WSO marks a splendor-filled 70 years

As you’d expect, the season opens on a high note, with Itzak Perlman, and is still there for family fun, The Tenors and ABBA.

Alexander Mickelthwate
Random Notes

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, next year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the WSO. For 70 years, you have been our partners. Thank you!

The journey started in 1948 when Walter Kaufmann launched the first regular season of the WSO at the Winnipeg Auditorium. The years that followed were filled with one high note after another. Two tours to Carnegie Hall, international guests including Pierre Monteux, John Barbirolli, Leon Fleisher and Jacqueline du Pré, the move to the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall, and the launch of the Winnipeg New Music Festival.

Throughout our 70th anniversary season, we celebrate with nods to the past and a steady gaze to the future.

I’m thrilled the season opens with the preeminent violinist of our day, Itzhak Perlman, at the Asper Family Opening Night. Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak will perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D, which will be paired with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Itzhak’s list of awards and notable performances goes on and on, from his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 that launched him onto the international scene to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

But perhaps the most commonly known achievement were his violin solos in Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award winning film, Schindler’s List in collaboration with composer John Williams.

I can’t wait to hear him on our stage!

We close this special season with a visit from two men who need no introduction to Winnipeg audiences, WSO conductor-laureate Bramwell Tovey and Brandon-born violinist James Ehnes, who will join the Vancouver Symphony on tour in Winnipeg.

Our Autumn Festival theme this year is Angels and Demons, with a wide range of music which will take us through the spectrum of every emotion.

We go from Henryk Górecki’s masterpiece Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, the most played 20th century work with over a million copies sold, to Liszt’s Dante Symphony, a piece that goes all the way from hell to heaven with a beautiful choir at the end imagining the sounds of angels singing.

On the family-fun side of things, we launch a new Movie Series, with three movies on the big screen while the orchestra plays the score live! We start with J.K. Rowling’s iconic Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, with a magical score by John Williams, a favourite of my family. Then we’ll have Charles Chaplin: City Lights Live and The Wizard of Oz, where we’ll watch Dorothy tap her ruby slippers in original Technicolour.

In our Air Canada Pops series, I am most looking forward to collaborating with The Tenors for our big Christmas show. They are so talented, and putting this holiday show together with them will be a lot of fun. Fans of ABBA are in for a treat with the group’s arrival from Sweden, the best ABBA show around with 35 sold out United States appearances. The Five By Design vocal group will bring the Music of the Mad Era to life in the fall (and let me tell you, they do not break character), and enfant terrible of the fiddle, Cape-Breton’s Ashley MacIsaac, will also be here that first season.

There are many more concerts I want to tell you about, but you’ll have to visit our website at for the full season lineup and to pick out your subscription choices. Early Bird specials are on now, until May 28.

It is a season of exciting music that could only happen in a city that embraces its orchestra. Without you, we could not perform. Without you, we could not create. Thank you for your energy. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your love of great music! See you at the Concert Hall.


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