A remarkable gift
Tom and Caleb Chan and their family make a generous gift to the university, the foundation upon which the idea for a performing arts centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC) became a reality. The building would ultimately be named the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts after their family, with its beautiful concert hall named in honour of their father, Chan Shun.
The earliest sketches
Commissioned architect Bing Thom begins to conceive the design for the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts - with a pen and paper.
“The design of a performing arts centre encapsulates everything I love and believe about architecture. Like music, a building must always respond to human emotional needs, especially our yearning for the next surprise or the next delight.”— Bing Thom, Chan Centre architect
Michael Noon comes on board
Previously with the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto, Michael Noon is hired by UBC as the Chan Centre's founding managing director.
Members of the Chan family, former BC Lieutenant Governor David Lam, former UBC president David Strangway, founding managing director Michael Noon, and others celebrate the official groundbreaking of the Chan Centre site.
Constructing a masterpiece
Scenes from the two-year construction period of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.
One of the world's most famous violinists visits a yet-to-be-opened Chan Centre to meet with staff and UBC School of Music students and share his valued opinion of the new hall's acoustics. The verdict? Five stars!View poster
The Hour Has Come
Now blooming at the Chan Centre
Vancouver journalists are alerted to the official opening of the Chan Centre and its Spring Festival lineup with an innovative "hard hat planter" press release!
CBC Radio Orchestra's Avison Series moves in
The CBC Radio Orchestra's signature Avison Series, named for the orchestra's founder John Avison (1915-1983), moves from the Orpheum Theatre into the new Chan Shun Concert Hall. The orchestra would call the Chan Centre home for the next decade until it's untimely disbanding in 2008.
APEC held at UBC
The Chan Centre was located inside the secure zone for the fifth-ever APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting.Read More
The Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas
"I cannot remember enjoying the complete Beethoven sonatas as much as in these utterly engaging performances by Robert Silverman."— Fanfare Magazine
The VSO becomes a permanent fixture in the concert hall
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performs the first concert of their first official series at the Chan Centre - a program of Stravinsky' Danses Concertantes, Bolcom's Orphée-Sérénade, Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances, and Mozart's Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385. Keith Lockhart, conductor.
A beloved Schubert Octet
Musicians from the ensemble Octagon '99 reflect on the beauty and uniqueness of Schubert's Octet, Op. 166.Read More
Estonian choir members prove great cultural ambassadors
"Under the fine hand of conductor Tönu Kaljuste, the ensemble performed three motets by Johann Sebastian Bach with profound attention to detail, flawless rhythmic precision..."Read More
Recital Society and Chan Centre join forces
The Vancouver Recital Society and the Chan Centre combine resources to co-present an entire series of classical music for the first time, entitled Great Performers at the Chan.Read More
“It was just unbelievable. You could hardly imagine it — and yet there she was. It was unforgettable.”— Rod Mickleburgh, Renée Fleming audience member
This way to set: Josie and the Pussycats
The Telus Studio Theatre and the Glass Lobby get transformed into sets for the film Josie and the Pussycats, starring Tara Reid, Rachel Leigh Cook, and Rosario Dawson.
UBC musicians excel with Elgar's Dream
"...it would be hard to imagine (Elgar's) first audience not being at least partially swayed had they heard the quality that a student body of singers and players brought to its performance at the Chan Centre on Friday."Read More
A special space for theatre
“The physical shape of a space can be critical to framing a community’s experience of a theatre event. How we are oriented near or around the action of a play determines how we receive and absorb it. When directing The Creation (March 14 - 23, 2002), I knew I needed a space that was different than a conventional proscenium arch: something more intimate, something that wrapped the play in the embrace of the audience and drew the actors’ gaze upwards towards the heavens. The Telus Studio Theatre is the most remarkable and unique performance space in Vancouver, one that breathes with the needs of the play, that helps us remember that theatre is based in ritual, and that we are all actors surrounded by the watching world.”
-Stephen Drover, MFA Directing, UBC Department of Theatre and Film
From 1952: An all-Stravinsky program
A relic! The original program from the 1952 all-Stravinsky concert presented by UBC.Read More
Rebuilding Bill Reid's bridges
Bruce Cockburn, the Haida Rainbow Creek Dancers, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and more perform in The Spirit Concert, the 10th anniversary of the Bill Reid Invitational Concerts.Read More
"I can think of no more precious series of happenings than these concerts. They bring together under one roof a stimulating selection of exceptional talents from an unbelievably wide range of musical expression."— Bill Reid, 1994
Sid Katz becomes managing director
Following the retirement of Michael Noon, Sid Katz becomes the second managing director of the Chan Centre. Katz had been a member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC since 1975 and also held a position with the UBC President's Office in external affairs from 1999 - 2011.
UBC offers an authentic Bride
"The chorus sang with the kind of zest often missing in professional performances, and director Novak had them interact with each other in a convincing, natural way."Read More
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Linda Cardellini, film scenes in the Chan Centre's glass lobby.
Engaging the audience with words and music
"While doubtless many of the sold-out crowd at the Chan were there to hear old favourites, Glass’ ongoing series of Etudes provided the most extraordinary music of the evening."Read More
Honorary degrees for Nobel Peace Prize winners
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu receive honorary degrees from UBC.View news article
Organizations such as the National Youth Orchestra, the CBC Radio Orchestra and Early Music Vancouver perform at the Chan Centre as part of the 4th Festival Vancouver (which later became MusicFest Vancouver), directed by George Laverock. The themes of that year's festival were "The Music and Musicians of France", and "The Music of Haydn".
Glamourous piano-cello duo shines
"The approachable A major Sonata, Op.69 provided a sure and clever conclusion, with a performance that emphasized formal design in the opening movement, rhythm in the scherzo, and glittering showmanship in the finale."Read More
The folk legend of "Alice's Restaurant" fame returns to the Chan Centre for a solo concert.View Event
Raffi tosses his cap
The beloved children's entertainer (of "Baby Beluga" fame) is celebrated with an honorary degree from UBC.
The sweet spot
"In the audience at the Krystian Zimerman recital was the acclaimed Polish contralto Ewa Podles, who was to give a recital for the VRS three days later at the Chan Centre. Mr. Zimerman was very particular about pianos and travelled with his own piano and piano technician. So, after the concert and after the greetings backstage, Mr. Zimerman went onstage and lay down under the piano to start dismantling it. Bing Thom had come back stage and so had Ewa Podles. Next thing, I noticed Bing and Ewa Podles engaged in an animated conversation on the stage in front of the piano (with Mr. Zimerman underneath!). I heard Bing telling Ewa Podles: ”you must stand here on this spot exactly. It’s the sweet spot and you will sound best from here."
Leila Getz, founder and artistic director, Vancouver Recital SocietyView Event
Al Gore: An Inconvenient Truth
Toope takes the reins
Professor Stephen J. Toope is installed as the 12th president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia.Read Installation Address
Crofton House Gala
A gala event presented by Crofton House school featuring music by Chantal Kreviazuk and appearances by Olympic athletes Cassie Campbell and Becky Scott. Hosted by CBC's Peter Mansbridge.
Bill Duthie Memorial Lecture with Adrienne Clarkson
Former Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson presents stories from her memoir, Heart Matters.View Event
New works celebrate Shostakovich's birthday
"Montreal cellist Dyachkov was the soloist who gave us an intense, beautiful performance, with a solo cadenza that was a gripping, more than speech-like soliloquy."Read More
Del McCoury Band
Calling all Del-heads! Bluegrass legend Del McCoury and his all-star band bring their classic down home tunes to the Chan Centre stage.View Event
Why the Dervishes whirl
The whirling ritual is one of the world’s most exquisite spiritual ceremonies—and no one performs it better than the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey.Read preview
One of the most brilliant jazz musicians of all time, Ornette Coleman, plays at the Chan Centre as part of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad following his 2007 Pulitzer Prize win.View Event
"(The Dream Healer's) music has a delicate, impressionistic perfume to it – mysterious, with a hint of poison in the air…and, emerging from the swirl like a shining dagger, an aria of spectacular beauty. Emma's aria "Orchard" does a wonderful job of capturing a subject dear to Timothy Findley’s heart, the conflicted being."— Max Wyman, arts and culture commentator
UBC Centenary Gala
Ben Heppner and the CBC Radio Orchestra perform in this celebration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of UBC's 1908 University Act. Also on the program is the world premiere of Stephen Chatman's Earth Songs, a newly commissioned work for orchestra and choir.View Event
"(Earth Songs) is the most major work I've ever written. It expresses a real concern for the environment and for the fragility of the Earth."— Stephen Chatman, composer and professor at the UBC School of Music
Fado: Joy, Heartbreak, and Yearning
Mariza specializes in this emotive genre that was born in the neighbourhood tabernas of Lisbon and is marked by its signature feeling of yearning, or 'saudade'.Read More
The Live Sessions
The Chan Centre, in collaboration with CBC Radio Two, launches The Live Sessions in the Telus Studio Theatre which were recorded live for CBC's Canada Live series and included bands such as Hey Ocean, Jets Overhead, and Hayley Sales throughout 2009 and 2010.
Olympic and Paralympic athletes making a difference
UBC presents a series of provocative dialogues surrounding the 2010 Olympics entitled Sport and Society. Featuring Richard Pound, Shirley and Sharon Firth, Stephen Lewis, Rick Hansen, and more.
“We wanted to choose athletes, both Olympic and Paralympic, who have used their celebrity to make a difference. This series is meant to inspire and engage Canadians through an open dialogue about sport and the social impacts of the Olympic Games.”— Sid Katz, Chan Centre managing director (2002 - 2010) and former executive director of UBC Community Affairs
Joyce Hinton and Cameron McGill become co-managing directors
The Chan Centre moves to a leadership structure, and two of founding managing directors Michael Noon's very first hires, Joyce Hinton and Cameron McGill, move into the position of co-managing director.
VISI turns five
The Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI), headed by the UBC School of Music's Rena Sharon, celebrates it's 5th anniversary with a "Vancouver Schubertiade" gala concert and party at the Chan Centre.View Event
Still preaching at 73: The Globe and Mail talks with Mavis Staples
"I have come too far, and I am still on that highway and I will be there until Dr. King's dream has been realized." Mavis Staples opened her only Canadian tour date with a powerhouse rendition of Freedom's Highway. On the day that a monument to Martin Luther King was dedicated in the National Mall in Washington, Staples was celebrating."Read More
His turn at the lectern: The National Post talks with Adam Gopnik
"Adam Gopnik was waiting for the bus at the corner of 58th Street and Madison Avenue in New York City. He’d recently purchased his first iPhone and, while checking his email, received a message from Bernie Lucht, the executive producer of Ideas, a show on CBC radio. The email was an invitation for Gopnik to deliver an upcoming instalment of the Massey Lectures. Gopnik immediately knew that he would accept the offer, but, getting on the bus, was struck by the question that must greet all potential Massey lecturers: “What am I going to talk about?” He wanted to talk about something quintessentially Canadian, but with universal appeal. Almost immediately, an idea popped into his head. "By the time I got off the bus at 86th Street, I had the thing worked out in my head."Read more
David Suzuki on the global eco-crisis
In conjunction with the opening of UBC's Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), David Suzuki speaks at the Chan Centre on the urgency of environmental degradation and its connections with human society. Co-presented by the UBC Sustainability Initiative, the Office of the VP Research and International, and the Provost and VP Academic.
“This piece takes on a very serious challenge, which is to try and represent and reconcile the many different cultures we have in this country. It’s a tall order for any composer but I think Larry has done a wonderful job and the students have responded with tremendous togetherness.”— Bruce Pullan, former music director of the Vancouver Bach Choir
Listen: Martin Santangelo on flamenco
As part of the Chan Centre Connects series, Noche Flamenca artistic director Martin Santangelo talks about the origins and evolution of the art form of flamenco.Read More
Listen: Angélique Kidjo speaks at UBC
Kidjo speaks on women's rights in Africa and beyond. The panel discussion, "Africa at UBC: Performance, Projects, and Pedagogy" also featured UBC's Annette Henry, Maneo Mohale, Samson Nashon, Bonny Norton, Zilna Shavdia, and Handel Wright.Read More
Bramwell Tovey, Doctor of Laws
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra music director Bramwell Tovey receives an honorary degree from UBC for his contributions to the community through his relationship with the UBC School of Music and the Chan Centre.Read more
"I was in New York for a conference and a colleague had invited me to come to a club for a musical showcase where they were playing. (The Punch Brothers) came on and they were so young...they were having so much fun and teased each other - you could feel their joy. And then they would play and they were fantastic. The audience just loved them."— Joyce Hinton, Chan Centre co-managing director
Q & A with Linda Lee Thomas
Ahead of Ziegler's Chan Centre Presents performance, VSO principal pianist shares her thoughts on Astor Piazzolla, her favourite Pablo Ziegler piece, and the ‘magic’ of her beloved tango.Read More
Violinist is no standard-issue virtuoso
"Calling violinist Augustin Hadelich something of an enigma isn't meant as condescension in any way. I can think of no young fiddle player at the moment whose work is more intriguing."Read More
UBC Faculty of Medicine Spring Gala
The Spring Gala returns for its 19th year, featuring 175 performers in 24 performances, all in the name of charity. 2013 proceeds supported the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation.See photos
New UBC students imagine the possibilities
Each September, UBC hosts Imagine Day, where new students are oriented to campus and their faculty. The Chan Centre plays host for 'Meet the Dean' and exciting first-day activities.
"I see arts students on their first day on campus in (the Chan Centre) for Meet the Dean, and I see them at the end when they graduate four years later. So they bookend their experiences at UBC with this hall.”— Gage Averill, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at UBC
Kronos at 40
The Kronos Quartet perform a 40th anniversary program that includes the world premiere of Philip Glass' String Quartet No. 6 and Canadian premiere of Nicole Lizee's Hymnals. A pre-concert talk with Glass and CBC's Eleanor Wachtel took place onstage before the show.View Event
Kronos enthralls with the eclectic and electric
"At 40, Kronos remains fiercely democratic, fearlessly open-minded, and as committed to the truly new as ever."Read More
Philip Glass and String Quartet No. 6
Glass shares his thoughts on his sixth string quartet, a world premiere performed by the Kronos Quartet at the Chan Centre in celebration of their 40th anniversary.Read More
Christmas at the Chan
The tenth anniversary of this annual concert includes the Trinity Western University family of choirs, the Langley Fine Arts School Senior and Children's Choirs and Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir, all with full orchestra under the direction of Dr. Wes Janzen.View Event
Listen: Pierre-Paul Savoie on his tribute to Lhasa
The artistic director of PPS Danse speaks with CBC's Yolaine Mottet about the Danse Lhasa Danse project, which was performed as part of the Chan Centre Presents series in partnership with the PuSh Festival.Read More
Wynton Marsalis meets the next generation
Famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis meets with some budding horn players after his Chan Centre Presents performance.View event
SamulNori with Kim Duk Soo
UBC's Dr. Nathan Hesselink on Kim Duk Soo and SamulNori
UBC ethnomusicologist Dr. Nathan Hesselink, who has dedicated his professional life to studying South Korean drumming, on what SamulNori's visit to the Chan Centre means to him and his students.Read More
UBC Opera Ball
Each year, UBC Opera hosts a special fundraiser on the Chan Shun Concert Hall stage with a 3-course dinner and dancing to the big band sounds of the Dal Richards Orchestra.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki and Tanya Tagaq combine passion and innovation
A unique collaboration between environmentalist Severn Cullis-Suzuki and experimental vocalist Tanya Tagaq, who forged their respective talents to premiere a work of art that addressed issues such as global warming and mass extinction with fearlessness, creativity, and grace.View Event
"It was truly a transformative experience with gifted performers, in the ideal venue. The audience was so moved after Tagaq's song there was an awed silence in the Telus Studio Theatre as people tried to process the experience."— Mary-Lynn Young, associate dean, Faculty of Arts at UBC
Diego El Cigala connects with Vancouver's Roma community
This event—a mixture of arts, academia and advocacy—brought together a cross section of Vancouver's communities, including the diverse Romani communities, in conversation and in experience. People were describing the event as "moving," "informative," and even "epic." There were UBC students, musicians, flamenco-aficionados, refugee advocates and curious folks who wanted to expand their mind. The Chan Centre supported the first public Romani event in Vancouver in 15 years and did so in a way that allowed Roma to speak and represent themselves. You provided the space and support for true public engagement. All we can say is: thank you, nice tuke, ov sasti, kosonom, gracias."
-Dr. Shayna Plaut, Liu Institute Scholar and UBC alumView Event
Stunning! Two masters in tune with each other and reverent of each other, there was much more than the unique improvisational magic happening at that concert. I am thrilled to have taken part in it as an audience member.— Wlad Nefedow, Chan Centre Presents subscriber
A Buena Vista Social Club Farewell
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club farewell tour audience members filled out postcards with goodbyes and fond memories of their beloved music.Read More
Q & A with Gary Cristall
Vancouver Folk Music Festival co-founder, artist manager, and arts administrator Gary Cristall discusses the history of folk music in Canada, including Woody Guthrie and his son Arlo, who performed as part of the Chan Centre Presents series.Read More
Roots and Shoots program introduces young ones to world music
Roots and Shoots is a music education outreach program run by the Chan Centre for under-resourced Vancouver area elementary schools, offering students the opportunity to experience a local world music ensemble such as Masabo in concert, plus workshops held in each school.
Behind the Scenes at UBC Graduation
The Chan Centre's assistant technical director Andrew Riter explains the work that goes on behind the scenes in order to prepare the stage for bi-annual UBC graduation ceremonies.Read More
John Corigliano master class
Part of alumni UBC's Master Mind Master Class series, a deep look into the mind and method of Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano.Read More
Elvis Costello in conversation with Stephen Quinn
The Vancouver Writers Fest presents iconic singer-songwriter Elvis Costello. He discusses his new memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink with CBC's Stephen Quinn, and even performs a few impromptu tunes.
Manual Cinema's Ada/Ava
The poignant tale of aging twin sisters who care for a lighthouse is portrayed through vintage overhead projectors, screens, puppets, actors, live-feed cameras, sound design, and live music in Manual Cinema's Ada/Ava, part of the Chan Centre's Beyond Words series.View Event
Anda Union share throat singing techniques
Members of Anda Union conduct a special Chan Centre Connects workshop at UBC's Wesbrook Village that includes a throat singing demonstration and lesson.
"This beautiful place embodies our sense of community in every way: students coming together in shared aspiration; faculty and students working together in shared accomplishment; and performers and audience members gathering together in shared excitement and delight."— Richard Kurth, director of the UBC School of Music
UBC Theatre’s production perfectly conveys the geekery, heart, heroics, and humour found in Qui Nguyen’s pop-culture play.— Andrea Warner, Georgia Straight
A conversation with Abdullah Ibrahim
The legendary South African jazz musician discusses his career, artistic journey, and the Jazz Epistles with CBC’s Michael Juk at Vancouver Community College.View event
Listen: Michio Kaku on physics and the universe
UBC Connects and Professor Santa J. Ono present theoretical physicist and best-selling author Michio Kaku in a sold-out lecture.Listen
Ahead of his Beyond Words performance, Kealoha speaks to UBC First Nations Indigenous Studies students and hosts a slam poetry workshop with five local spoken word artists who join him as special guests on stage.
World-renowned vocal adventurer Bobby McFerrin leads a concert of Circlesongs – a guided improv that has his group Gimme5, Vancouver’s Musica Intima, and eventually the entire Chan Centre audience raising their voices together.Read More
No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
Back at the Chan Centre by popular demand, Manual Cinema brings Gwendolyn Brooks' story and work to life through music, poetry, and shadow puppets.View Event
Cristina Pato Quartet
Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato takes the stage for a high-energy performance that is as educational as it is musically thrilling.View Event
“The idea that a bagpiper could be this exciting did seem exceptional. Even Pato herself said the same, thanking everyone in attendance for taking the chance to check out something new. She need not have done so. This was one of the best performances of 2019.”— Stuart Derdeyn, The Vancouver Sun
On the eve of their Chan Centre performance, the artists of DakhaBrakha prepare a pot of beet soup alongside a selection of traditional Ukrainian songs.View Event
We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Joined by an army of vocal superpowers and Vancouver’s own Universal Gospel Choir, Damian Sneed gets the Chan Centre up and dancing with anthems of hope, joy, and resilience.View Event
Patrick Carrabré appointed Director
UBC appoints Dr. T. Patrick Carrabré as the Director of the Chan Centre in addition to his role as Director of the UBC School of Music.
Kicking off the Fall Dot Com Series is vocalist, pianist, and musicologist Jeremy Dutcher. Chan Centre audiences reunite virtually to share in Dutcher’s Indigenous Futurism.View Event
Months after its cancelled premiere, Ridge is reimagined as a feature film and shot throughout the Chan Centre. The venue becomes a character in Brendan McLeod’s poignant discussion of memory, sacrifice, and what it all means.Read More