Night Song VI  by Mark Armanini

About the Music



Janna Sailor, conductor

Kamanches: Marjan Alekhamis, Mohammad Amini, Sina Ettehad
Erhus: Jun Rong, Yun Song, Lan Tung
Violas: Sarah Kwok, Tawnya Popoff
Celli: Sungyong Lim, Finn Manniche

About Night Song IV:

This gentle-sounding work begins as a lullaby and gathers momentum throughout. The intense lyricism is personified through the sounds of solo kamanche and erhu, which sometimes contrast and sometimes blend with the viola and cello. The viola and cello provide the chordal outlines and contrapuntal background as the kamanches and erhus engage in conversation with the Western strings. These characteristics suggest the work has a more western compositional perspective, but is easily imagined as a Song Dynasty scroll or landscape drawing or a nature poem.

The flowing triplet rhythm is unusual in Chinese traditional music, but common in Persian music and is well suited to the vocal quality of the traditional instruments and the harmonic folk-like capabilities of the viola and cello. The rhythmic activity becomes a powerful force in the work, quickening to a grand climax, with the erhus and kamanches supported and carried along by the torrent of notes and power of the viola and cello. ~ Mark Armanini

About the Artists

Mark Armanini(composer)(b. 1952), a native Vancouverite, studied composition with Elliot Weisgarber and piano with Robert Rodgers at the University of British Columbia, graduating with a MMus. in 1984. In 1990 Mark began composing for various combinations of Oriental and Western instrumentation. Major works included…of Wind and Water, recorded in 1995 with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and Qiu Xia He (pipa); and in 2003Incense and Flowers,Rain in the Forest, andDance of Many Colourswith the Latvian National Symphony and Vivian Xia (yangqin), Heidi Krutzen (harp), and the Khac Chi Bamboo Ensemble under the direction of Maestro John Zoltek. These pieces are collected on the album Rain in the Forest, available on the Centrediscs label. In 2000 Mark traveled to Taipei and in 2003 to Beijing and Shanghai as part of composer exchanges. In 2006 he performed at the Nanjing Jazz Festival and in 2007 travelled to Wuhan to study the ancient Marquis Yi Bell Set. During the years 2009- 2016 Mark attended the Atlas Academy, a two week intercultural orchestra intensive in Amsterdam, where his compositionChromapremiered at the Concertgebouw concert hall, as did Decor at the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 2015 Mark produced Fingertips to Freedom, an improvised piano concerto with pianist-improviser Paul Plimley, at Sono Recording Studios in Prague CZ. In November 2018 he travelled to Hanoi Vietnam for the 3rd Asia Europe Music Festival where his double dan bau concerto, Dance of Many Colours, was given its Vietnamese premiere. In 2019, he attended the Voix Etouffées European Festival in Brussels where his …of Wind and Waterfor pipa and string quartet was performed, with pipa virtuoso Qiu Xia He and the Selini Quartet. Currently Mr. Armanini is the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO), producer of the recently released VICO CDIn the Key of the World, and an associate of the BC Chinese Music Ensemble. He is on faculty at Capilano University in North Vancouver.


Janna Sailor (conductor) is a conductor, violinist, and musical innovator of extraordinary scope and versatility.  Originally from rural Saskatchewan, she began her musical studies at the age of three and began performing with professional orchestras at the age of thirteen. In June 2016, Janna founded the Vancouver-based Allegra Chamber Orchestra, one of the only all-female classical orchestras in the world; an ensemble dedicated to creating opportunities for women and minorities in the music industry, with a mandate of social action through music. The orchestra has been featured on CBC Radio, German Public Radio, Radio ICI, the Strad magazine, The Violin Channel, The Walrus, The Hub magazine, as well as other publications and media outlets across North America and Europe. Janna has conducted major orchestras and ensembles including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Vancouver Bach Choir, and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, among others. Janna has held conducting positions with the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. In addition to conducting, Janna enjoys a diverse career as violinist, delving into contemporary, world and early music, jazz, and classical crossover, in addition to chamber and solo engagements. Ensembles she has performed with include the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Tafelmusik.  Janna has served as concertmaster with both the Montreal based l’Orchestre de la Francophonie (2011) and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (2014).

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.

Video Production Credits

Videography – Alistair Eagle

Audio Engineer & Mix – Sheldon Zaharko

Filmed and recorded on November 3, 2021 at the Orpheum Annex in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra:

Artistic Director & Producer – Mark Armanini

Composer-in-Residence & Senior Project Manager – Farshid Samandari

Production Manager & Communications – Melanie Thompson

Marketing & Production Assistant – Gina Hernandez Sanchez

Operations Manager – Devni De Silva


View the whole programme for The Longest Night: Music for Solstice (Solace) 2021.

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Overview of The Longest Night 2021 series