The Articles

Victoria Symphony conductor Tania Miller:
"Formality is a tradition of the past"
- Nancy Berman, CBC, Classical

Music Review: Victoria Symphony
Palais Montcalm Quebec City
- Jacques Leclerc, Info-Culture

Music Review: Victoria Symphony delivers bold, diverse program
- Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen

New Frontier in Classical Music
- Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail

Maestra Retells Immigrant Story
- William Littler, Toronto Star

Maestros All Over The Map
- John Keillor, The Ottawa Citizen

10 Years of Tania Miller in Victoria
- Bill Rankin, La Scena Musicale

Tania Miller - Victoria Symphony 75th Legacy Tour

Media, reviews and articles - April 2016

- Natasha Gauthier
Music Review: Victoria Symphony delivers bold, diverse program

Victoria Symphony

At Southam Hall

The Victoria Symphony is celebrating its 75th season with its first-ever cross-Canada tour. Friday saw them performing at the NAC, the penultimate stop before they head home to B.C.

The evening opened with a brand new work written for the symphony by Montreal composer Michael Oesterle. Entr'actes is a programmatic piece, meant to depict the chatter and activity of a concert intermission. With its steady, rhythmic impulsion and hummable themes, it's accessible, if predictable. It's also somewhat episodic; the material is intriguing, but lacks consistent development. However, the work's restless nature and evocative depictions would make a good ballet score.

Tania MIller, the orchestra's artistic director, has a crisp, no-nonsense style on the podium. Her body language is taut, economical but not minimalist, a little angular, always supremely direct and clear.

Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear is the guest soloist accompanying the orchestra on tour. Goodyear's well-established reputation as a virtuoso powerhouse was cemented again in the Grieg Concerto. He doesn't always have the loveliest sound: it's gigantic, but can also get dry and choppy. The lyrical melancholy of this work wasn't terribly well served, particularly in the second movement, even though the orchestra took you on a walk through the dark cool of a Nordic forest. But Goodyear's velocity, his ferocious attack, his spotlessly clean fingerwork were all turned out to impress.

It was the orchestra's turn to shine in the second half, with two meaty works chosen to show off both the versatility of the ensemble and the individual quality of the principals.

It can be unfair to judge an orchestra's sound when the hall isn't home ice. Section placement is tricky in Southam Hall. It's never advantageous to have cellos on the outside here, and putting the percussion right behind the first violins was perhaps not the best arrangement.

Still, Copland's Appalachian Spring achieved a wide-skied luminosity, the brass and woodwinds like bright shafts of sunlight floating over the warm earthiness of the strings. There were sensitive, finely-hewn solos from principal flute Richard Volet, principal clarinet Keith MacLeod, and quietly effective concertmaster Terence Tam.

But if the Copland was satisfying, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite was a revelation: a massive, two-ton sound, spectacular brass, electrifying strings, verve and passion and volcanic energy. Who knew such a vehemently Russian performance could come out of prim Victoria?

- Jacques Leclerc
Music Review: Victoria Symphony

Palais Montcalm Quebec City


The Palais Montcalm audience fell in love with the Victoria Symphony

Celebrating their 75th year in British Columbia, this Canadian orchestra is on tour in cities of note including a concert in Quebec. Integrated into the Orchestra symphonique de Quebec season, this concert had a well structured program that was well received on this spring evening March 29, 2016. Made up of sixty musicians, the Victoria Symphony imposes like a large, important orchestra, very significant in the Canadian orchestral scene.

At Palais Montcalm, music lovers were virtually seduced by the high level of music from the orchestra. Moreover, the varied program presented was designed to make us appreciate the quality of the orchestra very well.

As a first piece, the Victoria Symphony - who often commission and play living composers - played Entr'actes, a world premiere by Michael Oesterle, a very active composer in Canada who was born in Germany and immigrated here in 1982. This work was quite contemporary in its structure, presenting the juxtaposition of different musical attitudes and atmospheres. Here the orchestra immediately showed its aptitude in a solid interpretation.

For the second work of the evening, Toronto pianist and composer Stewart Goodyear joined the orchestra. He was to play the famous Piano Concerto in A Major by Edward Grieg. Communication between the pianist and the orchestra was perfect. About the pianist - what strength, power, and intensity. Virtuosity demands a sense of nuance and a commanding play, and we had that in Mr. Goodyear. He is without doubt among the best pianists in Canada. His Juilliard School diploma gives the impression of being at the highest level. And after the first movement of the three in the concerto, the audience applauded warmly.

In the second half of the evening, the orchestra played Appalachian Spring by Copland. This large and grandiose orchestral suite was played magnificently. Then, as a finale, they played the magnificent and spectacular ballet suite Stravinsky's Firebird. Six movements were played perfectly by the mature orchestra, and made the evening at Palais Montcalm.

The Victoria Symphony has been under the direction of Tania Miller for the past 13 years. She has a presence full of energy, grace, precision and restraint. She is integral t the orchestra. At certain moments, it seemed that she took flight with the fire and energy of the music. All the while underscoring he connection to and pride in the musicians.

At the end of the concert the audience didn't hold back their applause and bravos. In short, the evening was a great discovery of classical music from the west of Canada.