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Yo-Yo Ma to appear with Victoria Symphony in 2024-25 season

“We’re doubling down,” says Victoria Symphony CEO Matthew White. “The last year has been our most successful year in about a decade. We’re sensing a renewed interest in the orchestra, and people are really responding to the quality.”
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Yo-Yo Ma, a 19-time Grammy Award winner, will perform with the Victoria Symphony on May 4, 2025. AUSTIN MANN

The Victoria Symphony will have a starry 2024-25 season of programming, including guest appearances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma — one of the most recognizable classical musicians of the modern era — and revered British-Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt.

“We’re doubling down,” said Victoria Symphony CEO Matthew White. “The last year has been our most successful year in about a decade. We’re sensing a renewed interest in the orchestra, and people are really responding to the quality.”

The upcoming season, announced Friday, runs from Sept. 15, 2024 through May 11, 2025 and consists of 30 events. None are bigger than the appearance by artist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma, a 19-time Grammy Award winner who was named to Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list.

Ma will join the orchestra and music director Christian Kluxen on May 4, 2025 at the Royal Theatre, his first performance with the symphony since 2015. “He remembered that performance, so he must have had an excellent experience here last time,” White said. “He was eager to come again.”

Hewitt is another 2024-25 season standout. In addition to being an esteemed pianist, the Ottawa native, who lives in London, England, is both an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour in the country. The Bach specialist performs April 13 at the Royal Theatre.

Other guest solists include Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq (Sept. 18, Farquhar Auditorium), Victoria violinist Timothy Chooi (Nov. 17, Royal Theatre), jazz singer/pianist Tony DeSare (Jan. 25-26, Royal Theatre), and Juno-nominated violinist Blake Pouliot (Feb. 2, Farquhar Auditorium), among others.

Special events are also on the calendar, including Murdoch Mysteries in Concert (Nov. 2-3, Royal Theatre), which will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the music for the hit CBC TV series of the same name; Messiah By Candlelight (Dec. 12-15, Christ Church Cathedral), a new version of the seasonal classic; and Dancing Queen — The Music of ABBA (May 10-11, Royal Theatre), by the the Jeans ’n Classics band.

There’s also a pair of Farquhar Auditorium performances aimed at children, Platypus Theatre’s Charlotte and the Music-Maker (Feb. 22) and The Spirit Horse Returns (April 26), and two live-to-picture performances at the Royal Theatre of the film scores to movies Home Alone (Dec. 21-22) and The Princess Bride (March 29-30).

Season Subscriptions are on sale now at the Victoria Symphony box office (250-385-6515) or victoriasymphony.ca. Single tickets go on sale to subscribers July 23 and to the general public on July 30.

Season subscriptions have been selling remarkably well already, White noted.

“It’s not just the ambition people are responding to, it’s the excellence. Our orchestra is playing at the same standard you’d find in any city in North America, but we’re in Victoria. It builds a sense of pride. I’m feeling a lot of enthusiasm and love from the community, which is due to excellence and ambition combined.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com