Norman Woo (second-from-left in above photo), Soundstreams Board Member and Director of Corporate Development, Manulife Insurance, is a proud member of our new Encore program. Norman sat down with us to answer some questions about the program, the benefits of joining and the shows included in the subscription.
Soundstreams: Why did you decide to join Soundstreams as a board member?
Norman Woo: Soundstreams is an organization devoted to showcasing the best of Canadian contemporary music while exposing Canadian audiences to leading innovative composers and performers from around the world. When offered an opportunity to serve with Soundstreams, I gladly took it up!
SS: You have a very strong financial background and currently work at Manulife, yet are very interested in music. What kind of influence does music have in your life?
NW: When I was younger and learning to play piano, music was a challenge and it instilled discipline and perseverance. Now music is a great source of energy, pleasure and renewal. I look forward to the Soundstreams concerts and salons, where I have come to expect the unexpected and to be inspired. Among many wonderful performances in the past few years, I experienced for the first time Clapping Music by Steve Reich, Piano Ecstasy (nine pianists play six pianos), rare sanukite stone percussion (Fujji Percussion and Voices), and most recently Tchaikovsky’s1812 Overture played on an accordion (cannons and all!).
“The opportunity to be exposed to new ideas in music and theatre is exciting, and I look forward to discussing the performances with other members before and after the shows!”
SS: You’ve been part of Soundstreams’ Encore program in the past. How did the new benefits to this year’s program appeal to you?
NW: In addition to offering access to Soundstreams concerts, the new incarnation of Encore this year also includes a selection of exciting productions from other innovative theatre and performance companies in Toronto, that will create a cultural adventure like no other. The performances have been hand-picked and will be supplemented by exclusive presentations at each performance where members of Encore will have a chance to hear from artistic directors and performers to round out the experience. The opportunity to be exposed to new ideas in music as well as in theatre excites me, and I look forward to meeting with and discussing the performances with other members before and after the shows!
SS: Why do you think young professionals should join Encore?
NW: Contemporary music, theatre and live performances can certainly be appreciated alone, but are often much more enjoyable when experienced with a group of like-minded people. Join Encore to indulge your curiosity about contemporary music, theatre, and live performance. The curators have carefully put together a selection of performances that are certain to create a lot of buzz (and some controversy). There will be opportunities to meet with others to discuss the performances, for context and for different perspectives.
SS: Which of the shows, offered through the Encore program, are you most excited to see?
NW: I can’t decide between Helen Lawrence and The Whisper Opera. Both pieces have already received such high acclaim around the world and will certainly leave an important impression on Toronto audiences. I can’t wait to see them!