A word from the Maestro

Come, enjoy the 2014-15 Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra concerts. There’ll be passion, human rights, Bachman and a Messiah sing-along.

Alexander Mickelthwate and the WSO. (Photo by Keith Levit Photography.)
Alexander Mickelthwate and the WSO.
(Photo by Keith Levit Photography.)

Dear Reader,

For all of you who don’t know me, my name is Alexander Mickelthwate, music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. It is a real pleasure to work in this creative city – especially right now as our orchestra is not only performing here in Manitoba but is going to travel to New York City in May to perform in Carnegie Hall.

What I would like to talk to you about today is our upcoming season. It always takes a year to put together all the different concerts: family, pops, schools and classical. We just launched our 2014-15 season; we are really excited about it and I would like to tell you about the different concerts.

Human rights features

In the classical Masterworks we are going to have a beautiful Nordic Festival in October where we are going to present the deeply passionate music of Sibelius, Nielsen and Grieg, and are going to feature several Icelandic performers (as you know, we have the biggest Icelandic population outside of Iceland).

The Museum of Human Rights will be opening its doors this summer and we are going to collaborate with them with several concerts having a human rights theme: the colossal and deeply moving War Requiem by Benjamin Britten will be among several pieces mounted and the former music director of the Seattle Symphony Gerald Schwarz will come to conduct a concert that will include music of the movie Schindler’s List and Copland’s Symphony No. 3.

We are also going to invite Jean Lamon from Tafelmusik to work with our orchestra to dig into the world of baroque performance practice. She will lead the orchestra standing and playing the violin, as it was done during Mozart’s time. Russian pianist Natasha Paremski will be back to open our season with Gershwin’s piano concerto and the blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii will be back to close the upcoming season with nothing less than Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.

In the pops we are going to have a wide variety. On the one hand, we will feature Randy Bachman for the first time ever with an orchestra, our orchestra. On the other hand we are going to perform music from Elvis Presley and from the Rat Pack. If you like movies, we will present Singing in the Rain and Charley Chaplin’s The Circus, both with live orchestral accompaniment. And if you are into dance, well, you have to see Ballroom with a Twist, with 16 dancers/singers performing works from shows, such as “I Got Rhythm”, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “American Idol”.

Sing with the Messiah

Our most popular show, the Messiah will have an add-on this upcoming season. We will also present a Messiah Sing-Along, where you can participate and sing with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. On Valentine’s Day we will perform the most romantic concert yet. Russian guest conductor Daniel Raiskin is going to conduct an evening of music from Romeo and Juliet and the Midsummer Night’s Dream with the piano duo of Anderson and Roe.

And as always I will give the pre-concert talks before all of my own concerts. It is an informal presentation of the background to the Masterworks.

In case you feel inspired, please go to our website wso.ca, check it out and sign up.

Hope to see you soon,


(Photo by Nardella Photography, Inc.)
(Photo by Nardella Photography, Inc.)

One thought on “A word from the Maestro”

  1. Maestro Mickelthwate,

    As a long-time Nobuyuki Tsujii fan, I thank you for bestowing on him the honor of a return performance with you and your esteemed orchestra. But … must you label him as “the blind pianist”?

    In a recent interview before a performance at Teatro La Scala, Mr. Tsujii is quoted thus: <> “I am a pianist without the adjective (blind), thanks.” (Please see http://mlliu2006.blogspot.com/2014/03/scala-nobuyuki-tsujii-2014.html )

    Mr. Tsujii is too polite to ever voice such a protest, but — as a devoted fan — I feel compelled to speak for him.
    M. L. Liu

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