Youth orchestra celebrates 30 years with concert

Anniversary concert features works by Ravel, Bartók, Borodin and others

Piccoloist Cooper Reed is among the 60-plus members of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra who will be performing at its 30th anniversary celebration concert on Sunday

Jacob Zinn

News Staff

Thirty years is a long time to showcase young musical talent, and this Sunday, some of Vancouver Island’s best performers are on display.

The Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra celebrates three decades with a season-ending concert at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium on May 1, performing several challenging classical works from a range of legendary composers. The orchestra – which has more than 60 members, from late middle school to university – is led by music director and conductor Yariv Aloni.

“We’ve been celebrating our 30th anniversary throughout the year, and this is the last concert of the season,” he said. “It’s a very virtuosic program – hard pieces to play and very exciting pieces.”

The show will include performances of the overture from Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz, Maurice Ravel’s solo piano staple Pavane pour une infante défunte, selections from Béla Bartók’s Hungarian Peasant Songs and a piece from Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor.

Additionally, the GVYO commissioned an original piece by 22-year-old alumnus Brandon Chow, who will be premiering the work, titled Tilikum, at the show.

“It’s a symphonic poem based on the idea of the dugout canoe that sailed around the world,” said Aloni, referencing the Nuu-chah-nulth canoe which completed its perilous Victoria-to-London voyage in 1904.

Aloni said GVYO members rehearsed together three hours per week leading up to the show, with extra rehearsals for different sections of the orchestra.

He noted their hard work shows in their performance.“It’s all about doing it together,” he said. “By doing that, they’re gaining confidence in themselves and in each other through the music.”

Joining the orchestra for the Raval piece will be the School District 61 Festival Orchestra, which features musicians from numerous South Island schools.

The show starts at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday  at the Farquhar Auditorium.  Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and $10 for students and children. Tickets are available at the box office, by phone at 250-721-8480 or online at tickets.uvic.ca.