Our Impact Why We Exist
The Victoria Symphony strives to enhance the lives of the audiences of Greater Victoria and neighbouring communities with an opportunity to hear live professional classical music at the highest artistic level possible. We endeavor to create energy and excitement around the orchestra and its performances. We are working to expand our audiences and improve our connection and commitment to them while working to generate and enhance their commitment to us. The Victoria Symphony is at the centre of cultural life in Victoria, and we enhance the quality of life in Victoria through the strength of the Symphony’s success.
Founded in 1941, the Victoria Symphony continues to be Vancouver Island’s largest and most active arts organization, offering audiences high-quality concerts in five diverse series, a commitment to fostering new music and a dedication to community involvement through musical education. More than 140,000 people hear the symphony each year, including 12,000 school children. Showcasing the outstanding talents of its musicians and guest artists, the Victoria Symphony’s seasons present exciting line-ups of over 50 concerts (including the one-of-kind Symphony Splash) led by its vibrant Musical Director Tania Miller.
Our Story What We Do
Founded in 1941, the Victoria Symphony rehearsed for over eight months for its first concert at the Empress Hotel in 1942. Since then, it has delighted audiences with a repertoire rich in the traditional symphonic classics and continues to develop young musicians and composers through its youth, education and outreach, musicians in school and young composer programs.
In the late 1960s, the organization transformed from a community orchestra to a professional ensemble. Playing at the Royal Theatre and at University of Victoria's Farquhar Auditorium as well as smaller venues throughout the Island, the Symphony engages excellent guest conductors and solo artists to give perspectives on standard classical repertoire and to introduce audiences to music.
In 1990, the Victoria Symphony launched a bold experiment when it played its first-ever Symphony Splash in celebration of its 50th Anniversary. Splash is now one of the largest annual symphony events in North America!
The Symphony has seen eight music directors in its history including the current Director, Maestra Tania Miller
The Victoria Symphony continues to win local community awards for its Symphony Splash production including Best in the City awards and Best Festival awards from community newspapers.
Splash has also won Value Awards through WestJet's annual publications and Best Classical Ensemble annually through community magazines.
Our Programs How We Do It
- The Symphony continues to build a digital footprint, connecting performance with the community through social media, electronic communication, online development and digital media.
Education and Outreach
- Education Concerts: Over 7,000 K-7 students in the southern Island are treated to seven concerts each year. 120 teachers' guides and accompanying CDs are also distributed.
- Musicians in Schools: Ensembles and individuals from the Symphony visit local schools and give performances or workshops reaching over 3,000 students annually.
- Master Class Sessions: Musicians attend designated music classes throughout the year providing instruction and guidance.
- vsYouth: Youth volunteers run the instrument petting zoos at Concert for Kids per-concert activities and at community events.
- vsNEW: Six month program where students write music for a dedicated ensemble of VS musicians.
- Open rehearsals for middle and high schools: Students enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how the orchestras prepare for a performance.
- Symphony Storytime: New in 2012/13, this story introduces preschool aged kids to orchestral music and instruments in a fun and educational way.
What You Can Do
Financial support will enable us to continue to share our current programs with the community including our Education and Outreach programs with local schools. Donations will be used towards creating electronic material promoting programs, concerts and the well-being of the Symphony. Grants to this program will enable us to expand our reach through additional social engagement, video creation and further content dissemination via electronic media.