Spotlight on our soloists 

One of the major highlights of this year was featuring many HPO musicians as soloists. First, Concertmaster Stephen Sitarski took centre stage for Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, followed two weeks later by Principal Second Violin Bethany Bergman’s virtuosic solo in Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. The 21-22 Season ended with Principal Clarinet Dominic Desautels as soloist for Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. It was a joy for our musicians and community to celebrate the talent within our own orchestra! Other phenomenal musicians that joined us in 2022 included Daniel Hsu for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Canadian soloists Yi-Jia Susanne Hou for Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Cameron Crozman for Dvorak’s Cello Concerto No. 1. 

Be our Guest 

A number of outstanding vocalists performed with the HPO this year, starting in the spring with Dee Daniels and her tribute to the great legends of swing, followed by our collaboration with Estonian choir Collegium Musicale at The Cotton Factory. We closed this year by sharing the stage with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (HPYO) and Hamilton Children’s Choir at our annual holiday concert and collaborated with Bach Elgar Choir to present Handel’s Messiah, featuring soloists Meredith Hall, Jennifer Enns Modolo, Benjamin Butterfield, and Giles Tomkins.

In October, we welcomed Indigenous artists at FirstOntario Concert Hall, starting with Award-winning singer Jeremy Dutcher who performed works off his Juno award winning debut album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, arrangements for orchestra by Lucas Waldin, the program’s conductor. Jeremy also performed brand-new works arranged by acclaimed Canadian composer Owen Pallett and premiered with the HPO! 

A week later, our family concert The Spirit Horse Returns brought a beautiful blend of music, artwork, and storytelling that shed light on the little-known history of the Ojibwe ponies in our region. We were honoured to be joined by many of the creators of the production including horn player and narrator Ken MacDonald, singer and storyteller Jodi Contin, and visual artist Rhonda Snow, as well as volunteers from the Ojibwe Horse Society, local Indigenous Elders and the Strong Water Singers who performed before the concert. These very special collaborations brought us closer to local Indigenous community members, lost stories and our collective history.

Championing new music in 2022

The HPO is a proud presenter of contemporary music and this year we were thrilled to premiere many new works including commissions from the HPO: Juliet Palmer’s firebreak, and Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s The Path Illuminates, a work celebrating 10 years as HPO Composer-in-Residence 

As part of our Composer Fellowship Program led by Composer-in-Residence, Abigail Richarson Schulte, we premiered brilliant new works by fellows Maria Eduarda Mendes Martins, Arie Verheul van de Ven and Matthias McIntire.  

Our Intimate & Immersive, new music concerts featured premieres from fellows Cadu Verdan and Luis Ramirez – who’s work just won first-ever Morelia Orchestral Composition Competition, a nationwide competition from the state of Michoacan in Mexico! These two evenings were made even more magical by the stunning art installations created by Hamilton-based visual artists Andrew O’Connor and Amy McIntosh that brought the music to life.  

The next generation of musicians

2022 was our inaugural year of the Women in Musical Leadership program. A national Conducting Fellowship for Canadian women led by Tapestry Opera and music-based organizations across the country. This year, Music Director, Gemma New mentored two talented early career conductors, Jennifer Tung and Juliane Gallant

We were so delighted to have David Willms join our team as HPYO Music Director and to have our youth musicians return to in-person rehearsals and concerts. The HPYO finished their year with an outstanding concert in November, followed by a beloved HPO tradition – their side-by-side performance at our annual holiday concert. This is a beautiful occasion for our young musicians to experience playing with the pros! 

Beyond the concert hall 

This year we returned to in-person community engagements with free performances with our partners at Hamilton and Burlington Public Libraries, City Housing Hamilton, Hamilton festivals like Supercrawl and Festival of Friends, and our combined HPYO and HPO Brass Quintet at CF Lime Ridge’s annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Wellbeing, accessibility and education are top priorities at the HPO, making this return to community performances and in-school workshops with An Instrument for Every Child even more special. 

A Message from Gemma New: 

You can help make 2023 a musical year in #HamOnt with a donation that will go toward our community programming. All donations received by December 31 will be matched by a generous donor.  

Thank you for contributing to wellbeing in Hamilton through accessible music for all.