Tonight, I had the opportunity to be totally immersed in some really beautiful and original music performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. This week, and all week, is their New Music Festival, which features new symphonic works by international composers. (Tickets to all seven concerts can be had for $69.00.) Tonight I heard an incredibly moving piece, “Rhythms of the Earth,” by Ural-based Olga Victorova and then was treated to another contemporary composition by Jim Hiscott called “North Wind.” Victorova, youngish at 45, hails from my grandmother’s motherland. The soloist for the latter work was a flutist from China, now living here, named Xiao Nan and his virtuosity during the entire performance made my hair rise.
I’ve been here six months. It’s not that long. I have to continue to remind myself to remember that six months is about the amount of time it takes to learn where the corner deli is and that’s about it. To have found the WSO tonight, housed in a majestic and modernist building downtown (about 15 minutes drive from this computer), was stellar, surprising, and, in that surprise, a tremendous humility.