The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is welcoming 10 new musicians this 2018/2019 Season. We’ll be introducing them to you with our “Meet the Musician” blog series. Follow along to get to know your CPO!

Alex Klein, Slavko Popovic, and Antoine St-Onge

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) welcomed three principal musicians to the woodwinds section in the 2018/2019 Season — Slavko Popovic, Principal Clarinet; Antoine St-Onge, Principal Bassoon; and Alex Klein, Principal Oboe. Over the last few months, they’ve been introduced to Calgary audiences through the Meet the Musician series, and now that they’ve all completed their first Season with the CPO, we decided to check back in to hear what stood out to them from the past year.

Slavko Popovic
“I have to say, the highlight for me was the Dvořák Symphony No. 8 week with conductor Eun Sun Kim. We played a great program, and she brought such attention to detail to her music making, as well as infectious musicality! The program was great, but the guest conductor was excellent. She was very pleasant and professional, but at the same time, very direct with us. In a short amount of time, we got a lot of work done.”

Antoine St-Onge
“My favourite moment of the season was the week with Eun Sun Kim, mostly because of the musical focus the whole orchestra had, and the beautiful liberty of great music making when musicians can’t stop smiling because of how amazing it is to create such a unique and delightful sound environment.”

Eun Sun Kim

Eun Sun Kim conducting the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in May of 2019.

Alex Klein
“It’s difficult to select one particular favourite concert of this past season. There were too many, in all styles. As I watched the audience response to our season-closing concert, I realized I have never experienced such a send-off in my career, nor even heard of it happening in other groups. This audience loves the Calgary Philharmonic and its conductor Rune Bergmann. They cheered and made me feel like we were hometown rock stars. It then dawned on me what was my most memorable conclusion from this past season. You see, normally an orchestra’s goal is to always be No. 1 or among them, with rivers of funds going into expensive tours in hopes of continually securing superlative reviews from obscure publications to prove its status and so claim more funding. Orchestras normally aim outside their community in order to gain favour from within. The Calgary Philharmonic, however, has a different goal: community. I am surprised and enamoured of how this orchestra and its audience interact, and I applaud the efforts of the musicians, management, and charismatic conductors Rune Bergmann and Karl Hirzer to reach out and serve the community with great music of all styles: opera, ballet, symphonic, rock ’n’ roll, pops, gospel, big-time soloists, young fiddlers, a competition at the U of C. You name it, we play it.

“This diversity defines the CPO. Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, Calgary is correct, or at least has its priorities straight. Our main goal as orchestra musicians is to serve our community. While it is nice to know that people across the globe admire our work, the truth is that we do not need to go very far to find the objective of our gifts. They are sitting right in front of us, and they love us. That’s where our funding comes from, and they deserve our musical love in return, always. This season was brilliant, and I thank Calgary for the lesson in focus.”

Take a look at whats coming in 2019/2020:

2019/2020

Written by guest contributor Jill Girgulis

Jill Girgulis is a student at the University of Calgary and a regular contributor for thegauntlet.ca as well as buzzfeed.com. When she’s not busy studying for her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, she can most often be found in one of the first three rows of the Jack Singer Concert Hall.