Sonic Boom Music Festival: March 23-28, 2021 (online)

Time: 7:30pm
Date: 2021 Mar 29
Location: online

Join us for a special online festival of exciting new music created by BC’s finest composers, performed by some of BC’s finest musicians!

This year’s festival will present concerts postponed from Sonic Boom 2020 plus new concerts and events for 2021!

March 23-28, 2021 (all online)

All concerts premiere at 7:30pm

Free to watch and listen!

(All concerts will be free to listen to for up to one year)

*Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for updates and reminders for all of the concerts

Schedule of Events:

March 23 at 7:30 pm: Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa (piano)

Join us on YouTube for a premiere launch of a concert of pieces by BC Composers for pianist, Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa. (This concert was originally scheduled during Sonic Boom 2020).

Link to watch the premiere:


MJ Coomber play(h)ers passage

Jennifer Butler Shelter

Kara Gibbs Intertidal

Walker Williams small

Javier Canseco Scattered Light

Peter Krejcar Diaphenous

Glenn Sutherland Holy Ground

Chris Albanese Remaining Gestures

Rodney Sharman Wounded

Jeffrey Ryan Aftershock

About the Artist:

Hailed in the press as a “keyboard virtuoso and avant-garde muse” (Georgia Straight) with the “emotional intensity” to take a piece “from notes on a page to a stunning work of art” (Victoria Times Colonist), Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa is recognized among Canada’s foremost contemporary music pianists.  Selected to close the ISCM World New Music Days 2017 in Vancouver, Rachel has performed in the Netherlands, Germany, US and across Canada, with engagements including Muziekweek Gaudeamus, Music TORONTO, Music on Main, Vancouver New Music, Redshift, Western Front, Vancouver Symphony, Victoria Symphony, the Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), CONTACT contemporary music (Toronto), New Works Calgary, Groundswell New Music (Winnipeg), and Vancouver Pro Musica.

Rachel has commissioned or premiered works by many of Canada’s most eminent composers, such as Hildegard Westerkamp, Rodney Sharman, Jocelyn Morlock, Nicole Lizée, Jordan Nobles, Jeffrey Ryan, Farshid Samandari, Marci Rabe, and Emily Doolittle. One half of the acclaimed contemporary flute/piano duo Tiresias with Mark Takeshi McGregor, Rachel has also collaborated with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Judith Forst, Heather Pawsey, the Bozzini Quartet, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire. Her interdisciplinary adventures have led to work with photo-based artist SD Holman, playwright/director David Bloom, choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, and multi-media provocateur Paul Wong.

Rachel’s debut CD, Cosmophony, has been praised as “brilliant” and “unforgettable” (Vancouver Sun) and for “the passion, intensity and the nuanced playing she’s acclaimed for… she manages to instill a sense of dynamic tension and pull to every note” (The Province). Rachel was a co-founder of the Queer Arts Festival in Vancouver, recognized as one of the top 5 festivals of its kind worldwide.

March 24: Ensemble-in-Residence 2020: Pacific Baroque Orchestra

Join us on YouTube for a premiere launch of a concert of new pieces by BC composers written for period instruments. (This concert was originally scheduled during Sonic Boom 2020).

Link to watch the premiere:

The premiere begins at 7:30pm. Subscribe to our channel in advance and set a reminder so you don’t miss it!


Henry From Dances at the End of Time

Trevor Tunnacliffe Curl

Scott F. Thompson Hidden Gala

Edward Top Clairvoyant

Kamran Shahrokhi Ocean Rush

About the Artists:

The Pacific Baroque Orchestra (PBO) is recognized as one of Canada’s most exciting and innovative ensembles performing “early music for modern ears”. PBO brings the music of the past up to date by performing with cutting edge style and enthusiasm. Formed in 1990, the orchestra quickly established itself as a force in Vancouver’s burgeoning music scene with the ongoing support of Early Music Vancouver.

In 2009 PBO welcomed Alexander Weimann as Artistic Director. His imaginative programming and expert leadership have drawn in many new concertgoers, and his creativity and engaging musicianship have carved out a unique and vital place in the cultural landscape of Vancouver.

PBO regularly joins forces with internationally celebrated Canadian guest artists, providing performance opportunities for Canadian musicians while exposing West Coast audiences to a spectacular variety of talent. The Orchestra has also toured BC, the northern United States and across Canada. Their 2019 East Coast Canadian tour with Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin showcased the rarely-heard opera arias of 18th century Russia, culminating in a critically acclaimed album “Nuit Blanches” released by Atma Classique. The musicians of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra have been at the core of many large-scale productions by Early Music Vancouver in recent years, including many summer festival performances led by Alexander Weimann.

March 25, 26: 2020 Festival Mixed Ensembles

Join us on YouTube for a premiere launch of mixed ensembles performing an eclectic mix of works for small ensembles

March 25, 2021

Link to watch the March 25 premiere:

The premiere begins at 7:30pm. Subscribe to our channel in advance and set a reminder so you don’t miss it!


Yuxi (Lucy) Li Dragonfly

Dailin Hsieh, guzheng, Mark Haney, double bass, Chris Blaber, percussion

Alvin Leung Spring Sketches

Paul Hung, flute and alto flute; Aiden Wong, clarinet; Sarah Kwok, viola; Chris Blaber, percussion

Isaac Zee Conversations

Elyse Jacobson and Meredith Bates violins; Steven Lin, viola; Doug Gorkoff, cello

Wylie Ferguson Yuputka

Elyse Jacobson and Meredith Bates violins; Steven Lin, viola; Doug Gorkoff, cello

Goushi Yonekura Four Interludes from a Dance Drama about Dante’s Comedia

Eric Wilson, cello

Ramsey Sadaka Arioso

Paolo Bortolussi, flute; Aaron Graham and Julia Chien, percussion

Dubravko Pajalic 2 Melodies (*poems by Carolyn Nakagawa)

Heather Pawsey, soprano; Paolo Bortolussi, alto flute; Eric Wilson, cello,Corey Hamm, piano


March 26, 2021 

Link to watch the March 26 premiere:

The premiere begins at 7:30pm. Subscribe to our channel in advance and set a reminder so you don’t miss it!


Kelly Yixuan Wang Mr. Snowman and the Girl

Boris Ulanowicz, violin; Julie Begg, clarinet, Laine Longton, cello, Aydan Con, piano

Gabriella Yorke 5 Sketches for Piano and Cello

Laine Longton, cello, Aydan Con, piano

Mark Marinic Three Diversions

Julie Begg, bass clarinet

Darren Xu The Adolescent’s Mind

Julie Begg, clarinet; Aydan Con, piano

Robert Humber Breath Shapes

Nancy DiNovo, violin; Jane Hayes, piano

Réjean Marois Elleniade

Ellen Marple, trombone; Jane Hayes, piano

John L. Baker From a Sparrow Song

Julia Nolan, saxophone; Nancy DiNovo, violin; Jane Hayes, piano


March 27: Beth Orson (oboe and English horn)

Join us on YouTube for a premiere of new pieces written for one of our 2021 Featured Artists

Link to watch the premiere

The premiere begins at 7:30pm. Subscribe to our channel in advance and set a reminder so you don’t miss it!


Dianne Berry Fantasy #2

Chris Nickel Suite for Unaccompanied Oboe

Craig Day Imp

Chris Albanese music outside parentheses

Henry From Leaves

Dario Acosta Cerebro (Brain)

Jack Campbell Kassia x4

Leslie Opatril Sunshine on Snow

About the Artist:

Photo: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Beth Orson has played Assistant Principal Oboe and English Horn with the Vancouver Symphony since 1990. Adjunct faculty at the UBC School of Music since 1993, she was appointed Oboe Coach for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO) in 2008.

As a chamber musician, Ms. Orson appears regularly with the VSO Chamber Players, on the Noon-Hour recital series at UBC, and at NYO. Principal Oboe of the NY Symphonic Ensemble from 1988-2005, she completed nineteen tours to Japan with this renowned chamber orchestra, performing in every major concert hall in Japan, often as oboe soloist. Ms.Orson’s solo English horn performances include the world premiere of Bramwell Tovey’s “The Progress of Vanity” composed for her, Rodney Sharman’s “Songs Without Words,” the North American premiere of James MacMillan’s “The World’s Ransoming,” Brian Cherney’s “In the Stillness of September 1942” and Sibelius’s “The Swan of Tuonela” all with the VSO as well as the solo English horn part to Dan Seguin’s Leo Award-winning score for the CBC feature film “Murder Unveiled” and on Christopher Nickel’s album, “Rain.”

Ms. Orson can be heard playing both solo oboe and English horn on Jeffrey Ryan’s recently released album, “My Soul Upon My Lips” for Redshift Records.

A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and winner of the Oberlin Concerto Competition, Ms. Orson’s principal teachers were Laurence Thorstenberg, James Caldwell, and Elaine Douvas.

March 28: Jeremy Berkman (trombone) and Angelique Po (organ)

Join us on YouTube for a premiere of new pieces written for our other 2021 Featured Artists

Link to watch the premiere:

The premiere begins at 7:30pm. Subscribe to our channel in advance and set a reminder so you don’t miss it!

Programme: (concert order)

Mohammad Motevaselan And the world was still

Glenn Sutherland Stone calling Water

John L. Baker Concert Movement

Goushi Yonekura Sophons

Trev0r Tunnacliffe Canzona

Michael R. Trew Spirit War

Cheryl Olvera Unearthed

Dubravko Pajalic Meditation on Choral ‘Herzliebster Jesu’

Michael Molnar David and Goliath

Benjamin Sigerson The Frozen Towers

About the Artists:

Jeremy Berkman earned a BA in Economics and a BMus from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music. After receiving his MMus from the Juilliard school, and working at the Aspen Music School for several summers, Mr. Berkman came to Canada to study at the Banff Centre, where he developed projects with dancers, actors, film-makers, as well as wonderful musicians. Now a Canadian citizen and BC resident for over twenty -five years, Jeremy has earned an acclaimed and varied career in musical performance and production. He is a Founding member and Director of Education for Vancouver’s award winning Turning Point Ensemble (TPE) chamber orchestra.

Currently also the Principal Trombonist with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, he makes music with outstanding colleagues in A Touch of Brass Quintet, cellist Peggy Lee’s octet (The Peggy Lee Band), and big bands led by John Korsrud (Hard Rubber Orchestra), Fred Stride, and Jill Townsend. He has contributed to over 30 commercially released recordings with artists ranging from free-improvisors to popular singers and songwriters such as Matthew Good and Michael Bublé, and also including five with the Peggy Lee Band (PLB) led by cellist Peggy Lee. With PLB he has toured nationally and internationally and been nominated for a Juno Award. He commissioned, recorded, and toured fellow TPE Co-Artistic Director Owen Underhill’s Trombone Quintet with Montreal’s Bozzini String Quartet, with the recording (Still Image) and composition nominated for the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards.  His most recent passion is exploring the music of the 1500s and 1600s as a member of Cappella Borealis, a sackbut quartet with fellow UBC faculty member Alex Fisher, and UBC Alumni Ellen Marple and Nathan Wilkes. Jeremy is also now currently co-leading the newly founded Vancouver Brass Orchestra (VBO), a large ensemble comprised of brass and percussion players from Vancouver flourishing brass and percussion communities.

Jeremy was honored with Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award (Music) for his leadership and contributions to Vancouver’s musical communities. With Turning Point Ensemble and double bass player David Brown, Jeremy has greatly enjoyed his participation with the Sonic Boom Festival as artist-in-residence.  With David Brown, their Duo “Friends in Low Places” has performed many of the works premiered at the Sonic Boom Festival on numerous occasions, and most recently collaborated with the Canadian Music Centre on a Canada Council supported project comparing the levels of listener engagement when hearing music live vs. live-streamed.

Mr. Berkman is a sessional instructor of trombone and chamber music coach at UBC, and enjoys working with young musicians as they open the wonderful windows to the world that music offers. Jeremy lives in Vancouver with his wife Sheila and son Augwin.

Angelique Po (pipe organ)

Angelique Po is a pianist, organist and harpsichordist living and working in Vancouver, BC. Her versatility and broad range of interests in music style have led her to collaborate with a variety of ensembles and soloists. Her recent projects include an organ and trumpet concert tour to Cumberland, BC with trumpeter Katherine Evans, playing the piano in a rare performance of Galina Ustvolskaya’s Grand Duet with cellist Laine Longton, and the world premiere of Keith Hamel’s piano duo Hocket with Corey Hamm. She is currently the Music Director at Central Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, and President of the RCCO Vancouver Centre. She has also played harpsichord and organ continuo with the Postmodern Camerata, Vancouver Oratorio Singers and Abendmusik, and has taken organ appointments at St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and First Baptist Church in Vancouver. As a composer, she has written for various small ensembles, including pianist Michael Park, and the Piano and Erhu Project (PEP) with Corey Hamm and Nicole Li, as well as a number of art songs. She studied piano at the University of British Columbia under Dr. Sara Buechner. In addition, she studied harpsichord with Doreen Oke, and organ with Michael Murray, Edward Norman and Kevin Bowyer.


March 27: Festival live-stream master class for participating composers

Featured Performers: Rachel Kiyo Iwassa, piano and Paolo Bortolussi (flute).

Moderated by composer, Jeffrey Ryan

Pieces by:

Katherine Bonness, Jack Campbell, Oi Ying Priscilla Cheung, Arvin Fekri, Ngoc Tran Phung, Scott F. Thompson