Concert Details

The Idea of North

  • William Rowson

  • Conductor / Performers

    William Rowson conductor

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  • Repertoire

    Ana Sokolovic

    Jeu des portraits

    Kaija Saariaho


    Anna Thorvaldsdottir


    Harry Stafylakis

    Arc of Horizon

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    this concert

Drawing on the first section of Glenn Gould’s Solitude Trilogy for inspiration, The Idea of North brings together music that originated in rather cold climates – both Canadian and otherwise. Each of the pieces on this program is inspired by the cultural or geographical home of the composer. Jeu des portraits, Ana Sokolovic’s striking evocation of four of Quebec’s significant twentieth-century composers, creates a cultural portrait-in-miniature of her adopted home. Renowned Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's Lichtbogen, a classic of late 20th century chamber music, was influenced by the beauty and immensity of the Northern Lights. It also marks Saariaho’s first use of a computer in writing purely instrumental music – the live electronics subtly influence the acoustic sounds and create a remarkable, dreamy and ethereal beauty. Anna Thorvaldsdottir begins Aequilibria from a similar vantage point of being inspired by the natural beauty of the Icelandic sky. Nonetheless, her organically building musical language, by turns peaceful and intense, is remarkably contrasting to that of Saariaho. Arc of Horizon, by Montreal native Harry Stafylakis, was inspired by his countless trips between Montreal and New York City while he was temporarily resident there. Frequent transitions from one home to the other evoked emotions of fear, longing, aspiration, nostalgia; Stafylakis’ energetic, exciting musical language is influenced by progressive metal and concert music, these representing his past and his present. 

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Performance Dates

  • Saturday, Mar 25, 2017

    7:30pm Annex


The Vancouver Sun
Symphony at the Annex



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