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West Coast Notes

West Coast Notes

March 5, 2013
National

"Those who think that Victoria, BC, is still the land of “the newly wed and the nearly dead” need to update their impressions — at least where the local music scene is concerned. Better yet, they might like to plan a late winter/early spring getaway from the frigid, grey-toned rigours of Toronto to sample the mild, evergreen delights of the West Coast — including some remarkably adventurous concert programming.

The Victoria Symphony: An institution not always renowned for breaking new musical ground — now does so regularly under the inspired and visionary leadership of Tania Miller. Currently celebrating her tenth anniversary as music director — the first Canadian woman to hold such a position — “Maestra” Miller (as she is known here) challenges and rewards orchestra members and audiences alike with fresh, revelatory readings of standard works, thematic mini-festivals and frequent forays into new and unusual repertoire.

Already this season, Miller and the VS have teamed up with the University of Victoria and the Victoria Art Gallery to celebrate John Cage’s 100th birthday, and presented the world premiere of a major new orchestral work, Figures in the Night Passing, by the dean of Canadian composers, R. Murray Schafer. Coming up on March 15: a very special concert designed to climax a two-month, city-wide celebration of Victoria’s Chinatown, the oldest in Canada and second-oldest in North America (after San Francisco’s). The project epitomizes the VS’s commitment both to new music and to connecting classical music with the broader context of community life — particularly its multicultural dimensions..."

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