Con Spirito: Inside the SSO

May  2013
In This Issue
2013-2014 season launch
SSO Season Eight finale
Conductor's Notes
Guest conductor: Evan Mitchell
Edward Cho is concerto winner
Message to SSO supporters
New Board member: Ted Yohn

SSO logo


Bert CarriŤre

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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Mark your calendar:  


Season Nine Launch

Thursday, May 9 


The Stratford Symphony Orchestra will announce its Season Nine program at a public launch reception Thursday, May 9, at Anne Hathaway Residence in Stratford.

The season will again comprise six concerts, beginning with legendary conductor Howard Cable hosting Big Band Hits in October and concluding with a gala celebration of music from The Mikado, conducted by Berthold CarriŤre, SSO music director, in May.

Anne Hathaway Residence, 480 Downie Street, is an SSO sponsor. The reception will begin at 10:30 a.m., with music and refreshments. Stop by to purchase your 2013-2014 season ticket.


Volunteers needed to help with SSO programs

Help needed for concert activities and community outreach. Learn more about these opportunities.   
Visit the SSO Facebook page
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SSO sponsors 

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Anne Hathaway logo

  Saturday, May 11, 7:30 p.m.
Schumann, DvořŠk will be featured in
the SSO's final concert of  Season Eight 

The Stratford Symphony Orchestra's sixth and final concert of Season Eight on Saturday, May 11, will feature epic works by Robert Schumann and Antonin DvořŠk, conducted by Evan Mitchell.

Robert Schumann

Schumann wrote his Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, op. 97("Rhenish") in late 1850 while he, his wife, Clara, and their family were living in DŁsseldorf on the Rhine. The symphony, his last, celebrates the beauty of the Rhine and was the high point for Schumann in an otherwise dark and frustrating time in DŁsseldorf during which his mental and physical health deteriorated. The entire symphony was sketched and orchestrated in five weeks.

Antonin Dvorak

composed Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 in 1889 in Bohemia, inspired by Bohemian folk music, which DvořŠk loved. "Two characteristic qualities give the G-major Symphony the hallmark of DvořŠk creation," wrote DvořŠk  authority Otakar Sourek. "Above all, the variety of mood and the emotional eruptiveness which were so typical of [his] human and artistic personality ... and the composer's Slavic origins, which are manifested more completely here than in any of his other symphonies."

Guest conductor Evan Mitchell is assistant conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. (See Guest conductor, below)

The concert, at Knox Presbyterian Church in Stratford, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Tickets ($35 for adults; $20 for students) can be purchased at Fanfare Books and Blowes Stationery in Stratford and Stewart Books in St. Marys, as well as online and at the door on the night of the concert.

Mitchell, Evan
Evan Mitchell
Conductor's Notes

This glorious season finale showcases the orchestra front and centre while taking an extraordinary trip through the late symphonies of two masters of the art, Schumann and DvořŠk. Schumann's "Rhenish" symphony is the last symphony he composed (his fourth symphony was actually his second, but it was published last.) In the traditionally heroic key of Eb major, the Rhenish symphony contains some of Schumann's most powerful and mature writing for orchestra, even managing to shoehorn a fifth movement into the symphonic form, usually structured for four.

DvořŠk's 8th symphony is a sparkling and powerful work based on folk tunes, and believe it or not, songs for children. The result is one of the most delightful and engrossing symphonic works in the repertoire, filled to the brim with extraordinary melodies and rich, deep material which only a genius such as DvořŠk could produce in his mature years. At times exciting, intimate, overwhelming and electrifying, the piece is consummate symphonic perfection from its sombre opening through to its ecstatic finale. There could be no more perfect way to end the SSO's season than through this incredible repertoire.

-- Evan Mitchell

Guest conductor: Evan Mitchell 

Evan Mitchell was named Assistant Conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in August 2011, after completing his residency as the Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony. He led the Vancouver Symphony in more than 100 concerts over a three-year period, and served as consultant to the Vancouver Olympic Committee and assistant producer for the recording of the medal ceremony national anthems. He has taught extensively with student musicians of all ages and is an award-winning percussionist both home and abroad.

Mr. Mitchell continues a more than seven-year partnership with the National Academy Orchestra, Canada's largest orchestral music festival, where he holds the title of Associate Mentor to the orchestral conducting and percussive apprentices.
Cho, Edward
Edward Cho
Edward Cho, winner of SSO
Concerto Competition 
The winner of the 2013 SSO Emerging Artists Concerto Competition is a third-year music student at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Edward Cho, who won the SSO competition with his cello, is also an award-winning pianist. At one time a dean's list mechatronics (mechanical, electrical, control and computer) engineering student at UW, Mr. Cho opted out to pursue music. In addition to winning the SSO competition, Mr. Cho has also won Laurier's Ken Murray Concerto Competition on piano.

He will be featured cello soloist with the SSO in its April 12, 2014, concert, playing Franz Joseph Haydn's Cello Concert in C major. The concert will be conducted by Paul Pulford, who is Mr. Cho's cello teacher at Laurier. Also featured in the SSO's Season Nine will be violist Keith Hamm, 2011 SSO concerto competition winner. He will perform Carl Maria von Weber's Andante and Hungarian Rondo, Op. 35 for viola and orchestra in the SSO's March 1, 2014, concert.

The SSO's 2013 competition, held March 9, was open to performers on standard orchestral instruments and to singers 15 to 24 years of age.


Howard, Nigel
Nigel Howard
A message to SSO supporters
from Board President Nigel Howard

As we approach the end of our successful Season Eight and look forward to Season Nine, it's a good time to reflect on where we are at as an organization and what we have accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Less than 18 months ago we were struggling under a mountain of debt and the prospects for the future of our orchestra looked dim. Today, the debt has been substantially reduced and our financial picture is much healthier. This progress is a credit to our hardworking Board, our excellent team of volunteers and the generosity of corporate and personal donors. We couldn't have done it without all of you.


Earlier this year, a Trillium grant from the Ontario government enabled us to hire Sharon McDonald as SSO office manager. Already her organizational skills and enthusiasm are paying dividends. Several new Board members have joined us and are making strong contributions. As well, having Bert Carriere join us as Music Director and Barbara Young as Associate Music Director has been a big boost to the SSO.


We have come a long way, and I cannot thank everyone enough for all their efforts and contributions. At the same time we will continue to strengthen our financial foundation and expand our base of supporters. We have a terrific program planned for Season Nine, one that responds in many ways to observations and suggestions we have received from our valued concertgoers.


We hope to see you often in the new season. Stratford is fortunate to have its own symphony and the symphony is fortunate to have your support. Thank you.

Nigel Howard, President

Stratford Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors 



Yohn, Ted
Ted Yohn
New SSO Board member: Ted Yohn
Robert E. (Ted) Yohn is the newest member of the SSO's board of directors. Ted retired in 2012 as a teacher with the Peel Board of Education and now lives in Grand Bend with his wife, Mary Elizabeth Garvie Yohn, whose family has lived in the Stratford area for many years.

Ted taught math and science in elementary and middle schools for the London and Oxford boards, as well Peel and also served as director of marketing for Metro Toronto Junior Achievement in the 1980s. He sang tenor with the London (UK) Symphony Orchestra Chorus while studying vocal performance at the Royal Academy of Music and has sung  with various church choirs over the years.


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George Pearson / Editor, Con Spirito