Home >> Tchaikovsky & Chopin


An afternoon of musical treasures - from orchestral masterworks by Mussorgsky and Wagner to irresistible music with solo instruments and orchestra by Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev. Korean pianist Dasol Kim (“a refined artistry of incredible maturity” to his performances -  North Germany Review) makes his ESO debut playing two extroverted showpieces, and the ESO's own Rafael Hoekman performs Tchaikovsky's romantic variations a courtly theme.

Featured Repretoire
Chopin – Andante spianato and Grande polonaise
Tchaikovsky – Rococo Variations
Mussorgsky – A Night on the Bare Mountain


Ticket Information

$59 Dress Circle (A)
$49 Terrace (B)
$39 Orchestra (C)
$29 Upper Circle (D)
$24 Youth (aged 3 – 17, all seats)

Tickets subject to applicable service charges.



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Program Info


Spring’s Promise – Orchestral Fanfare [10’]*

Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello, Opus 33 [18’]*

Saint John's Night on the Bare Mountain (Orchestrated by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov) [12’]*


Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major, Opus 10 [15’]*

Andante spianato et Grande polonaise brillante in E-flat major, Opus 22 [14’]*

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude [10’]*

*Indicates approximate performance duration
Program subject to change

Spring’s Promise – Orchestral Fanfare
John Estacio
(b. Newmarket, Ontario, 1966)

First performed: April 2, 2004 in Calgary
Last ESO performance: June 2006

Program note by the composer:
Composed in the dead of winter, this piece was written in anticipation of spring. The opening of the piece is somewhat chilly and bleak. The violas, with their mutes on, introduce a simple little melody, which, as the piece progresses, will become the predominant theme. Each time this theme returns, it is presented in slightly warmer tones. Several of the woodwind players are located in the audience as well as on stage, and they call out to one another, freely, as though waking from a deep slumber. By the time the brass players begin their antiphonal fanfares, the somewhat dreamy and sleepy atmosphere that started the piece is wiped away.

The quiet little theme introduced at the beginning blossoms into a resplendent and colourful melody. Eventually the entire orchestra, including the musicians not on stage, plays together en masse to bring the piece to a ringing climax; spring has kept its promise and has returned to us once again.

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op.33
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
(b. Kamsko-Votinsk, 1840 / d. St. Petersburg, 1893)

First performed: November 30, 1877 in Moscow
Last ESO performance: March 2005

It was no surprise that Tchaikovsky, ever one to bear his soul in his music, should have been consumed with writing his Fourth Symphony during the turbulent time of his life at the beginning of 1877. He was very depressed, and his feelings of being oppressed by Fate are everywhere in the turbulent score of the Fourth. What is surprising is that at this same time, he composed a work of grace and conviviality, almost an homage to his musical hero, Mozart. Dedicated to his friend and fellow professor at the Moscow Conservatory Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, the Variations on a Rococo Theme is Tchaikovsky’s only concertante work for cello.

The ”rococo” was a French 18th-century artistic movement, so it was contemporaneous with Mozart, who lived from 1756 to 1791. The theme of the seven variations Tchaikovsky composed is an original one by the composer, but written in a rococo style. The orchestra is also one that Mozart would have recognized – the work is scored for pairs of woodwinds and horns, plus strings. After a brief orchestral introduction, the cello soloist presents the theme. The variations which follow exploit the full compass of the cello’s register, and together, “they proved to be one of his brightest and most care-free major compositions,” writes James Harding, “there is no trace of pique or disappointment from beginning to end.”

Saint John’s Night on the Bare Mountain (orch. Rimsky-Korsakov)
Modest Mussorgsky
(b.Karevo, 1839 / d. St. Petersburg, 1881)

First performed: October 26, 1886 in St. Petersburg
Last ESO performance: March 2013

Pursued by doubts, depression, and alcoholism, Modest Mussorgsky left many of his works incomplete by his death at age 42. The work which began with the name Saint John’s Night on Bare Mountain is a case in point. Mussorgsky actually finished the work in 1867, but the harsh assessment of it by his colleague Balakirev caused him to withdraw it. It was brought back in 1872, intended to be part of a collective stage work for the Imperial Theatre, combined with works by other composers. That project fell through. Determined not to give up on it, Mussorgsky then intended to include the piece as part of an opera. For that version, he appended a tender, gentle ending – a strong contrast to the violence and power of the rest of the work. That ending was intended to illustrate the dawn, and the tolling chime of a church bell, driving away the evil spirits. Also known popularly these days as A Night on Bald Mountain  – a translation of the name of a real mountain near Kyiv, Ukraine – the work was never performed in Mussorgsky’s lifetime. His friend Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov took the version which included the beautiful, quiet ending, and orchestrated it, and it is this version which has become a standard part of the concert repertoire.

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major, Op.10
Sergei Prokofiev
(b. Sontsovka, 1891 / d. Moscow, 1953)

First performed: August 7, 1912 in Moscow
Last ESO performance: November 2005

Sergei Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto was a student work, dedicated to his composition teacher Nikolai Tcherepnin. Yet it already displays several of the hallmarks that would become features of many Prokofiev works. It was first performed while he was still studying, and while more than a few claimed to be shocked at its modernity, it proved popular enough to be repeated at Prokofiev’s graduation in May 1914.

The piano part is formidable, and the entire concerto unfolds as a single continuous movement, although split into separate parts. The main theme is revealed at the outset, a repeating cascading motif out of which other ideas emerge. This main idea occurs three times – what Prokofiev called, “three whales that hold the concerto together.” After the first is a stern passage dominated by the solo piano; after the second is an Andante full of chromatic, even dissonant harmonies creating a haunting landscape. An mischievous Allegro scherzando leads into the concluding section, which begins quietly enough, but builds in energy and pace to the last, with another reminder of the main theme capping it off.

Andante spianato and Grande polonaise brillante in E-flat Major, Op.22
Fryderyk Chopin
(b. ?elazowa Wola, 1810 / d. Paris, 1849)

First performed: April 26, 1835 in Paris
Last ESO performance: November 1999

All of Chopin’s works which include orchestra were youthful ones, and all were composed within a few years of each other. The Grande polonaise was the last, and the most unusually structured. The work exists in two versions: one for solo piano, one for piano with orchestra. Yet the piano music is the same for both! The Grande polonaise was composed first, a shorter work for which Chopin added the orchestra part to take advantage when the occasion to perform with other instruments arose. But he soon felt the work lacked heft, and so he added an introductory Andante for piano alone to precede the polonaise. The term “spianato” means, “smooth, even,” indicating the temperament in which to perform the opening section.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude
Richard Wagner
(b. Leipzig, 1813 / d. Venice, 1883)

Opera first performed: November 1, 1862 in Leipzig
Last ESO performance of the Prelude: Symphony Under the Sky 2008

Very soon after he had written his mammoth tragic opera, Tristan und Isolde, Richard Wagner began working on what can be thought of as the other side of the coin. While still mammoth, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (“The Master Singer of Nuremberg”) is fond, touching, and comic. Yet it is also a work in which Wagner’s philosophy about art as man’s triumphant achievement, the thing which redeems man from his failings, is most clearly delineated. The Prelude contains many of the themes and moods that will appear throughout the entire work. We hear the music of the Master Singers, their apprentices, a reference to the comic villain Beckmesser, the love theme of Walther and Eva – and of course, the “Prize Song,” with which Walther will eventually win the hand of Eva.

Program notes © 2017 by D.T. Baker, except as noted

Artist Info

Praised by La Presse for his “immense talent as conductor, musician and performer”, Canadian conductor Alain Trudel is Music Director of l’Orchestre symphonique de Laval and Principal Youth and Family Conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. He is also Principal Guest conductor of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, was Principal Guest Conductor of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, and guest musical advisor for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.  Mr. Trudel was also the CBC Radio Orchestra conductor, taking the orchestra to new heights of artistic quality. He has conducted every major orchestra in Canada as well as orchestras in the UK, USA, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Japan, Hong-Kong, Malaysia, and Latin America. Mr. Trudel made his Opéra de Montréal debut in 2009 and conducted the live recording of their 30th anniversary gala. In 2010 he also made his debut at l’Opéra de Québec in 2011.

First known to the public as “the Jascha Heiftz of the trombone” (Le monde de la musique), Alain Trudel has been a guest soloist with orchestras worldwide including Philharmonique de Radio-France, Hong-Kong Philharmonic, Austrian Radio Orchestra, Festival Musica Strasbourg (France), Klangbogen Festival (Vienna), Akiyoshidai and Hamamatsu festival (Japan). He is also a respected composer with performances across America and in Asia. Mr. Trudel is the recipient of numerous awards including the Virginia Parker, Charles Cros (France), Opus prize, and Heinz Unger prize. He has been named an Ambassador of Canadian Music by the Canadian Music Centre and received a Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012. Alain Trudel is an international Yamaha artist.

Mr. Trudel last appeared with the ESO in May 2008.

Korean pianist Dasol Kim brings “a refined artistry of incredible maturity” to his performances (North Germany Review).  A sought-after soloist, he has appeared with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic in Seoul, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Berlin Chamber Orchestra, the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, Concerto Budapest, and the Belgium National Orchestra.  He has performed with notable conductors, including Alan Gilbert, David Zinman, Michael Sanderling, Marin Alsop, and Li Xincao. A frequent chamber player, Mr. Kim partners with prominent musicians including cellist David Geringas, violinist Svetlin Roussev, violist Maxim Rysanov, cellist Myung Wha Chung, and YCA’s violinist Paul Huang, among others. 

Winner of the 2015 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Kim makes recital debuts in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Korean Concert Society Prize, and in New York, sponsored by the Peter Jay Sharp Concert Prize.  This season, Mr. Kim also appears at the Port Washington Library and the Paramount Theatre.  Other accolades include First Prize in the 2010 Young Concert Artists European Auditions, First Prize in the 2011 Epinal International Piano Competition in France, Second Prize in the 2012 Géza Anda Competition in Zurich, and Third Prize at the 2011 ARD International Music Competition in Munich.  He graduated from the Hannover Music School in Germany, where he studied with Arie Vardi and Gerald Fauth.  His debut CD, Dasol Kim Plays Schumann, was released in May 2015 on the Universal Music Korea label.

This is Mr. Kim's debut with the ESO.

Hailed by the Toronto Star as a “young musician with a bright future” and noted for his “spirited and fiery performances”, Rafael Hoekman’s varied career as a soloist, teacher, chamber musician and orchestral cellist has taken him on a journey across Canada. Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Rafael Hoekman is currently Principal Cello of the Edmonton Symphony and a faculty member at the University of Alberta. He has been a featured soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic, Quebec Symphony, I musici de Montréal, and Newfoundland Symphony.

As a chamber musician and founding cellist of the Tokai String Quartet, Mr. Hoekman was a prize winner at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. Prior to joining the Edmonton Symphony, he was a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, held Assistant Principal positions with the Winnipeg and Windsor Symphonies, and performed with orchestras including the Toronto and Detroit Symphonies. Rafael has an Master of Music degree from the University of Toronto. His principal teachers were Yuli Turovsky and Shauna Rolston. He lives in Edmonton with his wife, cellist Meran Currie-Roberts and their children, Sam and Anastasia.

This is Mr. Hoekman's debut as a soloist with the ESO.

Venue Info

Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB
Google Map


Getting Here

The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is on the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street, in the heart of The Arts District in downtown Edmonton. It is readily accessible by car, Edmonton Transit (bus and LRT), and the Pedway system.

The City of Edmonton provides over 1500 convenient parking stalls within a 5-minute walk from Winspear Centre, The Citadel Theatre and Shaw Conference Centre. The Library, Canada Place and City Hall Parkades provide heated underground parking with pedway connections to the event venues. Parking is also available at on-street meters in the vicinity.



Nearly every level of the Winspear Centre is able to accommodate patrons with wheelchairs. Please advise our Box Office staff when you purchase your tickets that access to wheelchair seating will be necessary.

The Winspear Centre can provide an assistive listening device if you require one. Please visit the concierge desk in the main lobby.


Dining Near the Winspear

The Winspear Centre's downtown location is ideally situated for some of the best dining experiences Edmonton has to offer. Whether you're seeking dinner before the show or a late night treat after, you can find it at one of these restaurants located within a few blocks of the Winspear Centre.


At the Event

What to Wear
For some, an event at a world-class facility like the Winspear Centre is a great excuse to dress to the nines. But it’s hardly necessary. If that’s your style – go for it! If it’s not – hey, you paid for the ticket, so do what makes you feel comfortable. You’ll see a wide range of dress, from casual to pretty classy, depending on the kind of event it is. Business casual is probably a great middle ground for most Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concerts.

Perfume & Scents
In consideration to your fellow patrons who may have sensitivities or allergies to scented products, we ask that you use such products with great discretion. If, as a patron, you experience difficulty due to another patron’s use of fragrance, please alert our front of house staff, who will do everything possible to accommodate you.

Food & Beverage
The Winspear Centre has a number of stations in operation pre-show and during intermission. Bars, coffee bars, dessert stations and a martini bar are waiting for you. A good bet for intermission is to pre-order your drink before the show, and it will be waiting for you, so you can avoid lining up during the break.

Click here for more information on planning your experience.