choirs

Winter 2019 concerts online

Catch up with our large and small ensembles online! Here are some of the recent concerts you can watch via our new Vimeo feed:

Debussy, Françaix, and John Luther Adams

UBC Symphony Orchestra

Jonathan Girard, conductor
Featuring Carlos Savall-Guardiola, clarinet

Françaix Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 36
Debussy La Mer
John Luther Adams A Northern Suite


Scenes V

UBC Symphonic Winds

Robert Taylor, conductor
Featuring Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinet*

J.S. Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
Luigi Bassi Rigoletto Fantasy*
Modest Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition


Stories

University Singers
Chamber Choir
UBC Choral Union

Graeme Langager, conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities

With guests
Demi Chao, Tiffany Chen, and Andrea Ciona, graduate student conductors

Eric Whitacre Five Hebrew Love Songs (featuring Eleanor Yu violin & Edward Park piano)
Graeme Langager I Will Lift Mine Eyes
Jen McMillan Don't Be Afraid
Music by Palestrina, Byrd, and Weelkes


Scenes VI

Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Concert Winds

Featuring Valerie Whitney, horn
Larry Knopp, trumpet
Jeremy Berkman, trombone

Norman Dello Joio Scenes from the Louvre
Michael Markowski City Trees
Bruce Carlson Toledo
Clifton Williams Symphonic Dance No. 3 “Fiesta”
John Adams Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Michael Martin Hereafter Calls
H. Owen Reed La Fiesta Mexicana (includes a Mariachi band led by UBC Music students Jonathan Lopez and Matheus Moraes)


Beethoven and Tchaikovsky

UBC Symphony Orchestra

Jaelem Bhate and Zane Kistner graduate student conductors

Beethoven Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

For upcoming School of Music performances, check out our concert calendar.

Fall 2018 concerts online

Catch up with our large and small ensembles online! Here are some of the recent concerts you can watch via Livestream and Vimeo:

Poulenc and Vaughan Williams

UBC Symphony Orchestra and Choirs team up for a spectacular, term-ending performance at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

 

Scenes II

The UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs works by renowned composer-in-residence Joel Puckett, Giovanni Gabrieli, and Kathryn Salfelder. Featuring DMA student and soloist Paul Hung, flute.

Silverman Winners’ Concert

Benjamin Hopkins, grand prize winner of the Silverman Piano Concerto Competition, performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major Op. 58 with UBC Symphony Orchestra. Also featuring competition winners Evgenia Rabinovich, Ayunia Saputro, and Aydan Con. Watch on Livestream

Mahler, Carruthers and Tsu

UBC Symphony Orchestra perform the Mahler masterpiece Das Lied von der Erde along with Taiwanese composer Tsang-Houei Hsu’s The Splendid Universe, Chinese Festival Overture, Op. 18, and Slippages, an exciting experimental piece based on the graphic scores of artist Deborah Carruthers. Watch on Livestream

Fall Choral Showcase

The University Singers, Chamber Choir, Choral Union and Combined Choirs sing works by Brahms, Dvořák, Haydn, Schubert, Copland and more. Watch on Livestream


For upcoming School of Music performances, check out our concert calendar.

Winter concerts on Livestream

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Watch the latest performances by the School of Music’s large and small ensembles on Livestream!

 

St. John Passion: Our grand, season-ending concert features an epic performance of the Bach masterpiece by UBC Choirs and Symphony Orchestra.

Peter and the Wolf: UBC Symphony Orchestra performs the Prokofiev classic, along with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and selections from Satie and Poulenc. With guest appearances by UBC President Prof. Santa J. Ono as Narrator.

Sanglots: Chansons of Love and Loss (Part 1 | Part 2): Terence Dawson, piano, and J. Patrick Raftery, voice, perform beautiful and melancholy works by Bizet, Fauré, Duparc, Barber and Poulenc.  

MOMENTmusic: UBC Symphonic Winds and Concert Winds perform works by John Philip Sousa, Frank Ticheli, David Maslanka, Ira Hearshen, and Aaron Copland

Bernstein, Prokofiev, Nielsen: UBC Symphony Orchestra performs Overture to Candide, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major Op. 26, and Symphony No. 4 Op 29. With special guests Carter Johnson, winner of the 2018 UBC Concerto Competition, and Graduate Assistant Conductor Jaelem Bhate.

Unicornis Captivatur: UBC Choirs perform Mendelssohn, Sisak, Mozart, Gjeilo, Gabrieli and Paulus. 

Composer and conductor Hussein Janmohamed on choral singing, identity, and fostering cultural understanding

Note: This is the third story in a new series that profiles UBC School of Music alumni who have followed interesting and innovative paths to career success.

By Aryn Strickland

Photo: Vincent L. Chan

Photo: Vincent L. Chan

As a composer, conductor, and teacher, Hussein Janmohamed (BMus'96, MMus'98, MMus'14) has built a career using choral music to challenge cultural stereotypes and reframe the conversation about race in Canada. Growing up as an Ismaili Muslim in rural Alberta taught him that discrimination was an unfortunate fact of life, even in a country celebrated for its multiculturalism. And for Muslims and many other groups, he says, the issue is as pressing now as ever.

“[W]e are in a society in which there are a lot of negative representations of Islam, not only from the media but from small minorities within the faith,” he says.

For Janmohamed, challenging these stereotypes starts with combating self-stigma. After graduating from UBC with the first of two Master’s degrees, he founded the Vancouver Ismaili Youth Choir to help Muslim youth understand their dual and often plural identities.

The decision was inspired by his own formative experiences: As a young teen he found that the bridge between his two identities, the Canadian and the Ismaili, was congregational singing. Within the Ismaili community Janmohamed took part in religious devotion through ginan (Indic devotional expressions) and zikr (remembrance of the Divine) — and the experience made him aware of how powerful collective singing can be.

In high school, he found that same feeling through choral singing, an artform traditionally associated with Christian churches. He began to rethink choral music as a more open mode of collective singing and used it to combine the musicality of devotional chants with choral songs.

“In choral music there are so many layers and choral singing actually shows us what harmony can sound like when all the layers of identities come together,” he says. “One of the key elements [of the Ismaili Youth Choir] was to find ways to express cultural diversity of our community because our community is world-wide with members in Syria, Iran, Western China, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the diaspora. Our cultural expression is so diverse, so as a choir we started to explore what that sounded like. There wasn’t a lot of repertoire from that part of the world that spoke to our community, so we started to make arrangements.”

 

“In choral music there are so many layers and choral singing actually shows us what harmony can sound like when all the layers of identities come together."


 

Janmohamed led the compositional work, often combining texts from the Ismaili culture with melodic structures from traditional choral songs. Janmohamed had already made a name for himself writing pieces that reflected multicultural perspectives. In 2004, he was asked by the Westcoast Sacred Arts Society in Vancouver to compose a piece with Russell Wallace from the Lil’wat nation to explore how Ismaili and Indigenous cultures could be harmonized.

Janmohamed’s unique focus on multicultural choral singing garnered success early on in his career, and led to high-profile performances and opportunities to found other diverse choirs. The piece he co-wrote with Wallace was performed for His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit to Vancouver in 2004. More recently he led two global Ismaili music ensembles to commemorate the 80th birthday and Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan.

Since assembling the Vancouver Ismaili Youth Choir, Janmohamed has gone on to be a founding co-conductor of Cor Flammae, Canada’s first queer professional choir in Vancouver, and the Awaaz Ensemble, a cross-cultural a cappella choral ensemble in Toronto.

“[The indigenous scholar and elder] Lee Maracle says that if we’re not at the table together, we can’t shape a shared future, and I think for me, how I come to the table is by bringing choral music to the cultures and traditions that I belong to,” Janmohamed says.

He says that while many audiences members tell him that they feel inspired by the interweaving of music from different cultures in his work — as in the songs currently performed by the Awaaz Ensemble — he has noticed that some people still don’t understand what his music tries to achieve. They will come to him and request songs that are less spiritual or, on the flip side, songs that sound more ‘Arabic.’

“There is not a great understanding of how music of the Muslim world is diverse or how historically Jews, Muslims, Christians and many other religious communities intersected harmoniously,” he explains.

Now working on a PhD at the University of Toronto, Janmohamed continues to explore this cultural divide in music through scholarship, while at the same time trying to close that divide through his work as a composer, conductor and singer of choral music. It is a slow, ongoing process, but Janmohamed believes we all have a desire to get there.

“We desire connection, we desire unity and healing. There is a therapeutic element to my work that tries to do that.”

The Chan Centre at 20

Conductors James Fankhauser (left) and Jesse Read (centre) meet with Chan Centre architect Bing Thom backstage at the inaugural concert.  Photo: Daryl Kahn Cline

Conductors James Fankhauser (left) and Jesse Read (centre) meet with Chan Centre architect Bing Thom backstage at the inaugural concert. Photo: Daryl Kahn Cline

Celebrating one of Canada’s premier launching pads for talented young musicians

On April 8th, 2017, the UBC School of Music celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts with a special performance of Mozart’s Requiem and Dr. Stephen Chatman’s A Song of Joys, featuring UBC Choirs and Symphony Orchestra. The concert will be broadcast live on CBC Music at 8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. EST as well.

Designed by renowned Vancouver architect Bing Thom, D.Litt. Honoris Causa (UBC), the Chan Centre is recognized as one of Canada’s premier musical venues thanks to its bold architecture and state-of-the-art acoustics. Over the past two decades it has also become an important launching pad for ambitious and talented student musicians.

“Without question, the Chan Centre experience is at the heart of our learning and artistic enterprise for everyone in the School. With this celebratory concert we want to thank the Chan family for their extraordinary vision and generosity, and to showcase the abundant talents of our students,” says Dr. Richard Kurth, Director of the UBC School of Music. 

For percussionist and M.Mus. student Julia Chien, performing at the Chan Centre is exciting — and a little terrifying. “It’s such a privilege. I’m always challenged beyond the limits of what I think I am capable of!” she says. Chien will perform the timpani solo in A Song of Joys.

Dozens of UBC Music students have parlayed their experiences at the Chan into exciting careers. Baritone Tyler Duncan (BMus ’98) credits the Chan with setting the stage (so to speak) for a life in music that has taken him around the world, with stints at the Metropolitan Opera, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Carnegie Hall.

“I remember singing in the choir [at the inaugural concert] and being in awe of the amazing acoustics. I walked across that stage to receive my Bachelor of Music degree and one of my first professional jobs as a singer with Early Music Vancouver was there… the Chan feels like home to me,” Duncan says.

M.Mus student Julia Chien is the timpani soloist for  A Song of Joys .  Photo courtesy of Julia Chien

M.Mus student Julia Chien is the timpani soloist for A Song of Joys. Photo courtesy of Julia Chien

Other notable alumni include Cynthia Yeh, principal percussionist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, soprano Shirin Eskandani, who this year made her debut with the Met in Carmen, cellist Luke Kim of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and up-and-coming pianist Bogdan Dulu.

The Song of Joys concert features the next generation of incredible student musicians performing under the direction of School of Music conducting faculty Dr. Graeme Langager and Dr. Jonathan Girard.

The concert is dedicated to the memory of Bing Thom, who passed away suddenly in 2016. Thom’s vision and his attention to acoustic detail — he was an amateur musician, and an aspiring conductor before he decided to pursue architecture — are what made the Chan Centre the world-class facility it is today.

Visit http://music.ubc.ca/song-of-joys to read more about the anniversary concert and the history of the Chan Centre, including memories from School of Music faculty and alumni.

How to watch School of Music concerts online

Did you know? The School of Music broadcasts many of its large ensemble concerts online. You can watch incredible performances by our Symphony Orchestra, Choirs, and Bands via Livestream — as the concert happens in real time, or afterwards. Here's a selection of our winter performances at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts:

Holst, Saariaho & Navarro

  • UBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Jonathan Girard, Conductor
  • Aidan Mulldoon Wong, Clarinet
  • Plus a fascinating talk by Astronomy Prof. Jaymie Matthews

Bach & Laurisden

  • University Singers & Choral Union
  • Graeme Langager, Director of Choral Activities
 

New York Stories: Bernstein, Milhaud & More

  • UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble
  • Robert Taylor, Conductor
  • Jaelem Bhate, Student Assistant Conductor

Tchaikovsky, Maunders, Williams & Southam

  • UBC Chamber Orchestra
  • Jonathan Girard, Conductor
  • Alex Toa, Student Conductor