Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Announces Winter Concerts

Season to include holiday favourites, acclaimed artists, and world premieres.

By: Nov. 02, 2021

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Announces Winter Concerts

Following a safe and successful return to live performances this fall, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is launching an exciting lineup of in-person and virtual Winter Concerts starting in December and featuring popular holiday traditions, internationally acclaimed guest artists, world premieres of new works, unique community collaborations, and more. The organization will also continue its cautious approach to reopening, gradually increasing capacity to approximately one-half of the Jack Singer Concert Hall starting in January 2022.

"I was thrilled to be back in Calgary this fall to connect once again with our wonderful musicians and audience," says Music Director Rune Bergmann. "We have enjoyed a safe and successful return to live performance and I'm looking forward to building on that with this exciting lineup of Winter concerts that will knock your socks off."

The Winter series kicks off in December with a trio of holiday performances, starting with a beloved Christmas tradition, George Frideric Handel's Messiah, on December 4 and 5. This concert also marks the return of the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus for its first live performance since March 2020. Following the popularity of last year's virtual holiday concert, the Calgary Phil presents Holidays at Home - seasonal favourites that people can enjoy online from the comfort of their homes. The concert premieres on December 18 and will remain available for viewing for 30 days. The festivities wrap up with the Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert on January 1, a joyful celebration featuring the music of Johann Strauss with singers, dancers, and full orchestra.

On January 15 and 16, the Calgary Phil presents a must-see concert of 2022: virtuoso pianist Yuja Wang. "Yuja has captivated audiences around the world with her talent and energy and the Orchestra is so excited to welcome her to our stage," says Bergmann. Yuja Wang has strong ties to Calgary - the Beijing-born classical music superstar attended the Morningside Music Bridge program and studied at the Conservatory at Mount Royal University. This concert is presented with the generous support of local philanthropist Heather Edwards.

In February the Calgary Phil celebrates the results of two unique collaborations involving multiple artists. In the summer of 2021, as part of the Black Lives Matter Murals Project with Pink Flamingo, mural artists were invited to respond to a new work by Canadian composer Laura Hawley, written for the Calgary Phil Chorus and based on L.R. Knost's poem I Rise. This commission will premiere on February 5 in a concert led by conductor Leslie Dunner that highlights the mural artwork and also features music by Duke Ellington and Florence Price.

"Working with other artists and organizations helps us bring exciting new projects and perspectives to the stage," says Marc Stevens, President + CEO of the Calgary Phil. "Laura's creation with the magnificent Calgary Phil Chorus - originally recorded in their cars due to COVID-19 restrictions! - and its inspiration and challenge for the Black Lives Matter Murals Project, is the beginning of a vitally beautiful friendship with the amazing artists at Pink Flamingo as we learn together through dialogue and art."

The second collaboration is a free four-part online series, The Bear and the Wild Rose, which is led by much-loved and highly respected musician and humanitarian Tom Jackson and includes new works by four Indigenous composers: Cris Derksen, Sonny-Ray Day Rider, Jessica McMann, and J. Alex Young. A new episode focusing on one of four themes (Love, Home, Magic, and Resilience) will be released online every Sunday afternoon in February - each episode features the Orchestra performing a new work, original stories and songs by Tom Jackson, and artwork by Rita Wildschut.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have singer-songwriter Tom Jackson as our guide for this special project showcasing Indigenous stories, perspectives, and musicians," says Stevens. "My heart burst when I heard Tom Jackson tell the Calgary Phil players, as we began recording together, 'The most important thing I can tell you today is: I love you.' The results are magical and wrought with love by these four fine composers."

Other highlights this Winter include: a concert headlined by Calgary Phil Concertmaster Diana Cohen and acclaimed conductor Karen Kamensek featuring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's fifth violin concerto; an evening of romantic music by Italian composers led by Music Director Rune Bergmann and showcasing dynamic Canadian soprano Marie-Josée Lord; Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 paired with his Piano Concerto No. 4, performed by celebrated pianist Katherine Chi - the only Canadian and only female to win the prestigious Honens Prize - plus the debut of a new work by Canadian composer Jocelyn Morlock inspired by the fourth symphony; a tribute to Queen, one of the greatest rock bands in history, with Jeans 'n Classics and Calgary's Revv52 choir; and the return of the Calgary Phil's popular family matinees with The Caboose That Got Loose, a new commission by composer Scott Good that brings this beloved children's story to life.

"Returning to live performance has been powerful and emotional," says Stevens. "We're looking forward to welcoming more of you back to the hall as we rebuild the Calgary Phil experience together - the audience is a vital part of a performance. Thank you for trusting us with your safety and for your continuing passion for superb live orchestral performances."

The 2021/2022 Season is being released in three parts to allow for flexibility as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Tickets for Winter concerts go on sale to the public on Tuesday, November 16 (subscribers get early access on November 4) and will be sold in seating groups of one to four. Capacity is limited to allow space between each group. If capacity increases as the Season progresses, ticket holders will be notified in advance and have first access to purchase additional tickets. The Spring concert lineup, running from mid-March to June 2022, will be announced at the end of January 2022.

For complete Winter concert details and the digital brochure, visit