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Press Releases

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra USA Announces Inaugural Vancouver USA Music and Arts Festival

December 13, 2022 | By Patricia Price
Managing Director, 8VA Music Consultancy

A three-day multidisciplinary celebration of American and American-adjacent music and art, August 4-6, 2023

 Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra USA (VSO) announces its inaugural Vancouver USA Music and Arts Festival celebrating music and art inspired by America, spanning three days from Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6. The multidisciplinary art festival features performances from the VSO conducted by VSO Music Director, internationally renowned composer and conductor Maestro Salvador Brotons and Maestro Gerard Schwarz. Known as a champion of American composers, Gerard Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades in his five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor including 9 Emmy Awards, 14 GRAMMY nominations, 8 ASCAP Awards, and numerous Stereo Review and Ovation Awards, in addition to being the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America. Renowned guest soloists include violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, pianist Orli Shaham, and the genre-defying trio Time for Three. Presented in close collaboration with the city of Vancouver and Vancouver Downtown Association, the Festival is made possible by the $600,000 grant awarded to the VSO by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for program expansion to engage performing and visual arts patrons.

VSO’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Igor Shakhman says, “It is with great excitement that we launch our inaugural Vancouver USA Music and Arts Festival, which will bring artists of all disciplines together to collaborate in the beautiful riverfront city of Vancouver, Washington. We are thrilled to bring great American music, including works by Aaron Copland, Valerie Coleman, and Adolphus Hailstork. Celebrating art and culture through classical music, pops and movie music, and supporting the local art and food community, there is something for everyone to enjoy this summer.”

The Vancouver USA Music and Arts Festival begins with a free all-day event on August 4, presented throughout downtown Vancouver. Streets will be opened to attendees for an extended gallery walk, live street art, an instrument petting zoo, and pop-up concerts. Stages built specially for the event will host live music outdoors, in addition to chamber music and jazz performances in the galleries. Following the daytime festivities, the VSO presents a free evening outdoor concert of popular American music, from film to Broadway, at Esther Short Park featuring the full orchestra under the baton of Ken Selden with Time for Three.

On August 5, the festival continues with pop-up concerts in partnership with the Downtown Vancouver Farmers Market. Further daytime activities include a free family-friendly concert at the nearby Esther Short Park, an educational artist panel, improvisation workshops in partnership with the historic Kiggins Theatre, a gallery walk with pop-up performances, and a ticketed all-star chamber music concert. Additionally, guest star American actor Lawrence Gilliard Jr. will be at the festival to participate in community outreach events. That evening, Maestro Gerard Schwarz leads the VSO in a ticketed indoor concert at Skyview Concert Hall, in partnership with Vancouver School District. This performance features Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony, music by Adolphus Hailstork, and Anne Akiko Meyers performing Barber’s Violin Concerto. Food trucks will be stationed in the venue’s parking lot and there will be a celebration of local art in the lobby.

The festival’s final day kicks off Downtown with more local art and music. The festival culminates with a ticketed matinee performance at Skyview Concert Hall with Maestro Schwarz conducting the VSO with acclaimed pianist Orli Shaham performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Food trucks will be available in the parking lot for lunch and a different art exhibit will be on display in the lobby.

“The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s music festival is a perfect example of the robust role the arts can play in a flourishing community,” said Lorin Schmit Dunlop, program director, Murdock Trust. “This event will be a catalyst for development of community connections and relationship building in Vancouver and across our region. It will bring great value to the city of Vancouver as an economic driver while also creating opportunity to expose countless individuals to the power of music and art. We are thrilled to play a small role in bringing this incredible idea to life.”

Full festival details will be released in early 2023. For concert dates, details, and up-to-date information on attending, visit the VSO website.

About the VSO
The VSO, now in its 44th season, has been a cornerstone of Southwest Washington's arts community, providing symphony music of the highest caliber in live performances and through music education in schools, concert halls, and throughout the community. For more information, please visit vancouversymphony.org.



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