Meet the Guest Artists

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1919, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is the largest performing arts organization in Canada west of Ontario and the third largest symphony orchestra in the country. The VSO’s first performance took place on January 26, 1919, and the Orchestra now performs to an annual audience of over 200,000 people each season. Over 140 concerts are performed annually by the VSO in the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver, as well as in 12 unique additional venues throughout the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The VSO is also extremely active on the education front, offering eleven distinct educational programs each season, experienced by over 50,000 students annually.

In February of 2008, the VSO won a GRAMMY award for “Best Instrumental Soloist(s) with Orchestra” for its recording of violin concertos by Walton, Korngold and Barber, performed with violinist James Ehnes and conducted by VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey. In April of 2008, the VSO followed up on its GRAMMY win with a JUNO award for “Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble Accompaniment” for the same CBC recording.

During the five seasons leading up to and in celebration of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the VSO commissioned 25 world premieres of works written by young Canadian composers. The VSO also recorded over 100 national anthems for broadcast to a worldwide television audience during each medal ceremony.

In October of 2008, the VSO toured China, Macau and South Korea with guest artist Hillary Hahn, making it the first orchestra from Canada to perform in China in 30 years. The tour included a performance at the prestigious Beijing Music Festival – another first for a Canadian symphony orchestra. In April of 2009 the VSO toured Central Canada with sold out performances in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City.

VSO Music Director Maestro Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and his warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Tovey’s career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective. With a profound commitment to new music, Mr. Tovey has established himself as a formidable composer and is the first artist to win a Juno® Award in both conducting and composing. Mr. Tovey was honored with the Best Canadian Classical Composition 2003 Juno® Award for his Requiem for a Charred Skull.   His works include a co-commission for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics’ 2008 summer seasons as well as a full-length opera for the Calgary Opera, The Inventor that premiered in 2011.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's mission is to enrich the quality of life in and bring prestige to its city, province and country through the presentation of high-quality performances of classical and popular music, and the delivery of excellent education and community programs.

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