It's the last concert I joined in this Taipei Internation Chorus Festival. Finally, there is a traditional-style chorus in the festival. That doesn't mean these popular a cappella group -- hmm... actually, most of works that the Winnipeg Singers presented are a cappella works, but they are totally from the other groups that added dancing and funny amusing music to give concerts more attractiveness -- is not welcome to me or not qualified, and they have different style and wonderful presentation.

I am delighted to hear their performance. They easily gave harmony and nice voices in these complicated works. Maybe sometimes their sopranos bursted out some not-well-controlled voice, but generally speaking their performances were still very good and worthy our applause.

Here are the introductions of the Winnipeg Singers and their conductor Yuri Klaz. All of these including the photo are cited from the Taipei Philharmonic Fundation.

The Winnipeg Singers

The Winnipeg Singers, Winnipeg’s premiere choir, has long been regarded as one of Canada’s finest choral ensembles. The Winnipeg Singers consists of 24 trained voices, performing music that spans the times from the Renaissance to the present. The choir’s mandate is to make a diversity of choral music, performed to the highest standards, accessible to a growing audience. Each year the choir commissions new Canadian works and premieres other new works for its Manitoba audience. It presents a concert series each year, engaging some of North America’s finest musicians as guests. The Winnipeg Singers have performed joint concerts with such diverse organizations as MusikBarock Ensemble, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, and Les Danseurs de la Riviere Rouge. The Singers regularly appear as guests of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and have given concerts and workshops for local social agencies, business firms and high schools.

The Winnipeg Singers can trace its origins to a choir begun in the 1930s by composer and voice teacher W. H. Anderson for radio broadcast on the CBC. His choir, known as the Choristers, performed secular music and on occasion offered public concerts. Filmer Hubble, who conducted the group for a national weekly CBC radio broadcast of sacred music called Sunday Chorale succeeded Anderson in the 1950s and ‘60s. This choir also performed a series of yearly concerts. He was succeeded by a student of W. H. Anderson, Herbert Belyea, also a composer and voice teacher. In the early 1970s, William Baerg was asked by the CBC to form a group of singers which would perform concert broadcasts. This choir, the CBC Winnipeg Singers, was devoted to the exploration of both sacred and secular works from all eras and initiated the form of The Winnipeg Singers as it exists today. In 1973, when the CBC was no longer able to support the choir, The Winnipeg Singers began to produce its own annual concert series, which it has done ever since. Past artistic directors of The Winnipeg Singers include Bill Baerg, John Martens, Wayne Riddell, Mel Braun, Vic Pankratz and Rudy Schellenberg. The current Artistic Director, Yuri Klaz, began his tenure with the 2003/2004 Season.

The Winnipeg Singers are regularly heard on local and national CBC radio. They have released two compact disc recordings, O Praise Ye the Lord and Prairie Voices. The Canada Council with the awarding of the Healey Willan prize has twice recognized The Winnipeg Singers for their excellence in choral music. The Winnipeg Singers performed at the Toronto International Choral Festival in June 2002. The choir was one of three choirs invited to perform at the Gala Concert of Podium 2004, the national biennial convention of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors held in Winnipeg in May. The Winnipeg Singers have been honoured by an invitation from the International Federation for Choral Music to perform at the 7th World Symposium on Choral Music to be held in Kyoto, Japan in July 2005.

Yuri Klaz

Born in Petrozavodsk, Russia, Yuri received his Masters degree in conducting at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. He was an associate professor of choral and orchestral conducting at the Petrozavodsk Conservatory and later became the artistic director and conductor of the Chamber Choir of the Karelian Art Centre.

In 1995, Yuri was awarded the prestigious title, “Honoured Artist of Russia”, and received a silver medal for exceptional achievement in the development of art in Russia. Mr. Klaz came to Canada in 2000 to become the artistic director and conductor of the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir. Most recently Yuri conducted The Winnipeg Singers, the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and Renaissance Voices in performances of Bach, Verdi and Faure with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Klaz also directs the First Mennonite Church Choir, the ShaareyZedek Synagogue Choir, and the University of Winnipeg Student Choir. He is a faculty member of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts. Mr. Klaz was appointed the artistic director and conductor of The Winnipeg Singers on July 1st 2003.


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