WSO Announces its new 2023/24 Season
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra announced its 2023/24 season. From opening night’s powerful performance by world-renowned violinist Vadim Gluzman to the concert where the WSO takes audiences to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert in their BMO Night at the Movies series, the Winnipeg Symphony’s 2023/24 season is breaking barriers and creating new and exciting ways to experience the WSO and classical music.
“I am thrilled to embark on this new exciting musical journey with the wonderful musicians of the WSO and our phenomenal audiences,” says Daniel Raiskin, WSO Music Director. “One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is the feeling of trust and the sense of freedom that grows with every concert we prepare and present. This encourages us to be bold and innovative, and it generates a kind of energy that makes attending our concerts an absolute must.”
THURSDAY AND SATURDAY CLASSICS
This season, the WSO is offering a brand-new Thursday Classics experience. Patrons are encouraged to start with an early dinner at a nearby restaurant offering special pricing for WSO subscribers. Then it’s off to the Concert Hall. Early arrivers can attend a pre-concert chamber performance featuring musicians in the making before the engaging 75-minute concert (without intermission) starts at 7:00 pm. Each work will be introduced by the conductor, taking audiences inside the music in a unique and personal way. Patrons can then cap off their evening with a post-concert Q&A lounge with refreshments on the Piano Nobile with the conductor, soloists and WSO musicians. It is a whole new way to savour the WSO experience.
Along with returning special guests like violinists Vadim Gluzman, Blake Pouliot and Kerson Leong, pianist Lukáš Vondráček, and cellist Zlatomir Fung make their WSO debuts in the 2023/24 season during the Thursday Classics.
Saturday Classics, the perennially popular five-concert series starting at 7:30 pm, features the WSO’s own Gwen Hoebig and Yuri Hooker; while trombonist Jorgen van Rijen, concert pianists Michelle Cann and Claire Huangci, and soprano Sarah Dufresne perform with the orchestra for the first time.
Throughout the season, many guest artists perform a number of works on the same program, a special treat for WSO audiences.
Other new faces in the 2023/24 season include guest conductors. Nodoka Okisawa, Chief Conductor of the City of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra conducts in the Thursday Classics. Dynamic Canadian Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser launches the Saturday Classics and Earl Lee, a former recipient of the 2017 RBC Conductors Showcase and Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony, also conducts a Saturday concert.
“The wealth of talent that will grace the stage of the Centennial Concert Hall during the 2023/24 season is absolutely astonishing, and I am overjoyed to welcome all these sensational artists to Winnipeg,” says Raiskin. “Performing alongside these world-class soloists is uniquely inspiring for both the orchestra and myself. It enables us to create an unforgettable experience for our patrons.”
Along with the new Thursday Classics concerts, this season sees a different take on the UnTuxed series. These special performances are moving from Saturdays to Thursdays at noon. Patrons can enjoy their lunch on the Piano Nobile listening to a pre-concert chat led by Associate Conductor Julian Pellicano or the WSO’s new Assistant Conductor Monica Chen. After the talk, they will be invited into the hall for a special 30- minute concert featuring repertoire from the upcoming evening concert.
UnTuxed concerts are a great introduction to the symphony, an easy way to take in a performance on a lunch break or an alternative to an evening concert. School groups are encouraged to contact the WSO to learn more about these mini-concerts. Two of the noon-hour UnTuxed concerts are “Relaxed Experiences,” designed to make artistic spaces more welcoming and comfortable for neuro-diverse audience members, anyone on the autism spectrum, and people with sensory and/or communication disorders or learning disabilities.
LIVE AT THE WSO
In our second season of “Live at the WSO,” Associate Conductor Julian Pellicano once again offers up an exciting series of collaborative adventures with outstanding guest artists from many musical traditions.
“The Live at the WSO series is the place to experience the Winnipeg Symphony in ways that are both exciting and unexpected,” says Pellicano. “The virtuosity and versatility of our musicians really shine while collaborating with artists from a wide spectrum of musical genres and backgrounds–artists brought to Winnipeg specifically to perform with the WSO.”
This season, Live at the WSO concerts feature acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Steven Page, Canadian superstar fiddler Natalie MacMaster, JUNO award nominees Sultans of String and, making their WSO debut, aerialist and acrobatic ensemble Troupe Vertigo. The final guest in the series is not only making his WSO debut but his symphonic debut as well. CBC senior entertainment correspondent Eli Glasner hosts the final Live at the WSO concert of the 2023/24 season with a programme entirely devoted to works from Oscar-winning movie soundtracks.
The Steven Page and the Sultans of String concerts are being presented at the Burton Cummings Theatre, which promises fans a vintage and intimate experience.
BMO NIGHT AT THE MOVIES
One of the most popular series at the WSO, BMO Night at the Movies, brings films to a whole new level with a live symphonic soundtrack.
“Experiencing great cinema with an orchestra playing and synchronizing the musical score in real-time is a truly unique experience that is only possible with the full power of a live symphony orchestra. It’s the best possible sound quality!” says Pellicano. “This will be my eleventh season conducting live-to-picture film concerts with the WSO, and it’s a part of my life as a conductor that I really love. Mainly because we are able to play incredible and profound film music and create a truly unforgettable event for our audience. Outstanding films with some of the best music ever written for Hollywood come alive in new ways in our BMO Night at the Movies series.”
The 2023/24 season lineup includes Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein: It’s (A)live, the original 1931 version of the horror classic, at the Burton Cummings Theatre just in time for Halloween, Frozen in Concert and Star Wars: A New Hope by Disney Concerts, along with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™ in Concert.
The WSO’s popular Sunday afternoon Kids Concerts are back this coming season with three new performances that feature beloved Winnipeg children’s performer Al Simmons in Something’s Fishy with Al Simmons, Circus performer Jamie Adkins in Cirque Symphonique and Dandi Productions’ African folk tale The Twins and the Monster featuring actor Norma Lewis.
“This year, the WSO offers flexible options for all our patrons, present and future. Some may want to stay downtown after work for an earlier concert start and an earlier finish for our Thursday Classics. Others will welcome the Saturday Classics at our usual 7:30 pm start time and a longer concert with intermission,” says Angela Birdsell, WSO Executive Director. “We’ve got kid’s concerts on Sundays, and our popular BMO night at the movie series has something for every type of film buff, young and old. We’re excited to offer different venue experiences at “the Burt,” and next holiday season, we will present a jaw-dropping Handel’s Messiah over two nights at Knox United Church – a venue similar to those attended by original audiences of Messiah. We are incredibly proud of a 2023/24 season that is inventive, flexible, diverse, and exciting.”