Sibelius’ First Symphony

Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39, is a landmark work in the history of classical music and a testament to the composer’s skill and artistic vision. Composed between 1895 and 1899, the symphony is a masterpiece of Romantic orchestral music and is widely regarded as one of Sibelius’s greatest works.

The first movement of the symphony is marked by its sweeping melodies and dramatic contrasts, with the orchestral sections alternating between lush and powerful moments and more introspective and lyrical passages. The second movement is a scherzo, characterized by its playful and energetic rhythm, with the strings and woodwinds weaving intricate patterns over a driving rhythm in the percussion section.

The third movement is a slow and contemplative adagio, characterized by its beautiful and expressive melodies. Sibelius creates a sense of stillness and introspection with delicate, sustained strings, and soft, atmospheric woodwinds. The movement builds to a climax before resolving in a peaceful and serene coda.

The final movement is a triumphant and celebratory allegro, with the full orchestra building to a rousing conclusion. Sibelius creates a sense of excitement and energy with driving rhythms and powerful brass and percussion, culminating in a triumphant and joyful finish that leaves a lasting impression on the listener.

Throughout the symphony, Sibelius demonstrates his mastery of orchestration, creating a rich and vibrant sound that is uniquely his own. He also draws on the musical traditions of his native Finland, incorporating folk melodies and rhythms into his music to create a distinctive and personal style.

Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1 is a landmark work that continues to be widely performed and recorded to this day. Its sweeping melodies, dynamic contrasts, and emotional depth make it one of the greatest symphonies of the Romantic era, and a testament to Sibelius’s skill as a composer and his contribution to music. Whether you are a seasoned classical music aficionado or a newcomer to the genre, this symphony is sure to leave a lasting impression and is highly recommended for anyone looking to deepen their appreciation of music.

 

*image at the top of the page an internal photograph of the Sibelius Wind Pipe Organ

McKenzie Warriner, soprano

McKenzie Warriner is a Saskatchewan born and raised soprano bringing
music and text to life in works ranging from 17 th century opera to the
cutting-edge. In the 22/23 season, McKenzie is honoured to be a
Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist with Vancouver Opera, where she will
sing the role of Aurore in Le portrait de Manon, as well as understudy
Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles and Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s
Dream. She is also excited to make her United Kingdom debut at the
2023 Aldeburgh Festival premiering new works as a Britten Pears
Young Artist. Recent credits include Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s
Alligator Pie with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, Bessie Brent in The
Shop Girl (COSA Canada), Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor
(Eastman Opera Theatre), and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel (University
of Manitoba). Passionate about contemporary music, McKenzie co-
founded Slow Rise Music in 2021, a concert series devoted to creating
bold new vocal works. McKenzie earned her Master of Music degree
from the Eastman School of Music and her Bachelor of Music degree
from the University of Manitoba.

Brenden Friesen, bass

Saskatchewan born bass Brenden Friesen has captured audiences with his powerful resonance, exceptional diction, enormous comedic presence, and incredible interpretation of text (Opera Canada). Brenden is a recent graduate of the esteemed L’Atelier lyrique young artist program at l’Opéra de Montréal. His studies include a Bachelor of Arts in Voice Performance from  Briercrest College while studying with Dr. Ron de Jager, followed by completing University of Toronto’s MMus Opera degree while studying with Professor Lorna MacDonald. Brenden is now a current student of Ariane Girard in Montréal, Québec.

After debuting with Opéra de Montréal in 2018 with Verdi’s Rigoletto as Count Ceprano under the baton of Maestro Carlo Montanaro, he has since performed notable roles such as Colline in Puccini’s La bohème with both Saskatoon Opera (2018) and Highlands Opera Studio (2018), Ernest Hemingway in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Canadian debut of 27 (2019), Truffaldino in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (HOS2019), and Zaretski in Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece Eugene Onegin (Opéra de Montréal 2019). Brenden has also undertaken such roles as Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (2018), Leporello and Il Commendatore (UofT Opera), and Masetto (Saskatoon Opera 2017) in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Duff Warkentin, conductor

Duff Warkentin has been a choral conductor and clinician for many years. His formal post-secondary education was at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Regina. He has conducted children’s choirs, high school choirs, church choirs, university choirs, and community choirs. He has sung under the direction of noted conductors such as Robert Shaw, George Wiebe, Helmut Rilling, John Martens, Elmer Iseler, Wayne Riddell, Jon Washburn, and Bramwell Tovey. He has prepared and conducted many of the Requiems, Masses, oratorios, and other larger works in the standard repertoire. Two particular choral experiences stand out for him. He conducted the Station Singers of Rosthern, a non-auditioned community choir, since its inception in 2000. That choir discontinued at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this summer the decision was made to end the choir. It was a difficult decision, arrived at after considering a number of factors. He was honoured to conduct this wonderful choir. He also conducted a Warkentin family choir at their triennial family reunion. This experience too is one that is tremendously important and meaningful to him. The commonality between these two experiences is that both groups were, and are, amateur choirs, in the truest sense of the word. Singing for the sheer love of music and singing together, creating together what we cannot create alone, recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, building community through music, through singing together – this is what inspires and energizes Duff Warkentin, and he is thrilled to be able to participate in Handel’s Messiah again!

Martin MacDonald, conductor

Martin MacDonald is one of Canada’s most dynamic and outstanding young conductors and has been awarded both the Heinz Unger Award and the Jean-Marie Beaudet Award for orchestral conducting. Martin has guest conducted extensively across Canada having worked with the orchestras of Toronto, National Arts Centre, Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Niagara, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. He has served as a Cover and Guest Conductor for the National Ballet of Canada for several productions, and has worked with the Minnesota Ballet, Atlantic Ballet, and Halifax Dance. Martin has recorded extensively for the CBC and for several commercial recordings. Most notably, Martin has served as Resident Conductor, Associate Conductor, and a regular guest conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia since 2008 with over 200 performances in a diverse range of programs and artists. Previously, Martin served as Associate Conductor of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and has participated in several international conducting workshops and competitions.

Martin has a Master’s in Orchestral Conducting from McGill, a Bachelor’s in Cello from Memorial, and has studied conducting with Alexis Hauser, Bernhard Gueller, Boris Brott, Michael Jinbo, Kenneth Kiesler, Gustav Meier, Jorma Panula, and Johannes Schlaefli. Martin’s conducting activities have been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Cape Breton born, Martin is the youngest of twelve children and has a diverse musical background with a strong Celtic music tradition including extensive touring and performing with members of his family throughout Europe and North America.

Martin resides in Toronto, Ontario with his wife, Kristen and their daughter, Frances.

 

https://www.martinmacdonald.ca/

Angela Cheng, pianist

Consistently praised for her brilliant technique, tonal beauty, and superb musicianship, Canadian pianist Angela Cheng is one of her country’s national treasures. In addition to regular guest appearances with virtually every orchestra in Canada, she has performed with the symphonies of Saint Louis, Houston, Indianapolis, Colorado, Utah, San Diego and Jacksonville, as well as the philharmonic orchestras of Buffalo, Louisiana, Rhode Island, London, Israel and Minas Gerais in Brazil.

Recent performances include a debut with the Fort Worth Symphony, performing Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme of Paganini,” under the baton of Robert Spano, and a return to the Vancouver Symphony, performing Ravel’s Concerto in G with Otto Tausk. Next season will include the Boulder Philharmonic, Newfoundland Symphony, Okanagan Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony, Saguenay Symphony and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.

Angela Cheng has performed recitals and concertos at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center/Washington, D.C., the 92nd Street Y/New York and Wigmore Hall in London. As a member of the Zukerman Trio and Chamber Players, she has also appeared at the Musikverein/Vienna, the Concertgebouw/Amsterdam, Teatro Colon/Buenos Aires, Mariinsky Concert Hall/St. Petersburg and the Sydney Opera House. Festival appearances include Verbier, Edinburgh, Miyazaki, Stars of the White Nights/St. Petersburg and the George Enescu Festival in Romania.

Angela Cheng also appears regularly on recital series throughout the United States and Canada and has collaborated with the Takács, Colorado, and Vogler quartets. North American festival performances include Banff, Chautauqua, Colorado, Great Lakes Chamber Music, Vancouver, Toronto and the Festival International de Lanaudière in Quebec.

Ms. Cheng has been invited to give masterclasses throughout North America and in Asia, including the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Taichung University in Taiwan, Indiana University, University of Michigan and the University of Texas. She has also served on the jury of many competitions, including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Esther Honens International Piano Competition, Montreal International Piano Competition, and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, among others.

Angela Cheng has been Gold Medalist of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, as well as the first Canadian to win the prestigious Montreal International Piano Competition. Other awards include the Canada Council’s coveted Career Development Grant and the Medal of Excellence for outstanding interpretations of Mozart from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.
PLEASE DISCARD ALL PREVIOUS BIOGRAPHIES (April 2022)

A native of Hong Kong, Ms. Cheng studied extensively with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University and with Sascha Gorodnitzki at The Juilliard School. She is currently on the artist faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she was honored with the 2011-12 Excellence in Teaching Award.

www.pianistangelacheng.com

“Cheng unspooled songlike melodies with melting lyricism, flew through rhapsodic flourishes with sparkling clarity, and unleashed fiery sounds when needed. In playful passages, she relished off-beat accents and ‘wrong’ notes. She also paid close attention to the orchestra, which skillfully complemented her style [Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini].”
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

Costume Ideas

Looking for some last-minute costume ideas?

Here are a few ideas we thought you might like!

Bach

Need a powdered wig in a pinch for your composer costume? Try using some printer paper!

Wear a black coat and pants with a white top, and carry some sheet music. Just keep telling people “you’ll be Bach” for the extra pun factor.

 

Looking for other composer costume inspiration? Check out @NormalComposers on Twitter!

Leonard Bernstein partying with Patti Smith.
Béla Bartók having a miserable time with some lady friends.

Record

Want to set the record straight? Dress up as some vinyl for Halloween!

Once you have your cardboard box: Cut 2 large circles from the cardboard box. Spray paint both sides of the circles with black spray paint and let dry completely. While this dries, print out 2 copies of the record label template provided. Cut out the label and glue it to the center of the black cardboard circles. To create shoulder and chest straps, measure the length needed and place 2 strips of duct tape sticky side together. Tape to the cardboard front and back, so you can easily slip it over your head. *Optional: use the paint pen to draw on record grooves.

Here’s the template.

 

SSO Musician

Have a favourite member of the orchestra? Put on your concert-worthy outfit and fashion yourself after one of our musicians!

Or, if you know them outside the orchestra you could dress up like they do when not on the stage.

A few years ago, principal bassoon Stephanie Unverricht dressed up as our principal oboe Erin Brophey (who was pregnant at the time)!

 

Pick a great song title and dress up according to the title.

The Devil with a Blue Dress is an easy one to do! Some horns and a pitchfork, plus a blue dress and you’re ready to go.

 

If you’re really in a pinch try this random costume generator:

Can’t wait to see those musically minded costumes!

The renaissance of Marianna Martines

They say that brilliant minds touch the lives of all that surround them. This was especially true for Vienna-born composer Marianna Martines (sometimes referred to as Marianne von Martinez). Marianna was born in 1744 into a family of career soldiers. Her father Nicolo, who had grown up in Naples, served in Vienna as major-domo to the papal nuncio (the Pope’s embassy to the Austrian Empire). 

Marianna’s brothers both led distinguished military careers and, for their service to the Empire, their entire family was awarded a patent of nobility in 1774 (back then, you couldn’t have “von” in your  family name without this handy slip of paper). But Marianna (with her musical gifts both as a performer and composer) was the rising star of the family, and with the help of a family friend she would one day become a sensation throughout all of Europe.

During Marianna’s childhood, The Martines family lived in a large building on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna. Described by historians as “a stately building still standing in the Kohlmarkt”, the complex was arranged by the social class of its occupants: upper class members of society held soirees in palatial rooms on the bottom floors, while the lower classes lived in the cramped interiors of the building’s uppermost reaches. As an upper-middle class family, the Martines clan were privileged enough to live on the third floor. 

The neighbors of Marianna Martines included the dowager princess of the wealthy Esterházy family (1st Floor), the well-known Italian singing teacher and composer Nicola Porpora (who lived a few floors above Marianna), and Joseph Haydn (then a struggling composer and freelance musician who lived in the building’s attic). The figure who helped unite all these neighbors into a network of musical support for Marianna’s development was her father’s childhood friend Pietro Trapassi. Writing under the famous pen name “Metastasio”, Pietro lived with the Martines family for the rest of his life after being appointed Poet Laureate to the Austrian Empire in 1730. 

As the tutor responsible for Marianna’s practical and musical education in childhood, Pietro ensured that the education Marianna received was of a quality far superior to that of the “standard” provided to women of her social class at that time. Through her rigorous study of languages with Pietro, for example, Marianna became an incredibly well-versed quadrilingual of French, English, Italian, and German. Pietro arranged for Marianna to take keyboard lessons from Haydn (that brilliant young man from the attic) and encouraged her to take singing lessons at the age of ten. 

So it was that Marianna continued her musical training under Nicola Porpora, with Haydn serving as both her accompanist and assistant to her new teacher. Demonstrating potential as a gifted composer, Marianna was encouraged by her tutor Pietro to take lessons in composition from Johann Adolph Hasse and the Imperial court composer Giuseppe Bonno. She brought Haydn with her to meet both Hasse and Bonno, and the attic musician’s career flourished as a result.

Martines was a virtuosic player, even as a child, and regularly performed before the Imperial court. Her biographer Helene Wessely depicts the young Martines as having “attracted attention with her beautiful voice and [superb] keyboard playing”. Wessely also asserts that her compositions, particularly for voice, possess a “predilection for coloratura passages, leaps over wide intervals and trills indicat[ing] that she herself must have been an excellent singer.” As a rock star on the harpsichord, she developed such a reputation into adulthood that she was frequently requested to perform before the Empress Maria Theresa.

Despite being one of the most eligible bachelorettes in the Classical Viennese music scene, Marianna Martines never married. She never sought an appointed position at court either. There were barriers to women (as well as individuals of her social class) when it came to pursuing compositional employment that her friend Haydn simply did not have to contend with. Together with her sister (who also remained a lifelong bachelorette) she cared for her mentor Pietro until his death in 1782. That very year, Marianna’s Italian oratorio “Isacco figura del redentore” was premiered in a renowned concert series put on by the Tonkünstler-Societät. The librettist for this oratorio is credited to Pietro’s pen name of Metastasio.

The poet left his estate to the Martines family, and to his student Marianna he bequeathed 20,000 florins, his harpsichord, and his entire music library. Marianna used this money to fill the Martines home with her former tutor’s favorite music, hosting musical soirees with her sister that attracted distinguished guests (such as the Irish tenor Michael Kelly and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself!). The latter was a frequent guest to these musical get-togethers and composed four-hand piano sonatas to perform with Marianne. Never too proud to forget his roots, Haydn would often pop in for a bit of harpsichord-tickling and merriment-making.

As a composer, Martines penned four masses, six motets, and three litanies for choir. She composed several works for solo voice and wrote several secular cantatas (as well as two oratorios) to Italian texts. In the definitive fashion of the early Classical period, particularly in Vienna, she composed in the Italian style. Her harpsichord playing was compared stylistically to that of C.P.E. Bach, and her compositions were so well-regarded that some scholars suggest Mozart modeled his 1768 Mass after the “Christe” of her Mass No. 1 in D major. 

As she rightly deserved, Martines’ name and music were lauded throughout Europe, but after her death in 1812 her musical legacy faced an incredible amount of erasure. It is only in recent years that her music has, rightly, been unearthed to the delight of the musical world. It is primarily thanks to the efforts made by publishers such as “Furore-Verlag” (a German publisher that specializes in works by female composers) that we can enjoy so many of her compositions today. 

Allison Miller, flute

Saskatoon-born flutist, Allison Miller, was thrilled to join the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in 2019. Having received tenure in 2020, Allison now holds the SSO Randi Nelson Principal Flute Chair. Allison has been highly featured during her short time with the orchestra, regularly presenting concerti and solo flute works with the ensemble. These works include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti numbers 2 and 5, Vivaldi’s Concerto in F Major, Devienne’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and Sommers’ Picasso Suite. Allison was delighted to appear as guest soloist for the 2022 world premiere of Up to Her Waist in Lupins by renowned composer, Christos Hatzis. Allison has appeared numerous times as both a flutist and piccoloist across Canada, including consistent appearances as guest Principal Flute with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra since 2017. Allison is also active throughout her home province of Saskatchewan, having joined the Regina Symphony Orchestra as a guest musician.

Allison completed a Diploma in Music at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, studying with Richard Volet. She went on to complete both a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music, specializing in Flute Performance, at the University of Ottawa, studying with Camille Churchfield. She is a three-time NYO Canada alum, participating in international tours to Portugal, Germany, and Scotland, as well as the Canadian Edges of Canada coast-to-coast tour in 2017. Allison also spent three summers studying with William Bennet (WIBB) and Lorna McGhee at the PIFR international festival, off the coast of Vancouver Island, and attended both the Domaine Forget International Music Academy and the Orford Music Academy.

For the 2023-2024 season, Allison was granted a one-year sabbatical from her orchestral position to continue her musical development in New York City.  Allison spent the year fervently exploring her artistic path, guided by international soloist and pedagogue, Linda Chesis. Allison coordinated a 40-week partnership with Professor Chesis, which included private tuition, masterclasses, lectures, concerts, and guest teaching / studio assisting at the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to this course of individual study, Allison also completed an Artist Diploma from the OAcademy Orchestral Institute, further expanding her training, network, and portfolio. Throughout this Diploma, Allison studied privately with Gareth Davies, Principal Flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, while also attending studio classes and workshops.  As an extension of this program, Allison was selected from among the OAcademy participants to participate in the Orchestra of the Americas Orchestral Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This residency comprised numerous highlights, including the opportunities to play as Principal Flute under the baton of Carlos Miguel Prieto and to experience a world premiere collaboration between Yo-yo Ma and Kayhan Kalhor.  This year of professional development was made possible by generous funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association. Allison believes strongly that one’s musical learning is never complete and strives to continue growing, regardless of level achieved or experience acquired.

Allison has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including The Payne-Lyon Prize for Excellence in Flute from NYO Canada and the top flutist award at the National Music Festival. She was also a finalist of the NACO Bursary competition and a Rising Star performer with Ottawa’s Chamberfest.

Allison has been heard on various media platforms including CBC and BBC Radio broadcasts as Principal Flute of NYO Canada. Allison can be seen in NYO Canada’s documentary, That Higher Level, produced by Johnny Spence Bolton, documenting the Edges of Canada tour in 2017. In 2021, Allison gave an interview for Loud and Clear, a podcast amplifying the voices of women in classical music.

In addition to her busy performance schedule, Allison teaches flute both privately and as the Sessional Lecturer in Flute at the University of Saskatchewan. Allison has adjudicated music festivals in both her home province and across Canada. Allison has also served as a Woodwind Sectional Instructor for the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and frequently presents guest masterclasses for the Saskatchewan Band Association and the Saskatoon Concert Band. In her teaching, Allison encourages both physical and mental health, a sense of community rather than competition, and a focused and efficient method of practice. Allison has been consistently recognized for her passion and dedication to teaching, twice receiving the RCM Gold Medal Award as a distinguished flute teacher. Allison’s private studio continues to accept highly motivated students of all ages.

Loud and Clear Podcast

The SSO is thrilled to present a podcast in collaboration with Saskatchewan’s very own Olivia Adams.

Olivia is a pianist, music clinician, and teacher. She holds a MA in Music and Feminist Studies from the University of Ottawa and a B.Mus. in Piano Performance from Western University. Olivia speaks and adjudicates across Canada and the US. She is a researcher on gender and music in Canadian music conservatories and is the author of the forthcoming book “Loud and Clear: Graded Piano Music by Women Composers” centering on the voices of female BIPOC composers comes out this October with Debra Wanless Music & 80 Days Publishing. She has written articles for the Canadian Music Teacher Magazine, Opus, and the book Hands On Piano. In 2020 received a Canadian Government SSHRC grant for her research on gender and race in the conservatory curriculum. Olivia works as a piano teacher and collaborative pianist in Ottawa, and a Music Director at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church. She is passionate about equity in the music studio, writing curriculum, and increasing inclusionary practices in classical music.

Olivia’s new podcast Loud and Clear, amplifies the voices of women in music. In conversation with composers, artists, and musical leaders, the podcast explores the experiences of women in all areas of music creation and production, including conducting, composing, producing, broadcasting, directing, teaching, performance, and research.

New episodes launch each Tuesday everywhere you get your podcasts.

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