Principal Bass Meaghan Williamsis featured in the Okanagan Symphoney Orchestra’s performances in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon Nov. 22-24. (Submitted photo)

Okanagan Symphony celebrates 60 years

Themes and Innovations is the second concert in the milestone season

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Rosemary Thomson are excited to announce their second series of concerts in the OSO’s 60th season. Titled Themes and Innovations, all three works on this program are based on themes that were created or borrowed. And all three works have fascinating stories behind them.

As the OSO continues to shine a spotlight on its musicians throughout this anniversary season, the program will feature OSO Principal Bass Meaghan Williams, as its guest artist for the world premiere of a new bass concerto. The work, entitled Placentia Bay: Summer of 1941, was composed especially for Williams and the specific players of the OSO by composer Mark Haney who has also played bass in the OSO for the past 20 years.

Themes and Innovations comes to the Kelowna Community Theatre Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m., the Penticton Cleland Theatre Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.

Haney took as his inspiration three hymn tunes that were sung to open secret wartime meetings between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt that took place in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland in 1941. The work draws on historical elements from these meetings, including the opening of the piece where Haney takes the morse code for the word ‘Riviera’ (the code name for the meetings) to create the rhythm of the percussion.

Raised in St John’s, Newfoundland herself, guest artist Williams completed her undergraduate degree in performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto with virtuoso bassist Joel Quarrington. Following additional studies overseas, she returned to Canada to perform with ensembles from coast to coast. In addition to her current role with the OSO, Williams is also a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, and teaches privately at the Kelowna Community Music School in the Okanagan and at the West Coast Amateur Musicians Society course each summer.

“Working with a living composer, especially someone as creative as Mark, is a gift,” said Williams, “We initially discussed the concept for the piece and talked about Newfoundland history and the importance of folklore and music in the province. Mark travelled to Newfoundland and was actually in Placentia Bay on August 14, 2018. While he was there he borrowed a bass I have there for practicing (it can be impossibly difficult to travel with a bass) so I like to think I helped to play some part in the magic of the creative process that took place while he was there.”

Also featured on the program are works by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Sir Edward Elgar. Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is considered his first masterpiece. Vaughan Williams spent years collecting the historical music and folk music of the British Isles which found their way into his compositions. He discovered this noble melody by composer Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) and used it in several different compositions. The work has been described as a gift of “two great English composers coming together, and straddling nearly 400 years.”

Elgar’s Enigma Variations were born of his own improvisations at the piano one night. When his wife Alice asked about a tune that he made up, he started to consider that it might become the basis for a major work. “Commenced in a spirit of humour and continued in deep seriousness” was how Elgar referred to this work which would become life changing for him, putting him on the map of serious composers. Each variation was “mysteriously” referred to by initials and is inspired by various friends and colleagues of Elgar’s, including the final variation which was composed for his devoted wife Alice.

Music Director Rosemary Thomson says: “Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia has long been on my bucket list to perform. And Elgar’s work is a joy to conduct. Most of all, I’m so excited to bring to life this world premiere by Mark Haney featuring our own brilliant bassist Meaghan Williams. In my sneak preview with Mark and Meaghan I have discovered a work of haunting beauty that I hope will become a substantial part of the bass repertoire for years to come.”

Tickets for all shows are available online at okanagansymphony.com

Concert Close-Up, a preconcert chat with Maestra Rosemary Thomson, takes place one hour before each Masterworks performance.


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Help sought in developing family practices in South Okanagan and Similkameen

An estimated 15,000 people in region do not have a family doctor

One person taken to hospital after Penticton car crash

Crash occurred at Martin Street and Nanaimo Avenue on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Penticton Vees extend streak to six wins as they enter home stretch

The final eight games of the season are all home games.

Catch Cabin Fever at the Cawston Community Hall on Feb. 15

The community fundraiser opens doors at 7:30 with music starting at 8 p.m.

Penticton breweries working together to put city on the map

How seven small craft breweries brought global recognition to Penticton.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Animal lovers cautioned against feeding urban deer – even if they beg at the window

Even if the deer press their little faces against your kitchen window… Continue reading

Highway 1 closed near Golden for high avalanche danger

DriveBC does not give an estimation for reopening

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read