Stars return home for SSO’s Sask Celebration

Is it something in the water? There’s an incredibly long list of talented musicians that come from this place we call home. The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to putting many of them center stage and will do just that in Sask Celebration.

“When I go into a rehearsal there’s an immediate connection with prairie people.”

Conductor William Rowson is excited to lead the all-star lineup in Sask Celebration. (Photo Provided)

Conductor William Rowson grew up in Saskatoon and says no matter where he performs, there always seems to be a discussion about this province and it’s artists.

“I work all over the country and this province just produces great performers,” says Rowson. I’ve heard often in projects, ‘We just need to get one of those Saskatchewan people on it and just get it done!’ When I go into a rehearsal there’s an immediate connection with prairie people.”

“Music making is so much more special when it’s connected to the community I know and love.”

Pianist Godwin Friesen has been making waves all over the world winning the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition (2023) with the Rillian Trio and the OSM Competition (2022) for his solo performance of Prokofiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto. It’s the latter that he’s excited to bring to the SSO stage for this concert.

Godwin Friesen credits Saskatoon for giving him his start as a professional musician. (Photo Provided)

“For me, music making is so much more special when it’s connected to the community I know and love,” says Friesen. “Saskatoon was where I spent my formative years as a pianist studying with Bonnie Nicholson. It’s where I was launched as a pianist.”

Artist Andrew Kesler says there’s no better place than home to debut his new work. (Guy Michelmore)

This performance is also the premiere of a brand new work, Suite for the Prairies, by Saskatoon-born composer Andrew Kesler. The Grammy-nominated arranger took advantage of the time he had isolated at his family cabin in Northern Saskatchewan during the pandemic.

“It was such a change from life in LA. The whole world slowed down and I was inspired getting reacquainted with the landscape I grew up with,” says Kesler. “There’s really no better place to have the premiere because Saskatchewan was my muse.”

The program will also include an artist that now calls Saskatoon home. Violinist Véronique Mathieu is the David Kaplan Chair of Strings at the University of Saskatchewan. She will perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto.

“I’ve had this date circled on my calendar for a year now,” says Rowson. “There’s a pull of the prairies, it’s my roots and an incredible place to perform. Showcasing Saskatchewan talent makes me so proud of the place we call home.”


Saturday March 23


TCU Place

Tickets $45 – $93

*This performance is also available at $21

For more information and tickets follow this link.


Global News Morning
Véronique Mathieu Interview

Global News Morning
Véronique Mathieu Performance

CTV News Saskatoon
(at 24:57)

Music Talk at McNally
Sask Celebration

CBC Radio Saskatoon Morning
Andrew Kesler

William Rowson Interview with Joey Zhuang

CTV News Saskatoon
After Hours (at 29:00)

CBC Radio-Canada
Pour faire un monde