15 September 2020
Today the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra revealed a new fall series of free weekly concerts that will be shared with the community online to give as many people as possible a chance to enjoy them. The series starts Saturday, October 3 with solo and duet performances by two Orchestra musicians who grew up in Calgary. A new concert video premieres each weekend with the number of musicians increasing one performance at a time, from trios, quartets, and quintets, up to larger ensembles — eventually, once COVID-19 guidelines permit, the goal is to bring all 66 musicians together again onstage.
“We have heard over and over again how much comfort music has brought people over the past six months and how much they appreciate our virtual performances,” says Paul Dornian, President + CEO of the Calgary Phil. “In return, we have received tremendous support from our loyal audience and the community, which has helped make it possible for us to create new experiences online.”
“We want to honour that contribution by making these concerts accessible to everyone — we don’t want anyone to miss out due to financial hardship or because they have to remain in isolation,” says Dornian. “This is also a great opportunity to reach Calgarians and others who haven’t yet discovered our amazing Orchestra.”
Concert details will be released one month at a time to allow for flexibility as guidelines related to COVID-19 evolve. Viewers will need to register in advance starting Tuesday, September 22 at calgaryphil.com, and those who are financially able will be encouraged to support this initiative through a donation to the Orchestra. In the weeks ahead, the hope is to slowly bring audience members back into the concert hall, starting with a handful of patrons and growing from there.
“I’m extremely excited that we’re finally back onstage,” says Music Director Rune Bergmann from his home in Norway. “Since it’s not possible for everyone to be together in the concert hall right now, we’re using the top-quality streaming platform we developed over the last five years to reach all of you at home. “This series will be very interesting for our audience — you get the opportunity to hear some of the greatest chamber music ever written, as well as some pieces you may not have heard before. These smaller concerts also shine a spotlight on the talent we are so lucky to have in Calgary.”
The first concert on Saturday, October 3 features two members of the Orchestra with strong local connections — Calgary Phil Assistant Concertmaster Donovan Seidle on violin, and Principal Cellist Arnold Choi. Seidle attended junior and senior high school in Calgary, and studied at Mount Royal Conservatory. He went to the University of Calgary for his undergrad, where he doubled in performance and composition, before being accepted into the masters’ program at Northwestern University. He has served as Calgary Phil’s Assistant Concertmaster since 2003. Choi grew up in Calgary and also studied at Mount Royal Conservatory, where he spent many summers in the internationally acclaimed Morningside Music Bridge program. He left the city to pursue postsecondary degrees and has performed concerts around the world. He returned in 2017 after he won his position at the Calgary Philharmonic.
The fall season is a continuation of Calgary Phil’s commitment to providing the community with rich musical experiences. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Calgary Phil has engaged audiences online, launching Calgary Phil All Access (calgaryphil.com/all-access) with virtual concert recordings, and producing high-quality videos, including the educational children’s series An Orchestra Adventure.
October 2020 concerts are listed below, and the November lineup will be revealed in mid-October. For more information visit our Virtual Concerts page.