Bravo to our retiring musicians!

News 2019-05-01

Bravo to our retiring musicians!

This month, the WSO sends well wishes to three of our musicians who have played with us for over 30 years. Join us in thanking them for their incredibly special contributions to our stage. They have touched everyone who has had the pleasure of hearing their music. We wish them all the best in their next chapters!

Paul Nagelberg, bass

Bassist Paul Nagelberg was born in the city of New York and was raised in that area. He moved to Toronto at age 14 after the loss of his father. In Toronto he began learning the bass in his high school music program. Paul soon fell in love with classical music and knew he wanted to perform it as a career. He attended the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with honours from the latter.

Paul played principal bass in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for two summers. He moved to Winnipeg to accept a position with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1978. Since coming to Winnipeg, he has regularly played with both Musik Barock Ensemble and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. Paul’s freelance work in Winnipeg has included the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra, in-school concerts with the Canadian Education Ensembles (Keystone String Quartet), Rainbow Stage and private teaching. He has spent summers with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, Great Music West Orchestra (Utah) and the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra.

Paul’s WSO career highlight remains the orchestra’s first Carnegie Hall performance in 1979. There have been countless other exciting concerts, but that one was uniquely thrilling to participate in during his very first WSO season. The best thing, though, about Paul’s many years with the WSO was meeting his wife Carolyn (WSO cellist) and having a wonderful family with her.

Carolyn Nagelberg, cello

Carolyn Nagelberg, cellist, was born in North Carolina and grew up in Midland, Michigan. She has been a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra since 1972 and an active player with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra since 1973. Over the years she has performed with many musical groups in Winnipeg, including Musikbarock, GroundSwell, Aurora Musicale and Music Inter Alia. Her summer activities have included the Rainbow Stage Orchestra (Winnipeg), the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra (Boulder) and the Great Music West Festival Orchestra (Bear Lake, Utah).

She received a Bachelor of Music degree with honours from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 1965. Before coming to Winnipeg, she was a member of several orchestras: the Toledo Orchestra (Ohio), the Richmond and Norfolk Symphonies (Virginia), the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.) and the St. Paul Opera Orchestra (Minnesota), among others.

Her husband Paul is a bass player in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Meeting Paul was a key highlight of her life; they have a wonderful extended family including 4 sons, 3 daughters-in-law and 3 granddaughters. They all are the delight and focus of her life. Carolyn and Paul feel that Winnipeg is a terrific place to raise a family.

Professionally, the highlight of her career has been the opportunity, as a member of the musical community in Winnipeg, to play a huge amount of music of every style with valued colleagues who share the goal of working together as a team. She especially enjoys the “Outreach” work done by the WSO (Music in Health Care). Outstanding highlights have been many;  it is difficult to prioritize. Carolyn feels that the years with Andrey Boreyko were very special and inspiring. She says,” Whatever repertoire was being played, he brought focus and emotion to the podium. He introduced us to beautiful and expressive contemporary music by composers like Kancheli and Silvestrov, and also had deep insights into the more standard works. Even very popular ‘chestnuts’ such as “Night on Bald Mountain” were given amazing new life by Boreyko. We all looked forward to going to rehearsals and performances with him.” Her long career has been very interesting and rewarding. She feels very lucky and happy to be here.


Fred Liessens, percussion

It’s been Fred’s life dream come true to be able to play music for a living and he is extremely grateful to have had that opportunity performing with the WSO for 38 seasons. Over the many years he has enjoyed bringing so many brilliant compositions to life for the audience, with some of his favorites being Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Firebird, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Mahler’s symphonies and Gershwin’s American in Paris and Porgy & Bess.

Most memorable was the first trip the WSO took to Churchill Manitoba, and performing the Car Horn Concerto in a ‘Jaguar’ on a Portage & Main stage. Fred loved working with the ‘Prince of Pops’ Erich Kunzel and of course the ever-popular performances of Ravel’s Bolero.

He looks forward to enjoying the coming years working on personal music projects, playing with small groups, and practicing piano. Whatever Fred does, it will always be music.

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