Win A Print of Denyse Klette’s Joni

“I am a Lonely Painter, I Live in a Box of Paints” – Denyse Klette

In 2017, artist Denyse Klette helped us celebrate our Mozart Festival with a one-of-a-kind portrait of Wolfgang – and when she found out that we had a concert celebrating the music of Joni Mitchell, a new idea was born.

Denyse is known for her remarkable ability to capture a moment in paint – her art is full of life and colour, and shows her absolute love of life.  The painting’s title comes from a line in Joni’s classic A Case of You, and the painting references that Joni has often said she sings her sorrow and paints her joy.


Anyone who purchases a ticket by March 1st at 12 noon will be entered into a draw to win a limited edition artist-enhanced canvas print of the painting (valued at $995).  If you’ve already purchased a ticket for the show, don’t worry – you are already entered into the draw.  Denyse will make the draw live on stage the night of the concert.

Don’t Give Yourself Away – the Music of Joni Mitchell features the SSO conducted by long-time Joni collaborator Vince Mendoza and features Sarah Slean on vocals – the concert marks the first ever live performance of the music from Joni’s albums Both Sides Now and Travelogue.

Click here to get your tickets!

Sarah Slean – Artist Profile

When we first began to conceive of this show featuring Joni’s music from Both Sides Now and Travelogue, the big question was “who do we get to sing it?!”…the question only lingered in the air a few moments frankly, as one name was on everyone’s mind.  We needed someone who, beyond being able to sing this music, would feel this music as deeply as its written.  Sarah was the clear choice.

Her 2016 performance with the SSO was more than memorable…and we’re certain that this performance will be too!

Signed to Atlantic/Warner Records at the tender age of 19, three-time Juno nominee and modern-day Renaissance woman Sarah Slean has since released 11 albums in over 10 countries worldwide – but perhaps the most astonishing aspect of her artistry is its breadth. Over her 20-year career, Slean has published two volumes of poetry, starred in short films and a movie musical (spawning two Gemini Award nominations), penned two string quartets, held numerous exhibitions of her paintings, and shared the stage with 8 of the country’s professional orchestras. Classically trained from the age of 5, she routinely collaborates with cutting-edge contemporary classical ensembles like The Art of Time, and has been invited to sing world premieres by Canada’s leading living composers. Citing such diverse influences as Leonard Bernstein, philosophy, Joni Mitchell, Buddhism and Bach, her music borrows aspects of cabaret, rock, pop, and orchestral: all knit together by the startling poetry of her lyrics, virtuosic piano-playing, and that voice, described by the CBC as “a 19th century Kate Bush”. In addition to headlining theatres across Canada, Sarah has also toured Europe, the US and Scandinavia and has opened internationally for such artists as Bryan Ferry, Rufus Wainwright, Alanis Morissette, Andrew Bird, Feist, Ron Sexsmith, Chris Isaak, and Buck 65. Metaphysics, her first recording in 5 years, is described as a breathtaking amalgamation of Slean’s dramatic orchestral arranging and her signature take on songwriting.

See Sarah on March 3rd with Vince Mendoza and the SSO for Don’t Give Yourself Away – the Music of Joni Mitchell.

Edwin Livingston – Artist Profile

For our concert on March 3rd, we’re joined by bassist Edwin Livingston – maybe you’ve seen him on Ellen?

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Edwin Livingston was exposed to music early on.

After receiving his B.M. in music performance he relocated to Austin, TX & New Orleans, LA, in pursuit of new musical terrain. He now resides in Los Angeles, CA.

In his various travels he has played and recorded with many notable artists and masters. Livingston has performed and/or recorded with:

Elvin Jones, Ellis, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis, The Headhunters, Los Hombres Calientes (Grammy nominated Latin Jazz album), Bill Summers, Munyungo Jackson, Donald Harrison, Jr., Alvin Batiste, Ronnie Laws, Debra Laws, Lionel Loueke, D.J. Logic, David ”Fathead” Newman, John Beasley, Otmaro Ruiz, Mike Garson, Russell Ferrante, Sadao Watanabe, Justo Almario, Leni Stern, Kevin Toney of The Blackbyrds, Dave Weckl, Will Kennedy, Peter Erskine, Vince Wilburn, Jr., Jimmy Branly, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Tootie Heath, Dave Weckl, Joe LaBarbera, Hot Buttered Rhythm, Gecko Turner, Henry Butler, James Clay, Barbara Morrison, Queen Latifah, The Benjamin Wright Orchestra(Raphael Saadiq, Justin Timberlake, Will.I.Am, Brian McKnight, Mary J Blige, Aretha Franklin), Vince Mendoza, Bob Mintzer, Yellowjackets, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jovanotti, Keiko Matsui, Melody Gardot, Seal, Natalie Cole and many others.

In addition to a full playing, touring, and recording career he is on the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music, teaching bass & small ensembles in the jazz studies department. He is also part of the faculty of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA).

Livingston has appeared in several feature films, including Ray and Dreamgirls, and has performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, LIVE with Regis and Kelly and the A & E show Private Sessions with Queen Latifah.

Peter Erskine – Artist Profile

Legendary drummer Peter Erskine can be heard on Joni Mitchell’s album Both Sides Now – and now you can hear him play the music live with the SSO on March 3rd.

Peter Erskine has played the drums since the age of four and is known for his versatility and love of working in different musical contexts. He appears on 700 albums and film scores, and has won two Grammy Awards, plus an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee School of Music (1992).

Fifty albums have been released under his own name or as co-leader. He has played with the Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson Big Bands, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Diana Krall, Kenny Wheeler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Brecker Brothers, The Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny and Gary Burton, John Scofield, et al, and has appeared as a soloist with the London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Frankfurt Radio, Scottish Chamber, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Royal Opera House, BBC Symphony, Oslo and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. Peter premièred the double percussion concerto Fractured Lines, composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage, at the BBC Proms with Andrew Davis conducting, and has collaborated frequently with Sir Simon Rattle. He also premiered the Turnage opera “Anna Nicole” at the Royal Opera House in London. Turnage has composed a solo concerto for Peter titled “Erskine,” which received its world premiere in Bonn, Germany in 2013, with a US premiere at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic. Peter has been voted ’Best Jazz Drummer of the Year’ ten times by the readers of Modern Drummer magazine and was elected into the magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

Peter graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and studied at Indiana University under George Gaber. In 1972 Peter commenced his pro career playing with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Four years later, he joined Maynard Ferguson before working with Jaco Pastorius in Weather Report and moving to Los Angeles. Peter recorded five albums with the band. He won his first Grammy Award with their album ’8.30’. During this time in LA, he also worked with Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Farrell and George Cables. Peter then moved to New York City where he worked for five years with such musicians as Michael Brecker, Mike Mainieri, Eddie Gomez and Eliane Elias in Steps Ahead, John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Marc Johnson in the legendary group Bass Desires, the John Abercrombie Trio plus Bob Mintzer’s Big Band.

Peter’s lived in LA since 1987 but has been travelling around the world all of that time, working with such artists as Diana Krall, Joni Mitchell, Vince Mendoza, Steely Dan, plus European musicians Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler, Palle Danielsson, John Taylor, Kate Bush, Nguyen Lê, Rita Marcotulli, the Norrbotten Big Band in Sweden plus Sadao Watanabe in Japan. He won his second Grammy Award as the drummer of the WDR big band in Köln along with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Vince Mendoza and others for the “Some Skunk Funk” album. Meanwhile, Peter keeps busy in on the road and in LA with such artists as Seth MacFarlane, Patrick Williams, plus John Beasley, Bob Sheppard and Benjamin Shepherd (all 3 musicians members of his Dr. Um Band), as well as playing in the studios. Films where Peter’s drumming can be heard include “Memoirs of a Geisha,” all three of the Austin Powers movies, “The Secret Life of Pets,” plus the title music of the Steven Spielberg/John Williams collaboration, “The Adventures of Tintin.” He also played the jazz drumming cues on the Academy Award-winning soundtrack for “La La Land,” and can be heard playing on the scores for “Sing,” “Logan” and “House of Cards.”

Peter produces jazz recordings for his record label, Fuzzy Music, with 4 Grammy nominations to its credit. Peter is also an active author with several books to his credit; titles include “No Beethoven (Autobiography & Chronicle of Weather Report),” “Time Awareness for All Musicians,” “Essential Drum Fills,” and his latest book (co-authored with Dave Black for Alfred Publishing), “The Drummers’ Lifeline.” He is also authoring a series of iOS Play-Along apps suitable for all instruments.

Peter is Professor of Practice and Director of Drumset Studies at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. Peter plays Tama Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Drum Heads, Meinl Percussion, and uses Shure Microphones and Zoom digital recording devices.

Vince Mendoza – Artist Profile

One of the most versatile and prolific composer–arranger–conductors of the last two decades, multi-Grammy Award winner Vince Mendoza has written arrangements for a wide variety of pop and jazz artists, from Joni Mitchell, Sting, Melody Gardot, Elvis Costello and Bjork to Joe Zawinul, John Scofield, Charlie Haden, Al Di Meola, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, the Yellowjackets and the GRP All-Stars. His compositions have appeared on recordings by the likes of saxophonist Joe Lovano, guitarist John Abercrombie, drummer Peter Erskine, pianist Joey Calderazzo and singer Kurt Elling. As a leader, Mendoza has released 10 recordings for the Blue Note, ACT, Blue Jackel and Zebra labels, including 1997’s Epiphany (with the London Symphony Orchestra) and 2011’s Nights on Earth, featuring an all-star cast and members of the Metropole Orkest, which Mendoza has led as chief conductor for the past six years.

Vince was recently honored with a Grammy Award for his work on the John Scofield “54” album on Emarcy records. It is his 6th Grammy and 25th nomination. He was also nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association as “arranger of the year”. His new CD “Nights on Earth” on Horizontal and Art of Groove records will be released on 7 October.

The wide scope of his works demonstrates an extraordinary understanding of many musical languages. He has written scores of compositions and arrangements for big band, extended compositions for chamber and symphonic orchestra settings and his jazz composing credits read like a who’s who of the best modern instrumentalists, singers and composers. Heralded by critics as a master of contemporary idioms, composer and arranger Vince Mendoza has become a primary choice for the world’s most sophisticated contemporary musicians.

Born in 1961 in Norwalk, Connecticut, Mendoza began learning classical guitar and piano from an early age. His musical influences ran from Bach to Aretha Franklin to Henry Mancini. However, discovering Miles Davis, Gil Evans, and later, Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg gave him a further complex perspective of the construction of musical forms and ideas. Taking up the trumpet during high school, he later earned a degree in music composition at Ohio State University, before moving to Los Angeles. The music of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter became a strong influence on his big band writing. He began working in the studios, composing music for television, while continuing to add to his extensive body of work written for big band. He completed his post-graduate composition and conducting studies at the University of Southern California. During this time he met a kindred spirit in drummer Peter Erskine, who included him in his mixed ensemble recording, “Transition” on Denon records. Mendoza contributed several compositions to this recording as well as on some of Erskine’s subsequent recordings. They have since become frequent collaborators.


His early solo albums on Blue Note Records, “Start Here” and “Instructions Inside”, were critical triumphs that featured such artists as John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Ralph Towner, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine and others. “Start Here” was voted one of Jazziz Magazine’s “Top Picks” and Mendoza was recognized as “Best Composer/Arranger” by Swing Journal’s critics poll in Japan. Through his profile-building stint as guest arranger and conductor of the WDR Big Band, based in Cologne, Germany, Mendoza became widely known in Europe as a multi-talented composer arranger with a deep understanding of contemporary styles. His work on the CD “The Vince Mendoza / Arif Mardin Project: Jazzpaña” with the WDR Big Band, brought him a Grammy nomination for “best instrumental arrangement”. Since then, Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden, Andy Narell, Kurt Elling and John Abercrombie have prominently featured Vince Mendoza’s compositions and arrangements on their albums.


Mendoza’s work as an arranger can also be heard on many expansive jazz projects from the mid-1980s onwards, that include work with the Yellowjackets, Al DiMeola, Gino Vanelli, Joe Zawinul, Mike Stern, Kyle Eastwood and the GRP All Star Big Band, among many others. His television music has also received nominations for an Emmy Award, while his music for the “World Cup” closing ceremony was broadcast worldwide.


There is no end to the versatility of his skills or opportunities to exercise them. Mendoza has written commissioned compositions and arrangements for world-renowned classical and jazz groups that include the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Debussy Trio, the L.A. Guitar Quartet, the Metropole Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the BBC. His music was featured at the Berlin Jazz Festival. He has performed major works at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals. And he actively conducts concerts of his music in Europe, Japan, Scandinavia, and the U.K.


His CD “Epiphany” is a stunning set of compositions for the London Symphony Orchestra and jazz soloists. Effortlessly combining his beautifully crafted orchestral arrangements, strong melodic compositions, extended forms and inspired jazz soloists, this is an album only Mendoza could conceive and execute with such grace. Joined by old friends, Abercrombie, Brecker, Erskine, Lovano and Kenny Wheeler, as well as the sublime bass work of Marc Johnson and piano of John Taylor, Mendoza sets the scene of each piece with the orchestra, allowing these seven great jazz “voices” to deliver the next layer of emotive harmony and expression. With such a huge palette of both sounds and sonorities the results conjure up strong narratives. Mendoza’s skill for “casting” the hard-edged brilliance of Michael Brecker for the harder tempos alongside the soft lyricism of Joe Lovano for the poetic pulse of quieter songs defines his huge talents as a truly modern composer, conductor and arranger.


Mendoza’s alliance with the Metropole Orchestra of the Netherlands began in 1995. The Metropole is in its 61st year and is the only full time symphonic Pop/Jazz orchestra in the world today. He is now the Music Director and Chief conductor of the Metropole and is frequently seen working with them at concerts, festivals and recordings with the likes of Elvis Costello, Herbie Hancock, Ivan Lins, Al Jarreau and more.

Managing to combine his own sophisticated solo work with widely acknowledged skills as a sympathetic vocal arranger has seen him earn the respect and ear of both the serious minded jazz and classical audience as well as that of discerning contemporary music fans and artists. Mendoza’s arranging has appeared on many critically acclaimed projects that include dozens of albums with song writing legends such as Björk, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Sting and Joni Mitchell. He has 6 Grammy awards and 25 nominations. among them the Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist for his beautiful arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s “Both sides now” and again in 2004 for the epoch-defining song “Woodstock”.


The latter was one of many symphonic arrangements that Mendoza wrote for Mitchell’s ‘final’ studio album, ‘Travelogue’, which in itself offered the singular challenge of scoring selected highlights of Mitchell’s multi-faceted and deeply emotional songs from her 40-year career. For this project Mendoza drew on many of his most important stylistic references, from Gil Evans to Brahms and Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky and Gyorgy Ligeti. And once again he found himself working with the cream of the jazz world, including Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock among a top-draw supporting cast of musicians featured on this album. His skill for creating classic, sophisticated string arrangements also led to his orchestral score on the multi-million selling album “Swing When You’re Winning” by the enfant terrible of British pop, Robbie Williams. He was the orchestral voice behind the score to Lars van Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark” featuring Björk, as well as the dreamy orchestrations on her recent CD titled “Vespertine.”


Mendoza’s CD, Blauklang, is his 7th as a leader. It combines jazz, classical, and modern art to form an ambitious and beautiful work. It features Nguyen Le on Guitar, Peter Erskine, Lars Danielsson and a mixed ensemble of strings and winds . Mendoza shifts his focus back to his own compositions on the new CD Nights on Earth (due in September 2011) is his most personal and compelling project to date. For Nights on Earth Mendoza recruits an all-star cast of longtime collaborators like guitarists John Abercrombie, John Scofield and Nguyen Le, drummer Peter Erskine, percussionist Luis Conte, organist Larry Goldings, steel drummer Andy Narell, pianists Kenny Werner and Alan Pasqua, saxophonists Bob Mintzer and Joe Lovano. He is also joined by such new friends as Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, Malian kora player and singer Tom Diakite, Argentinian bandoneon master Hector del Curto,Algerian drummer Karim Ziad, French saxophonist Stéphane Guillaume and young American jazz stars in bassist Christian McBride, drummer Greg Hutchinson and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. According to All about Jazz Mendoza “daringly expands the vernacular by including elements of abstract impressionism, romanticism and a highly unorthodox palette to position him as the clear and natural successor to the late Gil Evans.”

Lahni Russell – Artist Profile

This weekend’s concert features our Principal Cellist Lahni Russell in a unique piece.  Canadian composer Jocelyn Morlock’s work Exaudi is scored for solo cello and choir – it’s become a bit of a calling card for the Canadian Chamber Choir, and has quickly gained fame as one of the great Canadian choral works.

Lahni Russell joined the Saskatoon Symphony as Principal Cellist/Artist in Residence in 1989. A student of the world-renowned cellist, Janos Starker, she completed Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University, both with High Distinction. She served as an Associate Instructor of Cello at IU and was awarded the IU School of Music’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She has performed in the master classes of Yo Yo Ma, Paul Tortelier, Zara Nelsova, Aldo Parisot, Anner Bylsma, Ronald Leonard, Zoltan Szekely, Timothy Eddy, and Joel Krosnick.

She is the only cellist to have won the Saskatchewan Concerto Competition and has played solos with the Regina Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic Players, the Saskatchewan Chamber Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony and the Tanglewood Centre Orchestra. Her orchestral experiences include numerous performances as Solo Cellist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (North American tours), the Colorado Music Festival, Principal Cellist with Saskatoon Opera, and earning tenure as a member of the Vancouver Symphony. She is the founding cellist of the University of Saskatchewan Amati Quartet, the Black Pearl Alkemykal String Quartet and Prairie Virtuosi.

Ms. Russell is also an accomplished luthier and bowmaker, with a focus on restorations. She has studied the art of violin and bow making/restoration with Ole Stefan Dahl, Benjamin Ruth, Hans Nebel, Horst Klaus, Rodney Mohr and William Salchow. For over three decades Lahni has served musicians from beginners to professionals across Canada.  Her clients have included the principal players of the Vancouver Symphony, Erica Raum (Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto), Lara St. John, and many string players of the Victoria, Regina and Saskatoon Symphonies.

In the tradition of her cello mentor, Janos Starker, Lahni considers teaching a fundamental aspect of performing. She has an avid interest in neuroscience and its applications to teaching, performance and being human.

Hear her this weekend with the Canadian Chamber Choir in this remarkable piece.


Canadian Chamber Choir – Artist Profile

It began as an unlikely dream nurtured by alumni of the 1999 National Youth Choir, and became a phenomenon that grew out of passion and determination. A decade and a half later, the Juno-nominated Canadian Chamber Choir has matured into an artistic force whose mandate to bring new and existing Canadian choral music to every corner of Canada has allowed singers, conductors, audiences, and composers to come together in celebration of the depth of this country’s choral heritage. Under the artistic direction of renowned conductor and music educator Julia Davids, the CCC has pursued artistic excellence in every performance while always remaining true to its core mission: building community through choral singing.

The CCC offers some of Canada’s finest choral singers a professional choral environment in which to nurture their gifts, and the singers in turn give of their talents to the communities in which they perform. Each CCC tour features workshops for local singers and conductors of all ages and stages, as well as performances of diverse music by Canadian composers both established and emerging. Through these interactions, the CCC has inspired, nurtured, and mentored thousands of choral enthusiasts while working tirelessly to champion the vast wealth of choral music created in Canada. The power of this unique vision has allowed the CCC to truly become Canada’s coast-to-coast chamber choir.

In order to make music with 17 singers, an artistic director, and an accompanist who are spread across Canada, the CCC organizes short ‘projects’ in different locations around the country. Usually 7-10 days in length, the choir will convene in the province of choice and spend 3-4 days in rehearsal; singers will have received their music in the mail and learned it prior to arrival. During the rehearsal period, a local school, choir, or community group will host the CCC’s residency, and in turn the CCC gives workshops to local choirs in the community. The CCC then hits the road on a mini-tour, giving a combination of concerts and workshops throughout the province.

The Canadian Chamber Choir was formed in July of 1999 by a group of young musicians energized by rich formative experiences in university and youth choirs. These enthusiastic singers were looking for professional choral opportunities, but many did not live in cities that supported professional choirs. Their desire was to create an artistic environment accessible to dedicated singers from across the country, one that would allow them to strive for and achieve the highest level of artistic excellence. It was decided that this could be best achieved in short intensive ‘projects’ held periodically throughout the year.

The CCC has spanned the country with projects in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta, Saskatchewan and plans to continue reaching into all corners of Canada. Their varied concert performances include guest performances in festivals and concert series, as well as self-produced concerts and collaborations with local choirs and musicians. The CCC often affiliates itself with local schools and choirs in the areas they visit, resulting in a symbiotic relationship that is equally rewarding for the CCC and the community. The choir shows ease, skill, and good humour in facilitating workshops with choirs of all ages and abilities.

The CCC’s original artistic director, Montreal conductor Iwan Edwards, was instrumental in leading and mentoring the choir through its formative years. In passing the torch on to Julia Davids, the choir enters a new phase in their development – moving forward under the vision and talent of one of Canada’s rising new choral conductors.

The Canadian Chamber Choir/Choeur de chambre du Canada (CCC) is a national ensemble of professional level choral artists who travel from sea to sea to promote Canadian music and build community through singing. Under the visionary leadership of Julia Davids, the choir convenes in a different region of Canada at least twice a year, offering concerts and mentoring choral practitioners of all ages and stages.

Wherever the Canadian Chamber Choir performs, they are met with praise for their expressive, committed interpretations, and their warm enthusiasm for sharing their gifts in the community. Concerts feature world premieres on every tour, workshops draw singers at any ability-level into vibrant musicmaking, and masterclasses offer conductors and composers hands-on experience with one of the finest choirs on the continent.

Passionate vocal pedagogue and champion of Canadian repertoire, Julia Davids has been artistic director of the CCC since 2004. She is co-author of Vocal Technique: A Guide for Conductors, Teachers, and Singers (Waveland Press, 2012) and is consistently praised for her skill with singers at every stage of development.

The Canadian Chamber Choir joins the SSO for our performance of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man on February 10th.

A Call for Peace – The Armed Man

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the November 11th end of the Great War.  The SSO will spend time during the year to explore the musical search and endeavour for peace.

We begin our dialogue with Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man on February 10th.  

In addition to extracts from the Ordinary of the Mass, the text incorporates words from other religious and historical sources, including the Islamic call to prayer, the Bible (e.g. the Psalms and Revelation), and the Mahabharata. Writers whose words appear in the work include Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Sankichi Toge, who survived the Hiroshima bombing but died some years later of leukaemia.

The Armed Man charts the growing menace of a descent into war, interspersed with moments of reflection; shows the horrors that war brings; and ends with the hope for peace in a new millennium, when “sorrow, pain and death can be overcome”. It begins with a representation of marching feet, overlaid later by the shrill tones of a piccolo impersonating the flutes of a military band with the 15th-century French words of “The Armed Man”. After the reflective pause of the Call to Prayer and the Kyrie, “Save Us From Bloody Men” appeals for God’s help against our enemies in words from the Book of Psalms. The Sanctus has a military, menacing air, followed by Kipling’s “Hymn Before Action”. “Charge!” draws on words from John Dryden’s “A song for St. Cecilia’s day” (1687) and Jonathan Swift citing Horace (Odes 3,2,13), beginning with martial trumpets and song, but ending in the agonised screams of the dying. This is followed by the eerie silence of the battlefield after action, broken by a lone trumpet playing the Last Post. “Angry Flames” describes the appalling scenes after the bombing of Hiroshima, and “Torches” parallels this with an excerpt from the Mahabharata (book 1, chapter 228), describing the terror and suffering of animals dying in the burning of the Khandava Forest. Agnus Dei is followed by “Now the Guns have Stopped”, written by Guy Wilson himself as part of a Royal Armouries display on the guilt felt by some returning survivors of World War I. After the Benedictus, “Better is Peace” ends the mass on a note of hope, drawing on the hard-won understanding of Lancelot and Guinevere that peace is better than war, on Tennyson’s poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells” and on the text from Revelation (21,4): “God shall wipe away all tears”.

Our Armed Man performance features the Canadian Chamber Choir and Greystone Singers.

Get your tickets today…

Free Events with Tania Miller and Guy Few

During our special Homecoming concert week celebrations there are many free events that you can take in.

Music Talk at McNally Robinson with Tania Miller

Tuesday, January 16th at 7pm-8pm
McNally Robinson

Join SSO Executive Director Mark Turner in conversation with Tania Miller.  Find out how Tania’s Saskatchewan roots have influenced her career, her thoughts on Brahms’ beautiful 3rd Symphony, and how she feels about this special homecoming concert.

Fine Arts Research Lecture – Tania Miller – Making Great Music

Friday, January 19th at 12:30pm-1:20pm
Quance Theatre, U of S

Tania Miller gives a free public lecture on the conductor’s perspective on the role of leadership.

We can equate “making great music” from the musicians in the symphony to “inspiring great performance” from members of any organization.  Tania Miller will discuss the role of a symphony conductor, and how leadership and communication through music is metaphorically applicable to any organization.  She will discuss the hierarchy and expectations within a professional orchestra, and specifically how great leadership is built upon inspiration, vision, and a culture of respect.  She will explore interaction and expectations of a professional orchestra and the role of conductor as non-verbal communicator and interpreter of orchestral music.


Master Class with Guy Few


Friday, January 19th at 3:30pm-5pm
Room 1004

Guy Few’s instrumental versatility and fearless interpretations have been noted by the international press, “outrageous… simply phenomenal” (Le Devoir, Montreal) and “sheer brilliance” (L.A. Times). He has performed with many Canadian and US symphonies as trumpet, piano, corno and vocal soloist.

Guy has debuted concerti by well-known composers including Melissa Hui, Glenn Buhr, Mathieu Lussier, Michael Occhipinti and Jacques Hetu.  The next day he performs a brand new Trumpet Concerto by John Estacio with the SSO.











Faure’s Pelleas et Melisande

The score was commissioned in 1898 by Mrs Patrick Campbell for the play’s first production in English, in which she starred with Johnston Forbes-Robertson and John Martin-Harvey. Mrs Campbell had invited Debussy to compose the music, but he was busy working on his operatic version of Maeterlinck’s play, and declined the invitation. Debussy in his letter said: “j’aimerai toujours mieux une chose où, en quelque sorte, l’action sera sacrifiée à l’expression longuement poursuivie des sentiments de l’âme. Il me semble que là, la musique peut se faire plus humaine, plus vécue, que l’on peut creuser et raffiner les moyens d’expression” (“I will always prefer a thing in which, in a way, the action is sacrificed for the expression sought after by the soul. It seems to me that in that case, the music is more human, more lived, that we can refine our means of expression”).

Fauré was in London in March and April 1898, and was introduced to Mrs Campbell by the musical benefactor Frank Schuster. Fauré accepted her invitation to compose the music for the production, despite the tight deadline – the play was to open in June of that year. He wrote to his wife, “I will have to grind away hard for Mélisande when I get back. I hardly have a month and a half to write all that music. True, some of it is already in my thick head!” It was Mrs Campbell who commissioned Fauré to write the incidental music to the play. She “felt sure M. Gabriel Fauré was the composer needed.”

As he often did, Fauré reused music written for incomplete or unsuccessful works. A sicilienne from his unfinished 1893 score for Le Bourgeois gentilhomme was the most substantial piece retrieved for Pelléas et Mélisande. Pressed for time, and never greatly interested in orchestrating, Fauré enlisted the help of his pupil Charles Koechlin, who accompanied him to London. The complete incidental music comprised 19 pieces (2 are missing) of varying length and importance.

Fauré conducted the orchestra for the premiere, at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre on 21 June 1898. Mrs Campbell was enchanted by his music, in which, she wrote, “he had grasped with most tender inspiration the poetic purity that pervades and envelops M. Maeterlinck’s lovely play”. She asked him to compose further theatre music for her in the first decade of the 20th century, but to his regret his workload as director of the Paris Conservatoire made it impossible. Over the next 14 years, she revived the play, always using Fauré’s score. In 1904, the music was used for a production of the original French version of the play, starring Sarah Bernhardt. Fauré’s incidental music was used again in Georgette Leblanc’s production of the play in the cloisters and gardens of Saint-Wandrille abbey in August 1910, conducted by Albert Wolff.

There are two different versions of the original theatre score for Pelléas et Mélisande in existence. The first is Koechlin’s autograph of the orchestral score, dating from May and June 1898, and incorporating several rough sketches by Fauré in short score. The second is the conducting score used by Fauré in London; this is also a manuscript in Koechlin’s handwriting

Fauré later reused the music for Mélisande’s song in his song cycle La chanson d’Ève, adapting it to fit words by the Symbolist poet Charles van Lerberghe. The Sicilienne became very popular as an independent piece, with arrangements for flute and piano (by Henri Büsser among others), for cello and piano, as well as other instruments. Extracts from Pelléas et Mélisande were used by George Balanchine as the score for the Emeralds section of his 1967 ballet Jewels.

After Fauré, three other leading composers completed works inspired by Maeterlinck’s drama: Debussy’s opera (1902), Schoenberg’s early tone poem (1903) and Sibelius’s incidental music (1905).

After the run of the play in London, Fauré drew on the music for a short orchestral suite, which he orchestrated himself, using Koechlin’s London score as a starting point. The original orchestration for the London production consisted of two flutes, one oboe, two clarinets, one bassoon, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, harp and string quartet. Fauré reorchestrated for larger forces, including a normal string complement and second oboe, second bassoon and third and fourth horns. He also rewrote several passages, notably the climaxes in the first, third and fourth movements.

The suite at first consisted of the Prélude, Fileuse (entr’acte to Act 3) and La mort de Mélisande (entr’acte to Act 4). In this form it was premiered at the Concerts Lamoureux in February 1901. Fauré was not happy with the performance, telling his wife that the conductor, Camille Chevillard did not really understand the music. Fauré later added the Sicilienne. This version of the suite was published in 1909. The suite is sometimes performed with the addition of Mélisande’s song “The King’s three blind daughters”, in Koechlin’s orchestration.

Prélude (quasi adagio)

The Prélude is based on two themes; the first is tightly restricted, with no large melodic intervals between successive notes. The critic Gerald Larner suggests that this theme reflects Mélisande’s introverted personality. The second theme is introduced by a romantic solo cello with woodwind, and may, in Larner’s view represent Mélisande as first seen by her future husband, Golaud. The horn calls near the end of this movement may suggest Golaud’s discovery of Mélisande in the forest.

Fileuse (andantino quasi allegretto)

La Fileuse is an orchestral representation of a spinning song. The Fauré scholar Jean-Michel Nectoux notes that although Debussy omits it in his operatic version, Mélisande is shown at her spinning wheel in Maeterlinck’s play. A gentle oboe melody is accompanied by the strings, who maintain a theme imitative of spinning.

Sicilienne (allegro molto moderato)

The movement although in the traditionally sad key of G minor, represents, in Larner’s view, “the one moment of happiness shared by Pelléas and Mélisande”. Nectoux writes that although the piece was reused from an earlier work (incidental music to Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme) very few people would guess that it was not composed for Pelléas and Mélisande, so appropriate is it to its purpose. This is the movement of the suite that differs least from Koechlin’s London score; Fauré made only minor textual amendments to it.

Mort de Mélisande (molto adagio)

The last movement, in D minor, is inescapably tragic, with a theme of lamentation for clarinets and flutes. There are echoes of Mélisande’s song throughout the movement. The opening theme returns fortissimo on the strings “before a last echo of the song and a sadly modal approach on solo flute to the final chord” (Larner). This movement was played at Fauré’s own funeral.