HPO launches fall season on 50th anniversary of First Ontario Concert Hall
(Music Director Gemma New’s farewell season)
by John Best, Bay Observer
As the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra launches its 2023-24 season on Saturday, September 23 at 7:30pm, Music Director Gemma New leads an evening of Schumann and Mendelssohn, one of three concerts she will conduct in this her ninth and final season as HPO Music Director
The concert also celebrates the 50th anniversary of FirstOntario Concert Hall, formerly Hamilton Place, which opened on September 22, 1973, with a month-long festival. Audience members will be able to take a trip back in time through a memorabilia and photo exhibition in the Concert Hall mezzanine that shares stories of the building’s origins and development, key figures in its creation, vintage photos, 1970s concert program images and newspaper articles as well as a four-page spread in our concert program.
“More than 50 years ago the people of Hamilton had a vision to establish a place to share world-class music, theatre and dance,” says HPO Executive Director, Kim Varian. “Today, FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place), is just that – a jewel in Hamilton’s arts and culture scene and a special place for all the enjoy. The September 23 opening concert showcases outstanding new musical talent and the HPO’s commitment to mentorship and fostering emerging artists.”
The season will open with the world premiere of Scherzo by Hamilton native Liam Ritz. The first HPO Composer Fellow (2018/19), Ritz was mentored by HPO Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte while he was a high school student and studied composition with her again at the University of Toronto.
Tony Siqi Yun takes centre stage as soloist for Schumann’s Piano Concerto. The acclaimed Canadian-born pianist was the First Prize Winner and Gold Medalist at the First China International Music Competition in 2019.
The evening closes with Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony. No. 3, a vivid work inspired by the life and times of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mendelssohn and Schumann are also connected through mentorship as the former worked closely with Schumann to help him in writing and re-writing his compositions.
Women in Musical Leadership Conductor Fellow Jennifer Tung will join HPO as Assistant Conductor for a week of mentorship with Gemma New. Jennifer Tung is the artistic director of Toronto City Opera and assistant conductor of the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra.
Adult tickets start at $35, senior tickets start at $30 and youth tickets are just $20 (fees and taxes not included). Subscription packages are also available. Visit hpo.org for tickets and information.