TBSO’s groundbreaking Season 58: seriously great!

September 2018

It’s no secret that the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra is working hard to redefine itself. Last year’s campaign slogan “New Beginnings” said it all. So when Music Director Paul Haas sat down to design this season he had his work cut out for him.

Since this would be his first year programming for the orchestra (last year was created by his predecessor) how far could he move toward new musical experiences to attract new audiences? What classical works should he program to satisfy serious music fans? How much of his personal preferences should he include? And what would be the best way to collaborate creatively with his local team?

Maestro Haas is no stranger to building symphony seasons. In addition to directing the TBSO, he leads the Symphony Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) and spends his summers conducting at world-famous Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home in Massachusetts. But, where SoNA and Tanglewood involve large orchestras with 60 or more musicians on stage, the Thunder Bay orchestra is half that size, and designing exciting programs for a 30-piece orchestra comes with unique challenges.

A great deal of classical music has been written for orchestras larger than the TBSO. Some pieces might call for multiple percussionists, several bass players or elaborate brass sections. This imposes restrictions for small orchestras—and for their music directors like Haas. Some pieces are simply too ambitious and out of reach. Others are too expensive to produce, the cost of hiring extras is prohibitive.

In the end it comes down to finding music already arranged for small orchestras (which can also be expensive to purchase), hiring an arranger to rewrite a specific piece for our orchestra, or finding something in our 57-year sheet music library. To get the best result financially and creatively Haas, of course, has done all three.

So by November last year he set out to address his limitations and how best to engage his audiences. He talked to TBSO Executive Director Gerald McEachern. Together they decided to “tear down the walls” between all types of orchestral music. The goal was to start in an open creative space that would allow Haas to begin to imagine the beginnings of an orchestral voice unique to the TBSO. Both Haas and McEachern understood that this might pose some risks.

Some of the traditional audience might think their music preferences had been overlooked.

Some of the target audiences might not get that there were new, exciting things happening on stage worth taking in. But both agreed that the orchestra needed to expand creatively in order to sustain itself into the future.

Haas took his ideas to the orchestra’s Artistic Advisory Committee, a mixed group of TBSO musicians, patrons and local music lovers. They discussed the strategy and unanimously endorsed it. Then, working together, they designed the season you’re about to experience.

Musicians, including Associate Conductor Simon Rivard, were actively involved in designing the plan and the music, featuring a Women’s Concert designed by women in the orchestra, a Player’s Concert, a Voices Concert and a Conductor’s Concert. On the leading edge Haas created a Wired Concert to bring together a dialogue between classical music and live electronics—a first for the orchestra and local audiences. It all adds up to a unique TBSO voice emerging from this season, and to get it you’ll have to be in the room listening.

While in some ways this season appears to be a dramatic departure from past seasons, the main structure remains in place. Masterworks and Pops have merged into ‘Mainstage’, but you’ll easily identify both serious and popular classics.

On the more serious side of Mainstage are the Launch, Power, Life, Wired and Outsider’s concerts. Over on the popular side are the not-to-be-missed Led Zeppelin Ultrasonic and Beatles Abbey–White Album anniversary concerts with Jeans ’N Classics, and the Winter Holiday, Tom Jackson Diversity and World Earth Day concerts.

That’s just Mainstage at the Auditorium. There’s a whole other Second Stage series to explore!

This season also offers some groundbreaking subscription deals. For the first time ever the TBSO is offering a season subscription that gives you access to every regular season concert—at just half the cost of the single ticket price! There’s also a new, super affordable Family Series package offering three concerts for a family of four for just $119. At less than $10 a ticket it doesn’t get any better than that!

Whether you’re a follower of classical virtuosos like pianist David Jalbert performing Gershwin or a fan of dynamic singers like Rita Chiarelli—not to mention local stars like Matt Sellick, it’s a good bet you’re going to love the TBSO’s Seriously Great experience this season, live and up close.

To get the TBSO season brochure just email info@tbso.ca, or call 626.TBSO (8276). Or simply visit tbso.ca online for all the exciting details. If you’re interested in a Seriously Great season package now’s the time to act! Subscriptions sales close in mid-October.

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.