Allan Gilliland follows his music to Russia

April 11, 2019 | Arts & Culture
It’s not unusual for Allan Gilliland’s music to quietly make its way into concert halls around the globe via the talented soloists he composes for.

But last month, the dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications had the rare opportunity to follow his work almost 8,000 kilometres to western Russia where the Ulyanovsk State Symphony Orchestra dedicated an evening to his compositions.

The orchestra’s principal conductor, Ilya Derbilov, selected four of Allan’s orchestral works for the concert, including a 20-minute piece called On the Shoulders of Giants, and then closed the concert with Allan’s arrangement of O Canada.

“It was incredible,” says Allan. “I was so overwhelmed by the generosity of the orchestra and the audience, and how excited everyone was that I had made the time to visit Ulyanovsk. It was one of those moments that makes the hours spent in my basement putting black dots on a page worthwhile.”


Allan Gilliland (left) answers questions at the pre-concert talk
On stage at a rehearsal.
Allan Gilliland with principal conductor Ilya Derbilov and clarinet soloist Viktor Irshai.
Promoting the concert on the streets of Ulyanovsk.

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