Paper Lions with the full PEI Symphony!

Today the PEI Symphony is very pleased to announce that PEI indie rock band Paper Lions will be our special guest for our upcoming concert Sunday November 22nd at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Paper Lions will perform new music from their upcoming release Believer with full orchestrations created for this show.

The orchestra will also perform Berlioz’s well loved Symphony fantastique along with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.   See the post below for more information – and don’t miss this very special concert!

Buy Tickets online

The concert begins at 2:30pm, Sunday November 22.  Tickets are available the Confederation Centre Boxoffice:  $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children.    There will be a Pre-Concert Talk hosted by PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro who will be joined by Paper Lions, at 1:15pm in Studio Two.

Concert November 22 – Our Fantastic Symphony

On Sunday November 23rd the PEI Symphony will host a special concert event at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.  Under the leadership of Music Director Mark Shapiro,  the PEI Symphony presents “Our Fantastic Symphony”, featuring Berlioz’s epic Symphonie fantastique, along with brand new music by PEI indie rock band Paper Lions!

Written in Paris in 1830, Symphonie fantastique tells the story of an artist’s self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman.  Essentially a self-portrait by composer Hector Berlioz, over five movements the famous symphony lays out his dreams and passions, moments of tenderness, and visions of ecstasy, agony and despair.

The most innovative symphony of the 19th century
was born from diabolical passions.
Tom Service, The Guardian UK

Hector Berlioz, image
Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz was born in 1803 in a small town near the Alps.  At age twelve Berlioz fell in love with music becoming an accomplished flautist, and playing both guitar and drums.  As a young man he experienced heavy mood swings along with fantasies of love and loss.  Leaving home for Paris to study medicine, Berlioz quickly became more interested in music, which his father supported. His mother however considered the arts sinful and eventually disowned him, all of which ultimately provided the young composer with the foundation for his life’s work.

Heavily inspired by Beethoven’s innovations with orchestral music, and equally by a famous Shakespearean actress in Paris, this symphony is simply Berlioz’s extravagant attempt to woo her attention!  At the conclusion of its second premiere, the audience erupted in applause and the actress Harriet Smithson immediately realized that she was the inspiration for the composers’ passion. They married a few years later after a passionate courtship.

Harriet Smithson, image
Harriet Smithson, the inspiration!

With symphonie fantastique, Berlioz stepped into his artistic maturity. The lovesick teenager had become the Artist who had won the heart of his fixation (

After intermission the PEI Symphony will perform a special tribute to PEISO musician Dan St. Amand who passed away earlier this year.  Dan’s friends, students and fellow musicians will perform Aaron Copland’s beautiful Fanfare for the Common Man, a piece that Dan performed and loved.

Last but not least, the orchestra will be joined on stage by PEI’s indie rock band Paper Lions, featuring new music from their upcoming release Believer with full orchestrations created for this special concert.

Highlights of the rest of the PEISO 2015-2016 season include rising Canadian star Dinuk Wijeratne as guest conductor in February for a performance of Beethoven’s 8th Symphony, Poulenc’s Organ Concerto featuring PEI organist Leo Marchildon, and a concerto featuring this years’ Suzanne Brenton winner percussionist Branden Kelly.   In April, the orchestra will perform Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto Op.57, and complete the season with Delius A Walk to the Paradise Garden, and Brahms Symphony No.2.

The concert begins at 2:30pm, Sunday November 22.  Tickets are available the Confederation Centre Boxoffice:  $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children.    There will be a Pre-Concert Talk hosted by PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro at 1:15pm, in Studio Two at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

For more information about this event, please call 902-892-4333.

Symph fantastique musicSpecial Limited Time Subscription Offer!
Three concerts for only $90 Adults / Seniors and $35 Students

For a limited time we are delighted to offer three amazing concerts for only $90 for Adults and Seniors, and $35 for Students.  That’s only $30 per concert, a savings of up to $42.  Each subscriber will receive a ticket for our next three concerts, Sunday November 22, and also for February 7, and April 10 2016.

Subscriptions are available by calling 902-892-4333 or by downloading this order form.  Purchasing a subscription is the best way to support the PEI Symphony and help us keep the music playing.

Big Band Dancing – Friday October 30th 9pm

Tickets for our Roving Feast and dinner theatre are no longer available, but the evening dance is open to anyone who would enjoy some adult fun this weekend.

When was the last time you danced to Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood”?

At 9:30pm the Perry Williams Little Big Band will lead off with this classic, setting the tone for a fun evening of dancing.

The big band will perform two sets, and then Groove Company will take the stage, performing hits of the 60’s to 80’s.

Friday October 30th
Culinary Institute (4 Sydney Street)
$20 cover, door opens at 9pm
Perry Williams Big Band 9:30pm
Groove Company 10:45pm

Hallowe’en Masquerade Ball & Roving Feast

Savour Our Symphony

For years the PEI Symphony has held an annual dinner fundraiser in late Spring but this year things will be different!

On October 30th the PEI Symphony presents a new annual tradition – a Hallowe’en Masquerade Ball & Roving Feast entitled Savour Our Symphony! The event is open to the public, to symphony supporters and beyond for anyone who would enjoy a fun evening of gourmet food, classical music featuring an ensemble performing a dance macabre, followed by big band and pop dance music.

PEISO Dinner ad Oct 2015

The masquerade ball and dance begins at 6:30pm at the Culinary Institute of Canada with a reception and silent auction viewing, and at 7:30pm the dinner begins, featuring eight food stations staffed by gourmet chefs. Music and entertainment during dinner will be provided by The Singing Strings followed by PEI’s dynamic new string quintet the Atlantic String Machine, along with an ensemble performing a special Dance Macabre treat for Hallowe’en.

Immediately following the dinner, there will be Big Band Dance music featuring nostalgia big band charts of the 1930’s and 40’s featuring the Perry Williams Little Big Band, followed by dance music featuring hits of the 60’s to 80’s performed by Groove Company. It promises to be a fun-filled evening for concert supporters of all ages – gourmet food, a show, and big band dancing!

The event benefits one of the island’s cultural jewels – the sixty-member PEI Symphony Orchestra. For 48 years the PEISO has been performing four concerts a year with orchestral music from classical to pops that are enjoyed by concert goers of all ages. With your help the PEISO will have the necessary funds to “keep the music playing”! PEISO volunteers are out in the community gathering items for a silent auction and donations are encouraged. Every ticket and donation helps the PEISO continue its’ proud legacy of contribution to our community. As a federally registered charity, tax receipts are provided for a portion of each ticket sold and for contributions to the silent auction. We are all very fortunate to have a fine symphony orchestra here in PEI, and support from local music fans make it all possible. This is the PEISO’s most important fundraiser of the year.

Tickets for the Hallowe-en Masquerade Ball are $120 each, $200 for a couple and $800 for a table of eight. Each ticket provides a tax receipt for a $50 donation.

Please call 902-892-5637 to order your tickets now!

For information about the upcoming season or any other inquiries please call 902-892-4333.

Concert October 18 – at Zion Church

PEI Symphony presents “Symphonic Poetry”, featuring soprano Suzie LeBlanc

Suzie LeBlanc, soprano
Suzie LeBlanc

On Sunday October 18th the PEI Symphony returns to the beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church for the first concert of its 48th season. Under the leadership of PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro, the PEISO will present “Symphonic Poetry” featuring renowned Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc singing Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, and a selection of 4 Songs on poems by Elizabeth Bishop, by Toronto composer Christos Hatzis commissioned by Ms. LeBlanc.

Recently appointed to the Order of Canada, soprano Suzie LeBlanc is one of the most sought after sopranos of her generation. Born in Edmunston NB she sang in the choirs of her native Acadia and studied dance and harpsichord before studying singing in London, UK. From there she began an international singing career specializing in early baroque repertoire. Her thirst and curiosity for new vistas then led her toward the repertoire of French mélodies, lieder, contemporary music, and Acadian folk music, as well as exploring the art of improvisation with the ensemble Mélosphere. Her recordings have received international praise and several prestigious awards including a Grammy. Concerts have taken her to festivals and concert halls all over the world for performances with De Nederlandse Opera, Festival de Beaune, Opéra de Montréal, the Boston Early Music Festival, Tanglewood, Festival Vancouver, and Early Music Vancouver along with multiple performances with Symphony Nova Scotia, Symphony New Brunswick, and the Victoria and Montreal Symphony Orchestras.

Four Songs on Poems by Elizabeth Bishop

In 2011, Suzie LeBlanc along with a few friends commissioned a new Canadian work inviting four composers to write music to accompany a set of 11 poems by Elizabeth Bishop, one of the most admired American poets of the mid-20th century. LeBlanc had become deeply interested in Bishop’s poetry after discovering Bishop’s links to Nova Scotia. According to Music Toronto critic John Teraulds, “Bishop’s writing is a sweet example of musical composition with words. Even read silently, there is a natural rhythm, flow, eddy and texture to how syllables and sounds emerge and slip past.”

With the PEISO, LeBlanc will sing four of these songs all written by Toronto composer Christos Hatzis.

Canadian Composer Christos Hatzis
Canadian Composer Christos Hatzis

“Chistos Hatzis’s Four Songs stand out for their overt alliance with long, flowing melodies. The sounds are so filled with description that it could be movie music. There is a flesh-and-blood connection here, too, which ties us not to airy concepts but a real human who lived and loved passionately.” Teraulds

The PEI Symphony Orchestra will also perform feature Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, with Ms. LeBlanc singing the soprano ‘song’ in the famous fourth movement.

The concert will be presented Sunday October 18th at 2:30pm, at the Zion Presbyterian Church located at 135 Prince Street, corner of Grafton Street.

Due to the rehearsal schedule for concerts at the Zion Church, the PEISO is unable to host a Pre-Concert Talk.

Tickets are available at the door, or through the Confederation Centre Boxoffice: $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children.

Highlights of the rest of the PEISO 2015-2016 season include a performance of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique in November at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. In February the PEISO welcomes rising Canadian star Dinuk Wijeratne as guest conductor for a performance of Beethoven’s 8th Symphony, and PEI organist Leo Marchildon will perform Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with the orchestra. The February concert will also feature this year’s Suzanne Brenton winner, percussionist Branden Kelly. In April, PEI’s clarinet master Karem J Simon will perform Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto Op.57, and the orchestra completes the season with Delius A Walk to the Paradise Garden, and Brahms Symphony No.2.

Purchasing a subscription is the best way to support the PEI Symphony and help them keep the music playing. To keep tickets affordable for PEI families and music fans of all ages, the PEI Symphony maintains significantly lower pricing for season subscriptions.   Four concerts for only $110 for adults and seniors, and $50 for students and children, bringing the per concert cost to $27.50 for adults and seniors and only $12.50 for students!

Subscriptions are available by downloading the following PDF form and sending to us by mail or email.   For assistance please call our office at 902-892-4333 and leave a message.

PEISO Subscription Form 2015-2016 Season

For more information about purchasing season subscriptions and concert tickets, please call 902-892-4333.   Tickets to individual concerts will be available through the Confederation Centre Box Office starting in October.  Tickets are also available online up to the day before the concert, and then at the door.  If you have any questions for the box office, please call 902-566-1267.

Concert August 2 with the Dream Lotus Choir

East meets west on Sunday August 2nd, with a performance of the internationally renowned Dream Lotus Choir with our PEI Symphony Orchestra at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Billed as a “serendipitous meeting of celestial music that speaks to our hearts”, this concert will feature the Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir of Taiwan along with key musicians from the PEI Symphony, all under the director of Taiwanese conductor Wang Tzu-Cheng.

Founded in 2001, the Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir began performing across the major cities of their native Taiwan from Taipei to Kaohsiung. As their reputation grew the choir ventured to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, and then across the Pacific Ocean to North America. Their performances have earned positive reviews globally, and their meditative and spiritual messages have succeeded in moving tens of thousands of audiences from all walks of life.Dream Lotus Choir

This concert will be presented by PEI’s Moonlight International Foundation, a local non-profit organization created for the purpose of relieving suffering to bring happiness to all. The Foundation regularly donates to food banks and the local Salvation Army, purchasing unmarketable fresh vegetables from local farmers, and in the winter new winter coats and snow boots from China. The Foundation also maintains and operates the Buffaloland Park and a farm sanctuary here in PEI.

Traditional Chinese music is the essence of Chinese culture, embodying its’ unique cultural and spiritual heritage. The music and lyrics of the Dream Lotus Choir are mostly composed by Master Zhen-Ru, founder of the Moonlight International Foundation. With all her work, Master Zhen-Ru seeks to inspire spiritual growth and unconditional happiness for people of different cultures. “I hope my music is like a bridge that brings cross-cultural harmony and peace,” she explained after her first successful concert here in PEI in 2012. Her compositions are richly expressed through a blend of traditional Chinese and western musical instruments, featuring beautiful melodies articulated by both the choir and instrumentalists; melodies that transmit a deep spirituality imbued with Confucian philosophy.

The PEI Symphony is honoured to perform with the wonderful Dream Lotus Choir from Taiwan, as part of their major North American tour this summer. The choir is also performing in Toronto and New York City. This concert is sure to be a key cultural event in PEI this summer.

All proceeds from this production will support the Moonlight Foundation’s activities and charitable causes. Tickets start from $25.00 with discounts available for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased through the Confederation Centre of the Arts website and boxoffice.

The concert begins at 3:30pm!



PEI Symphony AGM 2014

PEISO logo

The Prince Edward Island Symphony Society will be holding it’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday June 9th at 6pm, at Park Royal United Church which is located at 11 Christie Drive in Charlottetown.

Please come to the side door off the parking lot, not the sanctuary entrance – and look for the room on the right at the top of the stairs.

The agenda will include a review of the audited financial performance from the 2013-2014 season, as well as a set of proposed updates to the bylaws including proposed changes to the length of executive terms.  The AGM for our 2014-2015 year will be held in July this year.

Anyone interested in the PEI Symphony is welcome to attend either or both meetings.

An ‘awe full’ performance in April

“I like Professor Dacher Keltner’s definition of the word: “Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world.” Recent studies have reported that, of all the positive emotions, the experience of awe has the most profound effect on our well-being. Nature is a good source—there’s the ocean, the night sky, mountains, lightning, the northern lights—and art is another, whether visual art, dance or music. Which brings me to the final PEI Symphony Orchestra performance of this season, “The Passion of Sibelius.”  

Ivy Wigmore of our local arts paper The Buzz was at our concert last month at the Zion Presbyterian Church, to hear our Maestro Mark Shapiro lead our PEI Symphony Orchestra through a beautiful performance of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”.   The packed crowd showed their appreciation with the first of two standing ovations that afternoon, on their way to the lobby to reserve their subscriptions for our 2015-2016 season.

As great as the Mozart sounded, our orchestra came back for the second act with a truly breathtaking, emotive and gorgeous performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 bringing the audience again to their feat for another ovation.   As Ivy explains:

“Standing ovations are so common these days that they’ve lost currency, but you can still gauge audience response from the speed with which people rise. This performance produced a fast standing O, people clapped hard and there were even some shouts. After the extended applause finally died out, a friend sitting next to me turned to say, “My heart is just pounding!”

There were tears in her eyes—and something else… I think you’d have to call it awe.”

Applause for the PEISO
Applause for the PEISO – April 2015

Read Ivy’s full review in the May edition of The Buzz, or online at

Play Your Part! PEISO Indigogo Campaign

We are your Symphony PEI, and we need your support to keep the music playing.  It’s time to Play Your Part!

The Prince Edward Island Symphony has brought quality orchestral music to our province for nearly 50 years.  Four times a year our orchestra brings together sixty or more musicians including professionals, students, music teachers, business people and community members for an exciting ‘concert weekend’ to rehearse and perform a program of classical music that is appealing to a wide audience.

There’s nothing quite like the power, majesty and grace of a live symphony orchestra, and the PEI Symphony is the Island’s own.

Play Your Part, tile
Click here for our Indiegogo site

Now, we are asking for your support.  The past five years have been a financial struggle for the orchestra.  Increasing expenses, and declining donations and sales are putting the future of our orchestra at risk.

Please help us keep the music playing.  Our community needs the PEISO, and the PEISO needs you –  more than ever.

Just as each individual musician plays their part in an orchestra, we are asking YOU to play a part to help secure the future of our great orchestra.

What We Need & What You Get

We are aiming to raise a minimum of $15,000 to help us reduce our operational debt, to secure the future of the orchestra.   With an annual operating budget of about $170,000 per season, we have been between unable to break even for the past 5 years, and we cannot continue without at least balancing our budget.

We certainly appreciate the generous support of the Canada Council of the Arts, the Prince Edward Island Department of Tourism and Culture, and the City of Charlottetown, and also to our key sponsors including The Joan & Regis Duffy Foundation, Provincial Credit Union,  Hyndman Insurance, The Confederation Centre for the Arts, The Guardian, the Buzz, the Best Value hotels, Kwik Kopy, R. Birt & Associates, and Harvest Wholesale.

Even with their support, we need your help.  Unfortunately our concert expenses have been increasing over the last five years while our individual and corporate donations, and yearly subscriptions have all decreased.  In the last two years our individual donations have decreased by 50%.  We need your support to keep the music playing.

As a thank you for supporting our orchestra, we have a fun range of unique perks available, from a handwritten card from a musician,  an opportunity to play, or a sponsorship – there is a way for everyone to play a part!

Our Impact

Our orchestra has a huge impact on our community here in Prince Edward Island, and is itself a music community with a wide variety of individuals who either perform or appreciate quality orchestral music, and the joy of working hard together to create a beautiful live performance.

As a full symphony orchestra, the PEISO supports our cultural identity in Prince Edward Island and the greater Charlottetown area, at a level that’s commensurate with our status as a province and capital, and the birthplace of Confederation in Canada.

  • Cultural events such as our concerts engage and attract professionals, businesses and educated audiences to our Island and our economy.
  • Our audiences experience the incredible power and beauty of live orchestral music four times a season.
  • Our $170K annual budget is primarily used to purchase supplies and services right here in PEI, reinvesting in our local economy.
  • Four times per year we book twenty five hotel rooms for a full weekend for our travelling musicians.
  • Every concert attracts off-island tourism.
  • Charlottetown restaurants are busy during each of our four concert weekends.
  • Professional PEI musicians have the opportunity to perform with a full orchestra.
  • Young PEI student musicians have the opportunity to perform with an orchestra, as regular members and/or soloists.
  • Islanders experience talented guest soloists and our guest soloists experience the orchestra and our Island community.
  • Established PEI solo artists and groups have an opportunity to perform with a full live orchestra.
  • Island popular music artists and groups can have their music arranged for orchestra for other engagements outside of PEI.

Other Ways You Can Help

The best way to support our orchestra is to come to as many of our concerts as you can!   Our next concerts are Sunday April 12th, and Sunday October 19th.

Season Tickets will be available for purchase on April 12.  Please check back here for details, or call 902-892-4333.

Our annual ‘Serenade to Spring Dinner and Auction’, returns to the Georgian Room at the Rodd Charlottetown on Saturday June 6 this year.   Music will be provided by the Singing Strings. Tickets are $90 – and you receive a $50 tax receipt.   Come enjoy the evening with us and/or consider donating items for the auctions in return for a tax receipt for the value of your donation!

…and listen, perform, share, and get excited about classical music!  These are all the ways you can play your part!

No Pre-Concert Talk April 12 – Tickets at the door from 2pm

The PEI Symphony returns to the beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church for our next concert Sunday April 12th.

Under the leadership of PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro, the PEI Symphony presents “The Passion of Sibelius”, to honour the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous composer with a performance of his second symphony, along with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”.

Please note, due to the rehearsal schedule for concerts at the Zion Church, the PEISO is unable to host a Pre-Concert Talk for this event.

Doors open at 2pm, and the concert begins at 2:30pm.   We hope to see you there!