The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) is a pillar of Calgary’s vibrant arts community and since 1955, has grown to be one of Canada’s most celebrated live music ensembles. Each Season, the CPO presents classical masterworks, pop favourites, bold collaborations, and cutting-edge new works. Led by Music Director Rune Bergmann, the CPO consistently attracts world renowned guest artists and dynamic conductors. The Orchestra welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually and, in 2017, launched its live-stream initiative — an immersive, digital concert experience for audiences around the world.
The CPO is nationally and internationally recognized for the quality and creativity of our performances. In addition to featuring world-class soloists and conductors, the CPO also commissions new Canadian compositions to create relevant, accessible, and superior musical programming. Committed to making orchestral music accessible, exciting, and fun for all audiences, the CPO constantly aims to push the boundaries of classical music into new and unfamiliar territories.
Each season we welcome more than 10,000 students from across Calgary and Alberta into the concert hall as part of our Education Series Concerts. Resident Conductor Karl Hirzer leads these lighthearted one hour programmes, designed to educate and inspire elementary age students. Concerts are presented with themes in the classroom and an accompanying guide to all registered schools. We welcome all educators from public, separate, private, charter, or home schools.
We provide a fully funded after-school programme that fuels the exploration of music amongst young children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate in music lessons. In addition to learning how to play an instrument, perform in front of an audience, and read music, students learn valuable life skills such as creative self-expression, self-discipline and cooperative learning. PhilKids takes place twice/week throughout the school year.
In The Classroom
Every year the CPO sends musicians into the classroom! Orchestra musicians are available for pre or post education concert visits, as well as other times throughout the school year to share their love of music with the next generation. Musicians demonstrate what their instrument sounds like, share information about their instrument and the music they play, give a short performance, and answer student questions.
Instrument Discovery Zoos
Throughout the Season, CPO musicians visit locations around Calgary and offer Instrument Discovery Zoos. These hands-on events allow children of all ages to meet a member of the Orchestra to play a real musical instrument and even compose their own tune.
In The Library
It is our pleasure to partner with the Calgary Public Library each season through small ensemble performances at public libraries across the city. Audiences learn about the composers, the instruments and the musicians during a question and answer period following each performance. These events provide a rich sensory and cultural experience where musicians share their talent and passion with the community.
Student and senior groups can experience a full working rehearsal for concerts throughout the season. Attendees observe the time and dedication it takes to prepare for a performance.
Visit calgaryphil.com/education to learn more.There are many ways to support the Orchestra. In addition to volunteering your time, you can financially support the CPO through one of its many donor programs. You could help bring virtuoso artists or guest conductors to Calgary, support the next generation of artists through our education programmes, assist with the commissioning of new music, or leave a legacy for years to come. Choose a donor program that resonates with you, and help us continue to foster great orchestral music that leaves an impact on Calgarians and music-lovers around the world.
Naomi and John Lacey Virtuoso Programme
The Naomi and John Lacey Virtuoso Programme helps the CPO bring world class artists to our stage, enhancing musical presentations for the benefit of both those attending and our Orchestra musicians. The Virtuoso Programme also benefits the Mount Royal University Conservatory. During their time in Calgary, Virtuoso Artists teach master classes, leaving a legacy of inspired education from which aspiring musicians can grow. Donations towards this programme help the CPO ensure greater positive impact on our city’s young talent with each Virtuoso performance.
Founded by Judith Kilbourne, the PhilKids after-school programme fuels the exploration of music amongst children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to take part in music lessons. Students learn valuable life skills including mentorship, creative self-expression, self-discipline, and cooperative learning.
Brussa Brava! Legacy Programme (BB!LP)
The Brussa Brava! Legacy Programme (BB!LP) founded by Andrea Brussa has sponsored over 80 guest conductors. Each have brought their unique talents and influence to the Orchestra. Starting in the 2017/2018 Season, BB!LP is the proud sponsor of CPO’s Music Director, Rune Bergmann. Your donation towards BB!LP serves to elevate the music and the reputation of the CPO.
DeBoni New Works
With the generous support of Irene and Walt DeBoni, the CPO is committed to developing and commissioning new Canadian artistic works that reinvigorate the orchestral tradition and speak to today’s audiences. Your contribution to the DeBoni New Works projects help inspire composers and musicians to produce new contemporary classical music each season.
The Borak Forte Programme
The Borak Forte Programme is designed to develop the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus into Canada’s premiere orchestral chorus. Dedicated to excellent choral performances of symphonic works, the Programme reaches goals through development activities for over 120 chorus members, including funding access to world class clinicians.
MacLachlan Ridge Emerging Artist Programme
The MacLachlan Ridge Emerging Artist Programme was founded by Letha MacLachlan, Q.C. and John Ridge to enable outstanding young Canadian musicians to advance their careers. Donations towards this Programme have successfully created a bridge for the artists between musical academic excellence and their professional careers in the highly competitive arena of world class performance.
Joyce and Dick Matthews Philanthropic Programme
Joyce and Dick Matthews were generous and dedicated supporters of the CPO for over 50 years. They regarded symphonic music as one of life’s greatest pleasures, and a strong orchestra as a hallmark of a world-class city. They shared this passion with their family, who continue the legacy of supporting the Orchestra. The Programme provides the opportunity for patrons to Celebrate Friends in Music by recognizing someone special in memoriam, and Leave a Legacy by leaving a planned legacy gift, alongside that of the Matthews.
Endowed Orchestra Chair Programme
The key to the CPO’s longevity and progressiveness as a vibrant arts organization is in the quality of our individual musicians and retention of those musicians. We need your support in perpetuating the Orchestra’s legacy. Create your legacy through the naming of an Endowed Chair – in your name, your family’s name, or in recognition of someone special.
The CPO believes that the arts should be accessible to everyone. In that spirit, the CPO wants your help in contributing to its HeartStrings programme. For more than ten years, the programme has partnered with local charities including Kids Cancer Care, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, and more to give the gift of tickets to deserving families and people in need. By removing financial barriers to cultural enrichment, the CPO’s HeartStrings programme brings an unforgettable musical experience to an even greater number of Calgarians.
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation (CPOF)
The CPOF was formed under the Societies Act of Alberta in 1984 and is a not-for-profit organization. The Foundation is a registered charity under the Income Tax Act, and, accordingly is exempt from income taxes provided certain requirements of that Act are met. It operates independently and at arms-length from the Calgary Philharmonic Society, which manages the operations of the CPO. The Foundation’s objectives are responsible stewardship and growth of its Endowment Fund so as to provide a dependable long-term revenue stream in support of the operations of the CPO.