Concert pairs Berlioz’s innovative masterpiece with imaginative new work by local, award-winning composer Benton Roark
The Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra (VAMSO) will embark on a thrilling musical journey with Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, February 19, 2017, 2pm at the Orpheum Theatre. In an afternoon inspired by ingenuity, VAMSO’s more than 100 musicians led by Music Director Leslie Dala will delve into Berlioz’s wildly visionary world of fantasy, named “the most innovative symphony of the 19th century” (The Guardian). The concert will also premiere A Stitch in Time, Vancouver composer Benton Roark’s latest creation.
“Berlioz was a radical as far as radicals go among early-romantic era composers,” says Joseph Elworthy, Executive Director of the Vancouver Academy of Music. “Born only thirty years after Beethoven, the ideas Berlioz developed in Symphonie Fantastique were centuries ahead, setting precedent for masters such as Chopin and Liszt. In his time period, Benton Roark has established himself as a cutting-edge musical creator, and we are thrilled to commission his brand new work echoing the imagination and enchantment of Berlioz.”
The French composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) wrote the semi-autobiographical Symphonie Fantastique for Harriet Smithson, an Irish actress with whom he was enamored and eventually married. Berlioz’s frantic passion is vivid in Symphonie Fantastique’s vibrant harmonic coloration and dizzying dramatic phrases, putting listeners into a musical delirium Leonard Bernstein famously described as “psychedelic”. During Symphonie Fantastique’s five movements, this lover’s obsession escalates in a recurring melodic motif, which Berlioz calls the “idée fixe”. Presenting this motif each time in a different form, Berlioz broke from tradition and paved the way for a new style, solidifying himself as a trailblazer of his time.
A pioneering artist in his own right, Benton Roark was nominated the 2016 Western Canadian Music Award’s ‘Composer of the Year’ for Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge, a five-part work combining voice, flute, bass, electric guitar and narration. Roark is not only inventive in writing music, but also in musical design; he recently constructed a microtonal instrument he calls the “Lumiphone”, a nine-foot glass marimba with 31 notes per octave.
VAMSO presents Symphonie Fantastique
Date & Time: Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 2pm
Ticket prices: $15 Adults, $10 Students & Seniors
Address: The Orpheum Theatre 601 Smithe St., Vancouver, BC
Box Office: At the door or online at: vam.ca