John Oliver, composer

News Archive

Eagle Flies to Mountain - Ontario premiere


featuring the Ontario premiere of Oliver’s “Eagle Flies to Mountain” conducted by Taiwan’s Chih-Sheng Chen.

TORONTO – The Sound of Dragon Music Festival is coming to Ontario from May 20-May 24, introducing new audiences to a spectacular musical event rooted in
Chinese tradition but distinctly Canadian fare. Erhu, pipa, zheng, sheng, and ruan share the stage with violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, and clarinet, and combine with various percussion instruments from around the world. With concerts and workshops presented by Toronto’s Small World Music as part of their Asian Music Series, the Fort York National Historic Site, Markham Theatre, Sunfest-London Committee for Cross Cultural Arts Inc, and Waterloo’s Neruda Arts, the festival brings a unique approach to preserving authentic traditional music, while promoting creativity and innovation. This marks the Ontario debut for both the Sound of Dragon Festival and The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. For more information, please visit
'We have no idea why this hasn’t been done before, but we’re glad the Orchid Ensemble’s Lan Tung has organized this long-overdue festival: her eclectic interests will ensure an eye-opening look at the very wide world of “Chinese music”.' ~ Georgia Straight
The Sound of Dragon Music Festival which originated in Vancouver in 2014, features members of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) in collaboration with musicians from Taiwan and Toronto to intertwine diverse styles: ancient folk and classical repertoire, contemporary compositions, world, fusion, and creative improvisation. By presenting musicians from different ethnicities, nationalities, and musical trainings/genres, Sound of Dragon re-defines Chinese music and reflects Canada’s multicultural environment.
The programming will sample the music from Vancouver’s inaugural festival with the input of Ontario and Taiwanese collaborators, and at the same time premiere brand new works. This international, innovative project celebrates the 2015 Asian Heritage Month of May, with superb music. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2015 @ 8PM
Fort York, Toronto – Blue Barracks
250 Fort York Blvd., Toronto
Tickets: Free admission
This concert is the meeting ground of the musicians from Vancouver, Taiwan and Toronto. Members of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, Taiwan’s Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, and Toronto pipa virtuoso Wen Zhao will open the night with solo, duo, and ensemble performances of traditional and contemporary music written for the Chinese instruments. The musicians, along with guests from Toronto’s creative music scene, will explore and improvise with various combinations of Chinese and western instrumentation.

THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015 @ 8PM
Small World Music Centre,
180 Shaw Street, Toronto ON
Tickets: $20
As part of Small World's Asian Music Series, this concert will present a small ensemble made up of players from the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and Taiwan’s Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra. This lively program presents a unique interpretation of folk music as well as original works with influences from Indian, Klezmer, Persian, Chinese, Taiwanese, and even Beatles music! Joining the ensemble is Toronto pipa virtuoso Wen Zhao. This concert finale will consist of the Toronto premiere of conductor John Oliver's Eagle Flies to Mountain.

FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2015
Presented by the Markham Theatre
Venue & Time TBA
Tickets: 905.305.7469 (SHOW)
The Markham event includes free workshops on Chinese instruments in the afternoon and a main concert featuring a 12-member chamber orchestra in the evening. Conducted by maestro Chih-Sheng Chen from Taiwan, this orchestra consists of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra core group, which is augmented by musicians from Taiwan and Toronto. New arrangements of Chinese classic repertoire and original compositions include the premiere of Lan Tung’s Chinese Banquet. Commissioned by VICO with a Canada Council grant, the composition is inspired by a famous Chinese traditional storytelling script "The Royal Banquet," which is based on folk art originated on the streets in Beijing. The names of one hundred exotic dishes fit for a king’s dinner party are set to lively rhythms on varied instrumentation.
SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2015 @ 8PM
Aeolian Hall
795 Dundas St. East, London, ON
Tickets: $20

SUNDAY, MAY 24, 2015 @ 8PM
The Jazz Room, Huether Hotel
59 King St. North, Waterloo, ON
Tickets: $20 Adv. / $25 Door / Students & Seniors $10 Adv., $15 Door.
The London and Waterloo concerts will present a small ensemble from the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and Taiwan’s Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra. This international collaboration brings together erhu (Chinese violin), sheng (Chinese mouth organ), zheng (Chinese zither), ruan (Chinese lute), western violin and world percussion to present a lively program of unique interpretation of folk music as well as original works. The influences include Indian, Klezmer, Persian, Chinese and Taiwanese.
More about the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra:
The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra is a professional orchestra devoted specifically to performing new intercultural music on a grand scale. Founded in 2001, it was one of the first such ensembles in the world, and is currently the only one of its kind in Canada. The VICO’s core roster consists of 24 musicians, some of whom are trained in the Western (European) classical tradition, while others are performers in the musical traditions of cultures from all over the world (Asian, African, East Indian and Middle Eastern, among others). The VICO’s mission is to act as a forum for the creation of a new musical art form, one in which all of Canada’s resident cultures can take part. Through composition, performance and educational outreach to both music professionals and the general public, the VICO serves as a voice for Canadian composers and musicians of diverse backgrounds, and fosters the creation of musical works that fuse and transcend cultural traditions. The VICO has commissioned and performed over 40 new intercultural pieces by ground-breaking Canadian composers.
More about Sound of Dragon Society:
Sound of Dragon Society is a non-profit organization registered in BC. The society preserves ancient traditions of Chinese instrumental and vocal music, brought to Canada by the immigrants from China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. At the same time, it celebrates diversity and creativity in the contemporary applications of this music, resulting from the interaction between musicians of various ethnic and musical backgrounds. Sound of Dragon showcases these very diverse musical styles through the production of a festival, concerts, and educational programs. By presenting musicians and ensembles from different ethnicities, nationalities, and musical trainings/genres, Sound of Dragon Society re-defines Chinese music and reflects Vancouver’s multicultural environment and a highly creative music scene.
Core members & soloists:
Lan Tung – erhu/Chinese violin & voice (Vancouver)
Chih-Sheng Chen – conductor (Taiwan)
Jonathan Bernard - percussion (Vancouver)
Zhimin Yu – ruan/Chinese lute (Vancouver)
Domagoj Ivanovic – violin (Vancouver)
Dailin Hsieh- zheng/Chinese zither (Taiwan)
Ling Hsuan Shen – sheng/Chinese mouth organ (Taiwan)
Wen Zhao – pipa/Chinese lute (Toronto)
Featured Composers:
John Oliver (Vancouver)
Lan Tung (Vancouver)
Moshe Denburg (Vancouver)
Mark Armanini (Vancouver)
Farshid Samandari (Vancouver)
Other links:
Twitter: @sound_of_dragon