“…Music that sounds like Vancouver looks.” The Georgia Straight
“The United Nations of music” – CBC Radio
A group photo of the VICO with conductor Janna Sailor and soloist Mark Takeshi McGregor. The musicians are standing, holding their instruments, and looking up at the camera.

Members of the VICO with conductor Janna Sailor and soloist Mark Takeshi McGregor, at the Orpheum Annex on November 3, 2021.

Back row (L-R): Elyse Jacobson (violin), Yuel Yaweny (violin), Mark Ferris (violin), Finn Manniche (cello), Mark Haney (contrabass), Sungyong Lim (cello), Sarah Kwok (viola), Isabelle Roland (viola), Tawnya Popoff (viola)

Front row (L-R): Marjan Alkehamis (kamanche), Mohammad Amini (kamanche), Sina Ettehad (kamanche), Lan Tung (erhu), Jun Rong (erhu), Yun Song (erhu), Bijan Rahmani (tombak)

Not pictured: featured soloist Geling Jiang (sanxian), and Jonathan Bernard (percussion)

COMING SOON: New filmed performances of works for intercultural string orchestra, including Hommage à Hafiz by Leslie Uyeda, Fly Away Phoenix, Into the Sky by Rita Ueda, Passepied by Claude Debussy (in a new arrrangement by Farshid Samandari), and Night Song 6 by Mark Armanini.


The VICO acknowledges that our work takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Nations, including the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh Nations.

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, founded in 2001, was one of the first professional concert orchestras devoted specifically to performing new intercultural music on a grand scale. It is currently the only ensemble of its kind in Canada, and one of only a handful that exist in the world. The VICO brings together musicians and composers from many cultural and artistic communities in the Greater Vancouver area, including Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Indian, Persian (Iranian), Latin and South American, Vietnamese, African, North American and European. The ensemble includes Western strings and winds (violin, viola, cello, contrabass, oboe, flute, clarinet) alongside Chinese erhu, sanxian, zheng, and sheng/suona; Persian kamanche, tar/setar, and tombak; Vietnamese dan bau; percussion from many world music traditions; and a variety of other instruments as required.

Since repertoire for the VICO’s unusual and diverse instrumentation does not already exist, creating new work is an integral component of all our programming. Developing new commissions (over 50 new Canadian works since 2001, and counting!) provides a necessary framework for bringing musicians and composers together to learn from each other, in a uniquely collaborative process. We build bridges of imagination. We approach diversity as a fascinating challenge and a creative call to action. We create and perform music that transcends borders and breaks down barriers, modeling a pathway for integrating non-Western traditional instruments, sounds and techniques into contemporary Canadian classical music.

Photo by Alistair Eagle (February 2021); lighting by John Webber.

Since its inaugural performance in 2001, the VICO has developed and performed over 50 new intercultural pieces by ground-breaking Canadian composers such as Elliot Weisgarber, Trichy Sankaran,Jin Zhang, Mark Armanini, Farshid Samandari, Moshe Denburg, Nikki Carter, Ed Henderson, Larry Nickel, Jeffrey Ryan, Rita Ueda, Lisa Cay Miller, Jim Hiscott,   Lan Tung, Michael O’Neill, John Oliver, Grace Lee, Neil Weisensel, Joseph “Pepe” Danza,  Niel Golden, Stephen Chatman, Rodney Sharman, Dorothy Chang, Neelamjit Dhillon, Jennifer Butler, Kara Gibbs, and Leslie Uyeda.

Read more about the history of the VICO here.

For high-resolution images, please contact melanie@vi-co.org.