Review by Sylvie Di Leonardo
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony previewed its seventy-first season at the Centre in the Square. The evening’s program featured thirteen selections from the upcoming season, and introduced the symphony’s many newcomers to their outreach and education initiatives. Patrons new to the symphony will find a lot to love this season. The audience welcomed pieces from this year’s Yuletide Spectacular and the Skating’s Greatest Hits series, which will host three-time Olympian and Canadian skating icon Kurt Browning this weekend. Patrons can expect a lively program, featuring pieces from Phantom of the Opera, Swan Lake, Casablanca, and Carmen along with original footage of the award-winning routines. *
the Kitchener-Waterloo orchestra in a preview performance
Beautifully played hits such as “When I Fall in Love” and the theme from Star Trek enticed audience members, preparing them for a series of “Unforgettable” evenings featuring the music of Nat King Cole and Music from the Movies. Principal Trumpet Larry Larson endeared the audience with Apollo 13 and a surprisingly delightful “reindeer” during “Sleigh Ride.” Subscribers can expect to relive their favourite cinematic experiences through the KW Symphony’s powerful performances of pieces from Titanic, Forrest Gump, Ratatouille, and many more.
The most memorable part of the program was Jack Wallace’s appearance. Wallace is the concertmaster of the KWS Youth Orchestra, and perhaps the symphony’s best advertisement for its training programs. The young violinist stunned the Centre’s full-house with his sharpness and grace, robustly supported by the symphony players and vibrant assistant conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and KWS Youth Orchestra’s have a lot to offer seasoned symphony-goers and newcomers alike. The Signature Series offers an exciting curation of well-known pieces, while the Pops series, Youth Orchestra concerts, Kinderconcerts, and holiday programming make it easy to introduce unfamiliar family members.
Review by Danny Gaisin
The first visual change that newly appointed HPO conductor has made was in the orchestral layout. About eight years ago, debate within the concert community took place over the concept of having the violins situated to the left of the podium, or a return to the pre-20th century notion favored by Tchaikovsky; Mahler and even Beethoven; that the first and second sections should be at opposing sides; the OSM’s Nagano; London’s Haitink and Levine of the Boston Symphony prefer splitting: – Detroit’s Slatkin takes an opposing opinion. Maestra Gemma New also has repositioned the celli and violas plus moving the basses next to percussion.
Goodyear interpreting Brahms with the HPO
Review by Judith Caldwell
The 2016/2017 season of concerts in the 5 @ the First series began with String Extravaganza VI, a concert of two violins, two violas and two cellos played first as pairs and finally in a sextet. Yehonatan Berick & Csaba Koczo, violin; Caitlin Boyle & Theresa Rudolph, viola; and Rachel Desoer & Rachel Mercer, cello; are a group of friends who get together once a year to offer an expertly played varied program. This year began with 12 year old Tate Li playing the Sarabande from J.S.Bach’s Suite #4 in E flat major for cello.
the 5@1st SEXTET!!!
Review by Danny Gaisin
The Hamilton wind was blowing at about 25 knots with gusts to 40; the Hamilton (HPO) Brass Quintet was blowing up a gale…of classical music! A free concert at the George Robinson band shell in Gage Park entertained a large group of fans including jammied kids, pets; picnickers; plus collapsibleas & blanket sitters. It was a ‘Tanglewood’ lite occasion and even the threat of rain fortunately held off. An early (7-ish) start offered sixteenth century compositions and the evening ran the gamut to as contemporary as today. Trombonist David Pell doubled as M.C. and offered a non-patronizing introduction for each piece being performed.
The H.P.O.’s Brass Quintet performing Hauser’s ‘scherzo’
Review by Judith Caldwell The National Academy Orchestra’s (NAO) latest concert entitled ‘From Tchaikovsky to Ravel’ featured some energetic, well-performed pieces interspersed with new work. The concert opened with a composition by Ana Sokolovic commissioned for the NAC Orchestra, entitled Ringelspiel, which means merry-go-round. It is meant to conjure up both the ride-on variety and the toy table-top variety to transport the audience back to childhood simplicity. The piece was unmelodic and the rhythms so fractured that it was difficult to find an access point. The use of an extreme range of strings to create scratchy, screechy sounds made it less than endearing.
Sara Davis Buechner; post-performance
Review by Judith Robinson
For those of us who cut our teeth at the 1970’s folk festivals, the Skylight Festival in Paris, Ontario, during the Civic holiday long weekend, was a trip down memory lane. Although the musicians were younger, and most of the venues indoors, the spirit of protest, freedom and fun hasn’t changed at all. There were so many great concerts it’s hard to mention only a few musicians. Minnesota singer/songwriter Heatherlyn’s energy was so much like Melanie’s that the audience could close their eyes and swear it was the 1960’s flower child guru.
Heatherlyn performing on stage