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Christmas selections and ‘Poeme’ at Nov. 25 SSO concert

Orchestra will be led by Francois Koh, the fifth of five finalists vying for the position of SSO artistic director
The orchestra will be led Nov. 25 by guest conductor Francois Koh, the fifth of five finalists vying for the position of artistic director of the Sudbury Symphony.

Sudbury Symphony Orchestra kicks off the Christmas season with its concert “Poems for Snow” Nov. 25.

The concert runs at 7:30 p.m. at Laurentian University’s Fraser Auditorium. 

The orchestra will be led by guest conductor Francois Koh, the fifth of five finalists vying for the position of artistic director of the Sudbury Symphony. 

The program will feature guest violin soloist Bénédicte Lauziere performing the beautiful and haunting “Poeme for violin and orchestra” by Ernest Chausson. 

The orchestra will also perform some Christmas favourites, including selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” a number of Christmas carols for a singalong, as well as two contrasting versions of “Sleigh Ride” — the familiar one by Leroy Anderson and a charming version by Frederick Delius. 

The SSO is very much looking forward to presenting “Légendes,” a rollicking madcap musical story by Canadian composer Jacques Hétu based on old Québec folk tales.

Heinz Unger Conducting Award nominee François Koh majored in Orchestral Conducting in France and Canada, achieving a Master’s Degree from McGill University and a Doctorate Degree from the University of Toronto. 

In 2022, Koh was one of the semi-finalists for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Resident Conductor Position. His conducting experience includes the Savaria Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica de Stat Târgu Mureş, the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the McGill Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Dijon, and Ensemble Paramirabo. 

From 2015 to 2022, Dr. Koh was the Music Director of the Georgian Bay Symphony. Under his direction, the GBS won the 2017 Vida Peene Award from the Ontario Arts Council for its artistic excellence and strong community relationships. 

Koh is also passionate about performing contemporary music, particularly promoting young Canadian composers and Francophone and Indigenous artists. His artistic goal is to strengthen the cultural fabric of communities by providing access to top-quality classical music.

Described as “beautiful to watch and breathtaking to hear” by the Guelph Mercury, violinist Bénédicte Lauzière enjoys a prolific career on the Canadian stage notably as concertmaster of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, but also as a soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. 

She won numerous prizes and awards including the Prix d’Europe 2014, the Michael-Measures Award 2011, the Peter Mendell Prize 2010 as well as a grant for professional musicians from the Canada Council for the Arts. Lauzière was a laureate of the Stulberg International String Competition in 2010 and won numerous first prizes in national competitions. 

As a soloist, her recent performances include Tchaikovsky’s Concerto op. 35 in d major (2023), Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending (2021), Barber’s Violin Concerto op.14 (2018), Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (2018) with pianist Stewart Goodyear and cellist John Helmers, Korngold’s Concerto op. 35 in d major (2016) and Ravel’s Tzigane (2016), all with her colleagues of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. 

She was also featured as guest soloist with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, the Elora Festival, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec. Bénédicte obtained her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York City in May 2014, where she studied with Masao Kawasaki with the support of the Karl H. Kraeuter, H. & E. Kivekas and Starr scholarships. 

She has performed both at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, studying with Jonathan Crow as recipient of the Lloyd Carr-Harris scholarship. In her younger formative years, she studied at Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal with Helmut Lipsky.

Tickets are available online here.


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