This year, “Canada’s tiny, perfect chamber orchestra” (Toronto Star) turns 50! 

Established in 1972 and boasting some of the finest orchestral musicians in Canada, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra has — for a half century — performed, collaborated, toured, commissioned, and celebrated an impressive and diverse range of repertoire.

And they plan on continuing to do more of the same in this milestone year. 

“We’re really excited to be able to celebrate,” says MCO Managing Director Vicki Young. “(To) look both backwards and forwards at the same time.” 

There must have been something in the muddy waters of Winnipeg in the early 1970s, as the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra is one of a number of venerable Winnipeg-based musical institutions founded in 1972 (Manitoba Opera and Winnipeg Singers are two others).

“I think it’s a real testament to the kind of pioneer spirit that was operating in the arts sector,” says Young. 

The 50th anniversary 2022-23 season promises to be another exceptional one: internationally renowned soloists, brand new commissions, reconnecting and cultivating the best in Canadian music with more than 10 concert programs and 6 online offerings.

Vicki Young and MCO Education and Outreach Manager Suzu Enns joined Simeon Rusnak on Morning Light to break down the entire season! 

Season passes and single tickets are available through the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra website at: 



2022/23 MCO 50th anniversary season concerts

● 1.00pm & 7.30Wed, 28 September 2022 / A famous mathematical game is ‘Bach or Stravinsky?’ Luckily, at this concert you don’t have to choose, as the MCO performs B’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and S’s Pulcinella Suite; other works by Cozens, Vivaldi. Featuring Yolanda & Carmen Bruno (violinist / cellist).

● 1.00pm & 7.30pm, Thu, 6 October 2022 / Perhaps overeager to distance himself from his former teacher, who wrote more than 10x as many symphonies as him, Beethoven once remarked he “never learned anything” from Haydn. We’ll let you be the judge, as we perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Haydn’s No. 96.

● 7.30pm, Wed, 26 October 2022 / Chances aren’t bad that you know a musician in one of Canada’s finest choral ensembles. We mean The Winnipeg Singers, a fixture of the local community whose reputation resonates well beyond. They join the MCO, conducted by Alexander Weimann, to perform Bach’s Lutheran Mass, in F Major on a program that also features Handel’s Water Music Suite. 

● 7.30pm, Wed, 9 November 2022 / We now turn to one of Bach’s finest secular works: his courtly Orchestral Suite No. 2, in B Minor. You may not know how to dance the Sarabande or Badinerie, but you’ll surely recognize many of these immortal earworms. Conductor Scott Yoo & flutist Alice Dade join us for a program that also includes includes a new flute concerto by Michael Fine and Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. 

● 7.30pm, Thu, 2 March 2023 / Lizzy Hoyt is a brilliant soprano and Celtic songwriter, a powerhouse in the folk and classical worlds alike. At this concert she performs a new work by our composer-in-residence Kevin Lau, another Canadian artist for whom the boundary between popular and concert music is something to be stepped over rather than observed. This concert also features works by Jeffrey Ryan and Karen Sunabacka. 

● 1.00pm & 7.30pm, Wed, 22 March 2023 / Kerey Harper began making music in high school by recording rain, stones, and natural sounds in his northern First Nations community of St. Theresa’s Point. Now he’s one of at least four brilliant composers featured at this concert, alongside Nahre Sol, Kris Wachniak, & Corie-Rose Soumah. It takes place at West End Cultural Centre, with Larry Strachan as musical advisor. These concerts are in-person only.

● 1.00pm & 7.30pm, Wed, 12 April 2023 / Kanye West and Tanya Tagaq are just some of the artists with whom JUNO-nominated cellist-composer Cris Derksen has performed. She joins Aisslinn Nosky and the MCO to perform a new cello concerto by Cris! The polymathic Aisslinn will play-conduct the program.

● 7.30pm, Tue & Wed, 16 & 17 May 2023 / It’s been joked that all the marketing a James Ehnes concert needs is to whisper his name to a random Winnipegger and let word-of-mouth take care of the rest. The 2X GRAMMY- winning, Brandon-born violinist easily ranks among the top 10 living violinists in the world — a lofty reputation that doesn’t stop him from being a fantastic entertainer & crowd-pleaser. He performs classical mega-hits at this show, and the MCO features works by Shostakovich and Larry Strachan. These concerts are in-person only.

● 7.30pm, Tue, 23 May 2023 / MCO audiences have the good fortune of being on musically intimate terms with at least one pianist of historic stature: Marc-André Hamelin. Routinely hailed as one of the world’s greatest living pianists, Hamelin has appeared with the MCO regularly since 1991. He performs Mozart’s rapturous Piano Concerto No. 9 on a program that also features Tchaikovsky’s Souvenirs de Florence. This concert is in-person only.

● 7.30pm, Thu & Sat, 15 & 17 June 2023 / Any list of Canada’s top sopranos would have to list Winnipeggers Tracy Dahl and Andriana Chuchman. You get to hear both for the price of one ticket at this concert, as the pair join Rihab Chaieb and director Geneviève Pelletier for a unique concert presentation of Handel’s opera Alcina. These concerts are in-person only.