This season, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has encouraged us to "experience the magic of the music."

In their penultimate Saturday Classics concert coming up this weekend, the WSO welcomes award-winning American pianist Michelle Cann to perform Liszt’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in addition to Florence Price’s Concerto in One Movement, bookended by Weber’s Overture to Oberon and Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird.  

“There is so much connecting the pieces that are going to be performed,” says WSO Music Director Daniel Raiskin.  



This weekend’s program features two artistic currents, according to the maestro. The first is one of stories and narrative; the other, is magic and fairytales.  

The two concerti, for instance, are “intricately related” and showcase the advancing musical language from the 19th into the 20th Centuries.  

Though the two composers stand in stark contrast in terms of reputation – Liszt, one of the most celebrated pianist/composers in the history of Western music; whereas Price was woefully neglected and overlooked, only to have a resurgence of her music in recent years – they represent a continuation in the tradition of music and are closely linked.  

To have Michelle Cann, who has been at the heart of the revival of Price’s music, perform both works in the concert will showcase that connection.  

“It’s a wonderful bridge,” says Raiskin of the Florence Price concerto. Fusing together the musical language of German Romantics while also incorporating modern idioms like spirituals and the blues.  “(The concerto features) the wonderful tradition of juxtaposing but also merging the styles."  

In the case of the purely orchestral works on the program, both Weber and Stravinsky feature magical and folk characters.  

From Oberon and Titania to Prince Ivan and the magical firebird, the works are vivid and engaging interpretations of classic tales.  

“It’s a wonderful way to have a throwback in history and a perspective for the future, too,” says Raiskin.  

Maestro Daniel Raiskin leads the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and guest artist Michelle Cann on Saturday, March 23. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.  

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