From Beethoven and Brahms, to opera, to the music of James Bond, the Regina Symphony Orchestra will offer something for all kinds of music lovers in the 2016-17 season.
Director Gordon Gerrard will open his first RSO season on Sept. 17, 2016 with James Ehnes performing Beethoven’s ‘Violin Concerto’ and the ‘Firebird Suite’ by Stravinsky. On opening night, the RSO will also perform a special commissioned piece by Karen Sunabacka entitled ‘Across the Grasslands’.
Gerrard says it is a reflection of his own history in music because Sunabacka went to school with him in Winnipeg. It’s also a fitting piece to introduce a conductor who grew up in the small prairie town of Rivers, Manitoba.
“I wanted a short piece to sort of celebrate all these things and to give a little bit of an idea of what I’m about, what I’m going to be about with the orchestra, and what people can expect in the coming years,” Gerrard said at the season launch in downtown Regina on Tuesday.
He describes starting his work with the RSO like building a jigsaw puzzle with many moving pieces, but notes that he is very proud of what they have accomplished together so far.
He began his musical career as a pianist, starting with lessons as a child.
“I just was fascinated by the range of colours and the sound palette that an orchestra can do, so really once I started delving into all that, I was totally hooked,” Gerrard commented. “It’s a real thrill for me now to be able to lead this wonderful group into the future.”
Gerrard’s background in opera also inspired the addition of ‘Candide’ to the spring program for March 11, 2017.
“Candide is not really an opera, it’s not really a musical, it’s kind of like where the two meet in the middle. It’s a great fun piece, it’s really a zany, wonderful story,” Gerrard said. “I wanted to include an opera in concert because it’s something a little bit different. I also know there are people in this community that really are missing the opportunity to see opera performed.”
The Schumiatcher Pops concert series will also feature a compilation of movie music called ‘Fifty Years of Bond… James Bond’ on Feb. 17, 2017.
“When you look out and you see the visceral reaction of people in the crowd, that kind of energy and excitement is contagious so it’s hard not to sort of get carried away by it whether you’re in the audience or in the orchestra,” Gerrard commented.
The Pops series will also bring a local flavor to the stage with a feature performance by Jeffery Straker on March 25, 2017.