She’s played all over the world but violinist Carissa Klopoushak says her most memorable show will always be the first time she played on the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra stage with the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra (SYO).
“I was 12 and I remember we played Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and it remains my favourite piece to date because it was the best experience.”
It’s the memories of the early years and a commitment to home that has Klopoushak coming back for the SSO’s Homecoming this Saturday. The show will feature three Saskatoon stars as they share the stage with symphony players and the youth orchestra. Klopoushak, now a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, will perform Canadian Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Joining the party will be Ryan Cole, principal trumpet for the
Victoria Symphony, making his SSO debut with a concerto written just for him. Composer and conductor William Rowson will lead the SSO and the SYO as they perform Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances.
“We all come from the same place,” says Rowson about why he wanted to take part. “I grew up in this musical community. I first met my wife playing with the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra; I was 12, she was 9. This concert is a chance to come back home and provide the best musical experience possible to a new generation of musicians.”
“This concert is a chance to come back home and provide the best musical experience possible to a new generation of musicians.”
For Cole, it’s all about connection, “All the players in the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra were my mentors and teachers. I still talk to them today, get advice and help. Most of these musicians are the same players as when I was there. It’s really motivating to see everyone again and get to make music with them.”
It’s the kind of collaboration and celebration the SSO had in mind for Homecoming.
“This is an opportunity for the young musicians and also for their family and friends to see what’s possible in the world of classical music,” says executive director Mark Turner. “Being able to show that classical music is a calling, that they can have a career as a professional musician. It’s really important to the future of our orchestra and the Canadian music scene.”
Klopoushak says this performance is a chance for her to give back to fellow musicians as well as the community that helped her grow as an artist.
“That full circle aspect is incredibly important to me. I was raised in this community and we have a wealth of musical talent.” She says, “It always feels great to come back.”