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Tania Miller returns to the Victoria Symphony for a performance

She will be Victoria Symphony's guest conductor for a concert Sunday, Sept. 25, at Farquhar Auditorium
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Guest conductor Tania Miller returns to the Victoria Symphony on Sunday. TODD REOSENBERG PHOTOGRAPHY

TANIA MILLER: SCIENCE & SYMPHONY

Where: Farquhar Auditorium, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Rd.

When: Sunday, Sept. 25, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $48-$68 from tickets.uvic.ca or 250-721-8480

Tania Miller spent 14 fruitful years with the Victoria Symphony, during which time she became one of the best-loved public figures in the city.

It was a reciprocal relationship, by all accounts. Miller said she remains close with several Victoria-based friends and associates whom she got to know during her tenure. “It is really sentimental for me to be able to come back to Victoria,” she said.

Miller, who now lives in Vancouver, is returning to the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium this weekend for Tania Miller: Science & Symphony, her first turn as guest conductor since 2020. Her prior performance was livestreamed without an audience, so Miller is eager to reconnect in person with musicians and members of the community who made her time here so enjoyable.

“I was always bonded to making sure the symphony was such a big part of the city, and was connecting people with all kinds of interests,” said Miller, who was given the title of Music Director Emerita when she left the company in 2017.

“I’m happy to come back to a place where that kind of relationship was built over a long period time.”

Though she collaborates with orchestras in Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa, Miller now spends much of her time as a guest conductor in the U.S., in places such as Rhode Island, Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

In their collaborative performance on Sunday, Miller and the Victoria Symphony will form an audio-visual ensemble with filmmaker and astronomer José Francisco Salgado. He is screening NASA footage of the sun and moon and images of the Northern Lights while the musicians perform.

Miller and the Victoria Symphony first worked with Salgado in 2009, when the latter was an astronomer and science visualizer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, for a musical project soundtracked by Gustav Holst’s The Planets and tied to the International Year of Astronomy. Collaborative endeavours such as these are passion projects for Miller, who like “to connect things from different communities to music.”

At the Farquhar Auditorium on Sunday, the program will be drawn from several sources, including Claude Debussy and Anton Dvořák. Aurora Triptych by Edmonton composer John Estacio will be the centrepiece under which his compositions Solaris, Borealis, and Wondrous Light will explore nature, music, science, and photography.

“The collaboration between [Estacio and Salgado] is so beautiful. Images of the Northern Lights are so incredible to watch, when they are married to this tapestry of music John has created, it’s just mesmerizing.”

The inventive afternoon of music is not the type of programming many orchestras in Canada gravitate toward, but it is emblematic of the Victoria Symphony, Miller said. The organization has become known for inventive programming not unlike Tania Miller: Science & Symphony.

“The symphony reaches out to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, reaches out to the Royal B.C. Museum — the people who are already doing creative things in the community — and makes them more interesting through that connection. It brings a different perspective to what it is we do at the symphony. It is incredibly important to give people the classical music experience.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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