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WNMF 1: Lineage

(B)eyond Classics

WNMF 1: Lineage

No stranger to WNMF audiences, the riveting music of Montreal-born composer Samy Moussa opens the festival with his Kammerkonzert for chamber orchestra. The powerful and physical piece makes way for John Adams’ sequel to Chamber SymphonySon of Chamber Symphony. Commissioned by Stanford University, Carnegie Hall and the San Francisco Ballet  in 2007, the sequel is pure Adams. Cast in his playfully mercurial style, it is a characteristically complex and richly imagined work.

Records from a Vanishing City is an autobiographical tone poem based on Jessie Montgomery’s own recollection of the music that surrounded her growing up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The evening wraps up with another autobiographical work – the incredibly powerful Iscariot  by the late Christopher Rouse. Dedicated “in friendship and with admiration” to John Adams, Iscariot is a continuous piece written in the ancient Greek dramatic tradition that, like the opening piece of the evening, is filled with riveting intensity but also extreme sorrow.

Part of the 2021 Winnipeg New Music Festival.

Purchase a WNMF Pass for access to all three WNMF livestream concerts for only $49, a savings of 35% over individual tickets.






Daniel Raiskin



Records from a Vanishing City

Jessie Montgomery


Christopher Rouse


Samy Moussa

Son of Chamber Symphony

John Adams

Get more acquainted

  • Montreal-born, Paris/Berlin-based composer and conductor Samy Moussa is a star on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2018 he came to WNMF for the Manitoba premiere of his Symphony No. 1, Concordia, composed to both celebrate the 375th anniversary of Montreal and – as Kent Nagano put it – to “imagine what a symphony in the 21st century might be.”


  • When writing the original Chamber Symphony, John Adams sat in his studio in Berkeley studying Schoenberg’s early, atonal years – while his seven-year-old son watched classic cartoons. Delirious “Road Runner” soundtracks and the equally delirious music by Schoenberg made for a true Adams classic.  The opening movement of Son of Chamber Symphony is propelled by a rhythmic motive from the Scherzo of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.


  • A year before completing Records from a Vanishing City , Jessie Montgomery inherited a large portion of a very dear family friend’s eclectic record collection. It was a treasure trove of great jazz recordings of the ‘50s, ‘60s and beyond – John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk – as well as traditional folk artists from Africa, Asia and South America. In the process of imagining the music for Records, a specific track of music from Angola caught Montgomery’s ear: a traditional lullaby sung in call and response by a women’s chorus. Montgomery says this lullaby “rang with an uncanny familiarity” in her. An adaptation of this lullaby and the rhythmic chant that follows it appears in each of the three main sections of Records. This piece is dedicated to the memory of the record collection’s owner – James Rose.


  • The title of Christopher Rouse’s Iscariot is derived from the name of Judas Iscariot, the famous betrayer of Jesus; although, beyond this there is no biblical program to the work. The piece is highly sectionalized into a pattern of alternating strophes and antistrophes in the ancient Greek dramatic tradition, the five strophes featuring the strings while the four antistrophes utilize the celesta in combination with various wind or percussion instruments. Somewhat hidden in the antistrophes are references to the chorale “Es ist genug” – used so powerfully by Bach in his cantata O Ewigkeit du Donnerwort – but the famous opening chords of the chorale emerge clearly at the conclusion of the fifth strophe.

Jan 23, 2021 | 7:30 pm
Livestream only


Approximately 60 minutes with no intermission

Series Sponsor:
BMO Financial Group

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