Equinox

.

EQUINOX: CHAMBER NIGHT AT THE WECC

SELF-TAUGHT COMPOSER KEREY HARPER grew up in the northern First Nation community of St. Theresa Point, accessible only by plane or winter roads. It’s there, during his high school years, he began making music by recording rain, stones, and natural sounds. “You can go somewhere and just be alone and no one would be around. You wouldn't be hearing all the sirens or traffic,” he was quoted saying to CBC a few years ago.


• Please note that these concerts are in-person only
• 1-hour in-person matinee 1.00pm Mar 22nd | $36 Adult | $34 Senior | $15 Under-30
• Buy 7.30pm Mar 22nd in-person ticket | $36 Adult | $34 Senior | $15 Under-30


Now, in his early 20s, Harper combines this first love of organic textures with synths, effect modulators, and loop stations. The soundscapes he creates can feel like an introspective hike on a warm fall afternoon, before conjuring another mood and scene. It’s natural that this promising composer, reminiscent of Brian Eno, should work with string orchestra.

Kerey is one of seven impressive composers whose music is featured at this concert, which takes place at West End Cultural Centre (with Larry Strachan as musical advisor). The other composers are Kris Wachniak, Corie-Rose Soumah, Chris Byman, and Nahre Sol. We strongly encourage you to check out their music online in advance of this concert. The Nahre Sol piece, Mountain Goats, will also feature a projected music video, with striking awe-inspiring imagery of MCO violinist Narumi Higuchi running in BC from lush valleys to Rocky Mountain peaks.

Taking place the day after the equinox, this concert will transport your imagination to Canadian landscapes softening, budding, and opening themselves up to spring.

The concerts begin at 1.00pm and 7.30pm on Thursday, March 22nd, at the West End Cultural Centre, 586 Ellice Avenue. There will be no intermission for this concert. Casual tickets will be available 10 August 2022 here and on MCO’s Ticketline at 204-783-7377.

Click for 2022/23 subscription packages!

Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Anne Manson, Music Director
Karl Stobbe, Concertmaster
West End Cultural Centre
1.00pm & 7.30pm, Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Larry Strachan, musical director

Kerey Harper
New Work

Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts; world premiere performance.

Nahre Sol
Mountain Goats (video)

Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts; online premiere February, 2022.

Corie Rose Soumah
Reflets (2019)

Kris Wachniak
New Work

Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts; world premiere performance.

Chris Byman
The Field

Michael Oesterle
Sunspot Letters

Carlos Simon
An Elegy: Cry from the Grave

Season sponsor / CN
Concertmaster sponsor / Edmond Financial Group
Volunteer sponsor / MB Liquor Mart
Media sponsors / Classic 107, Golden West Radio & Winnipeg Free Press


NEW! View our entire house program online!

Larry Strachan

Larry Strachan is a Winnipeg-based composer, conductor, and educator. He founded the organization Chamber Orchestra Without Borders (COWB) Inc. in 2006. He is Artistic Director of Chamber Orchestra MUSAIC (COM), the ensemble supported by COWB. The organization’s aim is to present orchestral works written by composers of colour and ethnicities not normally associated with the creation of orchestral music. COM makes its return to the stage this season with the program Shall We Gather?, performing works by composers of African descent for Black History Month.

Mr. Strachan has conducted performances with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra. In 2006-2007 he acted as the Principal Guest Conductor for the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.

In Winnipeg, Larry has led the Mennonite Community Orchestra, and in 2014 directed the premiere performances of Jerry Semchyshyn’s multimedia song cycle Tapwe Keesakeetawak Aski (How They Loved The Land) and William Pura’s Snaefellsnes for GroundSwell. In 2020, he made his debut with the MCO on a double bill concert featuring Raine Hamilton and Slow Spirit.

Larry was awarded the Frances Seaton Award by the Manitoba Choral Association for his composition St. Cecilia Anthem, which was premiered by the Konektis Choir in February 2020. Tantum Ergo Sacramentum was also performed by the Manitoba Honour Choir under the direction of Henry Engbrecht. Last season, his Lament for the Souls of Sauteurs for string orchestra was performed by the MCO under Julian Pellicano’s direction.

Mr. Strachan has been active as a piano performer and teacher, masterclass clinician, festival adjudicator and lecturer. One of his upcoming sessions for the Community Classroom series at McNally Robinson Booksellers will feature the life and music of Telemann.

A Caribbean-Canadian of Grenadian heritage, Larry was born and raised in Winnipeg. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Manitoba, and then went on to complete a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from Shenandoah Conservatory under Raymond Fowler’s tutelage. He studied privately with Bramwell Tovey, Earl Stafford and Roy Goodman and was an active participant in masterclasses led by Nurhan Arman, Frieder Bernius, John Morris Russell and Dwight Oltman, whose Smoky Mountain International Conducting Institute and Competition in North Carolina awarded Larry 2nd prize in May 2017.

Kerey Harper

Kerey Harper is an electronic musician and composer, and offers the following bio: “I grew up in St. Theresa Point First Nation. My older siblings showed interest in music so I was exposed to music at a very young age. Over the years I’ve gone through countless musical phases including the many subgenres of rock, electronic music and ambient music. I learned to play a variety of instruments. It wasn’t until 2012 when I decided to blend all these influences into my own sound. As the years went by, I found myself making music in new ways, such as recording on reel-to-reel tape machines and cassette tape. I started using more hands-on equipment such as modular gear and guitar pedals to craft my sound.” This is Kerey’s first collaboration with the MCO.

Nahre Sol

Nahre Sol performs, composes and teaches an eclectic mixture of music that draws from aspects of improvisation, the avant-garde, traditional Western forms and harmony, jazz, and minimalism. She runs a notable series of videos on YouTube that distil her distinct perspective as a classically-trained pianist with an insatiable appetite for new ideas about music theory, harmony, practicing, and composition. She has gained notoriety and over 480,000 subscribers through her videos, breaking down great classical composers’ stylistic elements and offering excursions into various genres and subgenres.

Corie Rose Soumah

Corie Rose Soumah is a composer born in Montréal and currently based in New York City. Her works have been performed in Canada, the US, Germany, and Italy. Her musical interests lie in shattered sounds realms through collage and gestural practices. She explores sonic textures through acoustic mediums and electronic and analog technologies. Her approach is part of an active redefinition of a new québécitude brought under the influence of cultural, sonic and aesthetic multiplicities.

Winner of a SOCAN Foundation Award, Soumah works have been performed by an extensive number of ensembles and performers. Some of them include Instruments of Happiness, Hypercube, Flux, Les voix parallèles, Sixtrum, Contemporary Insight, New Music Concerts, Orkest de Ereprijs, Paramirabo and Wet Ink. Her works have also been featured at the 24th Young Composer Meeting in the Netherlands, Italian soundSCAPE and highSCORE festivals and the Domaine Forget at Charlevoix where she was a composition fellow.

Soumah is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in composition at Columbia University. Her teachers include Zosha Di Castri, Annie Gosfield, George Friedrich Haas and George Lewis. She completed a BMus degree in composition from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal where she studied with Nicolas Gilbert, Jimmie Leblanc and Serge Provost. She has also worked with Chaya Czernowin, Trevor Grahl, Amy Beth Kirsten, Martijn Padding and Michel Tétreault.

Kris Wachniak

Kris Wachniak is a music-maker, HSP, and Dharma yoga practitioner, from Treaty 1 (Winnipeg).

Kris’ undergrad training in composition (Desautels Faculty of Music) included guidance from Gordon Fitzell, Örjan Sandred, Karen Sunabacka, and Eliot Britton. Kris received supplementary training through Creative Manitoba’s Mentorship Program (Andrea Sartisan, One Trunk Theatre; Heidi Oulette, Cluster Festival; Matt Peters, Royal Canoe), the Winnipeg New Music Festival lessons & Composer’s Institute (Cassandra Miller; Samy Moussa; Harry Stafylakis), and Precursor Productions Recording Studio (Andrew Yankiwski). Upon graduation, Kris was a selected participant of the Lunenburg Academy of Musical Performances’s Composition Academy, with exceptionally inspired leadership, including Dinuk Wijeratne and Nicole Lizée.

Kris’ catalog spans symphonic, chamber, vocal, electronic, and mixed works. Performance highlights include the WSO, C String Collective and musician/music producer Selci, pianist Everett Hopfner, vocalists Jayne Hammond, Olivia Maxfield, and Chris Donlevy, percussionists/musicians Cameron Denby, Isaac Tate, Nolan Hildebrand, and Tim Roth, and a solo multimedia performance at Cluster Festival.

Kris currently works as a maker, copyist, yoga instructor, and philosophy student (Pablo Narayana, Sadhana Now; Sam Manchulenko, student of Sri Dharma Mittra), navigating through deep absorption, inquiry, unification, and celebration.

Chris Byman

Chris Byman obtained B.Mus and M.Mus degrees from Brandon University, where he studied clarinet performance and literature. Chris has performed and collaborated with musicians across Canada, and has appeared at the WSO New Music Festival, the Dark Music Days Festival in Reykjavík, ClarinetFest in Baton Rouge, and the Centric Festival in Lethbridge.

As an emerging composer and arranger, Chris enjoys writing for orchestra, concert bands and chamber groups and has had the privilege of working with multiple ensembles, including the Brandon University New Music Ensemble, the University of Lethbridge Incanto Singers, the Brandon Community Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Recently, Chris has collaborated with multiple Winnipeg-based musicians by creating symphonic arrangements of their charts. These artists include Justin Lacroix, Rayannah, Jocelyne Baribeau, and the JUNO Award-winning group, the Bros. Landreth. In 2020, Chris was awarded the Canadian Band Association’s Howard Cable Memorial Prize in Composition for his work Autumn Down A Maple Lane.

Chris has studied with clarinettists Sharon Atkinson, Micah Heilbrunn, Catherine Wood, composer T. Patrick Carrabré, and conductor Wendy McCallum. Currently, Chris is a freelance clarinettist, clinician, arranger, and composer calling Winnipeg his home.

Michael Oesterle

Michael Oesterle, born in 1968, is a Canadian composer living in Deux-Montagnes Quebec. He has composed a variety of projects for Continuum Contemporary Music, Soundstreams, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. He is closely associated with Quatuor Bozzini, with whom he has collaborated for the past 25 years. A significant period in his musical life was his role as co-founder/director of Ensemble Kore, a Montreal based new music ensemble which produced innovative concerts between 1996 and 2008.

Carlos Simon

Simon’s latest album, My Ancestor’s Gift, was released on the Navona Records label in April 2018. Described as an “overall driving force” (Review Graveyard) and featured on Apple Music’s “Albums to Watch”, My Ancestor’s Gift incorporates spoken word and historical recordings to craft a multifaceted album inspired by the past and present.

Part of the Sundance Institute, Simon was named as a Sundance Composer Fellow in 2018, a program held at the historic Skywalker Ranch. His string quartet, An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave, honoring the lives of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner was recently performed at the Kennedy Center for the Mason Bates JFK Jukebox Series. With support from the US Embassy in Tokyo and US/Japan Foundation, Simon traveled with the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI) on a two-week tour of Japan in 2018. There he performed concerts in some of Japan’s most sacred temples and concert spaces, including Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

Simon earned his doctorate at the University of Michigan, where he studied with Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers. He has also received degrees from Georgia State University and Morehouse College. Additionally, he studied in Baden, Austria at the Hollywood Music Workshop with Conrad Pope and at New York University’s Film Scoring Summer Workshop.

New composition
Kerey Harper

The composer has provided the following note:

I’ve always been interested in making music in different ways to challenge myself. These compositions mark a new starting point for me. They are mainly based on blending modular synthesis and eurorack music with chamber music, which is a completely new way for me to compose. For these compositions, I patch cables to inputs and outputs of different eurorack modules to program melodies, add lofi texture, and modulate parameters. It’s basically electronic music made by scratch in real-time. My main sources of inspiration here are weather changes and the outdoor environment of my hometown, St. Theresa Point. Think of these works as a cycle: winter comes, spring grows, summer ends, and autumn withers. The endless life and death cycle that permeates nature.

Mountain Goats
Nahre Sol

This work was commissioned by the MCO to honour the beauty of the BC mountains, as experienced by MCO violinist, Narumi Higuchi, who regularly runs in this landscape. After the terrible wildfires of the summer of 2021, the artists wanted to pay homage to this intersection of nature and music. The result is this music video: a collaboration between Narumi Higuchi, who directed the video’s running sequences in the BC mountains and performs the work’s violin part, and Nahre Sol, who composed the music and performs the work’s piano part. Mountain Goats was premiered online 28 February 2022.

Recorded in California and BC, autumn 2021 and winter 2022; Narumi Higuchi, violin and runner; Nahre Sol, piano; videography of mountain running: John Swerdelian; video editing: Ivan Hughes.

The Field
Chris Byman

The composer has provided the following note:

The Field receives its name from a patch of land located behind my childhood home in Springfield, Manitoba. The field was a place of refuge and solitude, somewhere to get away from everyday lisfe’s tedium, while I was growing up. The field continues to have the same calming effect on me as an adult returning home, despite changes that have tamed its surface and worn its gnarled, wooden fence posts. My piece’s first movement depicts the serenity of a warm and humid summer sky at dusk while the frenetic second movement imagines running through the field, jumping and playing to the familiar, distant echoes of whistling trains. My melodic material and tonal framework are grown from two sources: the field’s physical coordinates, and Aaron Copland’s intimate rural ballet score, Appalachian Spring. The Field is lovingly dedicated to my parents, who celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in June 2022. Like Appalachian’s pioneering bride and groom, they have weathered many storms, being strongly rooted in the humblest of beginnings.

.