Winnipeg Chamber Music Society: Karl Stobbe, Yuri Hooker, David Moroz, Gwen Hoebig, Daniel Scholtz (Andrew Sikorski).
There was real electricity in the air; audience members were sitting just a few feet away from the players all evening, and the excitement was palpable!
—David Moroz, artistic director of the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society
In this age of rapid change, where everything is fleeting or disposable, it's comforting to know there are some tried and true things that stick around - and even flourish. One of them is the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, which marks its 25th anniversary this year. Their concerts have given me some of my most pleasurable musical memories, both as a recording producer and as an audience member.
David Moroz is the founding artistic director of the Society. His cohorts are key players of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Gwen Hoebig, Karl Stobbe, Daniel Scholz and Yuri Hooker. Each concert usually features a special guest. The core standard body of chamber music forms the foundation for most of their concerts, but they have been known to spice things up with music that's off the beaten path and a number of commissions, as well.
SCENE asked founding artistic director David Moroz to describe the 5 most memorable moments of the past 25 years.
1. During our 1994-1995 season, the WCMS had its first
completely sold-out concert. The program was Brahms' great G major String
Quintet, op. 111, and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances for 2 pianos. Our guest
artist for the evening - and my partner in the Rachmaninoff - was my dear friend Jon
Kimura Parker, making his debut with the WCMS.
CBC Radio was there to record the performance, and there was real electricity in the air; audience members were sitting just a few feet away from the players all evening, and the excitement was palpable! Jackie returns to play with the WCMS on March 4, 2012.
2. On January 15, 1991, the WCMS gave a performance of Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time - fifty years to the day after its first performance at Stalag VIII-A in Germany. There is always a great sense of occasion whenever this work is performed, but the music had a particularly chilling effect this evening; at this time there was great unrest in the Middle east, and I remember returning home after the concert and watching CNN into the early hours of the morning - the conflict in the Persian Gulf was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, and for the first time the world would see the eerie video transmission of the strangely glowing green tracer bullets flying through the night air over Kuwait. Everyone in the audience was aware that the world was once again on the verge of war.
3. In June of 2006, the WCMS gave a two-concert series devoted entirely to the music of Mozart, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the great Viennese composer's birth. We gave performances of six of Mozart's greatest chamber music masterpieces over two evenings including the 'Dissonant' Quartet and the Clarinet Quintet. The opportunity to perform - and to hear! - these great works so close together was a great privilege for all of us involved.
4. In January of 2009 the WCMS gave two performances of a trilogy
of works by Beethoven: his 'Serioso' String
Quartet, op. 95, the final Violin and Piano Sonata, op. 96, and the great 'Archduke'
Piano Trio, op. 97. It is extraordinary
to imagine that Beethoven had the ideas for each of these three different works
percolating in his mind at virtually the same time - for us to perform all
three of them in a single evening really brought home to us Beethoven's genius,
and made us realize how fortunate we were to be able to do what we do.
5. In May of 2011, the WCMS travelled to Ottawa to participate in 'Prairie Scene', a week-long event staged by the National Arts Centre to celebrate artists and artistic organizations from the Prairies. The WCMS gave a performance at the extraordinarily beautiful Rideau Chapel at the National Gallery of Canada, and the immediate standing ovation given us by the sold-out crowd at the end of the show was most gratifying!
The Winnipeg Chamber Music Society give its 25th anniversary concert with guest soloist Tracy Dahl on January 22nd in Muriel Richardson Auditorium at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.