Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie will perform with the WSO at their Carnegie Hall concert in 2014 (Ron Lambert)
The last time the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra went to Carnegie Hall in 1979, it went bankrupt. Trudy Schroeder, executive director of the WSO, believes it will be different this time.
"We're taking every precaution to in fact line up all of the resources needed," she says.
The orchestra has started fundraising for the Spring for Music festival which will see them head to New York to perform at the fabled Carnegie Hall on May 8, 2014.
It's an expensive proposition. They need to raise $300,000 to cover costs of travel, meals and accommodation for the 67-member orchestra (remember, cellos and double basses require their own airline seats).
"These are still early days in terms of confirmed funding," say Schroeder. They are confident they will receive funds from Canada Council, Canadian Heritage, the U.S. Consulate and provincial partners.
"We have a plan right now and we have some key partners confirmed and in place. At this point it looks as though we have about $200,000."
The orchestra won this chance to participate in Spring for Music through an online competition. Orchestras were encouraged to send in their most innovative and creative concert programs. In the first round, the public cast their votes for the more than 30 entries. Votes for the WSO beat out the next in line by a third. A panel of judges made the final decision.
"One of our distinguishing features is our commitment to new commissions, to new works, to furthering the art form," says Schroeder.
Dame Evelyn Glennie, who is in Winnipeg for this year's New Music Festival will perform The Shaman: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by composer Vincent Ho in New York. "For us to take it onto a major platform in a major city in the States is very important indeed. It's a fantastic testament to the orchestra to be chosen to give a performance there," she says.
The orchestra is hoping to bring a big contingent of Winnipeggers to New York to attend the concert, as well. Two years ago, the Edmonton Symphony brought nearly 1000 locals down for the even. "We'd like to at least match or beat them," says Schroeder. "Winnipeg has at least as much community pride."
The orchestra has some creative ideas, too. For example, individuals and corporations are encouraged to "sponsor a musician" at $3000 a pop.
The Spring for Music festival will present six orchestras from North America in the week-long festival beginning May 5, 2014. The WSO is the only Canadian orchestra to be chosen.