After two years of lockdowns and ongoing health restrictions that hit concert venues and performers the hardest of any sector in Canada, the return of in-person concert programming at the Calgary Philharmonic has been long awaited. Over the years, partnerships have been a focus of the Calgary Phil with projects like the recent Napi and the Rock — a free, online performance made in collaboration with Making Treaty 7, and a performance by drag performance artist Thorgy Thor in partnership with Calgary Pride. This season, the Calgary Phil is focused on deepening these sorts of collaborations — how can programming be continually beneficial to the greater good of Calgary and the many intersecting communities within it?
As part of its 2022/2023 Season, the Calgary Phil presents a very special concert produced in partnership with Black-led advocacy organization, Pink Flamingo, which originally started as a QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) event organization in Calgary and has since branched into doing advocacy work meant to uplift QTBIPOC communities in cities across Canada.
Titled I Rise, this concert is the product of a collaboration aiming to represent both the struggle of Black artists in Calgary, as well as the beauty, strength, and resilience of the BIPOC community. Six mural artists who were involved in the 2021 Black Lives Matter Murals Project were invited to respond to a new commission by Canadian composer Laura Hawley, written for the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus, and based on L.R. Knost’s poem, I Rise.