About the VICO (for Artslandia Magazine)

I wrote this article on the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s 2015-16 season for the inaugural Vancouver edition of Artslandia Magazine. You can see the article on Artslandia’s website here, or in print – the magazine is available for free at many locations around Vancouver.

Diverse, innovative, multicultural, vibrant, Canadian.

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) is a professional concert orchestra devoted to performing intercultural music on a grand scale. Founded in 2001, it was one of the first such ensembles in the world, and is the only one of its kind in Canada.

What’s “intercultural music”, you ask? It’s music that transcends boundaries: cultural, social, political, and geographical. The VICO proudly describes itself as the Canadian cultural mosaic in musical form. Violins, violas, cellos, bass, flute and clarinet share the stage with the Chinese erhu, sanxian, pipa, zheng, sheng and dizi, the Persian santur and kamanche, the Arabic oud, the Vietnamese dan bau, the Japanese sho, shakuhachi and koto, and more. The VICO commissions ground-breaking composers to write for unique configurations of these instruments; since its inception the ensemble has developed and presented close to 50 new works.

The VICO’s 2015-16 season continues to approach diversity as a fascinating challenge and a creative call to action. The orchestra welcomes internationally acclaimed guest soloists from Japan, Turkey, Armenia, Uzbekistan and Taiwan for a colourful programme of concerts, chamber recitals, workshops for musicians and composers, free educational presentations and more.

This is fusion music on a global scale: music that draws on the poetic best of many cultures to build bridges of imagination and communication between them. It strives for unity in diversity; it expresses longing for peace and understanding, and offers hope for the future.


“Music that sounds like Vancouver looks” – Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight

“The United Nations of music” – Jon Siddall, CBC Radio

“Hugely inspiring, and a wonderful testament to the glorious places humans can grow toward” – audience member

“Innovative and interesting music, not quite what I was expecting but challenging and exciting!” – audience member

“Beautiful music and performed so exquisitely” – audience member

“Rhythms, melodies, and sonorities that meld and display the instruments from different cultures so well. In addition to having great material to work with, it was fun and inspiring to work with the other musicians.” – Johanna Hauser, VICO clarinetist


Sounds Global feat. Naomi Sato
November 6, 2015 at 8 pm
Highlands United Church, North Vancouver

The intercultural music of the future: new pieces by up-and-coming composers, performed by a VICO chamber ensemble, with visiting sho virtuoso Naomi Sato

Jubilant Red: The Composers’ Intercultural Kitchen
November 14, 2015 at 8 pm
Pyatt Hall (VSO School of Music), Vancouver

Building bridges between contemporary classical & world music: works for string quartet & traditional instruments (zheng, santur,sanxian, oud, sho)

Notes from the Araxes Basin: Festival of Middle Eastern Music
February 19-28, 2016
Vancouver, West Vancouver, Victoria

Two weeks of concerts, workshops, recitals & educational events, featuring VICO musicians & composers with guest artists from Turkey, Armenia & Uzbekistan

Good Day Sunshine
April 10, 2016

VICO does the Beatles…and more! Our popular annual fundraiser, featuring a light-hearted selection of pop, traditional and intercultural tunes

Smooth as Silk: VICO at Sound of Dragon Music Festival
April 16, 2016 – Burnaby
April 22, 2016 – Vancouver

Intercultural music featuring Chinese instruments (including the rarely-heard sheng): an all-Canadian programme that showcases diverse musical aesthetics

$15-$30 (season flex passes & group discounts available)

Website: www.vi-co.org
E-mail: info@vi-co.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/VancouverInterCulturalOrchestra
Twitter: @VICOrchestra
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/vicovideo1