October 18, 2023 – The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) honours Remembrance Day this year with our third concert of the season, Sibelius & Dvořák on Saturday, November 11 at 7:30pm. We welcome Canadian violinist Kerson Leong as soloist in Sibeilus’ hauntingly beautiful Violin Concerto and look forward to working with Jacob Joyce as this concert’s guest conductor. A world premiere by HPO Composer Fellow Paul Kawabe opens the concert with a unique reflection his Japanese family’s experience during World War II, and the evening ends with Dvořák’s emotionally charged Seventh Symphony. We are also delighted to welcome the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Band (RHLI) for a special performance at intermission on the mezzanine level in honour of Remembrance Day. 

Kerson Leong has been described as “not just one of Canada’s greatest violinists but one of the greatest violinists, period” (Toronto Star). Forging a unique path since his First Prize win at the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in 2010, he continues to win over colleagues and audiences alike with “a mixture of spontaneity and mastery, elegance, fantasy, intensity that makes his sound recognizable from the first notes” (Le Monde). 

“Kerson is a deeply feeling, powerfully virtuosic soloist who is perfectly suited to rouse a romantic storm in the Sibelius Violin Concerto,” says Music Director Gemma New, who collaborated with Leong and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra during their 2022-23 season. “I’m so happy to introduce our HPO musicians and audiences to Kerson, as I sense everyone is going to feel exhilarated by this performance!” 

The Sibelius Violin Concerto draws inspiration from the Finnish winter and embraces themes of darkness, mirroring our own passage into the colder months here at home. Equally stormy in nature is Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, composed in a trying time in the composer’s life and full of yearning, passion and patriotism. 

This being our Remembrance Day concert, we are honoured to present a deeply meaningful world premiere by one of this season’s Composer Fellows in our under-25-years-old category, Paul Kawabe. His work Seven Thousand Paper Cranes reflects his feelings after a lifetime of hearing the stories of his grandparents’ experience in Japanese internment camp in Canada during World War II. 

Guest conductor Jacob Joyce is quickly gaining recognition as a dynamic and innovative presence on the podium. He is currently Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Music Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and was previously Resident Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. 

Adult tickets start at $35, senior tickets start at $30 and youth tickets are just $20 (all prices indicated do not include taxes and fees). Subscriptions packages are also available. Visit hpo.org for tickets and information. 

Sibelius & Dvořák 
November 11, 2023 at 7:30pm 

Jacob Joyce, Conductor 
Kerson Leong, Violin  

Paul Kawabe (23-24 Composer Fellow), Seven Thousand Paper Cranes* 
Sibelius, Violin Concerto 
Dvorák, Symphony No. 7 

*World premiere 

Rising Canadian virtuoso Kerson Leong performs Sibelius’ haunting and mysterious Violin Concerto, which seeks beauty in the dark depths of Nordic winter. Dvorák’s emotionally charged Symphony No. 7 overflows with intense patriotism for the composer’s birth nation. 

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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. 

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