A series of concerts for young audiences at Elmira’s WMC is part of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s recently announced 2019-20 season.
The WMC will play host to the Kinderconcert series geared towards children under age five. The series features vivid original storytelling by acclaimed Odawa First Nation composer and new KWS artist-in-residence Barbara Croall, accompanied by the group’s musicians.
“I am truly very honoured to serve as artist-in-residence and cultural consultant with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, a responsibly lead organization and team of gifted musicians with strong commitments to community, equity, and diversity,” said Croall in a statement. “By also upholding the importance of the 94 Calls to Action made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and as the child of a residential school survivor, I will continue to bring the integrity of Indigenous values and viewpoints that the leaders and Elders in my family expect of me. Chi Miigwetch.”
KWS has been presenting the Kinderconcert series for more than 25 years. It introduces music to children at a very young age, where it might spark an interest that continues in future years. New music director Andrei Feher said it is all part of the symphony’s mission to engage with audience members of all ages.
“We have to have more than just symphonic and classical,” said Feher. “We have pop, classics, family concerts, Kinderconcerts, there’s a youth orchestra program, and it involves a lot of young children. There are more than one ensemble and more than one type of way of doing anything. We have this responsibility to engage with all ages as much as possible.”
Flowers Wake Up is the upcoming performance in the Kinderconcert series, set to take place April 27, May 4 and May 11 in Elmira. Throughout the newly announced season, each performance is themed according to the time of year – So Many Colourful Leaves in October, Snow People in January 2020, and Dancing Butterflies in April 2020.
Looking more broadly at the KWS scheduled performances next season, Feher will be kicking off the Signature series with an electrifying choice, leading the orchestra in Stravinsky’s Firebird.
The series continues with Czech hits, featuring Smetana’s Sarka from Ma Vlast and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. The following month will consist of Feher leading an intriguing German Romantics program, featuring Schumann’s Overture, Scherzo & Finale, Brahms’s Violin Concerto, and Gernsheim’s Symphony No. 2.
“I always try to have a balance between classical, or romantic or modern repertoire, or differences in style like Russian or German music or French kind of music,” said Feher. “It’s always about having the right balance between everything because we have a lot of variety in the music as well.”
It wraps up with Feher conducting French music, such as Debussy’s La Mer and Poulenc’s Piano Concerto, concluding with the crowd-pleasing crescendo that is Ravel’s famous Boléro. Other series within the season include Baroque & Beyond, Matinee and Special.
Feher’s first official season acting as musical director for the KW Symphony, and he quite enjoyed contributing his original twist on performances.
“I’m happy because I started in September and it’s just growing; the excitement is there, and it’s still even more than before,” said Feher. “It’s going in a very exciting and interesting direction. The next season will be filled with plenty of incredible experiences. I chose carefully the repertoire and the pieces and the artists who are coming; guests, conductors, soloists. I’m very much looking forward to sharing all this with everyone.”
Feher’s interest in music was sparked at a very young age.
“My father put me in violin lessons when I was six,” said Feher. “They also play violin in the orchestra – or string instruments, especially violin, they always start at five, six, or seven years old. You can never be in full control of the instrument because it’s a very hard one. It takes about 15 years to have something that is started to sound good. It takes a lot of time; that’s why people start it so early.”
Click here for the full list of the current or 2019/2020 schedule or for more information.