Photo courtesy Calgary Film

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra offers guide to classical music

By Jill Girgulis, September 14 2018 —

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) wants you to love classical music and they’re willing to help make it happen with their upcoming concert, Guide to the Orchestra. The event takes place on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

“It’s an opportunity for the audience and the orchestra to get acquainted,” says Karl Hirzer, associate conductor of the CPO. “Hopefully we’ll entice the audience enough to have [them] coming back all season.”

Hirzer recognizes not everyone has a background in music and many people might not know much about the orchestra. That’s why he curated a slate of music suitable as an orchestral entry point.

“I often have friends who are not musicians say, ‘Can you put together a playlist for me of classical music? I’d love to explore it but I don’t know where to start.’ ” Hirzer says. “So this program is very much ‘Karl’s Spotify playlist for orchestral music.’ ”

Guide to the Orchestra presents a diverse selection of orchestral pieces. The concert will feature music from nine different composers, more than any other concert this season.  Audiences can expect to learn a bit more of the details behind each composition.

“The idea of going to an orchestral performance and sitting there and really trying to listen to every single little thing that’s happening can sometimes be overwhelming,” Hirzer says. “I’ll be conducting the whole program but I’ll also be prefacing each piece with some context so that, as an audience member, you’ll be able to feel like you know how to listen to the piece.”

In addition to the performance itself, Guide to the Orchestra also includes pre-concert festivities.

“Village Brewery’s going to be there as a beer sponsor in the lobby before the concert, and we’re also going to have an instrument discovery zoo, where you come in the lobby and test out a few instruments. Some of the musicians from the orchestra will be there to answer all of your questions,” Hirzer says.

According to Hirzer, this concert is just one way the CPO hopes to expand its scope.

“Orchestras are always trying to reach new audiences,” he says. “I think symphony orchestras in general, and this certainly applies to the CPO, have a die-hard following and really are appreciated as an integral aspect of culture and arts within the community. But we want to reach more people.”

Tickets for the performance are $30, but University of Calgary students can buy their tickets at half-price with the discount code DINOS50 online at calgaryphil.com or over the phone. Guide to the Orchestra takes place in the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Friday, Sept. 21. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the performance starts at 7:30 p.m.

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