Kingston Symphony creates digital performance for Remembrance Day

Still from the digital performance of the second movement of Tracing Colville featuring the Kingston Symphony.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, and in honour of Remembrance Day, the Kingston Symphony has once again come together, digitally, to perform a brand new piece called Tracing Colville by award-winning Canadian composer and Kingston resident, Dean Burry.

Commissioned by the Kingston Symphony to perform live at a concert that was originally scheduled to take place on October 25, 2020, the second movement of Tracing Colville was recorded remotely and individually by over 40 musicians in the Kingston Symphony and four musicians in the Sinfonia Rotterdam while in isolation in their homes, according to a release from the Symphony, dated Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

To watch the premiere, please visit

“The Kingston Symphony had live concert plans for a true, reverent, Canadian act of Remembrance,” says Music Director Evan Mitchell. “In the wake of COVID-19 it was a priority for us to continue to remember the great sacrifice so many young men and women made for our freedom, so we decided to digitally premiere the second movement of Tracing Colville, entitled Nijmegen Bridge. My grandfather Tom Mitchell served during the liberation of the Netherlands and crossed Nijmegen Bridge every day delivering messages to the field offices. I can think of no greater act of remembrance than to present this fine new work by Dean Burry, which commemorates this historic moment in time. We look forward to presenting the full piece live, hopefully in the fall of 2021.”

About Tracing Colville

Following a research trip to sites in Europe in August 2019, Canadian composer Dean Burry is composing a four-movement work for full orchestra reflecting on the war art of renowned painter Alex Colville and the experiences of Canadians in the Second World War, according to the release. The work will include 40 minutes of music plus projected images and live narration incorporating diary entries from Colville’s own war diary and the journal of the composer, tracing the painter’s original path 75 years later. The National War Museum is an enthusiastic partner for this project and has agreed to provide images of Colville’s works for the performance. The anticipated premiere date of October 2020 (to coincide with Remembrance Day) also placed it as a celebration and reflection of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War (September 2, 1945) and the centenary of Alex Colville’s birth (August 24, 1920).

“Sitting on the northern end of Nijmegen Bridge in August, 2019 was a poignant experience for me,” says composer Dean Burry. “I had just returned from a bike ride to the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek and the sun started cutting through the clouds just as they do in Alex Colville’s iconic painting. Colville’s painting also shows a church steeple in the distance. While I was sitting here, the carillons in that church along with two others across the river began to sound – which highlighted the differences in our art forms. Colville tells the story through images while I can tell it through sound.”

Canada and the Netherlands have always shared such a strong connection, so it only made sense to welcome musicians from Sinfonia Rotterdam to play alongside the Kingston Symphony in this digital performance. “It is one of the great advantages of doing remote recordings like this – distance means nothing,” say Burry.

About Dean Burry

Composer and librettist Dean Burry is a storyteller, Kingston Symphony said in the release. In addition to his extensive work in the opera and concert music fields, he has become one of the world’s leading composers of children’s opera, his works receiving performances across Canada, the United States, Europe, China and Brazil. At over 600 performances, his opera The Brothers Grimm is one of the most produced operas of the 21st century and his operatic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit recently received its European premiere to sold-out houses in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Following his tenure as Artistic Director of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, Burry became an Assistant Professor at the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University and Artistic Director of the Music Theatre Creation Program. Burry was the 2011 recipient of the Ontario Arts Foundation’s Louis Applebaum Composers Award for excellence in the field of music for young people and at over 600 performances, his opera The Brothers Grimm is the most-frequently performed Canadian opera.

About the Kingston Symphony Association

Established in 1953, the Kingston Symphony Association exists to produce and promote professional quality programs of instrumental and choral music for the education, enjoyment, and enrichment of audiences in the Greater Kingston area. The Kingston Symphony is dedicated to the support, development and showcasing of Canadian artists and composers.

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