Q&A with Steven Page
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” says Pellicano. “Steven Page is a Canadian musical icon, and when paired with Craig Northey, Kevin Fox and the full WSO, we will have a unique experience for our audiences at the Burton Cummings Theatre that cannot be heard anywhere else!”
We caught up with Steven Page after returning from a recent tour.
You’ve been doing these symphony shows for a little while now. What led to all of this in the first place?
I’m a fan of orchestral music, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to perform with many of the great orchestras across North America, and these have been some of the most exciting musical experiences of my career. When I was a teenager, I was a choral singer and the opportunities I had to sing with symphony orchestras were so stirring and inspiring, that I always dreamed of being able to have a program of orchestral arrangements of my own music one day and now, here we are!
This will be your second time performing with the WSO, but this time you’re performing at the Burton Cummings Theatre (formerly The Walker Theatre). How are you feeling about that? What will this historical venue bring to the performance?
I had a really great experience singing “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with The Art of Time Ensemble and the WSO with conductor Julian Pellicano several years ago. I have been fantasizing about being able to bring my trio back to Winnipeg to play our own show with the WSO ever since. I am really excited. It will be great to be back at The Burt, too. I first played there with Barenaked Ladies over 30 years ago, and it’s a great place to see a show.
How do you pick the songs for a concert like this?
I’ve tried to choose a selection that spans my whole career, from recent songs to some of the biggest Barenaked Ladies hits like “The Old Apartment” and “Brian Wilson” and I think we’ve got a really nice mix. I’m really happy with the orchestrations. They’re varied and challenging and a lot of fun, arranged by Kevin Fox, Jim McGrath, Bryden Baird, Craig Northey, my son, Isaac Page (proud parent alert!). I even did a couple of the orchestrations myself, which is a task both terrifying and gratifying!
What have you learned over the series of these symphony concerts?
One of the things I have strived for with these arrangements is to really take advantage of the sonic possibilities of the orchestra. By not bringing a drummer or a bass player with me, I’m able to allow all sections of the WSO to be heard, and for the orchestra to really BE the band, which makes these concerts unique from any other show I normally do. I think what I’ve really learned by doing these symphony concerts is how much I enjoy collaborating with others, and how much I want to do it more!
Steven Page is part of the Manitoba Liquor Mart’s Live at the WSO concert series. Individual tickets are still available at wso.ca or by calling the WSO Box Office at 204-949-3999.
If you have a season subscription but not for this series, you’re eligible for a 20% discount on single-ticket purchases. Purchase tickets using your WSO account, and the 20% deduction will automatically be made. You can also call the WSO box office at 204-949-3999 for assistance.