April 10 to 12, 2018
Grades 5 and 6
Pre-show Information for Teachers
Members of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra will introduce children to the rich variety of instruments and sounds of the symphony. Under the leadership of artistic director Judith Yan, the orchestra regularly performs on River Run Centre’s Main Stage, as well as at concerts and events especially designed for school-aged kids.
Questions/ Suggested Discussion Points
The Guelph Symphony Orchestras was established in 2001, with Simon Irving as the first Artistic Director and Resident Conductor. The current conductor, Judith Yan, took over the baton in 2012. Comprised of approximately 45 musicians from the city and region, the orchestra performs regularly at River Run Centre and the Basilica of Our Lady.
The GSO and Youth
The GSO offers many youth-related activities, including the annual Under-23 competition, the Guelph Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) and Kinderconcerts. The GSO Kids Club is a free symphonic club designed for children 6 – 13 years of age. An orchestra member gives a demonstration of their instrument and then the participants join the audience for the second half of a concert.
The Structure of an Orchestra
What are the four families of instruments in an orchestra? (string, brass, wood-wind and percussion)
What’s the difference between chamber, philharmonic and symphony orchestra? Check out this link for a great explanation: (https://www.ludwig-van.com/toronto/2014/08/04/classical-101-the-difference-between-chamber-philharmonic-and-symphony-orchestra/)
What are the typical seating arrangements for orchestras?
While there is no set seating arrangement for an orchestra, the first violins are always to the conductor’s left, and percussion at back. This is based on acoustics, as well as the actual size of the instruments. Typically, stringed instruments are arranged in the front row, beginning on the left (from the audience’s perspective) with first violins, second violins, violas and then cellos on the right. Behind the strings there are typically woodwinds, then brass and then percussion (moving towards the back of the stage).
However, the choice of music may influence the seating, as some arrangements include the first and second violins seated across from each other. This results in a stereo effect, with the two sections playing off each other.
This presentation is made possible in part by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council’s Ontario Touring program.