Based at the Orpheum Theatre, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) is one of Canada’s largest and most prestigious orchestras. It’s also very good.
Along with the Vancouver Opera, Bard on the Beach, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, choirs like Chor Leoni and other groups, the VSO is a core part of the region’s performing arts culture and something that Vancouver can be very proud of.
VSO AT BARD ON THE BEACH
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performs at the Bard Village on Tuesday, June 28th. For tickets and details see the VSO‘s website.
Vancouver’s World-Famous Symphony Orchestra and its Concerts
For a city of its size, Vancouver has an impressive symphony orchestra. Founded in 1919, the performing arts organization has been around for over 100 years!
The Grammy and JUNO Award-winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performs over a hundred concerts in a typical year. Many of those are at the Orpheum Theatre. Others are at various venues throughout the Lower Mainland, plus occasional performances outside the region.
Directed by Otto Tausk from Holland, the main orchestra has close to 80 members.
In addition to their regular concert series, the VSO runs several special events throughout the year. These include Day of Music, Symphony in the Park, Symphony at Sunset, Christmas performances and New Year’s Day concerts. See below for details.
Day of Music
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra hosts a day of free music with concerts at various venues in downtown Vancouver on a weekend in June. In 2022 the Day of Music was on Saturday, June 4th. Some of the performances at the event are with the VSO and its various members. Some of the music, however, is with other groups.
The live music is all free on the day, and in 2022 there was no need to book tickets in advance. All the performances were on a first-come, first-served basis.
In 2022 live performances happened between about 10:00 am and 9:00 pm at the Orpheum, West Coast Energy Hall, the Annex, Pyatt Hall, and in a couple of other rooms at the VSO School of Music. There was also live music outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in the North Plaza (which is officially named šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square).
To learn more about this event see the Day of Music‘s website.
Symphony in the Park
The VSO performs a free outdoor concert at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby in the summer. In 2019 the performance took place on Sunday, June 30th, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. In 2022 it happens on Saturday, July 16th, from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
Symphony in the Park is an annual event that can attract several thousand attendees. Since it is an outdoor concert we recommend going prepared for the weather! It takes place on the Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park at 6450 Deer Lake Avenue in Burnaby.
To learn more about this event see our article about Symphony in the Park.
Symphony at Sunset
Symphony at Sunset is an outdoor concert that happens at Sunset Beach in Vancouver. In 2022 this event takes place on Saturday, July 2nd, starting at 7:00 pm.
Thousands of people attended this concert in 2018 and 2019, which features the VSO playing on a big stage near the water. There are food trucks on hand and in years past there was the opportunity for attendees to check out some real orchestra equipment (whether that will happen in 2022 is TBC).
A Traditional Christmas
An annual VSO tradition, A Traditional Christmas or similar series is usually performed in the weeks leading up to the end-of-year holidays. Performances are approximately two hours long and feature stories, singing and orchestra music with a festive winter-holiday theme.
In 2019 these performances took place at various venues starting on December 10th and with the final performances of the season on December 22nd. In 2022 the symphony’s Christmas-themed concerts run from December 9th until the 18th.
New Year’s Concert: Salute to Vienna
Salute to Vienna is a reproduction of a famous Viennese New Year’s concert. The VSO version features the music of Johann Strauss with the Strauss Symphony of Canada, European singers and professional ballroom and ballet dancers.
The last New Year’s Concert took place on January 1st in 2020. It happens again on Sunday, January 1st, in 2023.
For more details about the orchestra see the official VSO website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Opera
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment Calendar
- Entertainment in Vancouver
- Vancouver Choirs and Music
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events