Hamilton, ON – Following 18 months without an audience, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) is thrilled to announce the return of live performances at FirstOntario Concert Hall this Fall. The 21-22 Season will be released in two parts, with tickets for Fall 2021 concerts available to the public beginning September 10.

The Fall portion of the 21-22 Season runs from September through December, featuring full-orchestra performances at FirstOntario Concert Hall, concerts in the community and opportunities to view concerts online. “My seventh season with this fantastic orchestra will be one filled with joy and celebration as we reunite once more to share live music together,” says Music Director Gemma New, “Featuring renowned Canadian soloists and HPO musicians alike, our concerts will renew our spirit through works that move us and inspire.”

The orchestra marks its return to FirstOntario Concert Hall with a Free Community Concert with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra on September 25,coinciding with the beginning of Ontario Culture Days. All Hamiltonians are welcome to this free full-orchestra concert. HPO Concertmaster Stephen Sitarski conducts music by Mozart, Haydn and Joseph Bologne, featuring HPO violinist Lyssa Pelton as soloist. The concert will be available to watch via live stream for free on HPO’s YouTube channel.

September and October also see HPO performances in venues around the region. September’s The Joy of Beethoven features HPO musicians performing sunny and lyrical works for strings in small ensembles at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Guest conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser leads the orchestra in October’s Haydn & Mendelssohnwhich sees HPO oboe and English horn player Nancy Nelson and Principal Trumpet Michael Fedyshyn as soloists in Copland’s Quiet City. The Intimate & Immersive Series returns to The Cotton Factory in October with Earthshinea concert pairing celestial-themed works by Canadian composers with visuals created by Hamilton artist Andrew O’Connor.

Concerts resume at FirstOntario Concert Hall in November with Beethoven’s Eighth. Under the baton of HPO Concertmaster Stephen Sitarski, celebrated Canadian tenor Lawrence Wilford and HPO Principal Horn Jessie Brooks join the orchestra as soloists in Britten’s Serenade. This concert also features music by Canadian composer Andrew Balfour, Bruckner and Beethoven. December sees the return of an HPO winter tradition, Hometown Holidays. Guest conductor Thomas Le Duc-Moreau leads the orchestra in carols, festive holiday favourites and the premiere of Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s Making Light.

In addition to in-person concerts, the Free Community Concert, Beethoven’s Eighth and Hometown Holidays will be available to view online via the HPO’s broadcast platform. These concerts may be viewed on concert night via live stream or any time on demand in the following 14 days. All ticket holders for the aforementioned concerts will receive access to online viewing options. Patrons will also have the option to purchase online viewing access only.

Single tickets for our Fall 2021 concerts are available for purchase by the general public beginning September 10 and will be sold in groups of one, two and four. Concerts will be approximately one hour in length with no intermission. Ticketholders will receive notice of concert health and safety protocols, including providing proof for full vaccination and wearing a mask. A six-foot distance will be maintained between the seats of each household, and guidelines of the Province of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen will be followed in all venues.

“The health and safety of our patrons, musicians and staff remain a top priority,” says Executive Director Kim Varian, “We continue to monitor guidance provided by the Province, the City and our venue partners at Spectra Entertainment and will keep our ticketholders informed of updates.”

The announcement of 2022 concerts will follow later in the Fall.


HPO Fall 2021 Concerts

The Joy of Beethoven 
September 17 at 7:30pm
Royal Botanical Gardens Rock Garden

Stephen Sitarski, Conductor

Beethoven: Sonata in F major Op. 10, No. 2 (arr. Sitarski)
Thea Musgrave: Orfeo III
Grieg: String Quartet No. 2 in F Major

We welcome the Fall with this collection of musical gems that share optimism and joy. HPO musicians are featured in chamber ensembles, showcasing the lyricism and vibrancy of their instruments. The HPO String Quartet performs an arrangement of Beethoven’s sunny Piano Sonata in F major along with Grieg’s charming String Quartet No. 2. Musgrave’s Orfeo III offers an escape through an imaginative sound world.


Free Community Concert with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra
September 25 at 2pm
FirstOntario Concert Hall

Free event, registration required
Livestream and on-demand viewing available

Stephen Sitarski, Conductor
Lyssa Pelton, Violin

Haydn: Symphony No. 83, Mvt IV
Joseph Bologne: Symphony No. 2 in D Major
Gossec: Symphony in C minor, Op. 6, No. 3, Mvt I
Joseph Bologne: Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, No. 2, Mvt II
Mozart: Symphony No. 35, “Haffner”, Mvt IV

To celebrate our city and show our appreciation to the Hamilton community, we open the doors of FirstOntario Concert Hall and invite all Hamiltonians to join us for a free full-orchestra concert. After a year and half apart, the HPO musicians return to the stage once more to present a concert of bright and beautiful works to be enjoyed by all. Join us live in the hall or watch online!


Haydn & Mendelssohn 
October 14 at 7:30pm
The Cotton Factory

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, Conductor
Nancy Nelson, English Horn
Michael Fedyshyn, Trumpet

Mendelssohn: String Symphony No. 10 in B minor
Copland: Quiet City for solo trumpet, solo English horn and strings
Keiko Devaux: ebb
Haydn: Symphony No.71 in B-flat major

These expressive works journey from stormy unrest to softness and tranquility. Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 10written at the age of 14, showcases the passion and sophistication of the young composer. HPO oboe and English horn player Nancy Nelson along with Principal Trumpet Michael Fedyshyn take centre stage as soloists in Copland’s serene Quiet City, with Nancy performing on English horn. Canadian composer Keiko Devaux’s ebb provides a brooding atmosphere. This performance concludes with one of Haydn’s greatest orchestral works, his Symphony No. 71, which presents the composer’s tempestuous side through a transformation from dark to light-heartedness.


Intimate & Immersive: Earthshine
October 21 at 7:30pm
The Cotton Factory

Eugene Astapov, Conductor
Andrew O’Connor, Featured Visual Artist

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

Works that revel in the wonder of our earth and the universe are accompanied by vivid video installations created by Hamiltonian artist Andrew O’Connor. The HPO strings explore light and shadow in Jeffrey Ryan’s Earthshine and shifting colours inJessie 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.

*19-20 HPO Composer Fellow


Beethoven’s Eighth
November 13 at 7:30pm
FirstOntario Concert Hall
Livestream and on-demand viewing available

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

Bruckner: Three Pieces for Orchestra
Andrew Balfour: Kiwetin-acahcos (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 dazzling melodies of Bruckner’s Three Pieces for Orchestra, Andrew Balfour’s Kiwetin-Acohkos 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.


Hometown Holidays
December 18 at 7:30pm
FirstOntario Concert Hall
Livestream and on-demand viewing available

Thomas Le Duc-Moreau, Conductor

Anderson: Christmas Festival
Abigail Richardson-Schulte: Making Light
Tchaikovsky: Selections from The Nutcracker Suite
Anderson: Sleigh Ride
Naughtin: Christmas Angels Sing-Along

It’s a winter wonderland as Conductor Thomas Le Duc-Moreau leads the HPO in this festive holiday classic! Enjoy the sounds of the season with moving carols and family favourites, including Sleigh Ride and selections from The Nutcracker Suite. We also hear the world premiere of Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s Making Light, a work that highlights winter holiday traditions from around the globe. Join us for a heart-warming evening with friends and family.


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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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