Symphonic Encounters

The VSO’s open rehearsal program, Symphonic Encounters, takes students and teachers behind the scenes to discover what it takes for the musicians, conductors, and production team of the Vancouver Symphony to prepare for a world class concert.

In addition to the rehearsal, we also offer the following activities for you and your students:

Meet a Musician: During the break, a VSO musician will be available to answer any questions students may have about a career in music or the rehearsal process.

Orpheum Tour: A 40-minute tour of the Orpheum Theatre is available as an alternative to sitting in on the second half of the rehearsal. Space is limited, so advance booking is required.

Please note that the suggested age range for this program is from grade 6 up to adults.




Please Note: We will be accepting orders paid in full, or with a non-refundable deposit of 10% from September 4, 2018. Rehearsal Companions will be available online soon.

Click here to access the online order request form


Friday, September 28, 10am
Otto Tausk, conductor
Cedric Tiberghien, piano*

Kodály – Dances of Galánta
Bartók – Piano Concerto No. 3*
Beethoven – Symphony No. 7

Thursday, December 6, 10am
Jun Märkl, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano*

Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 2*
Liszt – Les preludes
R. Strauss – Don Juan, Op. 20

Friday, January 11, 11am
Michael Krajewski, conductor
Dave Bennett & Quartet

One of the all-time greats, Benny Goodman’s influence on jazz, swing, big band, and popular music was unsurpassed. Dave Bennett and his quartet perform a loving and authentic tribute to The King of Swing, in a fantastic concert that features all of Goodman’s hits, including the timeless classics Moonglow, I’ve Got Rhythm, Slipped Disc, and of course, Sing Sing Sing.

Friday, February 1, 11am
Bramwell Tovey, conductor
   Ariel Barnes, cello*
   Heidi Kreutzen, harp~

Debussy – Danses sacrée et profane~
Kelly-Marie Murphy – En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness, All is One)*~
Bruckner Symphony No. 6 in A major

Friday, May 10, 10am
Otto Tausk, conductor
Jeanette Jonquil, clarinet*
Julia Lockhart, bassoon*

Wagner – Tristan und Isolde: Prelude & Liebestod
R. Strauss – Duet Concertino for Clarinet & Bassoon*
Prokofiev – Romeo & Juliet Suite (Suite arranged by Otto Tausk)


Access the online order request form, or contact the VSO’s Education Department to book your class at 604.684.9100 or by email at




Here’s some answers to the most commonly asked questions about the Vancouver Symphony’s Symphonic Encounters open rehearsals.

What is the admission fee?
Guests: $8.50 (incl. GST)
Teachers and Special Needs Assistants: free
Chaperones: One free chaperone per 15 guests.
Additional guests: $8.50 (incl. GST)

How do schools register?
There are several ways to register for a Symphonic Encounters open rehearsal:

Order online (credit card only) – Online ordering will return soon
Download the order form online and mail (credit card or cheque payment)
Complete the order form (mailed to schools in September) and mail it with your deposit or full payment

Mailing address: Education, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra,  500-833 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 0G4
Telephone reservations will not be accepted.

For what age range are the open rehearsals most appropriate?
Symphonic Encounters is an open rehearsal series, which means that attendees quietly observe the orchestra preparing for a regular season concert. Our suggested age range for this program is from grade 6 up to adults. Please contact the Education Assistant if you require any further advice on this matter.

Will all of the listed repertoire be rehearsed at the open rehearsal?
We cannot guarantee that all of the listed repertoire will be rehearsed during the open rehearsal.

Are there programmes?
Programme notes are available online three weeks in advance of each rehearsal date. There are no programmes available on the day of the rehearsal.

Where are the rehearsals held?
All rehearsals are held at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver. Please use the Smithe Street entrance of the building upon arrival.

How early should we arrive?
Doors open 30 minutes before the listed rehearsal time and we request that everyone be seated inside the auditorium 10 minutes before the rehearsal begins. Late comers will not be seated until an appropriate break in the rehearsal.

How long are the rehearsals?
Approximately 2.5 hours. There are usually two pieces rehearsed per session, each one for about 1 hour with a 20-minute break in the middle.

When is payment required?
Full payment is required no later than 2 weeks before the rehearsal. You have the option of paying in full at the time of your registration or sending a non-refundable deposit to hold your preferred date with the balance to arrive 2 weeks prior to the rehearsal.

How are seats assigned?
All seating is in the balcony of the Orpheum Theatre and is assigned on a FIRST PAID IN FULL – BEST SEATING basis. Sending a deposit will hold the date for you and we will assign your seats upon receiving your complete payment.

Refunds are not given except in the event of a cancellation by the VSO.

Can we take pictures of the orchestra?
Sorry, no cameras, video or tape recorders are permitted in the hall.

Other Questions?
If you have a question that is not answered here, please call the Vancouver Symphony’s Education Department at 604.684.9100 or contact us by email at



Click here to download the Symphonic Encounters Brochure (PDF)