The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra presents Legends

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra presents Legends

The O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars Masterworks I

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Rosemary Thomson are thrilled to announce the opening concerts of its 19/20 season, the OSO’s 60th anniversary. Concert sponsors for this special occasion are Judy and Graham Burns.

“When we were programming this season we were looking for variety and diversity,” says Thomson. “This season has that, but the main thrust is to celebrate our historical connections and shine a spotlight on our own musicians.”

Entitled Legends, the title of these opening concerts refers to the “Bonjour” Stradivarius cello that guest artist Bryan Cheng will be playing when he takes the stage. The cello was built in 1696 and is currently valued at $14-million! This cello was last played in an OSO performance by Arnold Choi in 2012 (when its value was a mere $11-million). Its legacy is impressive. As part of the Canada Council’s Musical Instrument Bank, pre-eminent Canadian classical musicians regularly compete for the opportunity to become the steward and performer of an exceptional instrument like this one on a three-year loan.

Guest artist, 21-year old Bryan Cheng, the current steward of this instrument, has been named to the Top 30 Under 30 on CBC’s list of classical musicians. Described as owning “a depth of sensitivity and maturity that will secure him a distinctive place in the world of classical music”, he will be performing Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor.

The second half of the opening program will feature the OSO’s new concertmaster, violinist Rachel Kristenson, in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. This piece is based on One Thousand and One Nights (also commonly known as Arabian Nights): a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. Scheherazade is the female storyteller of these fantastic tales, with violin solos evoking the beauty and exoticism of distant lands.

Opening the Legends program each evening will be a short piece by Canadian composer, John Estacio entitled Frenergy. Described by Maestra Thomson as a ‘5 minute barn burner’, Estacio combined the words ‘frenetic’ and energy’ to describe his rhythmic, percussive composition that will perfectly serve to kick start the OSO’s 60th anniversary season.

Music Director Rosemary Thomson says, “I love all three works on this program because they are so visceral – breathtaking in virtuosity and heartbreaking in beauty. One of my favourite moments is near the beginning of the symphonic suite Scheherazade, where Sinbad’s Ship is depicted on the high seas and the orchestra is practically swaying from the rhythm of the sea. Thrilling!”

Performance and ticket information are as follows;

Kelowna Community Theatre / Friday, October 18, 7:30pm
Kelowna Tickets 250.862.2867

Penticton Cleland Theatre / Saturday, October 19, 7:30pm
Kelowna Tickets 888.974.9170

Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre / Sunday, October 20, 7:00pm
Ticket Seller – 250.549.7469.

Tickets for all shows are also available online at

Concert Close-Up, a preconcert chat with Maestra Rosemary Thomson, takes place one hour before each Masterworks performance.

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