Alex Prior Returns to Conduct New Music

Alex Prior Returns to Conduct New Music

By Micha Oostenbrink

“I am betting you will find yourself completely immersed in these new works and their wondrous soundscapes,” says conductor Alex Prior about the program of The Wolf of Lafontaine: Song & Dance.

On April 25, Prior will make his exciting return to the Winspear Centre stage for the first time this season for an exciting evening of New Music. The program, which was curated by Prior himself, includes a wide variety of works by contemporary Canadian composers and will feature Chronos Vocal Ensemble and Ballet Edmonton.

“The importance of playing new music can't be overemphasized. Let's not forget that every composer we now consider classic – whether it's Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Brahms, or Bach – wrote new music when they were alive and working,” says Prior. “One of the great powers art has is to help us reflect upon ourselves and on humanity in general. Of course, art from any era can do that wonderfully, but there is a special power in hearing music by great creators of our time. Great composers always reflect the society they live in, and so we get the extra benefit of being able to see our own, very real and relevant world."

He goes on, saying, “New music can also challenge us. This program happens to be a very easy-listening program, but often new music may even sound uncomfortable or disconcerting. That's good, and it's more than okay not to like it. Such challenges are part of the human experience, and thus important to be a part of."

When asked about his favourite piece on the program, Prior says, “When I conduct, all the pieces I'm working on that week are my favourite works! That's true for most musicians, I think. Truly, I'm hugely looking forward to this entire, beautifully Canadian and diverse program.”

The program will include works for orchestra, choir and even feature dancers on stage. Jocelyn Morlock’s “One Black Spike” and Stuart Beatch’s Chosen Family will be performed by Chronos Vocal Ensemble, and Ballet Edmonton will join the ESO for Ian Cusson’s Le loup de Lafontaine - Suite for Orchestra in Three Scenes. “I am so happy that Ballet Edmonton and Chronos Vocal Ensemble are joining us,” says Prior. “Edmonton is a great city in so many ways, and not least in the arts. To have this celebration of Edmonton in my program is a real treat for me.”

“The audience should look forward to a concert that will warm the heart, stir the soul, and be equal parts fun and comforting,” Prior adds. “There will be a real sense of community and overarching love at this concert, as well as celebration of great Canadian artists, and that is something not to be missed. I'll almost certainly make a terrible dad-joke or two, too."

Don’t miss The Wolf of Lafontaine: Song & Dance, taking place on April 25 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are selling fast – get yours before it’s too late! Click here to purchase your tickets.