Review: Victoria Symphony’s new music director opens season with commissioned score

Posted on: October 5, 2017

“On Sept. 18, Danish conductor Christian Kluxen launched his first season as the Victoria Symphony’s music director with an impressive performance of Mahler’s First Symphony, the Titan,” writes Kevin Bazzana in Thursday’s (10/5) Times Colonist (British Columbia). “Last weekend, Kluxen returned to lead his first pair of weekend Masterworks concerts … The program opened with Harry Stafylakis’s Sun Exhaling Light, which had been commissioned by the Victoria Symphony. Stafylakis, a Montreal native who lives in New York, is composer-in-residence with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and director of the Winnipeg New Music Festival. Sun Exhaling Light was one of the most impressive works the orchestra has premièred in recent years. It was inspired by a poem written in response to the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, though it also draws on imagery related to the sun. And there was indeed a kind of terrible luminosity to the music, which was at times ferociously expressive.” Other works on the program were Britten’s Violin Concerto with violinist James Ehnes, and Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. “Kluxen … is trying out new seating arrangements [for musicians]. … The common denominator of these decisions appears to be a desire for greater transparency of texture … and better blend and balance when the whole orchestra plays together.”

Posted October 5, 2017