"The hour has come."
While many music enthusiasts will recognize the title of the choral symphony by Canadian composer Srul Irving Glick, Jesse Read uses it to sum up the feeling running through the School of Music these days.
After two years of planning, the school's faculty and students are ready to present the gala inaugural concert in UBC's new Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on March 14.
"We are extremely excited about this very important event," said Read, director of the School of Music. "We knew that we would be making the first music to be heard in this dazzling, state-of-the art venue."
In addition to opening with Glick's symphony, faculty members chose a Mozart concerto and a Beethoven symphony to round out the two-hour concert.
Performing will be several of the School of Music's large ensembles including the UBC Symphony Orchestra, the UBC Choral Union and the University Singers, as well as invited community choral members of the Amabilis Singers, Vancouver Bach Choir, Chor Leoni Men's Choir, Douglas College Chorus and the Elektra Women's Choir.
Guest soloists are acclaimed pianists and faculty members Jane Coop and Robert Silverman, who will play Mozart's Concerto in E flat for Two Pianos.
The evening concludes with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor featuring vocal soloists Nancy Hermiston, soprano, Diane Loeb, mezzo-soprano, Stuart Lutzenhiser, tenor and Gary Relyea, baritone.
Read will share the conductor's podium with School of Music colleague James Fankhauser.
What started in 1946 as a Chair of Music, held by famed violinist Harry Adaskin, evolved into a department and finally became the School of Music in 1959 when the university recognized the need for a Bachelor of Music program.
Since the early years, the school has grown from four faculty members and 27 students to 55 full-time and sessional faculty and 350 students including graduate students. Members of the school give about 200 performances each year.
"The new Chan Centre for the Performing Arts provides a long awaited place for audiences to enjoy the wonderful music offerings that we have," Read said. "It also greatly enhances our teaching and learning capabilities and lends a higher profile to UBC's music program in the community, which will help us attract top students and guest artists."
The school hopes to have continued access to the Old Auditorium as a rehearsal space until planned replacement facilities are completed.
Although the inaugural concert is by invitation, the School of Music is planning a series of public events and special joint presentations with the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts including a recital in November by celebrated tenor and alumnus Ben Heppner.
Many of the school's performances will remain free, Read said, and prices of its ticketed events held in the centre are not expected to rise.