April 23, 2024 – The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) is proud to present Intimate & Immersive: Suspended Doorways on Wednesday May 1 at The Cotton Factory, as well as Gemma Conducts Beethoven 9 on Saturday May 4 at FirstOntario Concert Hall. This action-packed week featuring an Intimate & Immersive and a mainstage concert will be the last conducted by Gemma New as HPO’s Music Director.  

Gemma shares this message with our patrons “It seems we have found the perfect way to celebrate a beautiful nine years together; through highlighting brilliant music by composers of our time and completing the week with the magnificent Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th. It continues to be deeply rewarding to learn about the rich talent of Canadian voices and in May we will dive into the sound worlds of Michael Maevskiy, Saman Shahi, Quinn Jacobs, Ana Sokolovic, Cecilia Livingston, Cris Derksen, Brian Current, Andrew Balfour and Claude Vivier – such a phenomenal line up! The last two reflect upon themes that also are dealt with in Beethoven 9, while the rest create an Intimate and Immersive evening exploring what it is to interact with one another through life and spirituality.” 

She reminisces, “My very first week with the orchestra highlighted a new work by Abigail Richardson-Schulte and Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony. Ever since our first rehearsal, I have admired the dedication and strength of our HPO musicians and staff and I have cherished our evident joy and passion felt as we make music together. The message of Beethoven 9’s Ode to Joy relates well to our journey together, reflecting upon the uplifting power created when we unite harmoniously, hand-in-hand, and acknowledging the sense of humility and awe as we listen to this music that speaks of emotion, life and our miraculous world.” 

Gemma New first joined the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra nine years ago and has elevated the organization with her brilliant programming and new music initiatives like the new music concert series Intimate & Immersive (I&I). The Intimate & Immersive: Suspended Doorways, features world premieres by HPO Composer Fellow Michael Maevskiy and Canadian composer Dr. Quinn Jacobs along with works from the Canadian Opera Company’s Composer-in-Residence Cecelia Livingston, internationally renowned composer Ana Sokolovic and JUNO-award nominees Cris Derkson and Saman Shahi. 

The HPO Intimate & Immersive series provides a unique experience where multimedia artists work alongside the orchestra to bring contemporary music to live, elevating the listing experience with captivating visuals.  We are proud to partner with multidisciplinary artist Diana VanderMeulen for the May 1 program. Diana focuses on extended reality and cyclical material use as she develops expansive multisensory environments, switching between analogue and digital mediums. She will transform The Cotton Factory to create a unique experience for audience members while they enjoy an evening of contemporary music. 

Gemma Conducts Beethoven 9 is a celebration of Gemma’s nine years as Music Director. Beginning with Andrew Balfour’s Mamachimowin exploring the relationship between Canada and the First Nations, followed by Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child for orchestra and soprano, and concluding with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and its epic choral finale, Ode to Joy! The program features a lineup of four soloists and four choirs boasting a total of more than 120 singers, from across the city. 

As part of concert week on Friday, May 3 at 11AM, get closer to the orchestra and the stories behind the music at Talk & Tea: Beethoven & Vivier. Enjoy light refreshments while host, Abigail Richardson-Schulte shares stories and insights about the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Canadian composer Claude Vivier before your last chance for a behind-the-scenes look at a rehearsal with HPO Music Director Gemma New. 

To continue celebrating with Gemma after I&I and Beethoven 9, join your HPO for a special fundraiser titled Dine in the Spotlight in support of music education programs in schools and the community. Your all-inclusive ticket includes a chef-curated 3-course dinner with wine pairings, an opportunity to bid on exciting auction items and outstanding performances by HPO and HPYO musicians. This event will be hosted by HPO Music Director Gemma New, Executive Director Kim Varian and Board Chair Heather Beale. Purchase a single ticket or a table of 8 and be a part of the HPO’s inspired future. 

Gemma Conducts Beethoven 9
May 4, 2024 at 7:30PM  

Gemma New, Conductor

Carla Huhtanen, Soprano

Lauren Segal, Mezzo-Soprano 

Lawrence Wiliford, Tenor 

Alexander Dobson, Baritone 

Bach Elgar Choir 

Strata Vocal Ensemble 

Masterworks of Oakville 

Georgetown Bach Chorale 


  • Andrew Balfour, Mamachimowin
  • Claude Vivier, Lonely Child 
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 9

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About the HPO: For over a century, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has presented orchestral music and education programs with a mission to enrich the wellbeing of the greater Hamilton region. Music Director Gemma New and the professional musicians of the HPO present dynamic orchestral performances ranging from standard classical repertoire to popular music and world premieres by living composers. As one of Canada’s leading professional orchestras, the HPO has proudly contributed to the shaping of Hamilton’s cultural landscape and continues to uphold values of high calibre, inclusive and accessible orchestral music and education for all. 

Media Contacts: 

Sarah Chadwick
Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 
905.526.1677 x 211