Calgary is a musical cornerstone that has seen some of the world’s most talented classical music conductors and performers launch their careers. The varied classical music performances offered at nationally recognized venues around the city are a testament to YYC’s love for classical music. Here are classical music ensembles from Calgary, both new and old, that we think deserve some love and support.
A critical success to Calgary’s classical music scene, the CPO is a shining exemplar of what orchestras across North America strive to be. The orchestra offers almost 85 performances a season, covering an extensive repertoire of music including classical works, pop music, and even movie soundtracks. Thanks to the musical direction of Emmy and Grammy award winning conductor Roberto Minczuk, the CPO has become a celebrated anchor of Calgary’s music scene in its 62 years of operation.
Check out the CPO’s 2016-2017 events here.
Created by Mount Royal University’s Conservatory, the Calgary Youth Orchestra proudly boasts some of Alberta and surrounding area’s greatest musical talents, aged 14 to 24. The CYO is one of Canada’s leading and most prestigious youth orchestras and has had the opportunity to tour internationally, met with critical acclaim. Headed by the same conductor as the U of C Orchestra, Julliard educated Edmond Agopian, the CYO effectively showcases the next generation of classical music protégés.
Some of the CYO’s performances are free to attend. Check out their schedule here.
Calgary Jazz Orchestra was founded in 2004 to address the lack of jazz music in Calgary’s fine arts scene. The CJO takes a unique approach to music, each concert promising to be different from the last. All music arrangements are created by the orchestra director, Johnny Summers, and orchestra members, meaning their music is never purchased or previously published. CJO strives to educate audiences on the importance and history of Jazz music and the Jazz orchestra.
Details on the Jazz Orchestra’s concert season can be found here.
Bursting onto the scene in 2014, the Wild West New Music Ensemble is a newcomer but already plays an important role in bringing diverse, classical repertoire to Calgary.The Wild West Ensemble is fun and flexible and it is the first Calgary-based chamber music ensemble to focus specifically 20th and 21st Century composers as well as contemporary Canadian works. Lead by the CPO’s former Resident Conductor, Mélanie Léonard, this group continues to pave the way in bringing new music to this city.
Follow the Wild West’s concert season here.
The Calgary Civic Symphony celebrated their 40th birthday in 2016. The group’s music director is Rolf Bertsch who previously served as the Resident Conductor of the CPO from 1998-1991 and has had an illustrious career as a pianist, performing with multiple orchestras across Canada and as a soloist at Carnegie Hall. The symphony, composed of talented amateur musicians, hosts 5 concerts a year at the Arts Commons in the Jack Singer Concert Hall and makes a practice of having open rehearsals.
To purchase single tickets or a subscription to the Calgary Civic Symphony’s concert season, check out their website.
The Calgary Fiddlers are a vibrant and energetic group of talented youth who are passionate about fiddling and contributing to Calgary’s dynamic music culture. The group was founded in 1982 by Dr. Norman Burgess, a classical violinist and fiddler. The fiddlers cover repertoire consisting of traditional folk, country, bluegrass, and Celtic genres. The ensemble gives over a 100 performances around Calgary a year.
Book the Calgary Fiddler’s for your next event here.
Kensington Sinfonia will be celebrating 30 years of music artistry and innovation in the upcoming year. A professional string ensemble, Kensington Sinfonia covers chamber music and string orchestra pieces that date back to the Baroque period up to present day. Kensington Sinfonia has been featured on local and national CBC Radio programming and enjoys playing both local and national compositions. The sinfonia is currently directed by Donovan Seidle, a U of C educated violinist and assistant concert master to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, often putting on performances at the acoustically sound Hope Lutheran Church.
Check out the seasonal brochure for the Kensington Sinfonia here.
The Calgary Opera has been a staple of Calgary’s music and performance scene for nearly half a century. It aspires to reach audiences of all ages through its productions, touring schools throughout Alberta and participating in Calgary’s outdoor summer opera festival (Opera in the Village). The Calgary Opera puts on 3 full-scale operas per season at the Jubilee Auditorium and, through the leadership of CEO Bob McPhee, has become one of Canada’s top opera companies.
Purchase tickets to the opera here.
Among the various music ensembles at the U of C, the University of Calgary Orchestra is one of the most accomplished. Led by distinguished conductor Edmond Agopian for over 25 years, the orchestra has been led to new heights. Agopian was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005, recognizing his “outstanding achievements and service to the people and province of Alberta”. The U of C Orchestra has been broadcast on CBC Radio’s Our Music and performed at the Millennium Music Foundation Concert Series and Honens Calgary International Piano Competition.
Watch out for their next performance at the Rozsa Centre here.
The New West Symphony began 7 years ago as a charitable organization, partnering with organizations that combat poverty in Calgary. The symphony puts on 15 concerts a year including an annual fundraising gala, covering pop music and gospel genres. David Klob, former professor at Kingswood University, acts as musical director and conductor.
Keep an eye out for New West Symphony and Chorus’ events here.