Trigger Warning

SUN, JUNE 11, 2017 AT 2:00PM
Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
William Eddins, conductor
Yu-Chien (Benny) Tseng, violin (pictured)
Suzanne Lemieux, oboe


No orchestral colour will be left unexplored in this exciting matinée concert, as two works featuring the majestic Davis Concert Organ contrast with lively showcases for violin and oboe. Taiwanese violinist Yu-Chien (Benny) Tseng won the highest prize in the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition. Allan Gilliland's whimsical Oboe Concerto is an expression of movement from the Baroque to the 21st Century.

Featured Repretoire
Saint-Saëns – “Organ” Symphony
Mozart – Violin Concerto No. 5 “Turkish”

 Ticket Information

$59 Dress Circle (A)
$49 Terrace (B)
$39 Orchestra (C)
$29 Upper Circle (D)
$24 Youth (aged 3 – 17, all seats)

Tickets subject to applicable service charges.



Media Partners  Program Info


Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Harpsichord
    Albinology: Moderately fast
    Go Deeply Now everlasting: Freely – each measure on cue
    with perpetual motion: Lively

Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K.219 “Turkish”
    Allegro aperto
    Rondeau: Tempo di minuetto

INTERMISSION (20 minutes)

Aquamarine (2004 ESO commission)

Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 “Organ”
    Adagio – Allegro moderato – Poco adagio
    Allegro moderato – Presto

program subject to change

Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Harpsichord
Allan Gilliland
(b. Darvel, Scotland, 1965)

First performed: March 6, 2005 in Edmonton
This is the ESO premiere of the piece

Program note by the composer:
This piece was commissioned by the Alberta Baroque Ensemble to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The idea of composing a piece of new music for an ensemble that specializes in music of the Baroque era provided some interesting challenges. Do you write a 21st century piece of music, do you write a work that is in the Baroque style, or do you write a piece that reflects the textures and gestures of that era but still is rooted in the present? I decided on all three.

I began by listening to a considerable number of oboe concertos from the Baroque period, specifically the works of Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751). This resulted in a principal theme for the first movement that was very much in the Baroque style. I originally thought of developing it in a 21st century language but this proved unsuccessful and I decided to compose a first movement that is firmly rooted in the sound of the Baroque (hence the subtitle Albinology).

The theme for the second movement was originally written as a wedding processional for one of my closest friends. This movement is more romantic in tone and the subtitle, Go Deeply Now Everlasting, is derived from the couple’s initials.

The third movement is subtitled “with perpetual motion” to reflect the constant 1/8th note that lasts throughout. This movement sounds the most “modern” of the three but still reflects textures common to the Baroque. After completing the work I realized that the over-arching form is a procession from the Baroque to the 21st century.

Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K.219 “Turkish”
Wolfgang Amadé Mozart
(b. Salzburg, 1756 / d. Vienna, 1791)

Completed December 20, 1775 in Salzburg
Last ESO performance: September 2010

Mozart had just turned 19 when he put the finishing touches on the last violin concerto he would ever compose. It capped a remarkable compositional period in which he wrote nearly a dozen works with important violin solos – including the final four violin concertos, all composed between April and December of 1775.

It was as if working on all four gave him a chance to work through all the kinds of experimentation he wanted to with the genre. And with the Fifth Violin Concerto, what Mozart plays up the most is contrast. The violin’s entrance in the opening movement, for example, does not pick up from the lively orchestral material which precedes it. Instead, everything comes to a halt, and the violin’s first notes are slow, measured, in a much different tempo and feel. The orchestra picks up on that, and it is only after that brief, separate introduction, that violin and orchestra begin the lively dialog that will make up the rest of the movement.

The slow movement, in contrast to the preceding violin concertos Mozart had produced, is almost operatic in its layout and its passion. The orchestra presents an introduction to the violin’s emotional aria. Once it begins its song, the violin dominates the movement, though the orchestral accompaniment is rather more lavish and detailed than one might expect.

It is the final movement that gave the work its nickname. It is a rondo, with a main subject in a gentle minuet tempo. It is interrupted with a strikingly contrasting counter subject. The exotic “janissary” sound, thought to be Turkish to the Viennese, was quite the fad in music at the time. The Turkish military music, accompanied by triangle, cymbals, and bass drum, were often a feature added to provide a mysterious eastern flavour to contemporary works. Mozart, who had explored the style a little, and would do so more fully in his singspiel The Abduction from the Seraglio, interjects a janissary segment, in A minor, in the centre of the movement. Listen for the greatly exaggerated ups and downs in the lower strings, and the way the staccato strings provide the feel of the bass drum. Once this remarkable passage is over, the gentle minuet returns to conclude the work.

Aquamarine (2004 ESO commission)
Jeffrey McCune
(b. Calgary, 1965)

First performed: January 30, 2004
Last ESO performance: January 2009

 (Program Note by the composer)
I’ve always loved the ocean, and never more so than when I saw the dazzling electric blue and emerald green seas around the island of Raiatea in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The colours, like bands or rings, encircled the shorelines, and as the contours of the bottom changed, the intensity of the colours shifted from the faintest green through the deepest blue. I was particularly fascinated with the intermediate bands that shimmered somewhere between those of deep green and vivid turquoise – the colour of the gemstone aquamarine. The water there was especially clear and soothing, and it was from this impression that the idea for Aquamarine emerged.

When the Edmonton Symphony commissioned this work, we discussed the idea of creating a sort of companion piece for the Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3. In recognition of the beautiful warmth, colour, sensuality and peacefulness of the aquamarine seas of Polynesia, Aquamarine for Orchestra and Organ had its genesis.

Based on an undulating melodic idea that flows “between beats” like the bands of aquamarine seas, a theme first heard on the clarinets is cycled throughout the orchestra, eventually coming to the organ where it is augmented, and supported by the harp, piano and celeste. The melodic fragment is stretched out and expanded, the transformation producing a change of tempo, from the slow, broad twelve-eight time of the first half to a quicker four-four feel for the second half. Where the rhythm in the first half was primarily on the beat, the rhythm of the second half becomes mostly syncopated, like reflective facets on a beautifully cut aquamarine gem flashing in light. The syncopated rhythm is supplied mainly by the strings, with the organ supplying melodic contour. The textures in this work range from string and wind quartets to full orchestra with organ. The work tries to capture a sense of peace, reflection and contemplation, in homage to the stone, and the beautiful colour, of aquamarine.

Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 “Organ”
Camille Saint-Saëns
(b. Paris, 1835 / d. Algiers, 1921)

First performed: May 19, 1886 in London
Last ESO performance: June 2013

Franz Liszt was the composer who developed the concept of “thematic transformation,” a compositional technique in which a single melodic idea forms the foundation for an entire work, put through increasingly elaborate manipulation while maintaining its identity; in this way, a large work can be unified throughout its length. Liszt was also a great friend of Camille Saint-Saëns. Both of those factors feature prominently in Saint-Saëns’ last large orchestral work – his Third Symphony.

Saint-Saëns was a frequent, and very welcome, fêted visitor to London. The symphony was commissioned by London’s Philharmonic Society (it wasn’t yet the “Royal” Philharmonic at the time). “I gave everything to it I was able to give,” he said of its composition, “What I have done, I will never do again.” Saint-Saëns conducted the premiere, at a concert at which he also performed the solo part of his Fourth Piano Concerto – all for a fee of merely 30 pounds; the Society felt the honour they did him compensated for the trivial amount of actual money.

The “Organ” Symphony can be seen as being in two large sections, “although…the Symphony in practice contains all four traditional symphonic movements,” Saint-Saëns wrote. The main theme of the entire symphony is heard after the slow introduction, aggressively in the strings. This theme, which undergoes a very Lisztian transformation through the whole piece, propels the dramatic first section forward, achieving a grandiose climax halfway through the movement. The bracing drama carries on, ebbing away as we arrive at the Poco adagio, the second part of the first large section. It is here that we have the first real contrasting melodic idea – and it is here that we first hear the organ. The deeply-felt string melody here, combined with the organ, lend a hymn-like quality to this section.

The main second part begins aggressively once again, the motto theme returning as the basis for a robust Scherzo, with touches of Mendelssohnian lightness in the woodwinds. The organ falls silent once again, whle the orchestral texture is made more transparent with some dazzling passages for piano four-hands. The organ, at last, is given full vent as the final section begins. The main theme returns now as the basis of a fugue, and the might and power of the organ is matched by the full intensity of the large orchestral forces. Designed to leave its audiences breathless, the work has been doing just that since its first, spectacularly successful premiere.

Only three months after the premiere, Franz Liszt died. Liszt had often stood by his friend, for example backing Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson et Dalila when even the Paris Opera wanted nothing to do with it. Soon after Liszt’s death, Saint-Saëns dedicated the score of his “Organ” Symphony, “À la mémoire de Franz Liszt.”

Program notes © 2017 by D.T. Baker, except as noted

Artist Info

Taiwanese violinist Yu-Chien (Benny) Tseng is rapidly building an international reputation as an emerging young soloist of enormous promise, praised for his “grace, poise, and blistering virtuosity.” In July 2015, he received the top prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Violin Competition. A student of Aaron Rosand and Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Tseng previously won first prize at both the Singapore International Violin Competition and the Sarasate Violin Competition in Pamplona, Spain.

Yu-Chien Tseng has already made a series of major debut orchestral appearances, including the London Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras in the autumn of 2016. Previously, he has played with such orchestras as the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Belgium, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie. He was invited to perform under Valery Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic on their tour of Taiwan in November 2015. His debut recording (2012) is an album of French violin sonatas (Franck, Ravel and Debussy) on the Fuga Libera Label. Deutsche Grammophone signed him in the summer of 2016. A recital disc was released in January 2017. An orchestral recording will follow this year. He plays the Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu 1732 Ex “Castelbarco-Tarisio,” on loan from the Chi-Mei Culture Foundation, Taiwan. Mr. Tseng is under the general management of Armstrong Music (Beijing, Hong Kong and London). Mr. Tseng graduated from the Curtis Institute in spring 2016, but will continue advanced studies in the U.S. in the season ahead.

This is Mr. Tseng’s debut with the ESO.

Suzanne Lemieux is Principal Oboe of Symphony Nova Scotia and is Acting Principal Oboe with the ESO this season while Lidia Khaner is on leave. Ms Lemieux has performed as guest soloist with Symphony Nova Scotia on more than 20 different programs and delighted audiences with repertoire from the  baroque to the contemporary. She recorded Telluric Dances, an oboe concerto by Christos Hatzis, and gave the American premiere of this piece at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. She also gave the premiere of Marjan Mozetich’s Oboe Concerto with Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings and has been a soloist with the Atlantic Sinfonia and the Victoria Symphony.

An active chamber musician, Suzanne Lemieux has played recitals at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage and Salon. She is a returning guest artist at the Scotia Festival of Music and has participated in the Indian River Festival and New Brunswick Summer Music Festival on several occasions. She is a member of Halifax’s woodwind quintet, Fifth Wind. As a guest oboist, Suzanne has performed with the Vancouver Symphony, the Montréal Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and she has toured with the Singapore Symphony and Les Violons du Roy. She has commissioned and premiered many pieces by Canadian composers and enjoys working with non-traditional ensembles. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Ottawa where she studied with Rowland Floyd, and a Master of Music from the University of Michigan where her teacher was Harry Sargous. Other influential teachers include Maurice Bourgue and Richard Killmer.

Ms. Lemieux also appeared as a soloist with the ESO in March 2017.

Venue Info

Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB
Google Map

 Getting Here

The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is on the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street, in the heart of The Arts District in downtown Edmonton. It is readily accessible by car, Edmonton Transit (bus and LRT), and the Pedway system.

The City of Edmonton provides over 1500 convenient parking stalls within a 5-minute walk from Winspear Centre, The Citadel Theatre and Shaw Conference Centre. The Library, Canada Place and City Hall Parkades provide heated underground parking with pedway connections to the event venues. Parking is also available at on-street meters in the vicinity.


Nearly every level of the Winspear Centre is able to accommodate patrons with wheelchairs. Please advise our Box Office staff when you purchase your tickets that access to wheelchair seating will be necessary.

The Winspear Centre can provide an assistive listening device if you require one. Please visit the concierge desk in the main lobby.

 Dining Near the Winspear

The Winspear Centre's downtown location is ideally situated for some of the best dining experiences Edmonton has to offer. Whether you're seeking dinner before the show or a late night treat after, you can find it at one of these restaurants located within a few blocks of the Winspear Centre.

 At the Event

What to Wear
For some, an event at a world-class facility like the Winspear Centre is a great excuse to dress to the nines. But it’s hardly necessary. If that’s your style – go for it! If it’s not – hey, you paid for the ticket, so do what makes you feel comfortable. You’ll see a wide range of dress, from casual to pretty classy, depending on the kind of event it is. Business casual is probably a great middle ground for most Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concerts.

Perfume & Scents
In consideration to your fellow patrons who may have sensitivities or allergies to scented products, we ask that you use such products with great discretion. If, as a patron, you experience difficulty due to another patron’s use of fragrance, please alert our front of house staff, who will do everything possible to accommodate you.

Food & Beverage
The Winspear Centre has a number of stations in operation pre-show and during intermission. Bars, coffee bars, dessert stations and a martini bar are waiting for you. A good bet for intermission is to pre-order your drink before the show, and it will be waiting for you, so you can avoid lining up during the break.

Click here for more information on planning your experience.


June 11, 2017


Francis Winspear Centre for Music

4 Sir Winston Churchill Square NW
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
AB T5J 4X8
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