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Monday, December 14, 2009

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Hot News from the Arctic

ARCTIC SYMPHONY

By Vincent Ho

World Premiere Performance: February 6, 2010

At Opening Gala of 2010 Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival

Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg

December 10, 2009: Following his once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Canada’s arctic aboard a scientific research vessel in 2008, Vincent Ho - Composer-in-Residence at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra- delivers Arctic Symphony, a piece of music that expresses his new-found spiritual connection to the land he describes as “wondrous and full of angelic beauty untouched by utilitarian society.” The 30-minute symphony will be premiered as part of the opening gala of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival, February 6, 2010 at Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg. The performance will include the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Performers, a group of throat singers from various Nunavut communities, and recorded sound-files of the Arctic environment. WSO’s Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate conducts the awaited performance, which will be recorded by CBC Radio Two and broadcasted coast to coast as part of ‘The Signal’ with host Laurie Brown on February 13, and ‘In Concert’ with host Bill Richardson on February 28, 2010. Arctic Symphony will also be available for streaming on CBC's website as a ‘Concert on Demand’ (http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/cod/).

For 2010, the WSO New Music Festival’s theme is ‘Earth’, and features music that reflects our connection with nature. The creation of Ho’s Arctic Symphony coincides with the International Polar Year. The commissioning of the piece was part of a partnership between WSO and the worldwide climate change research community. Many of the people involved in this arctic research project have been invited to attend the gala concert, including some of the world's leading climate change scientists to celebrate arctic research, which will be featured throughout the Festival.

About Arctic Symphony: “In the summer of 2008, I was provided with the opportunity to visit the Arctic region as part of an ‘Artist on Board’ program through the Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study (CFL),” explains Vincent Ho. “I was taken on board a state-of-the-art research vessel, the CCGS Amundsen, where I was introduced to studies conducted by many of the world’s leading arctic research scientists. I was also taken to Inuit communities to learn about their culture and how the current state of the environment has impacted their way of life. The goal was to provide me with first-hand experience of the Northern region while gaining a better understanding of climate change (from both the scientific and the cultural perspective) so it may inspire the composing of a large-scale symphonic work. During my limited time there, I spent my days and nights observing the landscape. Though the information given to me from the scientists and local Inuit communities was invaluable in broadening my perspective, I ultimately felt that the musical work had to be my own interpretation of the region. Writing it from any other perspective (let it be from the scientists’ or Inuit point of view) would be creatively disingenuous and unrepresentative of my connection to the North. As well, I found myself developing a spiritual connection with the environment, and for good reason: I was in a vast open area; I was constantly being subjected to the environmental conditions of the region; and I was continually surrounded by nature’s angelic beauty, untouched by utilitarian society. I therefore felt that the music needed to express this spiritual connection that had formed.”

The work is written in five movements: I. Prelude – Lamentations; II. Meditation; III. Aboard the Amundsen; IV. Nightfall; and V. O Glorious Arcticus – Postlude.

Vincent Ho aboard the CCGS Amundsen

Photo by Doug Barber

About Vincent Ho: Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1975, Vincent Ho has emerged as a much sought-after composer and is the winner of numerous awards and prizes. During his academic studies, his works were already being performed by many prestigious ensembles and orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie canadienne. His music has also been featured at numerous festivals such as the Winnipeg New Music Festival, New York’s MATA New Music Festival, Parry Sound’s Festival of the Sound, Markham Music Festival, Toronto’s Massey Hall New Music Festival, Ottawa’s Strings of the Future Festival, and Bakersfield’s New Directions Series. In addition to North America, his works have been performed in China, France and Italy. He is currently the Composer-In-Residence to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. After studying music in Ottawa, Calgary and Toronto, he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California in 2005. He also studied in Europe. An accomplished pianist, Vincent Ho is also a former dance teacher and an avid runner. He enjoys exploring the vast world of creative thinking, bridging Eastern and Western musical languages.

Upcoming projects include Hellshock: A Pulp Fiction Symphony (for full orchestra) and Five Snapshots of a Dream (for flute and piano), both to be premiered during the WSO’s 2011 New Music Festival; Red Zen (re-orchestrated version of an existing work for wind symphony) to be performed during the WSO’s 2012 New Music Festival; and a new piano piece to be written for internationally acclaimed pianist Jenny Lin.

About the International Polar Year: As part of the International Polar Year (IPY), the Canadian Government has funded the Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study (CFL) through the University of Manitoba (www.ipy-cfl.ca). The study has brought together over 300 scientists from 27 countries including Russia, USA, France, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Japan, Spain, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, UK, Sweden, China and Canada, for a multi-year climate change study in the Canadian high Arctic. For more details about the International Polar Year, please visit: www.ipy.org .

For more information, please visit:

· Vincent Ho: http://vinceho.com/

· Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study: http://www.ipy-cfl.ca/

· Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra: http://www.wso.ca/

Arctic Symphony

By Vincent Ho

World Premiere Performance: February 6, 2010

Pre-concert talk at 7:30PM; 8PM performance

Opening Gala of 2010 Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival

Program also includes works by Steven Stucky and John Tavener

Alexander Mickelthwate, WSO Director

Centennial Concert Hall: 555 Main St Winnipeg, Manitoba


For tickets, visit https://tickets.wso.mb.ca

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