It was already evident that the MCO had established an appealing mix of elements for its concerts: fine musicianship, the physical intimacy of a small venue, and an intriguing balance of programming that embraced the old, the new, the familiar and the unfamiliar.
—Don Anderson, music educator
I met conductor Ruben Gurevich through my job selling classical records at the store called Opus 69. In March 1974, he invited me to a concert by an ensemble he had founded two years before: the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. I hadn't heard them and I was eager to do so. My anticipation was richly rewarded.
The concert took place in the Muriel Richardson Auditorium at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and included music by J.S. Bach (one of the keyboard concertos), Ernest Bloch (Concerto Grosso No. 1), and Arnold Schoenberg (Transfigured Night). A good-size audience was on hand, and they showed their appreciation of the excellent performance and Gurevich's passionate conducting in no uncertain terms.
It was already evident that the MCO had established an appealing mix of elements for its concerts: fine musicianship, the physical intimacy of a small venue, and an intriguing balance of programming that embraced the old, the new, the familiar and the unfamiliar. It has maintained that same approach throughout the 40 years of its existence, with continually satisfying results.
Behind the scenes was Ruben Gurevich's late father Jacob. He arrived in Winnipeg from Uruguay in 1973. He recalled that one of the reasons behind his son's founding of the MCO was the fact that "the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra only could pay some salary, about $230 per week, for 34 weeks. But people have to live all year. There are 18 more weeks that you have to pay mortgage, eat, everything." (quote taken from Tuning the Forks: A Celebration of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
by Don Anderson)
Don Anderson, Music Educator (Craig Koshyk)
"The only thing I didn't do with the MCO was wash the floor, because my son was the creator and conductor. I was the librarian, I was everything. But this was fine, this was fantastic, because it was like starting a new life when I was 50, while other people start a new life when they are 20," explained Gurevich Sr.
The MCO has greatly enriched the lofty quality and rich diversity of Winnipeg's musical life. Here's to its next 40 years!
Hear the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra under Music Director Anne Manson at 7:30 p.m. on January 9 at Westminster Church. Featured soloists are pianist Marc-André Hamelin, and Guy Few on trumpet.