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VSO New Music Festival 2018

New year. New Music. Seems natural, right? And the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has a multi-concert festival to celebrate both the new and kick-off the new year.

This new music festival is one of the great legacy achievements of conductor Bramwell Tovey. The concept of a wintertime festival was tested in Tovey’s previous gig with the Winnipeg Symphony and has now taken root here—though, it is noteworthy that the two festivals are as distinct as Winnipeg’s and Vancouver’s winter climates.

This year, a big focus is works featuring soloists. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine makes a return visit to premiere a new concerto by Marcus Goddard; the VSO’s Larry Knox will be featured in John Estacio’s trumpet concerto; and Barton Pine and Nicholas Wright will be showcased Jocelyn Morlock’s Cobalt.

Even though it’s all about the new, the festival pays homage to history in two ways: an evening of “New Music for Old Instruments: After Bach” at Christ Church Cathedral, and two blockbusters from the 1970s, Andressien’s Workers Union, performed by Standing Wave, and Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso.

There will be a rare chance to hear an orchestral work by Kaija Saariaho and music by fast-rising star Nico Muhley, plus freshly composed works by Andrew Staniland, Samy Moussa, Rodney Sharman, and Anna Clyne.

Concerts are carefully curated for consistency and variety. The Festival opens Thursday, January 18 at the Orpheum with new works for chamber-sized ensembles, courtesy of Standing Wave. Friday, the festival moves to Christ Church Cathedral for the “New Music for Old Instruments” program featuring the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and Saturday sees the first of two full orchestra concerts—“Cobalt Clouds and Clear Blue Seas”—at the Orpheum. Sunday. there are two “Intimate NMF Cabaret” shows at the Annex. The festival winds up back at the Orpheum with “Dawn to Dusk: From Aurora to Winter Sky” on Monday.

Part of the whole festival experience are (very) informal pre-concert chats and post-concert mix and mingle sessions before . For tickets and more information, click here. Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 10.17.41 AM

VSO’s New Music Festival runs January 18–22, 2018. Get your tickets here.