March 10, 2022
By Kyra Droog
Are you ready for a new music experience? When you enter the Winspear Centre and take your seat, you’ll receive an introduction into an entirely new world of music. As the lights fall and the orchestra plays its first notes, you will smile softly: hearing new music for the first time with no expectations and no pre-existing knowledge is a unique and exciting chance for a whole new musical experience.
This will be you when you join the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and experience Glass on April 29.
Glass is part of the ESO’s New Music program, highlighting and sharing the works of modern composers. Why Glass? “Music is as life, humanity, and the world itself: diverse, full of complex world views and lived experiences, and shared by and crucial to every corner of humanity,” explains Chief Conductor Alex Prior. But, like glass, it is transparent.”
Just as it is important to recognize the history associated with older symphonies, it is key to share the experiences of modern composers, welcoming listeners into their unique worlds and circumstances. Glass presents music from across the globe – from Edmonton-born composers like Alissa Cheung and Vivian Fung to Hungarian composer Peter Etövös and American minimalist legend Philip Glass. In fact, Glass will feature the world premiere of ESO-commissioned piece Impressions by Alissa Cheung.
The music of modern composers doesn’t always reflect modern experiences, though. One piece that will be performed during Glass has Chief Conductor Alex Prior particularly excited: “the concert includes the heavily intoxicating world of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten, where the dark repeating pulses ritualistically hypnotize us, as if the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead opens, and a hand from times of yore reaches out and slowly but firmly grabs us and pulls us into another dimension.”
Rhiannon Nelson, Chair of the Winspear/ESO’s Young Leadership Council, strongly believes in the importance of the ESO’s New Music concerts. “I am particularly excited to experience the music from three living female Canadian composers – Nicole Lizée, Vivian Fung, and Alissa Cheung,” Rhiannon says. “These women have broken the glass ceiling in a profession dominated by older men, composing pieces that experiment with different media, explore the music of minority cultures, and reflect lived experiences. I think it is vital for younger generations to see themselves reflected in orchestral programming, and the works of these three women are inspirational to those who struggle to identify with traditional classical compositions.”
Tickets start at $25