Artistic Director

Message from the Artistic Director

Dear GSO Patrons,

Welcome to the GSO 2014/15 Season, one we promise to be our most exciting to date! AD message pic

We begin with a Star-Studded triple-feature Gala, featuring internationally-renowned Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, National Ballet of Canada Principal Dancer Piotr Stanczyk and First Soloist Tina Pereira. The University of Guelph Chorus, whose appearances in last season’s Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Holst’s The Planets brought standing ovations, returns as our special guests. This season also brings the most eagerly anticipated performance in the history of the orchestra. Award- winning Conductor and Violinist, Jeanne Lamon, will guest conduct a program that will start your Holiday Season on a brilliant note, featuring Handel’s Royal Fireworks, Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, and one of my favourite Haydn symphonies of all time, The Surprise.

Our annual Viennese New Year’s Concert welcomes 3 Tremendously Talented Tenors from the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studios. Bring in 2015 with the GSO, as we entertain you with your favourite Viennese Waltzes, Polkas, and Marches, and the Greatest Tenor Hits in the operatic repertoire.

On Saturday, February 14th, celebrate Valentine’s Day with the GSO. Start the most romantic evening of the year with an elegant wine and Jazz reception, before being serenaded by the most sublime music in the symphonic repertoire, featuring Prokofiev’s stunningly beautiful Romeo and Juliet, Rachmaninoff’s romantic Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, and the beloved songs from Bernstein’s West Side Story.

New, this season, are GSO Matinee Concerts, specially designed to be enjoyed by all ages, featuring Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Grieg’s Peer Gynt, with animated narration by Mr. Joseph Ringhofer. Special guests include John McCrae Public School Choir and the GYSO, performing a new choral setting of In Flanders Fields.

Our season ends with nothing less than: Stravinsky’s Firebird. Guest soloists include GSO Percussionist, Julie Strom, and the Wilfrid Laurier University Percussion Ensemble.

We look forward to seeing you!


Judith Yan, Biography

Judith Yan has been a staff conductor for the San Francisco Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and the National Ballet of Canada. She is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of Opera on the Avalon, a summer festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and was most recently appointed Artistic Director of Guelph Symphony Orchestra. As a conductor of ballet she has led over 90 performances for the National Ballet of Canada, working with the world’s leading choreographers and ballet masters of today. Prior to her work with the NBoC, Judith served as the Staff Conductor of the San Francisco Opera, assistant to Maestro Donald Runnicles.

While with San Francisco Opera, her performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress for San Francisco Opera Merola was included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top Ten Classical Performances of the Year. Prior to the San Francisco Opera she served as the Canadian Opera Company’s Conductor-in-Residence, a position created for her by then General Director, the late Richard Bradshaw. For the company, she conducted in the Altamira-sponsored outdoor concerts, Alexina Louie’s The Scarlet Princess, and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia.

She made her German conducting debut in 2005 with of La Cenerentola and Idomeneo with Ulmer Oper, and made her Italian debut in 2007 in Sulmona, Italy with COSI Festival’s production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She returned in 2008 to conduct Puccini’s La Boheme. 2011 includes a New Zealand debut with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra debut, a return to Hong Kong Ballet for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, a recital with members of the San Francisco Opera for the Muir Land Trust in Lafayette, California, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a debut with Stratford Symphony Orchestra, and concerts with Guelph Symphony Orchestra.


To link to Judith’s website, click here.


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