VMO News

VMO 2016/17 Season Finale Concert

On May 11th, 2017, Filed in: Press Releases

May 11, 2017 (Download English PDF) (Download Chinese PDF)

Vancouver, BC — The hustle and bustle of a vibrant metropolitan city evokes an array of sounds and fast-paced momentum. Immerse yourself in the sounds of this dynamic concert with Music Director Maestro Ken Hsieh leading the VMO in the performance of two piano concertos to showcase the 2016 VMO Clef Concerto Competition Winners, performance of two piano concertos to showcase the 2016 VMO Clef Concerto Competition Winners and Mendelssohn’s orchestra gem Symphony No. 4 “Italian”. The Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra presents “The Sound of the City” Season Finale Concert, Friday June 2nd at Shaughnessy Heights United Church, Vancouver.

Two stunning piano concertos will be performed by the winners of the 2016 VMO Clef Concerto Competition. Junior Category Winner, 12-year-old William Lin, has graced numerous concert stages in North America, Asia, and Europe. Having received many prestigious awards and accolades, William remains humble despite his extraordinary
musicianship. He will be performing the fiery 3rd movement from Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, composed by a then young and exuberantly talented 22-year-old Mendelssohn, who was by that time an accomplished pianist, conductor, and composer.

Natalie Lo, Senior Category Winner, has firmly established herself as one of BC’s most talented rising stars. She made her debut as a piano soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at the age of 13 and have since continued to perform as a soloist with orchestras throughout North America. She will perform Saint-Saëns’ ever popular Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, which is full of virtuostic energy, pulsating rhythms, and dazzling bravura. The work has no shortage of brilliant cadenza passages bearing the hallmarks of Saint-Saëns’ reputation as a master improviser.

Mendelssohn’s’ Symphony No. 4 “Italian”, was composed around the same time as the Piano Concerto No. 1 during his tour of Europe, more specifically through the cities of Italy. This symphony is Mendelssohn’s souvenir of Italy, encapsulating his impressions of the Mediterranean countryside, religious solemnity in Naples and Rome, and impressive architecture and art of Venice, Bologna, and Florence. The fourth and final movement is the most characteristically Italian, marked Presto and in the style of a saltarello, named after the Italian verb “to jump”. This lively Neapolitan folk dance form from medieval times will indeed have your heart racing to its frenzied rhythm.

Join us in celebrating the conclusion of the 14th season with a concert that is sure to move you as you are enveloped with the sounds of our city!


The Sound of the City

June 2, 2017, Friday
Venue: Shaughnessy Heights United Church
1550 W 33rd Ave., Vancouver, BC

Time: 7:30pm (pre-concert talk 7pm)

Award-Winning Canadian Conductor: Ken Hsieh

2016 VMO Clef Concerto Competition Winners:
Senior Category Winner: Natalie Lo
Junior Category Winner: William Lin

Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1 (3rd Movement)
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Complete)
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 (Italian)

Generously Supported By:
Province of British Columbia Community Gaming Grants
Mr. Leigh Pan
Lin Haw International
Metro Vancouver Cultural Grant
Tom Lee Music

Media Sponsor:
Vancouver Shinpo Japanese Weekly Newspaper

Tickets at Eventbrite or by phone 604-876-9397

Regular: General $30.00 / Students and Seniors $25.00

VMO Newsletter: April 2013

On March 22nd, 2013, Filed in: Newsletters

We are halfway through our 10th Anniversary season and looking forward to celebrating its conclusion with two exciting concerts: the first ever VMO Pops Concert in April at Michael J. Fox Theatre and the annual VMO Spring Concert in May at Shaughnessy Heights United Church.

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VMO Pops Concert with Le Vent Du Nord

April 4, 2013 | Michael J. Fox Theatre | 8pm

The VMO is teaming up with Juno Award winners Le Vent Du Nord for an absolutely thrilling, high energy Pops & Family-oriented symphonic evening. Le Vent Du Nord, Quebec’s finest traditional folk, was recently awarded Académie Charles Cros’s 2012 Grands Prix annuels du Disque et du DVD in the World Music category. The traditional Quebecois style, with its driving, Celtic-inflected rhythms, soaring melodies and vivid instrumentation has been paired with the resources of the traditional symphony orchestra. Composer/arranger Tom Myron’s colorful arrangements have been carefully crafted so that the entire orchestra becomes a “fifth member” of this exciting band. Le Vent du Nord’s music is SO propulsive and SO cinematic that it naturally lends itself to the colors & scale of a symphony orchestra. This will be a very engaging concert!

Tickets are $40 and $25, plus service charge, available online via Tickets Tonight.

More information Buy Tickets

Watch a teaser of the Le Vent du Nord in a similar concert setting with the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec.

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VMO Spring: A Morihiro Okabe Kinen Concert

May 24, 2013 | Shaughnessy Heights United Church | 7:30pm

In keeping with tradition, we will end our 2012/13 performance season with the annual VMO Spring Morihiro Okabe Kinen Concert on May 24. This year, the concert will be held at the Shaughnessy Heights United Church, where the VMO was born and a venue well-known for its rich acoustic caractor. This concert will feature a Beethoven program and joining Maestro Ken Hsieh and the VMO Orchestra through the Beethoven Piano Concerto 3 is piano sensation Yu Kosuge, from Japan. Yu Kosuge has been giving recitals and performing with orchestras since early childhood. At the age of nine she made her debut with the Tokyo New City Orchestra. In 1993, she moved to Europe to continue her studies in Hannover and Salzburg and in recent years has received great support and inspiration from András Schiff. Her Carnegie Hall debut recital met with outstanding success with critics praising her “acutely poetic sensibility…wit, drama, and effulgent lyricism.”

Also slated for the evening is a new world commission by our very own Composer-in-Residence Alain Mayrand.

Tickets are $25 General Admission.

More information Buy Tickets

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Remembering Andrew McMinigal (1952 – 2013)

The VMO sadly announces the passing of Andrew McMinigal who served as a Board of Director from 2005-2009, after a courageous battle with Brain Cancer. Andrew McMinigal had a huge love for photography and during several years took pictures of the orchestra during its rehearsals and concerts, which are used today for our website. Andrew has contributed tremendously to our organization, especially being in the lobby taking photographs and working with our dedicated volunteers which included his wife, Sonia, and daughter, Andrea. We are forever grateful for his dedication to our organization especially during the time of our growth, and send our prayers and condolences to Sonia and Andrea.
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Raising the Bar for Season 2013/14

The VMO is Canada’s only mentorship Orchestra and has earned its excellent reputation. Even though we have reached this level we are raising the bar and adding more workshops and Master class rehearsals to our 2013-2014 performance season. Quality does not come without a cost. We will be doubling our operating budget for the extra rehearsal time. This will ensure our young musicians are fully equipped for the performances and a greater foundation for their future. We are making a plea to all of our supporters to make a Tax Free Donation in support of the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. Not only will this enable the VMO to mentor our young Musicians more, you will be able to take pride that you have helped them to achieve their next level.

Ways to support the VMO:

Make a Donation Become a Sponsor

The Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra announces concert with Juno winners Le Vent du Nord

On March 16th, 2013, Filed in: Press Releases

For Immediate Release

2012-2013 marks the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra’s 10th Anniversary season and the 20th Anniversary of the Michael J. Fox Theatre. In celebration, the VMO is teaming up with Quebec’s finest traditional folk group, Le Vent du Nord, for a unique concert. Juno winners in Canada, Le Vent du Nord was recently awarded Académie Charles Cros’s 2012 Grands Prix annuels du Disque et du DVD in the World Music category – a first for the group.

The pairing of Le Vent du Nord, Canada’s #1 folk/world music ensemble, with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra presents a brand new opportunity in high energy Pops & Family-oriented symphonic programming. The traditional Quebecois style, with its driving, Celtic-inflected rhythms, soaring melodies and vivid instrumentation has been paired with the resources of the traditional symphony orchestra.

Composer/arranger Tom Myron’s colorful arrangements have been carefully crafted so that the entire orchestra becomes a “fifth member” of this exciting band.

Le Vent du Nord’s music is SO propulsive and SO cinematic that it naturally lends itself to the colors & scale of a symphony orchestra. This will be a very engaging concert!

Le Vent du Nord and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra

April 4, 2013
Michael J. Fox Theatre
7373 MacPherson Ave
Burnaby, BC V5J 2B7

Time: 8:00pm (doors open at 7:00pm)

Le Vent du Nord
Tom Myron, composer & arranger
Ken Hsieh, conductor
Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra

Tickets are $40 and $25.

Tickets available through:
Visiting the VMO website: www.vmocanada.com
Calling the VMO office: (604) 876-9397
Emailing the VMO office: info@vmocanada.com
Tickets are on sale now.

The VMO is generously supported by:
Tom Lee Music
CDS Company
Keyboard Moving Company
Hamber Foundation
Allcity Importers

The VMO is a non-profit organization that is strongly committed to providing opportunities for young musicians to perform and work with local artists in professional settings. The orchestra also actively seeks out and promotes young talented soloists.

Concerts feature music from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods as well as contemporary and popular music in special concerts with opera companies, choirs, and traditional folk music groups.

For more information on the concert and the performers’ biographies, please visit

Beethoven, Haydn to open VMO’s 10th season

On September 9th, 2012, Filed in: Reviews

Conductor Ken Hsieh grows young orchestra with top-quality mentoring

Read original

By David Gordon Duke, Special to the Vancouver Sun (September 7, 2012)

Turnaround time for professional conductors is invariably tight: a jet-set existence means lots of travel and tight schedules as a matter of course. Even so, conductor Ken Hsieh has been particularly under the gun.

Hsieh is recently back in Vancouver after a month on tour in Japan with the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, and he conducts the first concert of the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra this Sunday afternoon.

“I didn’t have a summer at all,” he quips, “though at least I get a few days of it here.”

Hsieh was born and raised in Edmonton, starting out his life in music on piano, then violin, then percussion.

“My violin playing was quite terrible, but I managed to get through eight years of it.”

Conducting came a bit later, unplanned. “It was a complete accident — hurting my finger and getting into conducting as a consequence.”

His first break was working at the Pacific Music Festival, an event in Sapporo, Japan — founded by none other than Leonard Bernstein — where Hsieh became assistant to Bernard Haitink and Edo de Waart.

He then became the youngest assistant conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, from 2004 to 2007. Now he’s well-embarked on a full international career: conducting in Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia, working with orchestras from the Tokyo Philharmonic to the Finnish Radio Symphony and L’Orchestre Lamoureux. But he maintains a very special relationship with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, which he founded a decade ago.

The Lower Mainland has more than its fair share of orchestral ensembles, but Hsieh’s vision for the VMO was a bit different from other groups.

From the outset, it was designed to be a training ensemble for advanced players looking forward to professional careers. Its young members are expected to work under circumstances equivalent to those of professional players, with all that that entails, including intensive rehearsals — and precious few of them, too.

“I remember the first time Bramwell [Tovey] told me, ‘You are going to be conducting the Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, and I’m going to be playing the piano.’ I was used to having five days of rehearsals before a concert, but having not so much time makes it much more exciting, although much more dangerous as well!

“Our young people just started sectional rehearsals a few days ago. We’re now a union orchestra, a member of the (American Federation of Musicians). So we have to play by the rules. Not as many rehearsals as I might like, but the union is being very cooperative, very kind to us. It’s a very tight learning curve always for the players, of course.”

Although the VMO’s players work under “real world” conditions, there is support and top-quality mentoring.

“It’s quite an interesting year. We have several VSO players, including Akira Nagai (Associate Concertmaster Emeritus of the VSO) doing the sectional sessions and coaching the violins, Kenneth Friedman working the basses and cellos, and horn player Richard Mingus — all well-known educators and players.”

Over the course of its existence, the Met’s complement of players has grown.

“We started as a string-based orchestra, but over 10 years we grew and now we have a full wind section and a full brass section.”

A certain focus on strings remains a special priority, though. “It’s very strange, in Vancouver there are more winds and brass and percussion than strings. I want to really bring up the strings to the top level.”

Although all the details of the Met’s year haven’t been finalized, Hsieh promises a full season: “Four concerts plus concerto gala concerts, so about seven concerts. Because I’ve been away so long I really haven’t got the whole season programmed,” he admits just a bit sheepishly.

Details for Sunday’s program are all worked out, however: Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and a work by VMO composer-in-residence Alain Mayrand.

“September 9 is the first concert of the season. I’ve been cheating a little bit, because I conducted Beethoven’s Seventh on tour first. Then, instead of a solo concerto there is Joseph Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante. The Haydn uses a quartet of soloists, so I picked out people past and present from the Orchestra.”

Sunday’s soloists will be Siu-Fan Yiu (violin), Luke Kim (cello), Emily Yu (oboe), and Tristan Lambert (bassoon).

Aside from being a perfect showcase for four soloists, the piece has special resonance for Hsieh: “This was the piece I conducted at the Pacific Music Festival with members of the Vienna Philharmonic, so there’s a real sentimental meaning for me.”

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun