Windsor Symphony Orchestra
The Windsor Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1941 and incorporated in 1949 as the The Windsor Symphony Society. The first conductor was Matti Holli, who remained with the orchestra until his death in 1977. The most recent Canadian conductor to be appointed music director was Dwight Bennett in 1986. Under Bennett, the orchestra became fully professional but also ran into financial difficulties. In August 1998, the late Mina Grossman-Ianni became the WSO’s General Manager, and with the cooperation of the board, staff, volunteers and musicians, rescued the WSO from bankruptcy. She recruited a new management team which began a major turnaround in the orchestra’s fortunes. The Windsor Symphony Orchestra performs at several venues in the Windsor-Essex County area but, since the beginning of the 2012-13 season, is based at the historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Windsor, a restored former movie house. Several concerts, mainly for smaller ensembles and the orchestra's Chorus, are performed annually at the University of Windsor's Assumption University Chapel.
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75th Anniversary of the Windsor Symphony
This application is for “The 75th Anniversary of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra”, taking place September 17, 2022, to April 30, 2023, at the Capitol Theatre and the University of Windsor's Assumption University Chapel. In total, the WSO will present 20 concert programs, 33 mainstage performances, and many community outreach and education programs in 2022-23. Anniversary season programming includes: (1) The WSO’s primary mainstage series, the Masterworks and the Pops (five programs in each series). Anniversary highlights include: (i) Beethoven’s 5th (first performed by the WSO for its inaugural concert on November 16, 1947); (ii) a 75th Birthday Bash with Quartetto Gelato, a touring group that includes WSO Assistant Concertmaster, Konstantin Popovic, and has a long history of performing in Windsor; and (iii) three concerts featuring Handel’s Messiah; (2) The OnStage and The Café concert series (four programs in each series), featuring WSO players on a stripped-down Capitol Theatre stage, with cabaret tables surrounding the orchestra, food, event-tailored libations, and curated evenings; (3) the Family series (four programs); (4 ) new Post-Concert Talks with WSO musicians, guest artists, composers, and artistic collaborators; (5) Black History Month programming: concerts during Black History month will take place in Amherstburg (25 kms outside of Windsor and known for its history of the Underground Railroad) and other locations featuring music from young Black composer, Jessie Montgomery. The music features 5 “spirituals”, a genre of music that is the sole creation of generations of Black Americans with significant overlap in Canada; (6) a cabaret-style concert with singer and drag performer Randy Roberts; (7) the world premiere of a new work from Iranian composer, Farhad Poupel; (8) a free “Street Party” including an open house of the Orchestra’s home, The Capitol Theatre. The afternoon Street Party will include free music and entertainment themed around the Anniversary and invite nearby neighborhood partners such as Artcite (a small gallery), the Art Incubator (run by uWindsor), the Phog Lounge (a music venue for touring rock and folk artists), and Meteor (a sister-venue to the Phog Lounge); (9) Regional outreach programming: a full-orchestra Pops concert, a Family program, a Messiah performance, and the Café series will be performed in Leamington, as well as programming in Amherstburg, Tecumseh, and Chatham; (10) “WSO Rocks!”, a symphonic rock concert; (11) several education and community outreach programs, including the management of the Windsor Symphony Youth and Community Orchestras, music therapy programs, neighborhood concerts, open rehearsals, and summer concerts; and (12) The WSO’s first commercial recording in 15 Years. One of the compositions is based on the book Bobby Orr and the Hand-me-down Skates, the WSO will host a launch event for the album at Windsor’s hockey arena, The WFCU Center. Bobby Orr will be in attendance.