Great Canadians | Canadian Orchestras Tribute

Canadian Orchestras



Great Canadians | Canadian Orchestras Tribute


Great Canadians | Canadian Orchestras Tribute The Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO), led by maestro Bradley Thachuk, is comprised of 52 professional musicians who live and perform throughout the Niagara Region and beyond. We encourage you to learn about each of our core musicians. Match a face with a name and an instrument and fall in love with some of Niagara's finest musicians.

The St. Catharines Civic Orchestra was established in 1948 under Jan Wolanek as a community orchestra; its governing body assumed the name St. Catharines Symphony Association in 1963 and changed it again in 1978 to the Niagara Symphony Association to reflect increased regional responsibilities.

Leonard Pearlman took over the orchestra in 1958 (after an interim year under F.R.C. Clarke) soon supplementing the regular series with performances of small-scale baroque and contemporary works at Rodman Hall. In 1963 the Niagara Symphony Chorus (subsequently known as Chorus Niagara) began its fruitful collaboration with the orchestra. The Niagara Symphony is also the parent organization of the Niagara Youth Orchestra, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Pearlman was succeeded in 1964 by Milton Barnes who mounted the first opera production and made a conscious effort to attract young people to symphonic music. In 1972 Leonard Atherton became Music Director. He enlarged the scope of both the orchestra and chorus, introducing new series and founding groups such as the Cantata Choir and the Madrigal Singers. During Atherton's tenure the orchestra's membership became professional.

A regular series of four POPS! concerts held at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake was inaugurated in 1976. Atherton's departure in 1980 was followed by three seasons of guest conductors, among them noted conductor Uri Mayer. Ermanno Florio became Music Director in 1983 and Michael Reason served as Music Director from 1995 to 1999.

In 1999 Daniel Swift succeeded Reason and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO) became Orchestra in Residence at Brock University, moving all of its concerts to the University's Sean O'Sullivan Theatre. By 2005, the season had expanded to include four Masterworks programmes and four POPS! programmes (12 concerts) each year.

In May, 2010, after a two year Quest for the Podium search, the NSO proudly announced the appointment of Bradley Thachuk as its 8th music director. The spring of 2015 marked the final season of the Brock University Centre for the Arts and the NSO's residency there. In the fall of 2015 the City of St. Catharines opened the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in the heart of downtown St. Catharines, and the NSO moved all its concerts from the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre to the new facility. Now in his sixth season, Bradley Thachuk has worked to expand the orchestra's programming to include five grand Masterworks programmes in Partridge Hall, 2 intimate Masterworks/C programmes in the smaller Cairns Recital Hall (4 concerts), four POPS! programmes (8 concerts) and three Classical Family programmes designed specifically for young children and families (6 concerts).




Great Canadians | Canadian Orchestras Tribute The Peninsula Orchestra was established as a branch of the Peninsula Music Club in 1978. The Club was an "umbrella" organization for amateur music making which originally comprised of a Concert Orchestra, Country-and-Western group, and Recorder consort. Over time, the Country and Western and Recorder groups disbanded, with only the Orchestra remaining stable and functioning effectively. In 1993 the name of the group was officially changed to the present "Peninsula Orchestra".

We draw our membership from different communities within the Niagara Peninsula. We are all non-paid volunteers who want to keep up with our instruments for the love of it. The 0rchestra has approximately 40 members. There are people young and old, from all walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, teachers, electricians, welders and students. Some of us are still working or about to work and others are retired...but we are all serious amateurs wanting to participate in the lifelong love and discipline of music.

We rehearse every Monday evening from 7:15pm until 9:30pm at the Holy Trinity in Fonthill. Our season starts mid-September and ends in June. We perform throughout the year with our busiest seasons being Christmas and Spring. We regularly perform in churches, seniors' residences and parks, including the bandshell at Queenston Heights. Competent amateur players of standard orchestral instruments are most welcome. There are no auditions required, nor restrictions as to age.

Membership fees are $60 per year for adults and $25 for students.



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Great Canadians | Canadian Orchestras Tribute Mercredi Musique is an amateur string ensemble which has presented performances of Baroque to Twentieth Century music. Repertoire has included works by composers Mozart, Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Holst and Bartok. The group includes active and retired professional musicians and talented amateurs who live in the Niagara region. The musical director and conductor for many years was Mr. H. Paul van Dongen [now deceased].

Mercredi Musique Chamber Orchestra had its beginnings as a String Quartet. In the fall of 1994, the group expanded to fourteen members with conductor, consisting of residents of the Niagara Region. The founding conductoro f this chamber orchestra was David Holler. The orchestra has performed throughout Niagara, including performances at the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre, St. Julia Church and Brock University.

Since 2005 the orchestra has rehearsed at Knox Presbyterian Church with conductor Paul van Dongen. Our repertoire consists of music by composers from the baroque era to the present. Each season consists of two concerts. We have collaborated and exchanged concerts with the Corktown Chamber Orchestra of Toronto. Occasionally the orchestra has expanded to a full orchestra of 65 players. During the 2008/2009 season Schubert's Unfinished Symphony was performed. In the spring of 2010, the program included the Saint-Saens Symphony #3 with Organ performed at Knox Presbyterian Church, which has fine acoustical qualities. The orchestra in its sixteenth season, performed two compositions by area resident composer Michael Kositsky. The final program on May 1, 2011 included the Dvorak Symphony #8.

If you play violin, viola, cello or bass and would like to sit in on a rehearsal, we would love to hear from you.



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And Waiting in the Wings:

Grande Prairie Community Symphony

Great Canadians | Canadian Orchestras Tribute

Great Canadians