Soloist Danielle Tsao will perform as part of Symphony Splash, a dream come true for the 17-year-old violist. Photo contributed

Soloist Danielle Tsao will perform as part of Symphony Splash, a dream come true for the 17-year-old violist. Photo contributed

SYMPHONY SPLASH: Movie music keeps things fun at Splash

Victoria Symphony event is far more than just a classical music concert

Does hearing the cascade of trumpets in the Star Wars main theme send chills up your spine? Or the sweeping orchestral rhythms of the Gone With the Wind opener? Perhaps you’ve been softened by the love theme from Cinema Paradiso.

If you love experiencing great music from feature films of the past decades, as played by a full symphony orchestra, you’ll hear these pieces and more at this year’s 29th annual Symphony Splash. The Victoria Symphony’s premier public event brings music and more to the Inner Harbour and the lawns of the B.C. legislature, Aug. 5.

Weaving movie music throughout the Splash program is done intentionally, says the symphony’s musical director, Maestro Christian Kluxen.

With notable modern composers like John Williams (Star Wars, E.T., Jaws) and Danny Elfman (Justice League, Batman, Avengers: Age of Ultron) still writing for the big screen, and older scores written by such artists as Kluxen favourite Erich Wolfgang Korngold, whose energetic music brought numerous 1930’s and 40’s action films to life, the pool to draw from is large.

“There’s a huge repertoire for these things,” Kluxen says, adding that this music creates a visual experience for people, regardless if they’ve actually seen the film.

This year’s program also features young soloist, violist Danielle Tsao. The 17-year-old says performing in such a “majestic” production is a dream she’s had since she watched her older sister, pianist Carolyn Tsao, take the floating stage over a decade ago.

“Obviously I was very small and the boat was so huge and the crowd was so huge so that became the goal,” she says.

Tsao, who studies at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and shared the stage with the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, will perform two suites from Vaughn Williams.

The pieces have a big, broad and open sound, she says. “I’m really excited to hear it over the water. It carries really well.”

Symphony Splash is a unique kind of show, she adds, because it provides an opportunity to share classical melodies with an audience beyond the music community in Victoria.

“Extending it to the whole Inner Harbor to people who maybe don’t listen to this kind of music that often – it bridges us together and is what makes Symphony Splash so special and so encompassing,” Tsao says.

Kluxen, a Danish conductor, is looking forward to his second experience with Splash, said to be the largest outdoor classical music event in North America. Not even the Berlin Philharmonic or New York Philharmonic orchestras can get 40,000 people to an event like this, he says.

Those attracted to this family friendly event come for various reasons, not least of which is the music.

“It was very immediate to me [last year] that there is something for everyone,” Kluxen says. “If you like classical music, this is where you want to go. Or if you like to sail, or maybe you like outdoor events, or community events – maybe you just like to lay around and chill with your friends.”

Splash’s grand finale is a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with fireworks illuminating the night sky over the harbour.

The by-donation event has a suggested minimum of $5 per person. Symphony volunteers will circulate through the crowd with buckets, and donation barrels will be in high-profile spots. All proceeds go to the symphony’s artistic and education programs.

For a full event schedule, visit

symphony splashVictoria Symphony Orchestra


Musical director Christian Kluxen. Photo contributed

Musical director Christian Kluxen. Photo contributed