For Immediate Release: August 25, 2021
Media contact: Melanie Thompson –

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra presents


New filmed performances available on the VICO website from Sept. 2, 2021


The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s annual Global Soundscapes Festival is a rich feast of sound and rhythm, celebrating the intersection of traditional music from world cultures with contemporary intercultural works by Canadian composers.

The 2021 edition features nine brand new filmed performances by the VICO, Allegra Chamber Orchestra, BC Chinese Music Ensemble, the McGregor-Verdejo Duo, Roadrunner Trio, and more. Virtuoso guest soloists include Melody Courage (soprano), Qiu Xia He (pipa), Charlie Lui (dizi), and Yun Song (erhu). The Festival will showcase music by Mark Armanini, Qinglin Bruce Bai, Khac Chi, Jennifer Butler, Cris Derksen, Farshid Samandari, Rodney Sharman, and Jin Zhang, as well as Syrian-Dutch composer Kinan Azmeh, Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, and Iranian-French composer Iraj Sahbayie.

The full Festival programme can be viewed on the VICO website here. Artist bios and notes on the music are available now; all videos will launch on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 at 4:00 pm Pacific Time.

The videos, filmed by Alistair Eagle (assisted by Don Xaliman and Camillia Frey) on multiple cameras in the Historic Theatre at The Cultch, showcase an exciting variety of live performances, all with rare, close-up views of instruments that VICO audiences normally only see from a distance on the concert stage: Chinese erhu, pipa, zheng, dizi, sheng; Persian santur, oud, kamanche, tar, setar; violin, cello, guitar, harp, piano, accordion, clarinet; and percussion from around the globe. The sound, recorded on vintage analogue audio equipment by audio engineer Sheldon Zaharko, ensures that the unique colours of each instrument are clear and present, offering a compelling visual and aural concert experience for every viewer.

“This is adventurous music from an unusual time,” says VICO Artistic Director Mark Armanini; “extraordinary performances by musicians from many cultures who have developed unique ways of collaborating and listening to each other closely. Although we all miss in-person concerts, video adds a new magic to our Global Soundscapes Festival: the possibility of a truly up close and personal look (and listen) into the music being created in these virtual live performances. The result is – we hope – a new kind of connection and understanding between artists and audience.”


The VICO gratefully 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. We also extend heartfelt thanks to the following funders for their support of this project: Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of BC (Community Gaming), BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver Cultural Services, and the SOCAN Foundation.



Melanie Thompson (Communications Manager):



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 a 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 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.