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Opening Night – Beethoven & Bach

Asper (A)bsolute Classics

Opening Night – Beethoven & Bach

Although Beethoven’s 250th birthday celebrations were unexpectedly halted, the WSO’s Beethoven 250 events continue with two works from the great composer beginning with the Egmont Overture: the  powerful, telling story of Count Egmont through Beethoven’s exquisite music.

WSO Concertmaster Gwen Hoebig takes centre stage with arguably the most popular of Bach’s surviving violin concertos, followed by the graceful ‘Lyric’ for Strings by African-American composer George Walker. We close the evening with Beethoven’s powerful and beloved Symphony No. 7.



Julian Pellicano


Gwen Hoebig



Egmont Overture

Ludwig van Beethoven

Concerto No. 2 for Violin and String Orchestra

Johann Sebastian Bach

Lyric for Strings

George Walker

Symphony No. 7

Ludwig van Beethoven

Get more acquainted



  • At the premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, the second movement, Allegretto, was just as popular as it is today, and was encored immediately. The great violinist Louis Spohr, who performed in the orchestra that evening, made particular mention of Beethoven’s antics on the podium, “as a sforzando occurred, he tore his arms with a great vehemence asunder … at the entrance of a forte he jumped in the air.”


  • We don’t know when, where, or why Bach wrote his violin concertos, whether he played the solo parts himself, or even how many of them he wrote, since several were probably lost. We do know he was a capable player. He liked to direct his orchestras playing viola, so he could be in the middle of everything, and owned a violin by Jacob Stainer, whose instruments were then more prized than Amati’s or Stradivari’s.


  • George Walker, the grandson of a slave, was one of America’s most distinguished composers.  In 1945 he was the first African-American pianist to play a recital at New York’s Town Hall, the first Black instrumentalist to play solo with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the first Black graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In 1996 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. George Walker died in 2018 at the age of 96.


  • Learn more about Black composers who left their mark on classical music.

Oct 2, 2020 | 7:30 pm
Oct 3, 2020 | 7:30 pm


Centennial Concert Hall, MB, Canada

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Approx 90 minutes with no intermission

Concert Sponsor:
Asper Foundation Gail Asper Family Foundation

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