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Director of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra to explore future of Canadian orchestras

Ref. No. 41

DATE:     Nov. 1, 2001
SUBJECT:     Director of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra to explore future of Canadian orchestras

Peter Gardner, longtime artistic and general director of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and Memorial University's newest honorary doctor, will be administering a dose of reality therapy - survivor-style - to Canada's musical establishment in a public lecture at the MUN School of Music on Monday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. in the D. F. Cook Recital Hall.

Dr. Gardner's lecture is entitled Survivor! and will pose the question: Can the community model negotiate the threats and grasp the opportunities to show the way through the fragile and murky world of the 21st century orchestra?

It couldn't be a more timely question as daily arts news reports chronicle the demise of some of Canada's orchestral monoliths: the Toronto Symphony in bankruptcy; the Calgary Philharmonic in lock-out; musicians across Canada facing income roll-backs; music-lovers facing blackened concert halls. In this collapsing cultural world, community-based orchestras, like the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, offer models that suddenly seem more resilient and more adaptable to the changes in the cultural economic climate and in the public dynamic. Dr. Gardner will examine the capability of the community model to propose solutions, beginning with a review of the NSO's record as a survivor and proceeding to an analysis of the challenges that face the Canadian musical establishment today. What are the appropriate responses before time runs out? And how can these responses be translated across the arts world?
Peter Gardner

Mr. Gardner is the general and artistic director of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra (NSO) and completed his formal training as a violinist at Trinity College, London, under noted violinist Nicholas Roth, a student of the great Hungarian teacher Jeno Hubay. He worked extensively in England and Wales as a freelance performer and teacher before coming to Newfoundland in 1971 as the resident artist and concertmaster of the St. John's Symphony Orchestra (now the NSO). During the past 30 years he has been instrumental in the development of many NSO activities including the NSO Sinfonia, the Philharmonic Choir, the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir, the NSO Hibernia Gala and most recently, the NSO Light Orchestra. He founded and was for a number of years the first violinist of the Atlantic String Quartet.

Mr. Gardner is the founding director of the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra and at various times has held the positions of vice-president, executive director and festival director of the Canadian Association of Youth Orchestras. Mr. Gardner is currently the executive director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the associate director of the Music and Sound Summer Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta. He is also the executive director of Festival 500-Sharing the Voices, a highly successful biennial international choral festival held in Newfoundland.

Mr. Gardner has acted as a jury member for various arts boards in Canada and for the Governor General's Awards, and this year was appointed to the Board of Governors of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. 1n 1984, Mr. Gardner was nominated for the Silver Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for services to music in Atlantic Canada. In 1995 he was the recipient of the Northern Telecom Arts Achievement Award, presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council for lifetime achievement in the arts, and in 1996 was awarded the Association of Canadian Orchestras Award, "in recognition of outstanding contributions and dedication to the orchestral community in Canada", an award that carries with it a lifetime membership of ACO (now Orchestra Canada).

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For further information, please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, Memorial University News Service, 737-8665, cell# 687-9433, ivanm@mun.ca

 

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