Music is probably the most powerful of all the art forms. Everyone with ears can appreciate it and there are no language or education barriers involved. Music has been bringing people together since the beginning of time, and from July 16 to 21, 2013 the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will be bringing people to together in Whistler with a plethora of classical performances throughout Whistler Village, two free outdoor concerts at the Whistler Olympic Plaza and a “Kids Koncert” on Sunday afternoon.

Conductor Sean Newhouse (right) makes his Canadian debut in Whistler Friday July 19.

“The combination of the majesty and power of nature with a live orchestra is incredible,” says American conductor Sean Newhouse, who will lead the orchestra for two concerts July 19 and 20, his first ever shows in Canada. “I’m really excited to make my Canadian debut with such a celebrated orchestra and I’m excited to come to Whistler as well.”

No stranger to ski towns, Sean grew up in Vermont and was the captain of his school ski team. “I am a strong lover of the outdoors,” he says. “It’s wonderful to be surrounded by calm nature and there are nature connections throughout classical music. The beginning of The Firebird Suite portrays Prince Ivan walking through a Russian forest at night.”

Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite is the final piece in the “Light Classics” program Sean will be conducting Friday night (the 19th). The evening’s program is designed to be an almost introductory concert for uninitiated classical listeners. “It’s more shorter pieces with a popular flair,” Sean explains. “Each piece has it’s own sense of place.”

The Saturday evening program is a traditional masterworks performance featuring pieces by Mozart, Medelssohn and Dvorak. “Three of the most beloved works of their type,” Sean says. “Pieces that have stood the test of time, filled with melodies and infectious rhythm and really transcendent moments that I think will be all the more enhanced by Whistler’s natural surroundings.”

The Friday and Saturday night VSO performances will feature solos from renowned violinist Mayuko Kamio. As well, Whistler is hosting a series of pop-up afternoon quartets and quintets throughout the Village on Tuesday July 16 and Wednesday the 17th as a sort of musical appetizer for the feast of the weekend concerts. Sunday July 21 features conductor Gordon Gerard leading the orchestra through the “Kids Koncert: Beethoven Lives Upstairs” program. It’s a tale of music, friendship and genius designed for younger listeners. Last year’s VSO performances were some of the most engaging and unique shows of the summer. Don’t miss out. has full schedules and details of the entire VSO performances and although the shows are free to public they are offering special a special VSO VIP package that includes access to special seating at the concerts and exclusive after-show events for guests who book two nights accommodation.


Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.