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Review: SSO caps off 40th season on a masterful note

Christopher Perrin reviews SSO’s season ending ‘Masters of the Past’ performance


By Christopher Perrin

What better way to end the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra’s 40th season than by challenging the talented musicians to take on the masters: Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and more.

Patrons of all ages gathered at the Glad Tidings Tabernacle to enjoy a musical night at the SSO’s “Masters of the Past” performance May 7.

The conductor for the night — Dina Gilbert of Montreal — conducted as though each musical note moved through her body. For the past three years, she has worked as the assistant conductor for the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Her future conducting endeavours include stints with orchestras in Toronto, Montreal and Paris. 

Gilbert’s striking, graceful movements led musicians and audience members through each carefully curated presentation.

“Each piece is significant to me, and represents the most famous work for each composer,” Gilbert said. 

Despite the SSO having been around for 40 years, it still draws in newcomers. One patron, Aline Dupuis, told me it was her first time seeing the SSO. 

“I was very excited,” she gushed. “I knew it would be amazing, but it definitely surpassed my expectations.”

When asked about this year’s season, Krissy Leinala, wife of SSO cellist Tommi Leinala, said she was “very unsure of how it would go; not having the consistency of the same conductor going throughout. But it’s actually been a great season.”

“It’s proof that we’re doing something right in our city, and that we’ve been doing it right for that long,” said Jamie Arrowsmith, rehearsal conductor and violist, when asked about the 40-year staying power of the SSO. “This is a city in which the orchestra can thrive.” 

He added that Gilbert had a very open, yet meticulous nature, which “speaks to her energy and her knowledge.”

At the end of the night, SSO’s concertmaster, Christian Robinson, sat down with Gilbert and moderated a Q&A session. 

When asked about collaborating with the SSO, Gilbert drew an interesting analogy about the relationship between a conductor and an orchestra.

“It needs to be a match. There are no bad conductors, or bad orchestras. It’s like dating, you know? You need to find a connection and see things the same way,” she said. “It’s all about music: It’s not about me, not about them — it’s about creating something together that’s bigger than ourselves.”

Not only was the night a huge success for Gilbert and the orchestra, SSO executive director Jennifer McGillivray also had something to boast about. By the end of the night’s performance, the symphony brought in $2,500 in audience donations, reaching the record-breaking goal of $10,000 in monetary support. 

“This is a major coup for the SSO,” McGillivray said. “This means that we have the capacity to do this — that we can do this, and this community is right behind this orchestra. We’re thrilled by that.”

Keep your eyes and ears open for the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-2017 season announcements!

Christopher Perrin is a freelance writer, PR student, and avid supporter of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra.


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