The VPO has commissioned and premiered several works by distinguished Canadian composers:
Coinciding with VPO’s 50th anniversary, the February 21, 2015 concert opened with an inaugural Composer-in-Residence piece by Iman Habibi. As described by the composer: “In an effort to resist the forgetfulness of time, we express ourselves through art, hoping that the physical manifestation of an emotion would help it last longer. ‘The Promised Hand’ celebrates the serenity of love and its ability to bring peace and unite mankind in times of chaos.”
VPO’s February 21, 2015 concert featured the world premiere a new concerto for oboe by Canadian composer Christopher Tyler Nickel. The piece was written specifically for soloist Roger Cole, principal oboist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
On February 21, 2004 the VPO performed a new work for soprano and orchestra by Vancouver composer and violinist Cameron Wilson. The piece, entitled ‘The Sea and the Bells’, was based on poems written by Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. It was commissioned by the VPO to commemorate the life of Music Director Wallace Leung.
On May 15, 1993 the VPO played the world premiere of Paul Douglas’s ‘Helvetica: A First Symphony for Orchestra’. It follows a normal four-movement symphonic form: I. Albis — II. Rigi (in memoriam a friend) — III. Gotthardt — IV. Capriasca
VPO’s December 3rd, 1988 concert featured a premiere performance of David Duke’s ‘Commentaries (on a theme by Praetorius)’. The piece featured Hans-Karl Piltz on viola, Danielle Duperreaux on french horn, and Dawn Webb on harp.
Gordon Lucas’s ‘Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra’ was premiered on February 28, 1987. The performance featured oboist Jerry Domer, who was also the music director for VPO from 1976 to 1993. The VPO’s concert on May 2nd of the same year featured an original work by Gertrude Cotterall entitled, ‘Heritage – You and I: A Ballet’.
‘Steps’ by Edward Arteaga was first performed on November 1st, 1980.
Ka Nin Chan’s ‘The Goddess of Mercy’ was performed by the VPO under the direction of Paul Doulglas at the Recital Hall of the University of British Columbia on March 4th, 1976.
The world premiere of ‘Three Pacific Poems for Orchestra’ by Elliot Weisgarber was performed by the VPO on March 6, 1975. Weisgarber was a composer, clarinetist, and music professor at UBC. The original program for the performance is on file in the UBC archives and the PDF can be viewed online.