1️⃣3️⃣ Motherhood, music, and the pandemic



Motherhood, music, and the pandemic 

Balancing motherhood and a full-time music career can be challenging enough under normal circumstances. In the midst of a pandemic, the task seems Herculean. “To be perfectly, honest I haven’t touched my violin very often!”, says MCO Principal Second Violinist Rachel Kristenson, mother of six, while speaking to MCO Music Director Anne Manson. “I really admire the parents now who are home all the time, and also schooling their children. It’s crisis schooling.”

Rachel nevertheless emanates good-humour about the situation. We see her children climbing on her while she performs on h­­er violin and tells us amusing anecdotes about her son, cellos, and espresso machines. Mother and composer Vivian Fung, a collaborator of the MCO whose work Rachel has performed, also joins the conversation with Anne, and likewise tells funny stories about life and mothering under the lockdown. In one of our recent videos, we learned about the unexpected influence of cartoon music on Vivian’s Double Violin Concerto; background racket in her home that subtly wormed its way into her composition. Here, she reflects on other surprising sources of creative inspiration she’s drawn from being a mother in the midst of a pandemic.

Rachel expresses a similar sentiment about motherhood. Addressing Anne, she says, “You realize that our music is only deepened by our experience as mothers, and it’s not something that we have to hide away.”



MCO Concertmaster Karl Stobbe plays Biber’s Passacaglia from home

Since April, Karl Stobbe has been engaging audiences with intimate home concerts. There’s a highly personable quality to these videos, as Karl gently addresses the audience before performing beautiful, consoling music. In this exclusive MCO at Home performance, Karl plays Biber’s Passacaglia for Solo Violin; famous for its unusual tuning system and haunting melodies.


Thank you, Karl.  



A fresh take on the MCO’s 2020-21 season

We’re trying something fresh for our 2020-21 season: an extended festival running from April to June 2021, with an early autumn chamber night appetizer. We intend to showcase most of the same incredible soloists – from Andriana Chuchman and Tracy Dahl to Stephen Hough performing the world’s greatest music with the MCO – in a manner that reflects the most up-to-date social distancing guidelines. No matter how circumstances may evolve and how we adapt to them, expect a one-of-a-kind season with non-stop content where the MCO’s brilliant musicians are front and centre.

First up is our 4 October Chamber Night concert in Eckhardt Hall at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. See and hear some of Winnipeg’s best musicians, including Caitlin Broms-JacobsAllen HarringtonVictoria SparksKarl Stobbe, and Tracy Wright live in concert again – as they perform, among other things, a chamber version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. 

Subscriptions are now on sale for our updated season, and casual tickets will soon be as well. Click here to subscribe or explore the season in more detail, and click here to read our full statement about the 2020-21 season. You can also call the office at 204.783.7377 to subscribe or ask questions. Someone will return your call shortly thereafter. We’d love to talk!

The MCO gratefully acknowledges support from the following:


Canada Council for the Arts

Manitoba Arts Council

Winnipeg Arts Council

Richardson Foundation

The Winnipeg Foundation

Canada Life



Christianson Wealth Advisors


Sun Life Financial

King 601 Bb trumpet: long-mcquade.com; Cajun Classic grill pan: bbqguys.com; MSR Mini GroundHog tent stake: moosejaw.com; Pelikan Twist fountain pen: makoba.com (pic by Makoba); writing pad: amazon.ca; ZEISS 10×42 Terra ED binoculars: mcbaincamera.com; Esschert Design, green garden trowel: livingwindows.co.uk; magnifying glass *STM: avron.ca; long-nose pliers: grainger.com; sunglasses: gracenelson4yyc.ca

Copyright © 2020 Manitoba Chamber Orchestra

Our mailing address is:
Unit Y300, Portage Place, 393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6

Our phone number:
204.783.7377

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