. The weeklong fete runs June 4 through June 10 at the U of W’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall. For tickets and full schedule, visit agassizfestival.com.
So there you have it, folks — and this is only scratches the surface. Pick a concert, or several, and go support live music. You’ll be glad you did.