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Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra present first-ever ”Symphony At Sunset,” a free, open-air concert July 14th at Sunset Beach Park

June 21 2018

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the VSO to bring symphonic music to the Vancouver public in this first-ever Symphony At Sunset,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra present first-ever "Symphony At Sunset,” a free, open-air concert July 14th at Sunset Beach Park

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and Vancouver Park Board (VPB) today announced a unique collaboration to present a free, open-air concert at Sunset Beach Park the evening of Saturday, July14th. “Symphony At Sunset” will kick-off the VSO’s 100th anniversary season with a concert for all ages set against sweeping views of English Bay in one of Vancouver’s most spectacular parks.

Free family event

The concert will be a free and accessible family event and will be alcohol and smoke-free. It will consist of a pre-concert program performed by student ensembles from the VSO School of Music at 7:15pm, and a sunset concert performed by the VSO from 8:30pm to 10:00pm. It includes a broad selection of symphonic hits including music by Leonard Bernstein, excerpts from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and John Williams’ scores to Star Wars.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the VSO to bring symphonic music to the Vancouver public in this first-ever Symphony At Sunset,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “We encourage young and old to enjoy this free family event and we hope the musicians are uniquely inspired by the beauty of this iconic park.”

This will be the first free outdoor VSO concert in Vancouver since 2011, when the VSO played in Stanley Park for the 125th Anniversary of the City. The VSO performs only a handful of free outdoor shows each year; the others this season being in Whistler over Canada Day weekend and Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park on July 8th. Both the VPB and VSO hope Symphony At Sunset will become a sustainable annual event and a gift to the people of Vancouver for years to come.

100th anniversary celebration

"We are thrilled to kick off the VSO's 100th Anniversary Celebrations in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board in a setting that will combine the scenic assets of our city with the cultural assets of our symphony," said Kelly Tweeddale, President of the Vancouver Symphony Society and VSO School of Music. "In the great cities of the world, free concerts like this become a place where families can come together and experience the magnitude of a symphony performance and build lasting traditions. As we embark on the VSO's next century, we hope that this will become a Vancouver tradition."

The collaboration between the VPB and the VSO began several years ago when the VPB unanimously approved a motion  (90 KB) toward the delivery of a free open air symphony concert at Sunset Beach Park. Performing over 150 concerts a year, the VSO is dedicated to enriching and transforming lives through music by presenting passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music.

There will be food trucks on site for the event, and the public are encouraged to bring a picnic, a blanket and to make an evening of it at Sunset Beach Park. Concertgoers are asked to bring low chairs so as not to obstruct the view of other audience members.

Up to 8,000 could attend

The VPB and VSO estimate that more than 7,000 people will attend Symphony At Sunset. As in all major events in Vancouver’s downtown core, the public are encouraged to walk, cycle or take public transit to Sunset Beach Park as traffic in the area will be restricted and parking will be at a premium in the West End.