What You Missed at the VMO 2022/23 Season Finale Concert

The orchestra's season finale featured a two-part show, a special composition and a coveted guest player from Korea.

Celebrating its 20th season finale concert, the acclaimed Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra (VMO) almost sold out the 1900-seater Chan Shun Concert Hall on May 19. A grand dose of culture right before the long weekend? Yes, please!

Presented by Gryphon Development, the event kicked off with Life of Balance, a piece composed by Ken Hsieh, VMO’s artistic director and the event’s conductor, celebrating Gryphon’s new Marco Polo project (an 11-storey mixed-use building located at Cambie and 49th.) The concert was hosted in two parts and had over 50 playing members onstage.

Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra
VMO Conductor Ken Hsieh amidst the performance. Photo credit: William Luk.

The theme of the night’s concert was inspired by Hsieh’s life and “finding balance in life despite the ups and downs,” as he put it. This season marks Hsieh’s 20th year as the musical director of the VMO since founding it back in 2003 as a non-profit society.

The two-part concert’s finale night brought the noise (as they say) with internationally-renowned Korean flautist Jasmin Choi joining the VMO to celebrate the director Hsieh’s longstanding career. Bringing the show into full swing, Choi’s Canadian debut was a stunning success as she was greeted to roaring applause after stepping on stage, then lauded with even more cheering as she went through each composition. Hailed by the Korean Times as the “Goddess of Flute,” Choi took the audience’s breath away (a sophisticated suffocation if you will) during her flute solo of Aram Khachaturian’s Flute Concerto in D Minor. Who knew a flautist could evoke happiness, melancholy, suspense, and calm all in one solo? Now that’s true goddess behaviour.

Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra and Jasmin Choi
Korean Flautist Jasmine Choi and Ken Hsieh on stage. Photo credit: William Luk.

The flute’s fluttery light notes brought almost a childish air into the hall – taking me back to my childhood couch glued to a Tom and Jerry chase on TV. Choi, supported by the orchestra’s melodious violins created an intimate aura despite being surrounded by just under two thousand music fans.

Hsieh and Choi’s on-stage chemistry was a whole different ballgame. Think: Harry Potter ginger twins Fred and George Weasley but Fred is playing the flute, and George is being messed with (obviously.)

After the intermission, to tie in the concert and bring the season to a close, the orchestra played Vasily Kalinnikov’s Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, a powerful yet moving composition—one which has been on Hsieh’s repertoire since 2007.

Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra
The Chan Shun Concert Hall at the UBC Chan Centre was almost sold out. Photo credit: William Luk

If you want to feel like a fancy Bridgerton extra for the night or simply appreciate exquisite musical merit, keep your eyes peeled for upcoming concerts from the VMO folks happening all through summer or mark your calendars for the 2023/24 season that starts up September 9, 2023.

For more information and concert details, check out their website here