Con Spirito: Inside the SSO

February  2013
In This Issue
March 2 concert to feature Stratford Concert Choir
Stratford Concert Choir
About the music
Guest conductor: Daniel Warren
Emerging Artists Competition
SSO three-year strategic plan
Anne Hathaway Residence now an SSO sponsor
Free SSO tickets for 30 Stratford high school students
Musical Sweets salon music revue nets $600
Paul Rempel joins SSO board

SSO logo


Bert Carrière

Music Director


Barbara Young

Associate Music Director 


Warm greetings from the Stratford Symphony Orchestra. Con Spirito enables us to carry on a conversation with music lovers in the Stratford community and beyond. Please feel free to send us an email  

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Judith Yan


Mark your calendar:  


April 13: A Mozart Medley and More 

Judith Yan, artistic director of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, returns to the SSO to conduct A Mozart Medley and More on Saturday, April 13. Guest artists will be Catherine Gardner, soprano; Mark Gardner, baritone; and Andrew Tees, bass-baritone. More about this concert in the April edition of Con Spirito.


 Volunteer opportunities abound in the SSO   

All sorts of talents are needed in support roles for the SSO. Interested? Send us an  email today.

SSO sponsors 

Trillium logo


SSO concert features Stratford Concert Choir
Stratford Concert Choir
Ian Sadler, Director

The SSO's Saturday (March 2) concert, Late-Romantic Masters, will feature the winds, brass and percussion, combining with the Stratford Concert Choir to perform Anton Bruckner's powerful Mass in E minor. The orchestra will also perform Richard Strauss's
Suite op. 4 and Edvard Grieg's
Funeral Music for Rikard Nordraak. Daniel Warren will be guest conductor.

The concert will take place at Knox Presbyterian Church at Ontario and Waterloo streets. It will begin at 7:30.

Concert tickets ($35 for adults and $20 for students and children) are available at Fanfare Books and Blowes Stationery in Stratford and Stewart Books in St. Marys, as well as online and at the door.

Guest performers: Stratford Concert Choir
The Stratford Concert Choir, directed by Ian Sadler, is in the midst of its thirty-first season. With 90-plus voices, the choir is well known and respected for its commitment to the best of the classical choral repertoire. Upcoming concerts include Palm Sunday (Mar. 24), featuring Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, and A Royal Gala (May 26), marking the end of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year.


About the music . . .

Anton Bruckner
Known for his symphonies, masses and motets, Anton Bruckner composed the Mass in E minor as a commission to celebrate the construction of the Votive Chapel attached to the New Cathedral in Linz, Austria. The chapel was dedicated in 1869 and the cathedral would become the largest church in the country. The Mass in E minor is written for an orchestra consisting of woodwind and brass (likely because the dedication for the unfinished church was held out of doors) and for an eight-part mixed chorus. The setting is divided into six parts: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. The Sanctus, which contains a carefully planned crescendo surrounded with a halo of forceful brass, has been called by music scholar Robert Simpson "perhaps the finest single movement in the whole of Bruckner's early maturity."


Richard Strauss

"Impressed by a one-movement wind serenade by the teenaged Richard Strauss, conductor Hans von Bülow asked the budding composer to write a larger-scale work for the same combination of 13 instruments (two each of flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons, four horns, contrabassoon) to be played by Bülow's famed Meiningen Orchestra. What Strauss did not initially realize was that Bülow wanted a suite employing Baroque forms -- which accounts for a gavotte and fugue being appended to two more Romantic movements -- and that Strauss, who had never before wielded a baton, would conduct the premiere without rehearsal. Bülow thus played a major role in launching Strauss's dual career as a composer and conductor. The Suite in B flat begins with a "Praeludium," ... .  The "Romanze" (Andante) includes short, lyrical, soaring solos for clarinet, oboe, and flute. ... The mischievous "Gavotte" features quick, burbling tunes and sudden contrasts ... . The final movement ... builds up into a fugue ... [and, finally] the bright, show-stopping coda."                      -From    

Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg wrote The Funeral March in A minor for Richard Nordraak for piano immediately upon hearing of his dear friend's death, from tuberculosis, at age 23. Grieg was in Rome at the time. Together the two young composers had championed a Norwegian nationalism in their musical activities. Nordraak had composed the Norwegian National Anthem when he was just 17. A year after composing Funeral March, Grieg arranged the work for military band and, more than a decade after that, made another version of the work for brass choir. Grieg made it known that he wished Funeral March to be performed at his own funeral, "played as beautifully as possible."

Guest conductor: Daniel Warren


Daniel Warren has most recently been artistic advisor and conductor for Orchestra London Canada (2010-2011) and resident conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (1998-2011). He also served as interim
Daniel Warren
artistic advisor and conductor for Orchestra London Canada (2010-2011).

He was guest conductor for the SSO in December 2011 and has been guest conductor with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Orchestra London Canada, Windsor Symphony, Symphony New Brunswick, The ERGO and Continuum ensembles and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble.  

He is also an arranger, his latest being played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, England.  Other arrangements include several works for full symphony including classical, jazz and rock. These have been performed by orchestras in Canada, the United States and Asia.

Keith Hamm
Keith Hamm
Emerging Artists Competition
The SSO will hold its seventh Emerging Artists Concerto Competition on Saturday, March 9. The competition, made possible by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is open to performers on standard orchestral instruments (not including piano) and to singers 15 to 24 years of age as of Jan. 1, 2013. Contestants will prepare a concerto of their choice.

SSO musician David Spence (519-271-0446) is coordinator of the competition. Judges will include Barbara Young, SSO associate music director; Laurel Swindon, SSO principal flute; and others to be named. Deadline for entries is Feb. 25.

Violist Keith Hamm was the winner in 2011, the most recent year in which the contest was held. He has just finished performances of Tristan and Isolde as principal viola with the Canadian Opera Company, and will be acting assistant principal viola with the National Ballet of Canada in March. His upcoming engagements include the SweetWater Music Festival in Owen Sound and Music by the Sea in Bamfield, B.C.

He is scheduled to be a featured soloist with the SSO in March 2014.


SSO looking to future with three-year strategic plan
The Symphony is a step closer to developing a three-year strategic plan to strengthen and ensure the orchestra's future.

A meeting Feb. 9 at Falstaff Family Centre to gather ideas and feedback drew 38 participants, including board members, musicians, volunteers, sponsors and concert-goers. Small-group discussions generated critiques of current practices and ideas for strengthening the organization. A detailed report will be made available to participants and others who request it. To request a copy, phone the Symphony office (519-271-0990) or send an email to

Four major areas of development were identified:
(1) finance/budgeting
(2) the concert experience/programming
(3) volunteers/building the Symphony workforce
(4) communication/openness with key supporters and musicians

Nigel Howard, SSO board president, has asked for volunteers to step forward to chair or help with any one of the four areas identified by phoning Sharon McDonald at the Symphony office (519-271-0990). The groups will meet in March to set a course for building a three-year plan.


Anne Hathaway Residence now an SSO sponsor
Chartwell Seniors Housing, through the Anne Hathaway Residence in Stratford, has provided a $5,000 sponsorship to the Symphony for the 2013-2014 season and is setting up a Symphony Club for its residents.

The SSO will hold the Season Nine (2013-2014) launch at the Anne Hathaway residence, 489 Downie Street, on Wednesday, May 8, at 10 a.m. More about the launch in April Con Spirito.


Free SSO tickets for 30 Stratford high school students
Thirty students from St. Michael, Northwestern and Central high schools in Stratford have received free tickets for the Mar. 2 SSO concert.

"We hope to offer free tickets to high school students for each remaining concert this season," says Barbara Young, SSO associate music director. "They really appreciate the opportunity to hear live orchestra music."


Musical Sweets salon music revue nets $600
Here is SSO vice-president Jean Hewitt's report on the Musical Sweets House Concert fundraiser held February 17 at Mornington Cottage:

"It was an interesting afternoon in which Stratford native Eleanor Johnston led us through the history of "salon music" across Europe, focusing particularly on love songs (as a salute to Valentine's Day). The songs were sung in French, Italian, German and English with great charm by tenor Derek Kwan.  He was accompanied by the wonderfully competent pianist Jennifer Tung.  One of the most interesting parts of the afternoon was listening to four love poems by e e cummings set to the music for Eleanor by her husband composer, Chad Martin."

After expenses, the afternoon raised more than $600 for the SSO.


New SSO board member: Paul Rempel
Paul Rempel has recently joined the SSO board of directors. Now retired, Paul, together with his wife, Karen, operated Mika Consultants Inc., which specialized in conceiving and executing special events, incentive travel programs, business meetings and product launches. Prior to that, he was employed with IBM Canada for more than 25 years.

The Rempels moved to Stratford from Toronto in 2002. Paul has been a member of the Stratford Library Board, as well as the Library Foundation, and is a volunteer with the Friends of the Festival. He is looking forward to his new role with the SSO, which will include helping expand the potential of the SSO website.

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George Pearson / Editor, Con Spirito