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Critic's picks: Bruce Cockburn; the Victoria Symphony; Tony Furtado Acoustic Trio

Bruce Cockburn performs tonight at the Royal Theatre. DANIEL KEEBLER



Where: Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St.

When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $58-$73.25 from the Royal McPherson box office (250-386-6121) or

Why: Whether he’s performing solo or in the company of his band, Bruce Cockburn makes musical magic. Lyrically, he’s one of the best songwriters Canada has produced, but his guitar playing is worthy of equal acclaim; many consider his guitar playing gifts on par with the greats of any generation. He’ll be on his own tonight, which means extra attention can be paid to the nuances of his talent, including his considerable and entertaining on-stage banter. Keep an ear out for songs from Cockburn’s upcoming album, O Sun O Moon, which may find their way into the set — an added bonus on a night that will be the emodiment of awesome.


Where: Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St.

When: Sunday, February 5, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $29-$68 from the Royal McPherson box office (250-386-6121) or

Why: The career of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich was full of political complexity, with many of his symphonies and operas during the 1940s and ’50s viewed as critical of Soviet leader Josef Stalin. The Victoria Symphony, led by conductor Christian Kluxen, revisits one such piece, Symphony No. 9, at the Royal Theatre this weekend. Though banned from performance by Soviet Union officials for nearly a decade following the Second World War, the symphony has since become highly regarded, and will be paired with works from composers Aaron Copland and Richard Strauss and soloists Ryan Cole (trumpet) and Russell Bajer (English horn) on Sunday.


Where: Hermann’s Upstairs

When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $30 from

Why: Acclaimed banjoist Tony Furtado first visited Victoria in 2012, with fellow Portland, Oregon, performer Luke Price in tow. The pair are back on the Island tonight for a concert at Hermann’s Upstairs, with loads of new material to perform and another roots music favourite along for the ride. Price and Furtado are national champions at their respective instruments, and their bandmate, mandolinist John Reischman, is well-decorated, too. Plenty of top-tier picking is to be expected.