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Bernadette Peters, Joshua Bell, Buffy Sainte-Marie team up with CPO for ambitious 2020/2021 season


The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra may be out up to $2 million in lost revenue and has temporarily laid off its musicians due to the devastating impact of COVID-19, but the organization has soldiered on by announcing its ambitious 2020-2021 season.

The announcement was preceded by a performance by the CPO’s principal oboist Alex Klein in an empty Jack Singer Concert Hall and a video message from music director Rune Bergmann from his home in Norway.

“I know this is a difficult time, but today we are looking ahead in a spirit of optimism and hope,” Bergmann said Tuesday.

The season marks the CPO’s 65th year in Calgary and has been two years in the planning, Bergmann said.

Highlights include Broadway actress and singer Bernadette Peters, who will kick off the season with two concerts, one at the Bella Concert Hall on Sept. 16 and one at the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Sept. 18. Peters, who has been nominated for seven Tony Awards and won two (for Song and Dance in 1986 and the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun) and three Grammy nominations. She has also starred in films such as 1979’s The Jerk, 1981’s Pennies From Heaven (which earned her a Golden Globe nomination) and 1981’s Annie, and guest-starred in television series such as Will and Grace, Grey’s Anatomy, Mozart in the Jungle and the Muppet Show (which earned her an Emmy nomination.)

Other guests scheduled for the season include Buffy Sainte-Marie, an iconic Polaris-Prize winning Cree singer-songwriter, who will join the orchestra for a performance on April 16, 2021, in partnership with the Calgary Folk Music Festival; American violinist Joshua Bell will join the orchestra for a Jack Singer Concert Hall performance on April 24, 2021; fiddler Ashley MacIsaac will play alongside the CPO on Jan. 29, 2021, as part of One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo; Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk will play a Christmas concert on Dec. 2, 2020; American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones will pay tribute to Whitney Houston and other singers on Nov. 18, 2020; conductor Steve Hackman, who oversaw the Brahms v. Radiohead show in 2019, will be back with Beethoven v. Coldplay on Oct. 2, 2020. Philippe Quint, a Grammy-nominated violinist, will perform as a soloist and be guest conductor for shows on Nov. 27 and 28; on Oct. 16 and 17, 2020, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh will perform a concerto written for him by Sri Lankan-born composer and conductor Dinuk Wijeratne, both are former members of Silk Road Ensemble; pianist-conductor Jeffrey Kahane will base an all-Mozart program around Prague Symphony on Jan. 22 and 23; and Honens Piano Competition Laureate Nicolas Namoradze will perform Prokofiev’s third piano concerto on March 12 and 13, 2021.

Queen and Freddie Mercury will get a tribute Sept. 11 and 12 with the help of local chorus Revv52 and Jeans ‘N Classics; the band Chicago will be celebrated with Brass Transit on Jan. 15 and 16 and Paul Simon’s music will be front and centre on March 19 and 20, 2021, CPO concerts.

The orchestra’s film series will kick off with a Halloween presentation of the 1931 classic Frankenstein with Boris Karloff on Oct. 30. Others will include the original Toy Story on Oct. 9 and 10; the original Star Wars trilogy on May 21 and 22 and the classic Harry Potter series, scheduled for Feb. 25 and 26.

The orchestra will celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with his Symphony No. 6 and Triple Concerto on Sept. 25 and 26, Symphony No. 7 and Violin Concerto featuring Karen Gomyo on Oct. 23 and 24 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 paired with his Ode to Joy, Symphony No. 9 on Dec. 11, 2020.

The aforementioned Alex Klein, principal oboist, will perform the piece that won him a Grammy Award, Strauss’s Oboe Concerto, on Feb. 19 and 20. Mozart’s Requiem will be performed alongside Mahler’s Ruckert Songs on March 6, 2021; Los Angeles Philharmonic principal violist Teng Li and violin virtuoso Ning Feng will be guests for April 30 and May 1, 2021, performances of Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.

On Dec. 15 and 16, Holiday Cirque with Troupe Vertigo will feature contortionists, aerial artists and acrobats performing to music from The Nutcracker. Bergmann will present his Classical Christmas on Dec. 15 and 16 at Grace Presbyterian Church and pianist Kevin Chen will present Lunar New Year Celebration on Feb. 6, 2021.

The Calgary Philharmonic will also present the world premiere of Canadian composer Scott Good’s The Caboose Who Got Loose, commissioned by the CPO, on May 9, 2021.

For a full list of the 2020/2021 season, visit calgaryphil.com

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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