Manitoba Chamber Orchestra: Tangos & Tempests: the MCO's season-opening concert with the brilliant Chooi brothers, September 25

The concert world loves its prizefighters, and with the Chooi brothers we have two soloists on their way to heavyweight status. The toast of the music press, they are both winners of scores of international prizes and tag team at evening and matinee performances here to perform a South-American centric program.

First up at the evening concert: a duelling European piece practically required of any concert featuring two violin virtuosos: Bach's Double Violin Concerto. This popular work, known simply as the "Bach Double," is an exquisite example of Bach's late Baroque writing—thanks to Django Reinhardt's stylings, its gypsy jazz version may be best known to general audiences.

From there, we move on to Mozart's festive Symphony No. 34, arguably his greatest symphony of his Salzburg years, and then to Villa-Lobos' irresistible String Quartet No.5. Written just after the Brazilian composer had returned home after lengthy period in Paris, this rarely heard quartet – rhythmic, raunchy, light-hearted, and above all eminently listenable – ranks among Villa-Lobos' most interesting works in that genre.

For our concert's finale, the Chooi brothers re-enter the spotlight by performing the stormy Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, a folk-classical masterpiece by the "King of Tango" Astor Piazzolla.

A thunderous start to our 2019/20 season! Watch the concert trailer here.


There isn't enough space to list the brothers' most impressive achievements, so we'll settle on two: in the 2016/17 season Nikki was appointed to one of the world's most prestigious violin posts, Concertmaster of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, while the younger Timothy is a past winner of the Grand Prize of the l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Standard Life Competition. As brothers who've worked together since childhood, there's a wonderful synergy to their collaborations. How lucky we are to have them perform together with the MCO.