A Golden Variation on Bach’s Goldberg Variations


Please note, this concert is taking place at 3.30pm, and not 3.00pm as accidentally indicated in one of our communications.

At 1pm on Sunday 4 October, and again at 3.30pm, the glorious strains of Bach and others will resonate in Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Eckhardt Hall from the fingertips of the MCO’s musicians to the hearts and minds of a small gathering of music-lovers.Please note: tickets purchased on this page are for the 3.30pm concert (1.00pm concert here).

We can’t wait for this overdue occasion to make music for you with so many familiar faces from our orchestra. We’re featuring some of Winnipeg’s best musicians, including Caitlin Broms-Jacobs, Allen Harrington, Victoria Sparks, Karl Stobbe, and Tracy Wright as they perform, among other things, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, one of the piano canon’s crowning works. If there’s one complaint we have about this masterpiece — Glenn Gould’s signature work — is that, when performed by keyboard as originally intended, the average ear may struggle to make out all its sublime interweaving of musical voices. This won’t be a problem at our two afternoon concerts, since the unusual arrangement we’re performing is for oboe, English horn, and bassoon.

Continuing in this eclectic key, we present percussionist Victoria Sparks performing Evelyn Glennie’s gorgeous percussion chorale Little Prayer. This past April, Victoria performed this work for MCO audiences in what became one of our most popular MCO at Home releases. “With all this going on, I just thought I need to play something that just makes me feel calm,” she said at the time. “It just makes me feel better every time I play it.” Watch the full video here. Victoria also premieres a work by distinguished Manitoban jazz composer (and pianist / trombonist) Jeff Presslaff, originally of Manhattan and educated at Princeton. Entitled Heaven’s Reflexes, the work is a set of ten variations on an original theme for solo marimba by Jeff and will prefigure our somewhat exotic take on the Goldberg Variations in the concert’s second half.

Another Greatest Hit of MCO at Home is MCO Concertmaster Karl Stobbe’s performance of Biber’s Passacaglia for Solo Violin; a work famous for its unusual tuning system and haunting melodies. Get a taste here, and then experience it live in the atmospheric and acoustically superb venue of Eckhardt Hall. Check out the program in more detail in the repertoire list below. Give us a ring with any questions you might have, or just to chat. We’ve missed seeing you, and are excited to be back to sharing the joy of live music with you – at a safe distance apart, but together as a community.

This concert begins at 3.30pm on October 4th at Eckhardt Hall in the Winnipeg Art Gallery, 300 Memorial Boulevard. Click here for 1.00pm show. Tickets, at $36 for adults, $34 for seniors and $15 for students and those under-30 (incl. GST), are available on this page and on MCO’s Ticketline at 204-783-7377.

3.30pm tickets here! Click above to add ticket to cart; adjust quantity in cart; click ‘Continue Shopping’ for other tickets.

Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Anne Manson, Music Director
Karl Stobbe, Concertmaster
Winnipeg Art Gallery
3.30pm, 4 October 2020


Evelyn Glennie
Little Prayer

Heinrich Biber
Passacaglia for Solo Violin

Harold Arlen
Somewhere over the Rainbow (arr. Robert Oetomo)

Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe
Sonata No. 4 for Solo Violin, Op. 27

Jeff Presslaff
Heaven’s Reflexes
— world premiere performance

Johann Sebastian Bach
Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) for oboe, English horn, and bassoon (performed by Caitlin Broms-Jacobs, Tracy Wright, Allen Harrington; arr. Caitlin Broms-Jacobs)

MCO season sponsor / CN

MCO at Home sponsor / Christianson Wealth Advisors, National Bank Financial

The MCO gratefully acknowledges the suport of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Council, The Winnipeg Foundation, and the Richardson Foundation.

Jeff Presslaff

Jeff Presslaff was born in New York City and came mid-career to live in Winnipeg where he has found a lively, highly skilled and supportive musical community. Since his arrival, he has composed and/or arranged over 100 pieces for big band (mostly the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra) and many other works for a large variety of ensembles including Indie rock band, symphony orchestra, salsa band, clarinet choir, solo marimba and many others. As a pianist, trombonist and/or composer/arranger, he has performed or collaborated with many top Canadian and international jazz, classical and avant-garde musicians. His albums have received worldwide airplay and multiple Western Canadian Music Award nominations.

Jeff Presslaff
Heaven’s Reflexes

Heaven’s Reflexes is a set of ten variations on an original theme for solo marimba by Jeff Presslaff. The genesis of the piece was Victoria Sparks’s interest in Presslaff’s jazz compositions, and her need as a teacher for interesting, but accessible, pieces for college level marimbists. Thus each variation explores a particular aspect of marimba technique, while also exploring a harmonic and melodic language created specifically for the work. ‘Heaven’s reflexes’ is a phrase from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, which the composer thought evoked both the ethereal quality of some of the variations, and also the need for quick hands.