Kamlooops Symphony Director Dina Gilbert brings the symphony’s latest program, heroes and heroines, to the Nexus on Friday, March 6. (Dylan Sherrard photo)

Heroes and heroines to play out in Salmon Arm

Kamloops Symphony brings latest offering to Nexus stage on March 6

By Barb Brouwer


Sweeping heroic melodies and a newly commissioned work are the feature of the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra’s spring concert.

“Heroes and Heroines” will play out at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6 at the Nexus at First.

The concert opens with the world premiere of “Whispers of the Mountain,” a KSO commissioned piece by Canadian composer Katia Makdissi-Warren. Her works offer a unique blend of Middle Eastern, Western and Canadian Aboriginal musical styles.

“Whispers of the Mountain” was created in collaboration with Secwepemc songwriter, interpreter, and musician Csetkwe. The piece is based on Csetkwe’s song “Sunrise on the Water,” which was written on a lake in a forest.

Makdissi-Waren wrote an orchestra piece designed to re-create the environment in which the original song was written. Here the elements of each musician create an imaginary forest sound, offering an immersive experience for the audience in an invented musical forest.

From within this musical forest, Csetkwe will sing her original song, as well as an improvised vocal part.

Read more: Work of Salmon Arm composer to lead symphony performance

Read more: Orchestra shines spotlight on Salmon Arm composer

Elyse Jacobson, violin, and Breanne Jamieson, French horn, will perform English composer Ethel Smyth’s “Concerto for Violin and Horn.”

Smyth brings both a warm, lyrical quality and considerable energy to this very uncommon pairing of solo instruments. This piece was composed near the end of her career in 1927 when, like Beethoven, she was facing deafness.

“The composer’s heroic spirit was undaunted by the discouragement of the male-dominated musical establishment at the time, and she persevered in her composing and tireless efforts to obtain the artistic opportunities denied to women musicians,” reads a KSO release.

Bringing the concert to a close is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, also known as the “Eroica” (Italian for heroic) symphony.

Full of admiration for what he considered to be a heroic defender of individual liberty, Beethoven initially dedicated the symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte. Once Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor, Beethoven scratched out his name with such ferocity that he damaged the title page, although “composed to celebrate the memory of a great man” still appeared in the dedication. But what Beethoven wanted to say about heroism in the symphony was unaltered.

The heroic achievement reflected in this piece mirrors that of the composer whose hearing at time of writing was rapidly deteriorating.

Beethovenrejected thoughts of suicide, heroically determined to continue to live for the creation of his music.

“This groundbreaking work is the embodiment of his declaration to ‘take a new way’ with his current musical direction,” notes the KSO press release. “It is emotionally driven throughout and is the ultimate expression of his heroic self-affirmation.”

In his role as KSO executive director for eight months, Daniel Mills says symphony members enjoy their Salmon Arm performances.

“There is a very dedicated fan base – generous supporters of the symphony,” he says. “We have a wonderful group of hosts, who feed us and make us welcome and it’s wonderful to meet the people who help us to do what we do.”

Single tickets are $32, or $35 at the door, $10 for youths under 19 and $15 for KSOundcheck members. They are available at Kamloops Live! Box Office at Wearabouts or at the door.

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