From Beethoven to the ballroom, Elvis Presley to Natasha Paremski, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2014-2015 season and there's clearly something for every possible musical taste. That's how WSO music director Alexander Mickelthwate likes it.
"The gamut is wide," he confirmed.
The orchestra goes back and forth between classical and pops programs, but the musicians adapt easily.
"They switch really fast between swing and rock and roll and the hardcore beautiful classics," he said.
The season opens with the young piano sensation Natasha Peremski. "Two years ago she jumped in on short notice and literally dazzled the audience and me," explained Mickelthwate. The Russian-born pianist, now living in the United States, will perform George Gershwin's Piano Concerto. "It will be fantastic and colourful."
A number of concerts throughout the season are linked to the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, with pieces related to themes of human rights, love and peace. For example, the opening concert includes Aaron Copland's Canticles of Freedom.
The orchestra will present a week-long Nordic Festival in late October featuring Icelandic violinist Sigrun Edvaldsdottir and pianist Vikingur Olafsson performing music by Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius.
The New Music Festival will open with the captivating Arditti Quartet on January 31, 2015 and will close with a choral work, Dixi, by festival favourite Giya Kancheli.
Other soloists include Canadian violinist Nikki Chooi, pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii and guest conductor Aziz Shokhakimov, who wowed audiences at this season's Tchaikovsky Festival.
On the pop side, look for Randy Bachman with the orchestra, Sarah Slean, a tribute to Elvis and the music of Simon and Garfunkel. As well, 13-year old composer and pianist Emily Bear will perform music she wrote and arranged in a whole range of styles. The young prodigy has already appeared on Ellen DeGeneres's show. Mickelthwate calls her a fantastic talent and hopes she will be an inspiration to younger audiences.
The orchestra will also celebrate 125 years of Ukrainians in Canada with the popular dance troupe Rusalka.
New this year will be the WSO Club Regent Concert Series which will start this summer with Music of Aboriginal Manitoba.
The symphony is offering an enticing early bird deal. If patrons subscribe before May 15 they can save up to 45%.
The WSO also unveiled a new mobile app and revamped website in conjunction with the launch of the new season.