The first 87 years…SSO and U of S have long history

The First 86 Years…

The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s partnership with the University of Saskatchewan stems back to the founding of both the orchestra and the Department of Music.

1931 was a pivotal year for music in Saskatoon – that year, the Carnegie Corporation awarded the University a three year grant to establish a school of music. With the appointment of Professor Arthur Collingwood, the U of S became the only university west of Toronto and Montreal to have a music chair.  That same fall, Collingwood officially founded Saskatoon’s orchestra.

Over the years the SSO was conducted by a number of prominent professors at the University including Maestros J.R. Macrae (‘47-’50), Murray Adaskin (‘57-60), David Kaplan (‘63-’71), and Dwaine Nelson (‘71-’76).

The University served as the performance home for many decades, first at Convocation Hall and later at the Gymnasium.

The SSO has a long tradition of collaboration with the choirs of the University and have been fortunate to work with Robert Solem, Gerald Langner, Duff Warkentin, Garry Gullikson, and Jennifer Lang.

The SSO has performed or collaborated with U of S faculty including Gyula Csapo, Neil Currie, Garry Gable, Kathleen Gable, Glenn Gillis, Robin Harrison, Dorothy Howard, Chris Kelly, Robert Klose, Gregory Marion, Dean McNeill, Isabelle Mills, Bonnie Nicholson, David Parkinson, Janice Patterson, Monte Pishney-Floyd, Kathleen Solose, and many many more!

The musicians of the SSO have had a lasting impact on the education of generations of musicians – while the list of musicians who have taught at the University would be far to long to list, the current sessionals include Erin Brophey, Darrell Bueckert, Richard Carnegie, Terry Heckman, Dawn McLean Belyk, Sarah Yunji Moon, Randi Nelson, Arlene Schiplet, Don Schmidt, Marie Sellar, and Margaret Wilson.

Many graduates of the University have gone on to be guest artists with the orchestra such as honoured alumni mezzo soprano Lisa Hornung, dentist Thomas Yu, composer Paul Suchan, and recent graduates Katya Khartova, Carissa Klopoushak, Chelsea Mahan, Whitney Mather, and Gerard Weber.

The future is bright – while the first 87 years have showcased a wonderfully vibrant relationship, the years ahead hold exceptional opportunities for the SSO and the U of S to connect, celebrate, research, explore, and create!


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