Bigger than a Breadbox

I’ve completely lost my taste for the phrase “It’s gonna be huge” so we’ll have to be satisfied with another figure of speech…It’s the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra‘s huuuuuuuuuuuugest New Music Festival ever, and People Are Playing All The Things!

In case you didn’t already know, and hadn’t yet realized what an excellent festival we’ll have (it would be a disaster to miss it. You’d be sad later):

January 24th – John Korsrud‘s genre-devouring, -smashing, -chomping, and indeed -mulching Hard Rubber Orchestra plays marbles (in Mariah Mennie‘s Music of the Spheres) and some slightly louder instruments in Korsrud’s own Cruel Yet Fair.

January 26th will feature piano music that is utterly diverse in nature – from Bent Sørensen’s gentle, beautiful Lullabies to Ronn Yedidia‘s ferocious Ether, to my hyperactive and gamelonian Corybantic – and those are just the pieces where the pianist plays in the traditional way, on the keys…Some of the wildest stuff is played on extended/prepared piano, and by Disklavier/pianist duet (Looking at you Farshid Samandari)! Please come hear what I mean, the internet cannot adequately prepare you for this concert! Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, Miranda Wong, Lisa Cay Miller, and Corey Hamm will make it worth your time.

January 27th marks our first full Vancouver Symphony Orchestra night – Bramwell Tovey conducts the VSO and guests including Graeme Langager‘s UBC Singers, and Glenn Buhr and the Button Factory Band. Glenn Buhr’s Symphony No. 4 (Guernica 2017) will be a world premiere, but you can get an idea of the first movement listening to the band’s wild version of While the Babies Sleep, on Soundcloud. (More from the GB and the BFB up there too if you’ve a mind to explore.)

The second half is utterly different – you can hear excerpts of Jeffrey Ryan and Suzanne M. Steele‘s remarkable Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation below. Both of these pieces takes an intense look at the horrors of modern warfare.

January 25th and 28th – Our co-presenter Early Music Vancouver, curated by Rodney Sharman, has all kinds of new music for early instruments, including the amazing Reggie Mobley singing “Bein’ Green” and many other surprising vocal works, on January 28th. Here he is singing Handel.

On January 29th, on the second night of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra taking the stage, there’s also bowed piano played by all six members of Standing Wave in Jennifer Higdon‘s effervescent concerto for sextet, On a Wire! You can see/hear Eighth Blackbird rehearsing it, below. For the whole piece you’ll have to come to our show. There’ll also be music by Emilie LeBel, Marcus Goddard, Nikolai Korndorf, and me. Expect the bird-like, the energetic, and Spooky Action at a Distance – Goddard’s world premiere, which references Einstein’s comments about quantum mechanics! (It’s going to be an interesting night.)

If something on there doesn’t appeal to you, I’ll at least consider eating my hat, before wisely going back to playing with the euphonious marbles. This festival trumps all others!

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