WNMF: Launchpad

Thursday, January 25, 2024 , 7:30 pm


Serena Reuten,  RBC Guest Conductor
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra


Robert Humber:  Warmth Comes - World Premiere
Lauren Greenberg:  Bonds Of Cosmic Origins - Canadian Premiere
Willyn Whiting:  Framework - World Premiere
Tom Lachance:  Blizzard Sylvestre - World Premiere
Yejin Kwon:  White Clad - World Premiere
Judah Williams:  Cosmic Abyss - World Premiere


Centennial Concert Hall: 

This concert is FREE, but tickets must be reserved.

Reserve Tickets

Throughout its history, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has played a leading role in supporting the creation of new music in Canada, most notably through its now 33-years-young Winnipeg New Music Festival. Building on this tradition of fostering the voices of the future, the WNMF Composers Institute now enters its sixth year, gathering emerging talents from across the nation to work with the WSO in bringing to life an exciting program of fresh ink orchestral music.

Maestro Julian Pellicano is joined by WSO’s new RBC Assistant Conductor Monica Chen and RBC Guest Conductor Serena Reuten as they lead your WSO through a set of world and Canadian premieres of new works by six gifted composers, including the winner of the Canadian Music Centre’s annual Emerging Composer Competition. Mentor composers Eugene Astapov and Amy Brandon join WSO composer-in-residence Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis in introducing this year’s featured young artists as the 2024 Winnipeg New Music Festival lifts off in this free symphonic concert celebrating Winnipeg’s musical community.

The composers selected to have their pieces premiered at the 2024 Winnipeg New Music Festival and to participate in the 2023 WNMF Composers Institute are:

  • Lauren Greenberg: Bonds Of Cosmic Origins – Canadian Premiere
  • Willyn Whiting: Framework – World Premiere
  • Tom Lachance: Blizzard Sylvestre – World Premiere
  • Yejin Kwon: White Clad – World Premiere
  • Judah Williams: Cosmic Abyss – World Premiere

Also participating in the 2024 Composers Institute are the winners of the CMC Prairie Region and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Emerging Composer Competition:

  • Robert Humber: Warmth Comes – World Premiere


Supported by

Betty and Kevin McGarry


Program Notes

Robert Humber

Warmth Comes

Warmth Comes is about grief. It was written at a point in time when I had lost an important figure in my life, and in many ways the very act of writing it helped me to grieve. The piece loosely follows the stages of grief, beginning with cold, fierce stabs in the brass section, echoing the melodramatic “knife in the heart” moment of a Romantic opera. This is the initial pang of disbelief. Gradually, it leads to confusion, realization, and waves of sadness and dread, represented in the music by the gradual stacking of disparate textures: frantic woodwinds, sour trumpets, a mournful descending string chorale. Around the midway point, there is a shift in direction. Out of the ashes of the violent outbursts appears a new, much gentler motif, carried by a solo violin. I think of this final section as a “thawing,” a gradual blossoming of gratitude and remembrance. Grief does not go away, but it changes shape.

Lauren Greenberg

Bonds Of Cosmic Origins

The inspiration for the piece came from my undergraduate experiences at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (BoCo) and the connections that I made with friends, musicians, and faculty. Hence the title, Bonds Of Cosmic Origins – BoCo. I wanted to conceal these letters within my piece so I used morse code to spell out BOCO in the percussion parts. The rhythms in the motif, first represented by the timpani, is morse code for BOCO. The percussionists performing this hidden message in plain sight is an expression of my appreciation for the outstanding experience at BoCo.  

Willyn Whiting


Framework consists of two layers of music: one which is slowly descending, the other ascending. In both layers voices gently enter and exit at different rates of speed, subtly changing the orchestra’s color over a brief four minutes. Framework is also the first in a series of pieces for varying instrumentation which all focus on the dichotomy between chronometric and lived time.

Tom Lachance

Blizzard Sylvestre

Blurry outlines, abstract colors, uncertain shapes. Everything seems to softly float in a heterogeneous and pictural magma. Then, the object slowly reveals itself. Palpable traits emerge, radiant shades lighten. Large black streaks are running through the surface from a diagonal to another, while coaly veins are taking scattered directions. Getting closer, a multitude of individual worlds discover themselves and energetically float in a quivering ether. Their unique forms and colors abruptly juxtapose each other. However, they progressively blend, and a journey is initiated through already visited countries. The worlds, formerly heterogeneous, now blend together and unveil, like a long-awaited answer, the architecture that ties themselves. Finally, diving in the deepness of a microscopic perspective, everything becomes uncertain and freezes in an infinite impulse.

Yejin Kwon

White Clad

Completing the second movement of my orchestral composition, “Biblioteca, 2022,” marked a pivotal moment when a simple yet majestic sound resonated in my mind. Struck by its intrinsic connection to my artistic roots, I endeavored to manifest this auditory revelation, birthing White Clad in July 2023.

The title, “White Clad,” harkens back to the Joseon Dynasty (1393-1910), referring to Koreans who adorned themselves in white attire. Rooted in physitheism and reverence for the sun within Korean popular religion, the color white held cultural significance.

In contemporary times, the diversity among Korean individuals has transcended traditional norms. With White Clad, I aimed to transcend this historical symbolism, orchestrating a musical journey that transforms from white to a spectrum of vibrant colors through the enchanting palette of orchestral instruments.

This composition serves as a musical self-portrait, capturing my identity as a Korean composer who underwent musical education in France and Canada. It encapsulates a dual narrative— the Westernization of Korean traditional music and the Orientalization of Western musical elements. In its essence, White Clad becomes a harmonious convergence of cultural influences, reflecting the evolving tapestry of my artistic identity.

Judah Williams

Cosmic Abyss

Cosmic Abyss is a series of short, musical episodes which embody the menacing cruelty of outer space.

I. Asteroid Belt

Lush harmonies present the grant and elegant view of an asteroid belt circling the sun from afar. Approaching the asteroid belt, sonorities become more dissonant as the heat of the sun and chaos of the whirling asteroids close in.

II. Bottomless Chasm

The rhythmic and melodic figures within each of the instrumental timbres represent a wandering voice in an infinite nothingness.

III. Supernova

The explosion and death of a star. String and wind ostinati represent time ticking towards the star’s imminent demise, while recurring harmonic and melodic figures symbolize flares of heat and light. The piece ends in rhythmic unison and a thunderous theme in the timpani manifests the explosion of the star.