A rich feast of sound & rhythm

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s annual Global Soundscapes Festival celebrates traditional sounds and techniques from world cultures, as they intersect with contemporary intercultural music by Canadian composers.

Browse the thumbnails below, and click through to watch and listen!

Artist bios and programme notes are also available.

More About the Festival 


Choose a performance below, and click through to watch and listen!

About the Festival

The VICO gratefully acknowledges that this 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’s annual Global Soundscapes Festival is a rich feast of sound and rhythm, celebrating the intersection of traditional sounds and techniques from world cultures with contemporary intercultural music 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 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.

Click through the thumbnails above to see individual video pages with artist bios and programme notes. All videos will be released online on Thursday, September 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.”



Artistic Director & Producer – Mark Armanini
Composer-in-Residence & Senior Project Manager – Farshid Samandari
Production Manager & Communications – Melanie Thompson

Director of Photography – Alistair Eagle
Camera Operators – Don Xaliman & Camillia Frey

Audio Engineer & Mix – Sheldon Zaharko

Marketing/production assistant – Gina Hernandez Sanchez

Operations Manager – Devni De Silva

All videos filmed in the Historic Theatre at The Cultch in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (unless otherwise noted).



The VICO extends heartfelt thanks to the following funders, without whose generous support this project would not have come to fruition:

A Note to Our Viewers/Listeners: You Can Help Make the Music Happen!

If you enjoyed our 2021 Festival series, we would be so grateful if you would consider supporting the project (and others to come in our 20th anniversary season) by making a donation to the VICO. We are a registered charity, and if you donate online via CanadaHelps (click here), a tax receipt will be automatically issued and e-mailed to you right away.

If a financial contribution is not possible, there is another way that you can help if you wish: tell people about the VICO! Share our videos with anyone you think might find them interesting, and/or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube and help us spread the word by sharing our posts on those platforms. Every view, comment, or “like” helps!

Thank you for your support.