An aural exploration of the latest sounds in choral music, Winnipeg’s intrepid choral ensemble, Polycoro, presents Microcosm



“This concert is really fascinating because you can’t create it again,” says conductor John Wiens. “It’s completely unique every time that we do it in rehearsal and it’s going to be completely unique on the day of the concert, too.”

Featuring ten contemporary composers ranging from local to international renown, a good portion of the program calls for a unique style of vocal improvisation which leads to the singular nature of the concert experience. 

Utilizing various “cells” — small groups of notes or themes — the singers are expected to interpret that motivic idea in their own way, in their own time and at their own pace while the choir does (or doesn’t!) do something else entirely, explains Wiens. 

“What makes this really fascinating is that we can’t really prepare for it,” says the conductor, who also sings in this performance. “We’re rehearsing but we’re going along really learning that huge portions of this concert are out of anyone’s control except the individual singer. It’s really cool.” 




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Audiences can also expect to hear some familiar, more mundane sounds — ranging from raindrops to cell phone sonics — reimagined in compelling fashion by the generous variety of composers and presented, almost entirely, a cappella by the singers. 

“There are only two spots where we’re instructed to use any sort of instrument at all — if you can call it that,” says Wiens. “In Rita Ueda’s pieces she asks for a pitch pipe note at one point, and in the (Ana) Sokolovic there’s a glockenspiel.”

Microcosm takes place at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Tuesday, June 28 at 7 pm.

Visit: for tickets and more details!



polycoro microcosm