Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads CBC Virtual Orchestra in Premiere of Vivian Fung’s Prayer on Canada Day


Vancouver, BC (June 18, 2020) — On Canada Day, Wednesday, July 1, 2020, The CBC Virtual Orchestra gives its first performance, the world premiere of JUNO Award-winning Canadian composer Vivian Fung’s Prayer, commissioned by CBC Music and led by conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Orchestre Metropolitain in Montreal. CBC
in creative collaboration with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, has brought together 36 of Canada’s finest classical musicians from 28 different orchestras from every province in Canada to create The CBC Virtual Orchestra and present this unique online performance recorded in isolation. Fung’s Prayer premieres globally on July 1 on cbc.ca/music, and Canada-wide on radio and via the CBC Listen app during CBC Music’s Tempo with host Julie Nesrallah, and on CBC Radio One at 7:45am local time with host Stephen Quinn as part of the Canada Day radio special Extraordinary Times: Canada Day 2020.

Of the new piece, written during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fung says, “Prayer is, in essence, an aberration, for under no other circumstance in the past (or probably in the future) have I worn my heart on my sleeve as transparently as I have with this piece. In times of crisis and peril, we have but the reliance of faith – from the profound faith in humanity, faith in love, and faith that we will persevere and get through this with dignity, to the mundane faith that I would complete the piece within the extraordinary conditions that faced me, with a young child at home 24/7, a bronchial infection, and a very tight timeline (ultimately, a matter of days) to complete the piece in a manner feasible for COVID remote performance requirements. In the end, I chose a chant from my composer heroine Hildegard von Bingen as inspiration for my prayer. It goes:

O Shepherd of our souls, O primal voice,

whose call created all of us;

Now hear our plea to thee, to thee, and deign to free us from our miseries

and feebleness.

I wish to thank my family – my husband, parents, and son – as well as my neighbors, the Lees, who have all made composing this piece possible.”

Performance Information

The CBC Virtual Orchestra Premieres Vivian Fung’s Prayer

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 How to Watch and Listen:

Performance Information

The CBC Virtual Orchestra Premieres Vivian Fung’s Prayer

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 How to Watch and Listen:

● Watch globally on CBC.ca/music starting at 7am ET on July 1, 2020

●  Listen on CBC Radio One and via the CBC Listen app at 7:45 a.m. local time on the Canada Day radio
special Extraordinary Times: Canada Day 2020

●  Listen on CBC Music and via the CBC Listen app during the national weekday classical music show
Tempo with host Julie Nesrallah July 1 at 12:50pm local time

Vivian Fung – Prayer (2020) [World Premiere] Performers:

Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Conductor


Jonathan Crow (Concertmaster, Toronto Symphony Orchestra), Terence Tam (Victoria Symphony), Karl Stobbe (Manitoba Chamber Orchestra), Yolanda Bruno (Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Kingston Symphony), Diana Cohen (Calgary Philharmonic), Heather Kao (Newfoundland Symphony), Marcelle Mallette (Orchestre Metropolitain), Gwen Hoebig (Winnipeg Symphony), Jacqueline Nutting (Saskatoon Symphony)


Natasha Sharko (Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony), Marlena Pellegrino (Thunder Bay Symphony), Keith Hamm (Edmonton Symphony)


Rachel Mercer (National Arts Centre Orchestra), Rachel Desoer (Symphony Nova Scotia)


Max Kasper (Symphony Nova Scotia)


Leslie Newman (Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra), Jan Kocman (Winnipeg Symphony)


Marjorie Tremblay (Orchestre Metropolitain), Graham Mackenzie (Niagara, Windsor, London Symphonies)


Marie-Julie Chagnon (Quebec Symphony Orchestra), Hyon Suk Kim (Regina Symphony)


Julia Lockhart (Vancouver Symphony), Ian Hopkin (Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony)


Ronald George (London Sinfonia), Ulises Aragon (Symphony New Brunswick), Catherine Turner (Montreal Symphony), Allene Hackleman (Edmonton Symphony)


Karen Donnelly (National Arts Centre Orchestra), Adam Zinatelli (Calgary Philharmonic)


Madeleine Doyon Robitaille (Laval Symphony), Angelo Muñoz (Trois Rivieres Symphony)


Jennifer Stephen (Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony)


Bill Linwood (Victoria Symphony)


Vern Griffiths (Vancouver Symphony)


For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports; Steve Jordan is Senior Director, CBC Music; and Denise Ball is the Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Music.

About Vivian Fung

JUNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung has a unique talent for combining idiosyncratic textures and styles into large-scale works, reflecting her multicultural background. NPR calls her “one of today’s most eclectic composers.”

Highlights of Fung’s 2019–2020 season included the UK premiere of Birdsong, performed by violinist Midori at Kings Place in London, world premiere performances of a new trumpet concerto with trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden and the Erie Philharmonic, performances of Dust Devils by The Philadelphia Orchestra led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Fanfare with the Florida Orchestra, Aqua by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under conductor James Gaffigan, and Pizzicato with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra led by Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Fung is currently at work on new commissions for the Standing Wave Ensemble in Vancouver, L’arc Trio in San Francisco, and a Flute Concerto for Vancouver Symphony.

Recent highlights include A Child Dreams of Toys, commissioned by the 2019 Winnipeg New Music Festival; a new Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra; the world premiere of String Quartet No. 4 “Insects and Machines” performed by the American String Quartet; Earworms, which musically depicts our diverted attention spans and multi-tasking lives; and The Ice Is Talking for solo percussion and electronics, commissioned by the Banff Centre, using three ice blocks to illustrate the beauty and fragility of our environment.

With a deep interest in exploring different cultures, Fung traveled to Cambodia in 2019 to connect with her roots and collect research for a new opera. She traveled to Southwest China in 2012 to study minority music and cultures, and has also explored North Vietnam, Spain, and Bali.

Fung has received numerous awards and grants, including the 2015 Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award for achievement in new music from SOCAN, a Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Gregory Millard Fellowship, and grants from ASCAP, BMI, American Music Center, MAP Fund, American Symphony Orchestra League, American Composers Forum, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and currently serves on the board of the American Composers Forum. Passionate about fostering the talent of the next generation, Fung has mentored young composers in programs at the American Composers Forum, San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and will be mentoring at the Young Women Composers Camp this coming summer.



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