Hamilton, ON – Under the artistic leadership of Music Director Gemma New, the HPO is thrilled to announce our 20-21 concert season. The HPO has crafted a season that celebrates the enduring spirit of music and highlights the skill and dedication of our musicians.

We begin 20-21 with The Hamilton Series, a collection of monthly online broadcasts featuring virtuosic solos and compelling ensemble performances. In this series, HPO musicians perform works that they personally selected in well-known venues throughout our community. Produced by media partner Banko Media in collaboration with our artistic team, each broadcast also features insightful interviews to create a deeper understanding and appreciation of the works.

The Hamilton Series begins on a celebratory note with the broadcast of Joyful Mozart on
September 26, which highlights the celebrated composer’s melodies and signature style in works for winds and strings. October’s Whimsical Woodwinds features a unique gathering of
our principal woodwind players performing solo works and woodwind quintets. The HPO strings perform a moving program of works by Russian composers in November’s Reflections from Russia. The warmth and joy of our brass section is on full display on December 19 for Holiday with the HPO Brass. The Hamilton Series concludes in January with A New Year’s Celebration, featuring both woodwind and string quintets in a performance of spirited works by Dvořák and Tchaikovsky.

February 20, 2021 marks the beginning of our Concert Hall Series, which sees our core musicians safely return to the FirstOntario Concert Hall stage to perform as a full orchestra. We begin with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons conducted by Gemma New and featuring Associate Concertmaster Lance Ouellette and Principal Second Violin Bethany Bergman as soloists. This concert will be part of our annual Composer Festival celebrating Vivaldi through online community engagements. Concertmaster Stephen Sitarksi takes the conductor’s baton in March for Beethoven’s Eighth. In April we explore work inspired by the rich musical sounds of South America in Postcards from Buenos Aires. On June 5, Mozart & Strauss features Principal Clarinet Dominic Desautels’ debut as an HPO soloist in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

June 2021 also sees the return of our Intimate & Immersive series, curated by Gemma New with a focus on works by living Canadian composers. Online episodes of the popular Talk and Tea series will also be available, with Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte offering insights into the music programmed in the Concert Hall Series.

All 20-21 concerts will be broadcast online, allowing ticket holders to watch concerts on their computer, smart TV, tablet or smartphone. Concerts will become available to view on the published broadcast date and may be viewed any time in the following 30 days. We are excited to offer a choice of two online broadcast packages for subscribers to view our concerts and receive exclusive benefits. The All Access package provides subscribers access to 17 online broadcasts, while the Flex Five package allows subscribers to choose any five of this season’s performances. Patrons may also purchase online access to single concerts at this time.

Depending on public health regulations, concerts in our Concert Hall Series may be opened to the public to attend with physical distancing measures in place. Subscribers with online broadcast packages will have first access to tickets to live concerts in the 20-21 Season.

For more information about our 20-21 Season, please visit https://staginghpo.wpengine.com/.

HPO 20-21 Season


September 26, 2020
Online Broadcast

Leslie Newman, Flute
Aleh Remezau, Oboe
Elizabeth Loewen Andrews, Violin
Cecilia Chang, Violin
Elspeth Thomson, Viola
Laura Jones, Cello

Mozart: Flute Quartet No. 1 in D major
Telemann: Sonata for Two Violins in D major
Mozart: Oboe Quartet in F major

Join the HPO for a celebratory opening of the 20-21 Season! Our exciting first performance opens with the familiar melodies of Mozart’s Flute Quartet No. 1. Telemann’s Sonata in D major illustrates elegance and balance through fluid counterpoint. Mozart’s Oboe Quartet offers the composer’s signature style, presenting lyrical melodies to bring our opening night to a jubilant close.


October 17, 2020
Online Broadcast

Leslie Newman, Flute
Aleh Remezau, Oboe
Dominic Desautels, Clarinet
Eric Hall, Bassoon
Jessie Brooks, Horn

Alison Yun-Fei Jiang: On Light and Birds*
Barber: Summer Music
Solo works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, Tomasi and others.

Hear the brilliance of our orchestra’s principal woodwind players in this rich, intimate performance. Each player presents great works of the solo repertoire for their instrument, including pieces by Stravinsky, Poulenc and Tomasi. Two beautiful woodwind quintets follow: Canadian composer Alison Yun-Fei Jiang’s On Light and Birds, which imitates the movements of flocks, and Barber’s Summer Music,
which evokes a playful, bluesy atmosphere.


November 14, 2020
Online Broadcast

Bethany Bergman, Violin
Suhashini Arulanandam, Violin
Stephen Sitarski, Violin
Tamara Hrycak, Violin
Chau Luk, Viola
Laura Jones, Cello

Prokofiev: Sonata for Two Violins
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8
Works for solo violin by J.S. Bach and others.

The HPO strings perform a moving program of works by Russian composers living during the Cold War. Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins displays the expressive potential of the instrument, using the range of the violin’s palette. Written during Stalin’s repressive regime, Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 serves as a powerful autobiographical work expressing the composer’s emotional state at the time it was composed.


December 19, 2020
Online Broadcast

Michael Fedyshyn, Trumpet
Mary Jay, Trumpet
Jessie Brooks, Horn
David Pell, Trombone
Jennifer Stephen, Tuba

The HPO Brass Quintet performs festive favourites to bring holiday cheer! Enjoy carols, holiday classics and excerpts from Handel’s Messiah performed by our formidable brass section. Gather with family and friends to join in this HPO tradition that will brighten the spirit and warm the soul.


January 23, 2021
Online Broadcast

Vivian Minden, Flute
Nancy Nelson, Oboe
Michele Verheul, Clarinet
Melanie Eyers, Bassoon
Neil Spaulding, Horn
Lyssa Pelton, Violin
Philip Sarabura, Violin
Brandon Chui, Viola
Laura Jones, Cello
Robert Wolanski, Bass

Dvořák: String Quintet No. 2
Tchaikovsky: Three Dances for woodwind quintet
…and other favourites from the woodwind quintet collection

As we enter the New Year, we offer a cheerful celebration with two HPO ensembles, the woodwind quintet and string quintet! Flowing and free-spirited, Dvořák’s String Quintet No. 2 sets out on an expansive romantic musical journey. From buoyant and bright to contemplative moments, this work offers expressive beauty from beginning to joyous conclusion.


February 20, 2021
Online Broadcast

Gemma New, Conductor
Lance Ouellette, Violin
Bethany Bergman, Violin
Stravinsky: Danses Concertantes

Juliet Palmer: fire break*
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Experience Vivaldi’s timeless masterpiece. Associate Concertmaster Lance Ouellette and Principal Second Violin Bethany Bergman are soloists in The Four Seasons, a work that has resonated for centuries with its vivid depictions of nature. New Zealand-Canadian composer Juliet Palmer’s fire break also draws on rich sounds inspired by the natural world, while Stravinsky’s Danses Concertantes brings together baroque style with the influences of big band, jazz, and Hollywood glamour.


March 20, 2021
Online Broadcast

Stephen Sitarski, Conductor
Jessie Brooks, Horn
Lawrence Wiliford, Tenor

Bruckner: Three Pieces for Orchestra
Andrew Balfour: Kiwetin- acahkos (North Star)*
Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8

Concertmaster Stephen Sitarski takes the stage as guest conductor, presenting works that evoke the beauty of nightfall. Canadian tenor Lawrence Wiliford joins Principal Horn Jessie Brooks to perform Britten’s Serenade, a setting of poems on the calm and mystery of night. Following the charming melodies of Bruckner’s Three Pieces for Orchestra, Andrew Balfour’s Kiwetin-acahkos draws on the stars and northern lights for inspiration. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 offers energy and invention, closing the evening with the composer’s light-hearted side.


April 24, 2021
Online Broadcast

Gemma New, Conductor
Stephen Sitarski, Violin

Milhaud: Le Boeuf sur la toit
Piazzolla (arr. Desyatnikov): The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
HPO 20-21 Composer Fellow: New Work*
Ginastera: Variaciones Concertantes
Concertmaster Stephen Sitarski takes on the virtuosic solo of Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, which offers a rhythmic, Argentinian take on its namesake. Experience the whimsy of Milhaud’s Brasilian-inspired Le Boeuf sur la toit, along with a new work by one of our two 20-21 Composer Fellows. Ginastera’s Variaciones Concerantes lends drama and passion, highlighting the colours and expressive power of each section within our orchestra.


June 5, 2021
Online Broadcast

Gemma New, Conductor
Dominic Desautels, Clarinet

HPO 20-21 Composer Fellow: New Work*
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto
R. Strauss: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

Principal Clarinet Dominic Desautels makes his debut as an HPO soloist in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, a masterpiece of the repertoire that showcases the lyricism and virtuosity of the instrument. Hear a new work by one of our two 20-21 Composer Fellows, composed following six months of mentorship with Gemma New and Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte. Richard Strauss’ delightful Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme brings the evening to a spirited close.


These specially curated programs by Music Director Gemma New highlight fresh and exciting works by living composers.

June 16, 2021
Online Broadcast

Gemma New, Conductor

Roydon Tse: Down the Rabbit Hole*
Jeffrey Ryan: Earthshine*
Andrew Clark: Heliacal Rising*+
James O’Callaghan: The Earth, Split Open*
Jessie Montgomery: Starburst
Norbert Palej: Rorate Coeli*

Experience works that revel in the wonder of our earth and the universe. The HPO strings explore light and shadow in Jeffrey Ryan’s Earthshine and shifting colours in Jessie Montogomery’s Starburst. Andrew Clark’s Heliacal Rising depicts rising over the horizon, while Roydon Tse’s Down the Rabbit Hole captures the sensation of falling. James O’Callaghan’s The Earth, Split Open imitates quaking and eruption through string gestures. The ethereal sounds of Palej’s Rorate Coeli close this concert. This concert is part of the Intimate & Immersive series, which is specially curated by Music Director Gemma New to highlight fresh and exciting works by living composers.


June 30, 2021
Online Broadcast

Gemma New, Conductor

Luis Ramirez: New Work*+
Paul Frehner: Voluptuous Panic*
Kelly-Marie Murphy: Dragon Unfolding *
Abigail Richardson-Schulte: Downstream*
Jordan Pal: On the Double: Concert Overture*

Music Director Gemma New conducts works driven by movement. Paul Frehner’s Voluptuous Panic sets visceral excitement to musical form while Kelly-Marie Murphy’s Dragon Unfolding portrays the drama of an origami dragon rising and taking flight. Luis Ramirez’s new work evokes an Aztec deity emerging from an ancient temple. The flow of water over Webster’s Falls inspires Abigail Richardson Schulte’s Downstream, while Jordan Pal’s On the Double offers a bright and heroic end to the evening.

* Canadian composer
+ 19-20 HPO Composer Fellow


Enjoy a fascinating talk on the lives and music of great composers from your home – the perfect pairing for an afternoon tea! Hosted by Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte, each online Talk and Tea presentation accompanies an HPO concert this season. With intriguing stories and musical examples throughout, these entertaining talks offer insights into the works you’ll hear our musicians perform in our Concert Hall Series.

February 2021: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
March 2021: Beethoven’s Eighth
April 2021: Postcards from Buenos Aires
May 2021: Mozart & Strauss
June 2021: Earthshine
June 2021: Dragon Unfolding

Twitter: @H_P_O
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About the HPO: The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1884 as The Hamilton Orchestral Society and grew to become one of Canada’s major professional orchestras. Today, the HPO is a leader in Hamilton’s robust arts community where it provides professional orchestral services and music education programs to address the needs of the community. The HPO continues to commission and premiere works and is one of the artistic jewels of the Hamilton area. The combined musical talents of its artists continue to enrich the community and enhance the quality of life for its residents.

Media Contacts:
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Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra
905.526.1677 x226

Megan Nourse
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Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra
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