Vancouver’s Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) has issued a clarifying statement designed to quieten the chorus of public dissent that appears to be growing around Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s (VSO) apparent ceremonial snub.
The apology was issued in a press release on Saturday Dec 19, 2009 after the public had learned that VANOC had asked both Tovey and the VSO to record performance music for the Opening Ceremonies. This music would then be performed by stand-in musicians conducted by a stand-in conductor live for the cameras.
The statement reads, “VANOC apologizes to the VSO for putting the orchestra in an untenable position regarding the Opening Ceremonies.”
“VANOC regrets that the complex technical requirements of the Opening Ceremonies have put the VSO in a difficult position and both parties wish to move forward in the spirit of preparing for the great Games ahead.”
John Furlong, VANOC CEO, echoes the sentiment by saying, “Bramwell Tovey and the VSO have been with us throughout this remarkable journey, . . . and it has never been our intent to put them, or any of our partners in a compromised position.”
“We know that the VSO will be a celebrated partner in what promises to be an unforgettable experience.”
Tovey and the VSO, who won the 2008 GRAMMY Award for “Best Instrumental Soloist(s) with Orchestra”, received an outflowing of support from the public who applauded his refusal to play along.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter showed even more support and echoed the sentiment. Many referenced the incident at the Beijing 2006 opening ceremonies where it was discovered that 9-year old Lin Miaoke had lip-synched her song because she was deemed to be “prettier” than the original singer.
Looks aside, it looks as though these two parties have chosen to support each other and will now work towards promoting the games in perfect harmony. There is no word yet on what changed between the two parties or why Tovey wasn’t being considered as the conductor in the first place.
Some members of the VSO will be taking part in the Opening Ceremony and the VSO’s recorded renditions of the national anthems of all participating nations will be played at all the medal ceremonies.
By Cat Barr
Here is the press release issued in its entirety below:
Vancouver 2010/VSO clarify ceremonies participation; Highlight VSO’s important contribution to 2010 games
VANCOUVER, Dec. 19 /CNW/ – The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) will play a prominent role at the 2010 Winter Games and will showcase its musicians’ talent to the world both through the Cultural Olympiad, and the playing of over 90 national anthems. VANOC regrets that the complex technical requirements of the Opening Ceremonies have put the VSO in a difficult position and both parties wish to move forward in the spirit of preparing for the great Games ahead.
Hundreds of musicians – many of whom are also members of the VSO – have joined with other musicians and artists from across Canada and around the world to contribute to the rich, diverse sound of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, some of which has been and is currently being recorded, and will also be played live. VANOC apologizes to the VSO for putting the orchestra in an untenable position regarding the Opening Ceremonies.
Under the direction of conductor Bramwell Tovey, the GRAMMY and Juno award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will be showcased as part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad and – perhaps the greatest honor – has recorded the renditions of the national anthems of all participating nations to be played at the Games, including at Team Welcome Ceremonies in the Athlete Villages and medal presentation ceremonies both in the sport venues and at Victory Ceremonies at BC Place and Whistler Celebration Plaza.
“The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is proud to be an integral part of the 2010 Games and wish every success to VANOC,” said Tovey. “The VSO is making a significant contribution to the musical memories of the Games and our collaboration with VANOC is one of the most important in the orchestra’s long and distinguished history.”
“Bramwell Tovey and the VSO have been with us throughout this remarkable journey, from the bid phase on through, and it has never been our intent to put them, or any of our partners in a compromised position,” said John Furlong, VANOC CEO. “Whether through the Ceremonies, or the VSO recording of the anthems or the concerts of the Cultural Olympiad, the Games offer the opportunity for collaboration and a true showcase of the VSO members, who may perform or be heard individually on occasion or as a whole. We know that the VSO will be a celebrated partner in what promises to be an unforgettable experience.”
The Opening Ceremony takes place on February 12 and the Closing Ceremony takes place on February 28th. The VSO performs throughout the Cultural Olympiad 2010, including two feature performances of Mahler Symphony No. 8: Symphony of a Thousand January 30th and February 1st 2010.