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WSO Celebrates 4th Annual Indigenous Festival October 10-13

by aanationtalk on October 9, 2012753 Views

Winnipeg, MB – October 5, 2012 – The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is proud to present the Indigenous Festival from October 10-13. The Festival began four years ago with the idea to connect First Nations with the mosaic of cultures represented here in Winnipeg – a fact that makes Canada so special.

This year, audiences will experience a global musical journey and the best of Indigenous sounds, exploring new and old music traditions from North and South America featuring Argentina’s internationally renowned master of the bandoneón, Daniel Binelli, Canadian composer and vocalist Barbara Croall, Odette Heyn-Projects, Aboriginal School of Dance, Aboriginal vocalist Rhonda Head and santour player, Amir Amiri.

Throughout the four day festival from October 10-13, audiences will experience a blending of music and Indigenous cultural expression with the musical diversity of the symphony orchestra.

The Festival offers unique opportunities for participating artists to share their cultural heritage with audiences and to join their distinct musical traditions together. Concert-goers will be presented with unique music pieces that combine vastly diverse traditions in complimenting arrangements, raising cultural awareness and celebrating cultural exchange.

The Festival kicks off with a free performance by traditional singer Cory Campbell, hoop dancer Melvin Starr and The Fiddlewicks, students from Elwick School, at The Forks Market Stage from 11:15-11:45 am on Wednesday, October 10.

The first evening concert, Indigenous, on Thursday, October 11 features local artists at The Garrick Centre – Venue 3 at 7:30 pm. Vocalist Rhonda Head performs inspiring songs accompanied by Jason Chamakese on flute and pianist Bernadette Geras. The concert also features Amir Amiri playing the santour – an ancient string musical instrument native to Jammu and Kashmir, with origins in Persia – and Richard Moody on viola. Seating is limited.

With performances on October 12th and 13th, the WSO will showcase Canadian composer Barbara Croall as she performs her own work, Mijidwewinan (Messages – 2009), nature’s ‘messages’ that counsel about taking better care of the earth and listening to the wisdom of our Elders.

Audiences will also experience the sensous tango first hand with the lustful sounds of the bandoneón. The WSO is honoured to present Argentina’s internationally renowned master of the bandoneón, Daniel Binelli. The bandoneón is a unique and sensuous instrument showcased in a wide range of compositions that have roots in the tango of Binelli’s native land, where he is known as a dedicated researcher and expert in the form. He is widely acclaimed as the torchbearer of the music of Astor Piazzolla, the composer that brought the tango into concert halls around the world.  

Listen here to Piazzolla: Bandoneón Concerto

For the evening’s finale, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, seizes the attention from the first note to the last with its pounding rhythms and visceral excitement. This 20th century masterwork is presented with choreography and dance by Odette Heyn-Projects and the Aboriginal School of Dance Ensemble.

“For me, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, is one of my top three favourite musical pieces of all time,” says WSO music director Alexander Mickelthwate. “This year, the pounding rhythms of Stravinsky will be accompanied by new contemporary dance choreography showcasing Aboriginal heritage. Creating something completely new out of traditions that have been embraced – some for hundreds of years – is exhilarating.”

Listen here to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Indigenous Festival


Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 11:15-11:45 AM
The Forks Market Stage
Winnipeg, MB

Cory Campbell, Traditional Singer
Melvin Starr, Hoop Dancer  
The Fiddlewicks, Students from Elwick School

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM
The Garrick Centre – Venue 3
330 Garry Street
Winnipeg, MB

Rhonda Head, vocalist
Jason Chamakese, flute
Bernadette Geras, piano
Amir Amiri, santour
Richard Moody, viola


Heart in my heart, flute
Amazing Grace, vocal
In the Canyon, flute
Sweet By And By, vocal
Midnight at Clearwater, flute
God Be You Till We Meet Again, vocal
Return to Red Sands, flute
How Great Thou Art, vocal

Rhonda Head 

Jason Chamakese
Bernadette Geras
– Intermission –
bee daad
saghee nameh
Amir Amiri
Richard Moody
Tickets for this event are $10 each and available at the WSO Box Office, 204.949.3999 or Limited seating is available.
Friday, October 12, 2012 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 8:00 PM
Centennial Concert Hall
555 Main Street

Winnipeg, MB


Barbara Croall: Mijidwewinan (Messages)
Astor Piazzolla: Bandoneón Concerto
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Alexander Mickelthwate, conductor
Daniel Binelli, bandoneón
Barbara Croall, Ojibwe/Odawa vocalist/instrumentalist
Odette Heyn-Projects; Odette Heyn, choreographer and director
Aboriginal School of Dance Ensemble; Buffy Handel, choreographer and dancer

Individual Concert Tickets for the Friday or Saturday performances range from $23.75 to $92.00 and are available at Ticketmaster: 1-855-985-2787 or or at the WSO Box Office 204.949.3999 or

The pre-concert chat with Alexander Mickelthwate on the Piano Nobile begins 45 minutes prior to the Friday and Saturday evening concerts.



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