Bryan Allen, percussion
O, Canada! The SSO has a passionate love of Canadian music, but with our nation celebrating its 150th birthday, it was essential to bring three great Canadian works to our stage for the first time.
There was a time many years ago when the earth was covered in darkness. Composer John Oliver’s work explores the story of a mischievous raven who tricked an old man and brought light to the world.
In 2011, composer Vincent Ho was so inspired by percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and the indigenous stories of the shaman that he wrote a mystical concerto just for her. For the first time ever, the work will be played by someone other than Glennie: the SSO’s very own Bryan Allen, one of the finest percussionists in the country.
John Burge’s new Four Seasons showcases the diversity of a nation whose future is as rich as its heritage, strong and free.
Raven Steals the Light- John Oliver
The Shaman – Vincent Ho
Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag – John Burge
*additional Canadian works will be performed
Bryan Allen enjoys life as a soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber musician. Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, he began his musical development singing in the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and then in the Mississauga Youth Orchestra playing violin as well as some percussion. He eventually decided to focus solely on percussion after studying percussion and drum kit at Cawthra Park Secondary School. He went on to pursue a Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University majoring in percussion performance. Discovering a love for the classical side percussion, Bryan dedicated much of his 4 undergraduate years to the development of his four mallet keyboard playing, having always loved melody and pitched instruments.
During his late high school and early undergraduate career, he performed as a freelance percussionist, throughout southern Ontario including Opera Kitchener, the Oakville Symphony Orchestra, and a chamber soloist with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony. In the Christmas season of 2011-2012, Bryan was given the unique opportunity to tour China with the Ontario Festival Symphony Orchestra. Consisting of teachers, professionals and Western University Faculty members, it proved to be the most musically beneficial experiences of his life, and sparked Bryan’s passion for orchestral playing. He served as principal percussionist of the WLU Symphony Orchestra in for two years, and is currently a percussionist in the McGill Symphony Orchestra.
In the past several years, Bryan has won several prizes for contemporary solo percussion. He was a winner of the WLU concerto competition in 2011, and performed the Ewazen Marimba Concerto with the WLU symphony. Last year, he received third prize at the national OSM Standard Life Competition for percussion and piano. He was named the 2nd place winner at the Ken Murray Concerto competition performing the Rosauro Marimba Concerto. A member of the National Youth Orchestra in 2013, Bryan has been focusing on the balance of pursuing an orchestral career, while still taking opportunities to perform as a solo percussionist.
Bryan is interested in familiarizing classical western music culture with the endless possibilities of all percussion instruments. As part of this interest, Bryan has also presented percussion workshops as part of the “meet the musician” Oakville Symphony concert series, which introduces percussion young musicians interested in music. Since beginning his studies at McGill, he has “busked” with his vibraphone in Montreal, enjoying the spontaneous, improvisatory creativity providing a different kind of musical fulfillment. Bryan continuously dedicates a balance of time to developing his abilities as a percussionist so that he can maximize the capabilities of the instruments in both the “perfection” of orchestral music and outside of the classical world.
Recently living in Saskatoon as Principal Percussionist for the Saskatoon Symphony, Bryan won the grand prize for the annual Saskatoon Kinsmen Competition, as well as the Grand Prize for the Provincial Music Festival. In the summer of 2015 he was award First Place in Percussion at the Canadian National Music Festival Finals.
Raven Steals the Light – Oliver
More information about John Oliver
The Shaman – Ho
More information about Ho’s Shaman
Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag – Burge
More information about the composer