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Vancouver Symphony's 2016 New Music Festival

Vancouver Symphony's 2016 New Music Festival

January 22, 2016
British Columbia

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's 2016 New Music Festival

A vibrant festival dedicated to showcasing works by contemporary composers, the VSO’s NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL welcomes the KRONOS QUARTET as featured artists. For more than 40 years, the San Francisco based foursome of David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the world’s most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing thousands of concerts, releasing more than 50 recordings, collaborating with an eclectic mix of composers and performers, and commissioning over 850 works and arrangements for string quartet. The Kronos Quartet will be featured in a solo performance (February 26) that ranges from Pete Townshend’s Baba O’Riley to Laurie Anderson’s Flow, to Mary Kouyoumdjian’s Bombs of Beirut – “a thoroughly engaging work that straddles the line between sound documentary and concert music.” The Kronos Quartet joins with the VSO (February 28) in a performance of It Got Dark, a work inspired by the city of Los Angeles, and composed by one of Hollywood’s finest film composers, Thomas Newman (Skyfall, WALL-E, American Beauty).

Along with Newman’s work, the “City of Angels” is also the inspiration for L.A. Variations, composed by the conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen. VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey also includes Earthfall, by the VSO’s Composer-in-Residence, Jocelyn Morlock; and Regenerations, a premiere by VSO Associate Principal Trumpet, and Composer-in-Association, Marcus Goddard (February 28).

The curator for much of the festival is Jocelyn Morlock, who flavours the programming to form a rich and varied banquet. “We have two works inspired by paintings of the contemporary English visual artist Francis Bacon, one by Rodney Sharman and another by Mark-Anthony Turnage. What could be better than adding a little Christopher Mayo on the side?” she says, tongue placed firmly in cheek. “Actually, with works by Canada’s Linda C. Smith and Glenn Buhr, as well as Jennifer Higdon from the US, we have a feast for the ears. The entire program delves into our complex relationship with spirituality and the unknown” (February 27).

The VSO’s NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL welcomes back the acclaimed contemporary ensemble Standing Wave to open the four-day long event. Made up of six of Vancouver’s most sought-after musical multi-taskers, Standing Wave ventures into a wide array of musical worlds with passion and assurance, bringing an audaciously intimate aesthetic to the most complex and ground-breaking music. Their program (February 25), will feature the world premiere of Jocelyn Morlock’s Undark, as well as Jeffrey Ryan’s Readings from Book of Love, and Phillip Glass’s classic Music in Similar Motion. Gordon Fitzell’s psychedelic electro-acoustic work evanescence, and Nicole Lizée’s award-winning Hitchcock Etudes, which incorporates video and sound from four of the director’s great films, will round out the program.

Each evening will include a pre-concert talk with many of the composers in the Orpheum Theatre, hosted by Bramwell Tovey and Jocelyn Morlock. Following each performance there will be a post-concert gathering, with cash bar, in the West Coast Energy Hall of the Orpheum.