I am a former journalist and editor, currently writing fiction for adults and children. Visit my website at www.karengrikitis.wordpress.com.
Published May 19th 2015
A musical treat with broad appeal
There can't be many classical music concerts where you are greeted on arrival by three Star Wars storm troopers and Darth Vader. Reflecting the theme of the evening's entertainment, they preceded a fantastic night listening to film scores written by John Williams and other composers from science fiction and adventure movies, played by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO).
The Jack Singer Concert Hall, home of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
Performing in the beautiful Jack Singer Concert Hall, part of the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, and conducted by musical director Roberto Minczuk, the orchestra played well-known themes from '2001: A Space Odyssey, ' Jaws', 'The Lord of the Rings', 'Star Wars' and many other films. One of my favourites was the theme from 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'. Before this piece was performed, Mr Minczuk explained how the magical quality of the opening passage is created by an instrument called a celeste, which derives its name from the Latin caelestis, meaning heavenly.
Star Wars Storm Troopers at the 'Adventure and Sci-fi' concert by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
This concert, one of the CPO's 'Specials' is among the final twelve of the season. Calgary Philharmonic's 2015/2016 season, which starts in September, celebrates the Orchestra's 60th anniversary. Reflecting a commitment to performing classical music that appeals to everyone, the new season's repertoire of more than 65 concerts is designed to suit all musical tastes.
The concert programme is divided into various series such as Classics, POPS Series, Rush Hour, Bach@Knox and Specials. The Rush Hour concerts, aimed at time-challenged city workers, take place early in the evening at 6.30pm and last one hour only. Bach@Knox is an annual Baroque music festival at Knox United Church.
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's Conductor and Musical Director, Roberto Minczuk in action
If you are a purist when it comes to classical music then the Classics Series of concerts is for you. The new season includes 'Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert' , 'A Celebration of Brahms' and 'Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery', among many others.
Performances of more contemporary music include 'Classic Soul: Aretha to Marvin' and 'Full Moon Fever: A Tribute to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers'.
Symphony Sundays for Kids are, as the name suggests, aimed at families with children aged from four to twelve, and take place in the afternoon. The children are allowed to try out various orchestra instruments in the 'musical petting zoo' before listening to a 'concert-story' such as 'Roald Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood'.
The CPO's concert programme attracts a number of renowned guest artists, such as Calgary's own Jan Lisiecki, the 20-year-old classical pianist, Grammy-nominated violinist Caroline Goulding, and solo artists such as Rufus Wainwright.
I love Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's innovative approach to classical music and it certainly seems to have hit the right note, with more than 110,000 people attending its concert programme every year.