Bramwell Tovey

The Vancouver Symphony Society announced today that Music Director Bramwell Tovey’s contract with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has been extended through August 2018.

This marks Maestro Tovey’s third contract extension since becoming Music Director of the VSO in September of 2000 and will, at its 18-year conclusion, make him the longest-serving Music Director in the orchestra’s 99-year history. Tovey will become the VSO’s Music Director Emeritus, conducting up to two weeks per season starting in 2018/2019, the orchestra’s 100th Anniversary Season.

To celebrate Tovey’s extraordinary tenure as Music Director and the orchestra’s anniversary, the Society has commissioned the Juno Award-winning composer to write a Concerto for Orchestra which he will conduct on one of the VSO’s subscription series concerts in the spring of 2019.

Bramwell Tovey

In talking about his contract extension, Bramwell Tovey said “I am deeply honoured to accept the board’s invitation to extend my tenure as Music Director of the VSO to 2017/18, the orchestra’s 99th season. I have the greatest affection and respect for the musicians of the VSO whose inspirational artistry is at the core of Vancouver’s cultural life. In the summer, I informed the Chair of the board of directors that it was my firm belief that the orchestra’s centenary season in 2018/19 should be led by a new music director who can pilot the orchestra into its second century. At that time I will be honoured to assume the role of Music Director Emeritus.”

Fred Withers, Chair of the Vancouver Symphony Society, enthusiastically remarked “Bramwell is a tremendous leader of our orchestra and in our community. We are delighted that he has the passion, energy and desire to continue to build his legacy as our Music Director, and we are thrilled to name him as our Music Director Emeritus after the 2017/2018 Season.”

Since becoming the VSO’s Music Director in 2000, Bramwell Tovey, O.C. has conducted the orchestra in over 600 concerts in over 40 venues throughout the City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, across Canada, the United States and Asia. In addition to conducting on each of the VSO’s extensive concert series in the 16 venues in which it performs on a regular basis in Metro Vancouver, Tovey led the ensemble on tour to Korea, Macau and China in 2008. During this tour, the VSO became the first Canadian symphony orchestra to perform in China in 30 years, and the first Canadian symphony orchestra to perform at the prestigious Beijing Music Festival.

Tovey has made five critically-acclaimed recordings with the VSO, including the GRAMMY® and Juno-Award winning disc with Canadian violinist James Ehnes performing the Walton, Korngold and Barber violin concerti. His recordings of the two Chopin piano concerti with Canadian pianist Janina Fialkowska, and a disc of works by former VSO Composer-In-Residence Jeffrey Ryan both were nominated for a Juno award. The Ryan recording won Best Classical Recording of the Year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards. A recording of Tovey’s full-length opera, The Inventor, commissioned by the Calgary Opera, will be released in 2014 with the VSO performing and an all-Canadian cast.

Maestro Tovey received the Friends of Canadian Music Award for 2013 from the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers.

Bramwell Tovey

A strong proponent of music education, Tovey is an enthusiastic leader of the VSO’s educational activities, regularly conducting concerts for elementary school students and on the orchestra’s Kids Koncerts matinee series, welcoming students to open rehearsals and personally visiting numerous primary and secondary schools annually as part of the orchestra’s VSO Connects program with his Meet the Maestro presentation.

In 2003, Bramwell Tovey envisioned the creation of the VSO School of Music, a state-of-the-art community music school that opened its doors in 2011 and is situated next to the orchestra’s home, the Orpheum Theatre. The VSO School of Music has grown to over 900 students of all ages and abilities learning orchestral, jazz, and world instruments as well as voice from a faculty of 90, including over 30 members of the VSO. Bramwell is the VSOSM’s Artistic Advisor.

Maestro Tovey has been awarded multiple honorary degrees, including a Fellowship from his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, honorary doctorates from the universities of Winnipeg, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Kwantlen University College and a Fellowship from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame and named to the Order of Canada.

Photos courtesy of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

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